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.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

40 Years of Per Capita Income Trends in Rural America

The second major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was per capita income.

An analysis of per capita income trends was useful for evaluating differences between regions, especially when analyzed with a range of other economic indicators. Per capita income is the average income earned of a person within a specific geographic area, such as a city, town or state.

When adjusted for inflation, per capita income is an important measurement, though not as good as median household income, because it can be skewed by a few individuals with extremely high incomes in low population areas.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 27, 2019

40 Years of Household Income Trends in Rural America

One of the best measurements of the overall economic performance of a region is median household income of its residents. Household income is the combined gross income of all members in a household. Median household income is the median of all households in a region. A comparison of median household income is a good way to study the economic experiences of different regions.

In the new report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 (2nd edition) we made a series of comparisons of long-term economic and population trends between Adirondack communities and other areas across New York, the U.S. and Rural America from 1970 to 2010. The U.S. Census provides median household income data as a standard field in its surveys. We only had to adjust the data for inflation.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Research Methods of the New Adirondack Park Study

The new study The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010, published by Protect the Adirondacks, took a deep, nuanced look at leading economic and population trends in the Adirondacks. While most of the U.S. population grows increasingly urban and connected to the digitized, global economy, Rural America is engaged in a struggle to maintain viable communities, to provide essential services and institutions, and to plan for a future with smaller populations, lower birth rates, and low-growth economies.

The Adirondack Park faces the same economic and population challenges experienced by most of Rural America. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Adirondack Park and Rural America

Protect the Adirondacks has published a new report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010. This report has been widely circulated around the Adirondacks. It was mailed to all local officials, loads of non-profits, elected reps, school districts and local libraries. It’s available online. Through the end of the year, we’ll be undertaking a number of public presentations on the report and we’ll be publicizing those as they are organized.

The report is long, complicated, and not easily distilled to talking points. I’ll be writing a series of essays this spring and summer for the Adirondack Almanack that take a deep dive into the major findings. This article is the first and it provides an introduction and overview. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

High Peaks Need Bold, Comprehensive Management

As winter shows sure signs of releasing its grip on the Adirondacks, a new hiking season in the High Peaks Wilderness is coming into view. The allure of the High Peaks is immense for hikers, which is understandable.

There is simply no other place anywhere east of the Mississippi River that provides the experience like that found on the summit of an interior High Peak surrounded by dozens of others. The views from Gothics or Colvin or Colden or Haystack mountains, or any number of other High Peaks, are simply stunning.

It’s no wonder the High Peaks Wilderness is in the midst of a major boom in the number of hikers, which has stressed the region’s management. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Cuomo Administration Needs to Invest in High Peaks Wilderness

In 2018, state agencies combined the Dix Mountain and High Peaks Wilderness areas into one grand 275,000-acre Wilderness area, which is now celebrated as the 3rd largest Wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, behind the Florida Everglades and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. This action certainly merits heralding as a major accomplishment in the history of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

It shines a spotlight on the High Peaks Wilderness as a world-class landscape and it begs the questions of how and when will state agencies start to put together a world-class management system that the High Peaks Wilderness deserves. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bauer: ORDA Should Not Play Games With Article XIV

Mt Van Hoevenberg Recreation AreaIt’s not every day that one gets to see a well-worn aphorism ring true. The philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  In the Adirondacks this is now playing out at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area.

The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) manages this area for a variety of winter Olympic sports – cross-country skiing, biathlon, bobsled, and luge, among others. It’s also a popular cross-country ski area for the public, and starting in 2018 it became the staging area for a new trail to Cascade Mountain, where the public can start hiking in a safe parking area. The facility is located partly on land owned by the Town of North Elba Park District and partly on the State Forest Preserve. The Forest Preserve lands are protected as forever wild by Article XIV of the State Constitution. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Viewpoint: New Cuomo Budget Misses Major Adirondack Priorities

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently released draft budget for 2019-2020 is disappointing because it misses some major priorities for the Adirondack environment and communities.

Major issues across the Adirondacks, such as increased funding for the High Peaks Wilderness to build a sustainable trail network, more Forest Rangers, or a larger Environmental Protection Fund to meet major challenges of climate change, were all ignored in this budget. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Bauer: State Ignoring Lessons of Class II Snowmobile Trails

Public comments were illuminating at the public hearing in Raquette Lake on November 28th. Held at the Raquette Lake School, the hearing took comments on the state’s proposal to build a new 4-mile section of a 9-12-foot-wide community connector snowmobile trail through the northern edge of the Blue Ridge Wilderness Area where it borders NYS Route 28 between Raquette Lake and the Marion River Carry.

