In memory of a tough conservationist

Per Moberg, who died in August at age ninety-one, will be remembered as a give-no-quarter conservationist who was totally dedicated to protecting the Adirondacks.

He was born in Brooklyn, but his parents took him back to Sweden after six months, and he didn’t return to the United States for twenty-five years. He spoke for the environment in a deep, strong voice in his thick Swedish accent—an effective combination.

Having fished many times in Lapland for Arctic char with his father, he quickly developed a passion for trout fishing that eventually drew him to the Adirondacks. In the 1960s he served on the Board of Governors of the Adirondack Mountain Club and on the committee that ensured the integrity of Article 14, the forever-wild clause, during the 1967 constitutional convention. By the late 1960s he was chairman of the Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club and was keeping a watch on the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks.

In 1970 he joined the state Department of Environmental Conservation, where he helped create many local conservation commissions and county environmental-management councils. Perhaps his most spectacular accomplishment with the DEC came in 1985, a year before he retired, when he coordinated the acquisition of the Bog River Flow and Lows Lake for the Forest Preserve centennial.

Within the Sierra Club, his greatest accomplishment was that, with Tom Kligerman, he laid the groundwork for the club’s 1991 paddle through Adirondack League Club property on the South Branch of the Moose River, leading to the 1998 landmark Court of Appeals decision that sanctioned recreational use as a test of navigability when determining the public’s right of access.

Per and Tom also issued a position paper in 1988 titled “The Adirondack Park—A Park in Trouble.” Per would say now that it never got out of trouble.

Charles Morrison, Saratoga Springs

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