Almanack Contributor Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children, enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.

Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

OPINION: Elise Stefanik Is Lying To Us

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is lying to us. There’s no other way to say it. Her preferred candidate lost the presidential election and now she is trying a variety of maneuvers, unseen in modern American political life, to undo the November 2020 presidential election. Elise Stefanik is willing to lie and cheat to steal this election away from Joe Biden.

On Sunday January 3rd, Congresswoman Stefanik released a video than ran 1 minute and 50 seconds to explain why on January 6th she will object to the votes of the Electoral College, certified by the states, that show Joe Biden lawfully won the presidency. Her video is amazing because in it she packs in five major lies. Real whoppers. In this video Elise Stefanik looks straight into the camera and with a big smile on her face she tells lie after lie. That’s a lot of deception in just 110 seconds.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Peter Hornbeck, Master Boatbuilder And Wilderness Advocate, 1943-2020

Peter Hornbeck, founder of Hornbeck Boats and master boatbuilder of lightweight canoes and kayaks with a distinctive red stripe below the gunwales, famous throughout the Adirondacks and beyond, died quietly and unexpectedly at his home in Olmstedville on December 26, 2020, after a hike with his family.

Pete was a founding Board member of Protect the Adirondacks since 2009 and served on the Board of the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA) before that from 1993 to 2009, serving eight years as the Chair. Pete was an unwavering advocate for the public Forest Preserve, especially on the need for more Wilderness lands in the Adirondack Park. Pete died at 77 years old. (Editor’s note: We posted this article about Pete on Adirondack Explorer’s website last night.) » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Things Fall Apart At The Adirondack Park Agency

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) was rocked last week with the sudden resignation of Chad Dawson, who served as one of three APA Board members from outside the Adirondack Park Blue Line. Dawson is a Professor Emeritus at SUNY ESF, who not literally, but actually, wrote the book on the management of Wilderness and public lands. See Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values (4th edition). Though Dawson was an authority on public lands management and is recognized widely across the U.S. as an expert, few at the APA and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would listen to him.

Dawson took words on paper seriously, especially the words of the APA Act and Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. One such case was where the Master Plan calls for carrying capacity studies on public water bodies during the development of Unit Management Plans (UMPs), a clause that the DEC has long refused to acknowledge and fulfill. The APA has never tried to uphold this requirement. At deliberations over UMPs in the last four years, Dawson would point to this section of the Master Plan and he would be met with yawns from other APA Board members that the APA has never asked for these studies before, so why start now.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Fort Drum training activities should take place on conservation easement lands

In June, the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army, based at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, released a draft programmatic environmental assessment titled “Fort Drum 10th Mountain Combat Aviation Brigade and 10th Sustainment Brigade Mission and Training Activities” that outlined ambitious “air and land-based training activities” to possibly take place across nine counties in Upstate New York, including four (St. Lawrence, Lewis, Oneida, Herkimer) that are partially within the Adirondack Park, and two (Hamilton, Essex) that are entirely within the Adirondack Park Blue Line. (Henceforth the Programmatic Environmental Assessment will be referred to as the “PEA”).

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 3, 2020

50 Hikes Outside Of The High Peaks To See The Fall Colors

The first weekend in October is one of the biggest hiking weekends in the Adirondacks each year, and often sees peak leaf color at many locations. Many trailhead parking areas will fill up early and the trails in the High Peaks Wilderness will likely see continued unprecedented crowds through the fall. In an effort to lessen the flow of thousands to the High Peaks Wilderness, Protect the Adirondacks has published online trail guides for 50 terrific hikes and destinations throughout the Adirondack Park in areas outside of the busy and over-used High Peaks Wilderness Area. These online trail guides are available now.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Save Whitney Park, Make it Forest Preserve

The 36,000-acre Whitney Park is up for sale. This tract, which includes 22 lakes and ponds, and over 100 miles of undeveloped shoreline, has been at the top of New York State’s land protection priority list for 50 years. Over the decades, the property has been lightly developed by the Whitney family, which maintains a large complex of buildings in a mountain estate called Deerlands on Little Forked Lake, and two inholdings totaling around 400 acres on Forked Lake and Plumley Pond at the south end of the tract.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, July 24, 2020

Take a Survey About Hiking Trails in Hamilton County

Public input is sought for the selection of 5-10 priority hiking trails within Hamilton County for inclusion in a trail maintenance plan as the primary goal of the Hamilton County Trails into Prosperity project.  The project will enhance recreational opportunities, bolster local economies, and improve natural resource user experience by designing comprehensive trail maintenance and sustainability plans for key Hamilton County hiking trails. Those who hike in Hamilton County are encouraged to complete a brief survey regarding priority trail selection.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, July 6, 2020

DEC involvement in NYCO Amendment raises questions about public benefit

This is the last article in a 5-part series on possible amendments in 2020 to Article 14, Section 1, of the NYS Constitution, the famed forever wild provision.