I attended the hearing and made comments. I was the only environmentalist among the crowd of 40 or so snowmobilers, local government officials, local residents and representatives of the NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

School Closures in the Adirondacks and Rural America

NYS education at a glance courtesy NYS Education DepartmentOne refrain I have heard from Adirondack leaders through the years is that declining school enrollments across the Adirondacks, with particular emphasis on the closures of the Piseco School and Lake Clear School, show the overall decline of the Adirondacks as a viable social and economic region. Blaming environmental policies immediately follows these statements. I have always argued back that there are many factors that affect school enrollment levels and that the changes afoot in the Adirondacks are far less severe than the changes that are transforming vast portions of Rural America. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bauer: What Does The New State Senate Mean For The Adirondacks?

NYS CapitolOn Election Day in November 2018, voters across New York State voted for a new direction for the 63-member New York State Senate. With some races remaining close and needing to be finalized based on a count of absentee and provisional ballots, it appears that Democrats have elected 40 Senators and Republicans just 23. There is no way to overstate just what a sea change this is for New York State politics.

There is also no way to overstate the questions that this sea change raise for the Adirondack Park, which is cut up into four State Senate districts, each steadfastly represented by a Republican. These four Senators – Betty Little, Joe Griffo, Patti Ritchie and Jim Tedisco – led by Little whose 45th Senate District has the majority of the Adirondack Park, were members in excellent standing in the exclusive club of the Republican Senate Majority. With a membership of around three dozen they unrelentingly, efficiently and ruthlessly wielded power and thoroughly enjoyed their political spoils. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Bauer: Long Pond Easement Changes A Bad Deal

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently wrapped up a public hearing on proposed changes to the 18,950-acre Long Pond Conservation Easement located in the Town of Colton, St. Lawrence County. The state purchased this easement for $1.667 million in 1999 and the taxpayers of New York State have paid the state’s share of all local taxes on the property since then. The DEC held this public hearing because it wants to rewrite this conservation easement to allow 15 leased residential camps to remain on the property in perpetuity.

At the time that the state purchased the Long Pond Conservation Easement in 1999 there were six camps that were allowed to remain on the tract in perpetuity due to special deeded rights. At that time there were nearly three dozen other smaller hunting and fishing camps on the property that were grandfathered and given exclusive hunting and fishing rights for 15 years. The 1999 easement purchase included blanket public recreational rights, but they were deferred until 2014 to keep the peace among the club members and local politicians. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gooley Club Buildings Removed At The Essex Chain

All of the buildings of the Gooley Club hunting camp on Third Lake on the Essex Chain Lakes have been removed. The site is cleared. The dozen or so cabins, the shower building, the main lodge clubhouse, the various storage buildings, and the network of docks are all gone.

Under the terms of the state’s purchase from The Nature Conservancy in 2012, the hunting camps and clubs on these lands were allowed to remain until the end of September 2018. Their last exclusive big game season was 2017. The Essex Chain Lakes Complex Unit Management Plan (UMP) called for the removal of the Gooley Club buildings once their term of exclusive use was up, but some members of the Gooley Club, along with allies at Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) and local government leaders, made a last stand to keep these buildings. They argued that the Gooley Club should stay and be preserved and maintained by the state as a kind of living museum of Adirondack hunting and fishing camp culture. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cuomo Searches for New Chair of the Adirondack Park Agency

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe Cuomo Administration is searching for a new Chair for the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The Governor appointed Karen Feldman, an attorney from Columbia County, who also has a home on Schroon Lake, as a Temporary Chair in July at the time the APA Chair Sherman Craig (Wanakena) resigned. Feldman is campaigning for her temporary status to be made permanent and she is currently Team Cuomo’s top candidate for the job.

The APA Chair is one of eight appointed Board seats where an individual is nominated by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. Under state law, five APA Board members must be full-time Park residents and three must reside in counties outside the Adirondack Park Blue Line. There can only be a maximum of five Board members from one political party and Board members serve 4 year terms, two of which expire each year and run in a continuous cycle. Under NYS law Board members can continue to serve in “expired” terms. New Board members are often appointed to partial terms. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bauer: Poorly Designed Subdivision Proposed in Southern Adirondacks

Woodward Lake DevelopmentA new major subdivision project is under review by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). It’s the first to use the new application process developed by the APA earlier this year for large-scale subdivisions.

The project is shaping up as an important test drive of both the new review process and to see if the APA can convince a major developer that has undertaken a series of conventional checkerboard subdivision projects across New York to do business in the Adirondacks differently by utilizing land use development practices that protect open space and natural resources. » Continue Reading.