Breaking: Long-time activist Peter Bauer re-emerges in the Adirondack debate

Protect the Adirondacks has announced that hired Peter Bauer as its new Executive Director.  The announcement, released just moments ago, returns Bauer to the Park-wide scene, after five years focusing on issues surrounding Lake George.

Bauer, who has led the Fund for Lake George, says he will leave that post in the summer. Full statement follows.

Adirondack Park—PROTECT the Adirondacks! is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has hired accomplished activist Peter Bauer as its new Executive Director. Bauer brings to PROTECT more than 20 years of experience in Adirondack Park policy, grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and not-for-profit management.

Before he begins full-time work for PROTECT after Labor Day, Bauer will continue to serve until the end of July in his current position as Executive Director for the FUND for Lake George, a position he has held since 2007.  Bauer had previously served for thirteen years as Executive Director of the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA), one of the two groups that merged in 2010 to form PROTECT. “I could not be more pleased with the results of our search for an Executive Director, says Board Co-chair Bob Harrison. “I have known and worked closely with Peter for over 10 years.  He has the respect of all stakeholders in the Park, friend and foe alike. I am very excited with the promise that his leadership of PROTECT holds for the future of the Adirondack Park.”

Peter Bauer brings to PROTECT a wealth of experience in environmental policy and advocacy for the Adirondack Park. He has successfully advocated for the protection of new wildlands; helped to pass state laws on jet skis and acid rain; advanced state policy on motorized uses of the Forest Preserve; and conducted research that has educated the public and influenced management policies and practices for the Forest Preserve and the Adirondack Park. Among Bauer’s recent projects for the FUND for Lake George are his work to develop and publish the award-winning Do-It-Yourself Water Quality: A Landowner’s Guide to Property Management that Protects Lake George; a new report on trends from thirty years of collaborative water quality monitoring; new programs for aquatic invasive species control, and creation of a new park and stormwater treatment system in collaboration with local communities.

Perhaps most important for PROTECT’s larger mission is Bauer’s proven ability to effectively organize the voices of Adirondack residents and people throughout New York who want stronger protections for the largest and most important state park in the nation. Peter Bauer stated “I am grateful for this unique opportunity. I am very impressed with PROTECT’s citizen advocacy approach, with the outstanding grassroots board they have built, and with their leadership on many of the critical issues facing the Adirondack Park.”

PROTECT Board Co-chair Lorraine Duvall said “What a combination of resources PROTECT has now assembled for defending the principles upon which the Adirondack Park was founded–a dynamic proven leader as our new Executive Director, a solid base of grassroots members and supporters, and a diverse Board of Directors representing 500 years of environmental activism. The time is now and we are ready.”

When he takes up PROTECT’s reins in the fall, Peter Bauer will be astride ongoing initiatives to defend against several recent, major threats to the integrity of the Park’s private and public lands. With Sierra Club support, PROTECT has taken legal action against the Adirondack Park Agency’s (APA) January decision to permit the Adirondack Club and Resort project, the largest development in the history of the Park. Chief among its threats PROTECT opposes the precedent for permitting habitat-fragmenting, recreational housing sprawl across many thousands of acres of similarly protected private lands throughout the Park. In another recent decision, one that excluded public oversight, the APA approved the DEC’s plans to increase motorized access to 1.5 million acres of “forever wild” public lands with the construction of new, high-speed snowmobile “trails”. Bauer will oversee PROTECT’s initiatives not only to field-monitor DEC and permitted town construction of these new roads, but also to strengthen the statutes that are now interpreted as allowing the DEC to re-negotiate with owners of easement lands, changing provisions originally intended to provide public benefits.

“I am totally exhilarated by Peter Bauer agreeing to become PROTECT’s executive director.  No one is more knowledgeable of the Adirondacks, or as seasoned by years of organizing and motivating grassroots folks to pursue strong environmental action for the protection of the Adirondacks. He exhibits mastery and skill at getting the word out, building public support and persuading decision makers to make sound environmental protection decisions”  said Chuck Clusen, PROTECT co-chair.

In addition to coordinating PROTECT’s independent public oversight of New York State’s management of the Adirondack Park, Bauer will oversee both PROTECT’s water quality monitoring and forest stewardship programs.

“The Adirondack Park landscape is vibrant and lively. The communities, people, politics and public issues are vibrant and lively too. I’ve been fortunate to work with some terrific groups and with many terrific people to try and earn a place in the conservation tradition of the Adirondack Park that heralds from early calls to create ‘a central park for the world’ to later calls about the Adirondack Park as a ‘landscape of hope’ or a ‘great experiment in conservation’. I’m very pleased to join with PROTECT at this point in my life and dedicate my energies in trying to defend this amazing place” said Peter Bauer.

Those interested in following the changes that will result from Peter Bauer’s new role as Executive Director; in learning more about PROTECT’s initiatives and programs; or in becoming a member are invited to visit the organization’s website at protectadks.org.

