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. Kierin Bell says

    The Work Plan Policy document touches on the important elements, but those elements still need to be integrated in a meaningful way. I’ve always been struck by how seamlessly Article XIV and APSLMP (and CPSLMP, etc.) form a unified, coherent whole. The Forest Preserve Work Plan Policy could build organically upon that foundation. Instead, it misses the mark by breaking down Art. XIV and APSLMP into disparate sets of criteria that are weighted against each other.

    More trails, more campsites, and more parking lots means more impact to “wild forest character” not because either criterion X (e.g., tree cutting resulting from construction and maintenance) or criterion Y (e.g., erosion resulting from overuse) are affected, but because definitions of wild forest character are inherently coupled with specific limitations on levels of use, just as infrastructure and use are inherently linked. From this, the starting point for any improvement work on Forest Preserve should always be the question “Why is this work needed?”, rather than a description of “desired conditions” followed by a process that seeks to continually establish and rationalize those conditions via “avoidance”, “minimization”, and “mitigation”. Not only does the latter terminology sound oddly self-deprecating, but it is probably unnecessary complicated, too.

    • Adk Resident says

      The APSLMP is a different set of criteria form Art 14. The Master Plan goes so far as to state that in the very first paragraph:

      “Insofar as forest preserve lands protected by the “forever wild” provisions of Article XIV, §l of the Constitution are concerned, the provisions of the master plan are intended to be constitutionally neutral. While obviously no structure, improvement or use held to be unconstitutional is permitted by this Master Plan, no inference as to the constitutional appropriateness or inappropriateness of any given structure, improvement or use should be drawn from whether it is allowed or prohibited in a particular land classification. This master plan is not intended to
      make constitutional determinations regarding unresolved issues under Article XIV, which are properly a matter for the Attorney General and ultimately the courts.”

      • Kierin Bell says

        While I can understand the confusion, I think you have it backwards. This passage is explicitly affirming that nothing in APSLMP can override Art. XIV, and thus APSLMP *cannot* define its own, separate set of criteria.

        My argument is essentially that if the Work Plan Policy (or any policy for that matter, like an APSLMP amendment) makes the fatal mistake of decoupling APSLMP from Art. XIV, then the courts end up managing Forest Preserve for us (which is ultimately bad for everyone).

  2. Steve M. says

    I don’t envy the employees that have to come up with these guidelines. It’s basically like trying to define “reasonable” and “common sense”. They mean different things to different people. I just have a couple of thoughts. Somehow you need to keep this simple. You don’t want 100 pages of legaleeze. Trails mainly erode due to water, not foot traffic. In general our trails are poorly designed (or not designed at all), and we should be looking at totally new, intelligently designed trails, rather than always trying to fix up the existing trails. If the forest isn’t too thick, you can build most of it, without cutting trees. The new “gold standard” trails, were they are busting rocks with sledge hammers, is a ridiculous waste of time and money.

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