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.