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9 Comments on “Breaking: Long-time activist Peter Bauer re-emerges in the Adirondack debate”

  1. don dew says:

    Brian, Thank You for using the term “Adirondack Debate” in your title. Unlike the term “Adirondack War” used by Protect Board member Bob Glennon a debate can be a constructive and meaningful process. Hopefully Bauer will bring the debate philosophy to this position. Time will tell but I can not get the picture of him out of my mind (It is on the PBS Documentary Adirondacks that I believe you ie NCPR and the Adirondack Council underwrote) where he is at a legislative hearing on the Adirondack Club and Resort at the Tupper lake High School. He is seen enticing the crowd by saying “OK Bring it onBring it on”. As one who believes civil discourse is the only way we can make the Adirondacks successfull, I hope Mr. Bauer chooses “debate” over “war”.

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  2. WrenHawk says:

    Excellent news! A smart leader returns to tell it like it is. How appropriate. We have an advocacy group for the Adirondacks again. But I also agree with Mr dew, let’s make it critical debate, it’s going to be contentious and passionate, but we can stay focused on the issues and disagree, without going to war.

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  3. Paul says:

    It is interesting we keep seeing the same faces re-emerge in this “debate”. Are there any new people that are interested in this kind of activism in a leadership role?

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  4. Indy says:

    I think Peter Bauer will bring some needed passion into the debate on the future of the Adirondack Park. As for Don Dews’ comments, he seems to have a case of selective incorrect memory about the legislative hearing that Mr Bauer attended at the Tupper Lake HS for the ACR development. Mr Bauer was not “enticing” the crowd when he said “OK bring it on, bring it on”, he was responding to some Hecklers in the audience trying to shout him down.

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  5. Paul says:

    Indy, I don’t see a lack of “passion” in the debate. There is plenty of that, what there seems to be a lack of is reason in the debate.

    Not sure about this specific incident but “bring it on” sounds more specifically like “entice” than “respond”?

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  6. Brian Mann says:

    Had to delete one comment. Please keep it civil folks.

    Brian, NCPR

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  7. noaa jon says:

    Hooray, this is great to hear that Peter will be back to doing what he’s good at. One LOUD suggestion for him and all of us: Let’s not refer to this region as the “park”; the APA is the one who started that back in the ’70′s by abbreviating the full name of this region to fit their program = Adk.Park Agency. This here region is the Adirondack Mountains State Park & Adirondack Mountains State Forest Preserve. We know that’s a couple of long names for here but it’s the truth and it’s the proper way. If anyone wants to shorten the description for the sake of quickness of speech ( as we often use nicknames to do ), then say ‘the Mountains’. As in, “I, Peter B., am glad to be back at the important job of protecting these Mountains”( or say ‘this Region’) as opposed to saying ‘protecting the Park’. This is not someone’s “park” just for their personal recreational uses. People LIVE Here; it’s our homeland. Mountain is a very descriptive word which carries romantic, scenic pictures in anyone’s imagination. It’s a better marketing term than ‘Adirondacks’ which almost sounds like ‘Ozarks’ when folks from far away are wondering if they should pay a visit to this scenic place here. Always use the word MOUNTAINS, please. Folks love that. Thank you.

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  8. Paul says:

    Noaa, what about the lakes? That should be in your name. I was raised in the Adirondacks and lived in the Rockies for years. What draws me back is the lakes. If I want mountains I head back to Colorado. The hills here are beautiful as well!

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  9. Pete says:

    Once again we see the truth twisted to suit the environmentalist agenda:

    “…DEC’s plans to increase motorized access to 1.5 million acres of “forever wild” public lands with the construction of new, high-speed snowmobile “trails” … ”

    The FACT is that the new snowmobile guidance calls for ‘reconfiguration’ of the snowmobile trail system to REMOVE trails from the “Remote Interior” of Wild Forest lands. Prior to this plan, there was no such classification as “Remote Interior” and snowmobile trails were OK on all state land classified as Wild Forest. Therefore, the plan decreases the total area available.

    The new guidance actually sets specific numerical limits on trail width, whereas previously there was no actual number specified. In some cases this might mean a trail could be improved to the current width, but in others, it means the trail will have to be narrowed. No matter what, the trail width limits are not going to allow for “high speed” as compared to most trails outside the Adirondacks. The width just allows for 2-way traffic so that 2 modern snowmobiles can pass each other withoug having to get off the trail. The speed limit on all trails on state land is 25 MPH. That is not “high speed.”

    Furthermore, the plan does not allow for any increase in the total milage of snowmobile trails on state land, which is capped at 848.88 miles by the ASLMP. The only reason for construction many of the so-called “new, high speed trails” is to relocate trails from the “Remote Interior” which is arbitrarily defined as more than 2 miles from a “motorized corridor.”

    The environmentalists pushed for this “Remote Interior” classification. But they didn’t think about the consequences. It makes no environmental or economic sense to close existing trails that may have been around for 40 years just because they happen to be on the wrong side of some imaginary line, and build new ones to replace them. Moving trails will require bridge building, tree and brush cutting, and much more environmenntal disturbance than simply maintaining the existing trails to the standards in the guideline. As far as actual snowmobiling, all studies have shown negligible impact on the environment.

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