About Gwendolyn Craig

Gwen is an award-winning journalist covering environmental policy for the Explorer since January 2020. She also takes photos and videos for the Explorer's magazine and website. She is a current member of the Legislative Correspondents Association of New York. Gwen has worked at various news outlets since 2015. Prior to moving to upstate New York, she worked for a D.C. Metro-area public relations firm, producing digital content for clients including the World Health Organization, the Low Income Investment Fund and Rights and Resources Initiative. She has a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She has bachelor's degrees in English and journalism, with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology, from the University of Connecticut. Gwen is also a part-time figure skating coach. Contact her at (518) 524-2902 or gwen@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Gwen’s newsletter here.

Reader Interactions


  1. George L. says

    NYS should take the 36,00 acres by eminent domain, and pay a fair market price. End of story. In this world, no single individual should control the fate of this much pristine wilderness.

  2. Sally H says

    Having the State owning it and opening it up to the public is not protecting the property. It would be destroyed. Selling it to an individual owner would provide better protection. End of story!

    • Boreas says

      An individual owner intent on developing it? I agree with the antipathy toward State/Taxpayer ownership, but how do you make sure the next owner actually PROTECTS the property? There is really no insurance either way. Land trusts and such can be a good interim option, but they usually can’t afford to manage the lands long-term. There are few perfect options.

      It would be nice if SLMPs could be employed that would severely restrict vehicle and even foot access on certain unique properties, but that just won’t happen. Current SLMPs tend to assume any State acquisitions will be open to vehicle/foot access in varying amounts. This thinking isn’t always in the best interest of the land itself. As usual, it is all a compromise from which Nature and Wilderness don’t always benefit.

  3. Shawn Typhair says

    If I owned that property I would start the subdivision today just because of statements like that. Its his land and he can do as he pleases with it. Personally I would make it into an ATV park just because I could .

  4. Susan says

    Last I knew, we were still the United States of America, where property rights were one of the most protected rights under our still in existence Constitution. Mr. Hendrickson OWNS this piece of property, and he can do with it AS HE PLEASES. He is under NO OBLIGATION to cede it to the state. As of yet, we are NOT the Soviet Union (God willing).

  5. Johnathan Esper says

    If the state bought the land, no doubt there would be petitions from powerful environmental groups in the Adirondacks lobbying to turn the entire tract into Wilderness, raze the existing camps, and close the dozens of dirt roads throughout, which would effectively shut out all usage by ordinary outdoors enthusiasts. Look at the Essex Chain of Lakes tract bought from Gooley Club as an example of what would happen. All but one of those dirt roads in that tract are now overgrown with pricker bushes and going back to nature and unusable, despite still being listed on the map, and despite foolhardy attempts by the state to bill it as equestrian riding trails. No one is riding horses there! Same thing would happen to Whitney Tract! It should not be sold to the state for that very reason!

    • Boreas says

      NYS needs to reassess how they view future acquisitions. Historically, land was added to the Preserve that was at risk of being developed by a private buyer. In other words, preserving and protecting forests and other resources. Increasing motorized access/usage does not fit this philosophy.

      For every parcel being considered, there are groups advocating for increased motorized access, and groups advocating for “wilderness” or Wilderness classifications that allow foot access including hunting/fishing and other traditional usages. Perhaps NYS should just stop purchasing these parcels and allow them to continue to be virtually inaccessible to the general public, and embrace the ubiquitous “Posted” sign. Some people consider virtually unlimited “foot and water access” to be better than no access. Other groups consider motorized access via roads as the only reasonable form of access. Not likely either group will concede, and the State needs to consider these opposing views before a purchase.

      But as we know, politicians want to do both while adding feathers to both their “environmental” and “recreational” caps at the same time. The thought that the two opposite camps will compromise rarely produces a peaceful compromise, and more often simply increases antipathy between opposing forces, with taxpayers footing the bill. This is the enigma and paradox of the Adirondack “Park” – how to balance preservation, recreation, and development. These considerations should be reviewed and re-balanced every so often by taxpayers to determine an over-arching philosophy for management and acquisition of new lands. Until then, private lands will usually remain off-limits behind “Posted” signs.

      • Paul says

        There are only a few remaining large parcels that the state has to even worry about, anyway. Things like the large river corridors the state spent million on in places like the Santa Clara Tract so that a handful of people can explore them was ridiculous. The private owners were paying taxes and creating a few jobs and it was all super well protected. It still is but now the state (us) pay the taxes and the tax base will never really improve, the few jobs are gone – not good for the towns, that are basically dying and clearing out. But that is good for the environment right?

  6. Todd Eastman says

    The Feds should seize the property, turn it into an artillery range, and host an annual North Country Burning Man…

    … winners all around!

  7. Doug says

    I am 63 years old and an avid outdoorsman and licensed guide. I have also worked for the state in an environmental role with responsibilities. I left this job to the ineptness and incompetence that I witnessed first hand.
    The state took over the Essex Chain Lakes from the Gooley club via the Nature Conservancy who provided huge tax incentives to the owners of Finch paper. The states involvement, maintenance since has been virtually non existent. Ok yes they built some new lean-to’s but that’s it. One current example of state incompetence is the inundation of milfoil in the channels between the lakes. Another issue is the state allowing the lake levels to rise over 1.5ft which is still causing numerous mature trees to die and drop into the lakes. This flooding was being caused by beavers at 2nd lake. Consequently, culverts between lakes which once allowed passage via canoe are now impassable. I actually spoke with a DEC technician regarding this matter and this person’s rebuttal to this was that the DEC didn’t know any trappers!
    My opinion is if you want your property destroyed, give it to the state.

  8. Erik says

    No!! NYS (tax payers) Shouldn’t buy it. And there is no reason why any one person should have a limit on the amount of land they can purchase. And once New York State gets their hands on land, no one gets to use it for anything!

  9. Paul says

    This does not look like a pre 1973 building, how were they allowed to build this so close to the mean high water mark? Was there a giant old camp there before?

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