This article looks back at the amendment for NYCO Minerals, Inc., in 2013, that authorized exploratory drilling on 200 acres in Lewis Lot 8 in the Forest Preserve in the Jay Mountain Wilderness. This amendment was barely approved, passing by the narrowest margin of any successful Article 14 amendment. The NYCO Amendment was different from all other amendments to Article 14 because it marked the first time that a private corporation used the amendment process to seek and obtain Forest Preserve lands for no other purpose than benefitting its bottom line. Every other amendment had a public benefit and purpose. The NYCO Amendment did not.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cathead Mountain Amendment Would be Complicated and Difficult

This is the fourth article in a series that looks at three possible NYS constitutional amendments to Article 14, Section 1 (the “Forever Wild” clause) that are being debated in 2020. This article looks at the issue of utilizing Forest Preserve lands around Cathead Mountain, in the south edge of the Silver Lake Wilderness area, to locate a new emergency communications tower, similar to such towers on Blue Mountain and East Mountain.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Amendment needed to transfer state ownership of Camp Gabriels

Protect the Adirondacks has reviewed the options for the future of the Camp Gabriels complex, a former state prison in the Town of Brighton in Franklin County in the northern Adirondack Park. The site is located between Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s just outside of Gabriels. The land that the prison complex was built upon is Forest Preserve, protected under NYS Constitution Article 14, Section 1. The prison complex was part of a state purchase in 1982 of over 224 acres. This facility has been dormant since 2009 when the state closed the prison camp.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Blurred lines surround Mt. Van Hoevenberg sports complex

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a five-part series that will run over the next few weeks, exploring amendments to the “Forever Wild” clause of the NYS constitution.

Protect the Adirondacks has long believed that an amendment to Article 14, Section 1 is needed for the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Winter Olympic Sports Complex currently managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). At Mt. Van Hoevenberg, ORDA currently manages 1,220 acres +/- of Forest Preserve classified as Intensive Use by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). Abutting these lands is 319 acres of lands owned by the Town of North Elba. This complex houses the Olympic bobsled and luge track, cross-country skiing and biathlon trails, and associated facilities.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, June 22, 2020

The paths to Past and Present Constitutional Changes to the Forest Preserve

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 in a five-part series that will run over the next few weeks.

Article 14, Section 1, of the New York Constitution, the famed “Forever Wild” provision, has been amended 16 times since 1938. It has been amended five times since 2007, making this period the most active and intensive in Forest Preserve history for amendments.

Several Article 14, Section 1 proposed amendments are being drafted and organized by the Department of Environmental Conservation and Cuomo Administration that focus on bringing the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Winter Sports Complex (pictured here) into compliance with Article 14, removing the former Camp Gabriels prison complex from the Forest Preserve, and for locating an emergency communications tower on, and possibly providing public access, to Cathead Mountain in southern Hamilton County, which would involve neighboring Forest Preserve.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Before the Flood

Memorial Day weekend is shaping up as a grand, celebratory reopening across the Adirondacks and North Country. If initial trends that I’ve seen this month of steady business at local trailheads and parking areas are any indication, I expect to see the Adirondacks flooded with visitors this weekend. I expect this trend to continue throughout the summer. Will hikers stay locally in hotels, once they’re allowed to open, I don’t know, but I’ve seen people regularly at lean-tos and campsites I frequently pass by in hikes throughout Hamilton County and the central Adirondacks that are hardly ever used or are usually empty this time of year. I think that many folk see camping in Adirondacks as a safe, low-risk activity.

As New York slowly claws its way back towards normal American life, there’s a great deal of uncertainty about what lies ahead. It’s too soon to tell, given the length of time it takes for a person to fall ill from COVID-19, what the experience is in other parts of the U.S. that started opening back up for social and commercial activities in early May. Initial reports of COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the south are troubling as this region was the first in the U.S. to try reopening. New York is only just beginning the reopening process.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Cancel Your Hiking Trip to the Adirondacks

coronavirusAt 8 pm on Sunday evening, March 22, 2020, the State of New York began its official “pause” of most commercial and public activities in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Under the Governor’s executive order, all non-essential businesses are to close, and all state residents are to remain in their homes. Click here for a list of “essential businesses.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Viewpoint: State Facilitating Unlimited Access to High Peaks

It seems pretty clear at this point that the state agencies that manage the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and adjacent Wilderness areas, are not interested in limiting public use.

The state is investing in new parking areas, new hiking trails, and a new hiker transportation system that are all designed to facilitate ever-higher levels of public use in the High Peaks, not limit it.

Consider the change underway at Cascade Mountain.

» Continue Reading.



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