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. nathan says

    great that your teams found the guy, but also a $500 fine??? he should have to go remove the graffitti or serve trail litter policing….community service type commitment.

  2. Tony rhoda says

    30 year military loser…
    As a retired vet he doesn’t represent us.
    Prusinowski should be hot harder on punishment.

  3. Susan Harris says

    Actually since there was no malice involved he should have gotten a written citation and no fine. The article here should have also explained why a person should not leave their own markings on a trail and how it might affect other hikers. People that need to be forced to pay for their mistakes to society are not this kind of person!


    Multiple markings on trails only serve to disorient hikers, particularly beginners.

    If every bad act required “malice”in order to warrant a penalty intended to deter future bad acts, their would be a breakdown in society. Catch a clue.

  5. Jamie Janetsky says

    How much time did it take to do all that investigating?? Was it worth $500.. Prolly cost the state way more than that. Good economics nydec hope you feel accomplished

  6. Kp says

    Wow, an innocent mistake and people are calling him a losser denouncing his military service. If he got lost, what would they call him? The paint and story will fade. Take a breath people. Everyone is entitled to forgiveness. I’m more concerned about plastic litter & beer bottles left on the trails.

  7. Eric Martin says

    “As a military vet of 30 years, I mistakenly marked the trail to aid me getting down”. I’m not really sure where the guy is going with this line. Its like some sort of passive/aggressive apology that doesnt hold any water. I’m a 7 year vet and have no problems with my criticism here. Just say you were scared of getting lost and messed up with the orange paint. No need to make this a “but I’m a vet and deserve a reprieve”. Just own it and move on. Semper Fi.

  8. 30 yr winner says

    A 30 yr loser more like. When you go out on patrol you don’t spray paint the back to your base so everyone can find you what an idiot the military should disown him I’m embarrassed to be a vet. How selfish.

  9. Vanessa says

    I have two unpopular opinions to offer. They shouldn’t have fined the guy – sounds like an honest mistake. Also, it is very important to educate folks and it’s nice he went on record to apologize.

    But also – I don’t get what his military service has to do with any of this. I don’t like it when vets are used as props for any purpose. Vets are people like the rest of us and of course they need recognition and care for their unique role in society, but your veteran status is not an excuse for silliness or a justification for mistakes. Marcy Dam Jeep guy also used the “but I’m a vet” defense.

    That I want a vet to be treated the same way I’d want a 20 year old kid treated in this case, (nevermind a 20 year old black kid!) is the mark of the equal society our vets are defending – one where we are treated the same despite our identities. The posts in this thread seem to indicate we’re a long way from getting there.

  10. Doug says

    Geezer people give the guy a break! Well that’s exactly what kind of response I would expect out of stock up there huggers! You would expect the complete opposite though, forgive and forget people.

  11. A J Howard says

    I agree that he should have been made to clean off the paint, and that his military service is irrelevant to the deed. A $2500 fine would not have been excessive. He could use his “stimulus payments” to cover it, if he hasn’t spent them on beer.
    Cascade and Porter are known as the two easiest climbs in the “46”. Once, an old woman with a cane and her grandkids, on a bus in Seattle, admonished me when I said I’m from the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York, saying that I would be “HUMBLED” by the western mountains. She was obviously oblivious that hikers have died on Mt Washington, and in the Adirondacks in winter. I wasn’t interested in being humbled, but I have hiked as high as 17,000 feet, and also 15.600 feet, amidst snow-capped trekkers’ peaks 22,000+ feet high. Mount Whitney, the highest in the lower 48, is only 14,500 feet high. The farthest I’ve hiked in one day with a 65-pound pack was 25 miles, admittedly in lake district lowlands. In the 1990s, I carried such a pack, with stove and my share of the food and supplies, on the continental divide in Colorado and in Utah, for a week at a time. Alas, no more.

  12. Boreas says

    I personally don’t buy the fear of getting lost excuse – not on that trail. Look at the picture – two blazes within feet of each other in the middle of a 10 foot wide trail! Now if he was visually impaired, he may have an excuse. But in that case he should probably be hiking WITH someone.

    50 years ago flagging tape was occasionally used on the trail-less peaks, and it was eventually outlawed for obvious reasons. But when I used to do more bushwhacking I carried some nonetheless. I never needed to use it, but at least it is easily removed. It was lighter than a paint can and never froze in winter.

  13. Claudia says

    The trails should be better marked so that no one gets lost. Even experienced hikers can get lost on trails that aren’t properly marked.

  14. Mike says

    The first problem is that there is insufficent supervision and maintenance. If he was aware of some of the basic facts, leave no trace, have a map, don’t travel alone, etc., this would not have happened. As a retired firfefighter I know no one calls 911 because they just did something smart. This is the same type of situation

  15. Lord Brucifer says

    I think they should also fine at least half of you who commented. Justice has been served. He said he would never do it again. Done deal. Shut up with your comments as I will after this one.

  16. Lillian Antoci says

    This is what happens when you keep encouraging people to re-create outdoors during the pandemic. They flock from every corner of the earth and they bring their carelessness, trash, destructions, and disregard for nature. Comment sense would say NOT to spray paint on trees even those on trails. Yes, education would help but these are outsiders and how do you teach them before they arrive here? The more advertising and the more people come, there will be more destrction of the Adirondack sadly.

  17. Tim-Brunswick says

    I just spotted this article and it kills me the way the majority of comments focus upon beating up the guy who was honest enough to step forward and take whatever punishment was due. The world is falling apart because of a pandemic and loved ones are dying, yet there’ still time to beat up some one who just plain made a mistake and ha the back bone to step forward and admit it………seriously!!??

  18. Tim-Brunswick says

    “if he hasn’t spent them on beer.”….seriously…how ridiculous/presumptuous is this statement or what….like nobody who reads/writes in this arena ever (God forbid….) partakes in alcoholic beverages………..really!!??

  19. Ritaclare Streb says

    How ignorant can that man be to destroy the beauty of nature with paint?!

    If he was so worried that he couldn’t find his way back, why did he choose to hike Cascade in the first place. He apparently met others on the trail so, again, why the stated concern for getting lost?

    Since he did this same damage once before in the Catskills, he should not only be fined but also banned from trails in the park. This was premeditated crime…he brought a can of orange spray paint!!

  20. Boreas says


    He didn’t step forward at all. He was fingered by someone on Facebook when they recognized his picture. When he was caught, he made a “voluntary statement”. He didn’t do the right thing and turn himself in as you suggest.

  21. Athina says

    I’ve hiked Cascade. It’s a very well marked trail- whether a beginner or not. I can’t understand the logic here…sheer stupidity.

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