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. JB says

    There is undoubtedly a lot to this story that is not being explicated, but the Adirondack Council’s willingness to take such a controversial stance still seems odd here (especially given that they have been apparently shying away from other controversies vis-a-vis overtourism). What type of infrastructure, exactly, is needed to support the new communications equipment? Does the Council have reason to be concerned that the Sportsmens’ Club will abuse their new motorized right-of-way? Are they concerned about setting a bad precedent? There is evidently plenty of adversarial conflation of issues going on, but it seems that communications towers like these are rare by design. It would benefit all sides to do a better job at stating their case.

  2. John says

    One has to be very Leary when it comes to dealing with the environmental enthusiasts just take a look at what happened to all that were involved with the development of a snowmobile corridor trail on former finch lands. One environmental group gives the ok and then everyone else involved with the deal get the go ahead to construct a trail then another group comes in from out of the blue says you can’t do that and takes it to court using some reason of what you can or can’t cut on former timberlands I might add and puts an end to a deal that was made. Let’s just say make sure when you strike this deal you don’t get hood winked and end up with a lose lose lose deal like the dec and all the townships and snowmobile clubs did. Be very Leary hatchbrook and town of wells,dec. don’t put up any snow machine trails in this area for closure to strike a deal we will only lose. Be iron clad when dealing with these groups or don’t deal

  3. Peter Bauer says


    Your timeline is way off. Protect the Adirondacks went to court in 2013, well before any “deals” were struck on building Class II trails on the former Finch lands. The “deals” that were struck around the Essex Chain classification were never made public by the groups that made them, and the terms of the “deal” have since been disputed by the participants. PROTECT was not part of that deal.

    Further, we had stated since the early 2000s, all during Pataki’s snowmobile focus group, that big wide Class II trails were unconstitutional, but no one listened. Our only option was to go to court, which unlike the process for secret “deals” among state agencies, local gov leaders, and various groups, is an open forum on a level playing field where the law means something.

    On Cathead, we still think there’s a way forward that meets everybody’s needs. We’ve been public about that. We wrote about that in the Adirondack Almanack (https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2022/04/its-time-to-work-out-cathead-mountain-amendment.html) and we circulated a letter (https://www.protectadks.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/220330-Cathead-Mountain-web.pdf) in Albany saying the same.

    Whoever wrote Werner’s initial Cathead bill this year did a real disservice to this issue because it contained many new controversial items that were never part of a broad framework that seemed to have the support of most of those involved.

  4. Eric says

    How does the Adirondack Council continue to get money after they’ve ticked off virtually every group of people in the Adirondacks; from hikers to snowmobilers, to local governments, to the Adirondack Mt Club, to Firetower lovers (remember the Pharoah Mt fiasco) and they even annoy other environmental watchdogs. Who is giving these people money???

    • JB says

      Historically, many would argue that that impartiality has been the Adirondack Council’s greatest strength. That coupled with the fact that their influence is unmatched by any other private organization has allowed them to think about the “big picture” in times when few others could.

      The problem, of course, is that this balancing act is difficult to maintain. The list of privileges that are seen as “untouchable” is now a lot longer than just those enumerated in Art. XIV/APA Act.

      It is hard to imagine a cogent environmental argument for opposing the solution to the Cathead problem as outlined in Mr. Bauer’s letter. As he said, unfortunately the version that fell through here was a far cry from that. In the interim: Why does the county not try to get their communications equipment installed without the road, alongside the state’s equipment? Retrofitting with grid power can always be done later. (Helicopter flights are expensive, but so are miles of utility lines.) I’d be surprised if Hamilton Co. could not strike up a deal with the state to shoulder some maintenence costs. Since visitor safety is being put at risk, maybe some ROOST funds should be appropriated for this if all else fails. Why force first responders to wait years?

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