By Mike Lynch
At 86 years old, Peter Paine is well-known for his conservation efforts in the Adirondack Park, dating back to his time on the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks.
Below are six facts about Paine, accompanied by video clips from an interview with him that took place in September.
1. He has deep Willsboro roots: Paine owns property in Willsboro on Lake Champlain. The property has been in the Paine family since the late 19th century when his grandfather Augustus Paine moved to the area to run a local paper mill. The property has been under an easement with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy since 1978. According to the Conservancy, the Paine family protected 1,200 acres, including three miles of shoreline, on Lake Champlain and just under two miles on the Boquet River. Paine joined the board of the Conservancy in 1988 and is still currently serving on it. You can listen to Paine talk about his family’s easement below.
2. He helped protect Noblewood Park: This beautiful area at the outlet of the Boquet River is a public access point on Lake Champlain. It’s a great spot for birding and contains a long sandy beach. Owned by the town of Willsboro, this property is protected by an easement held by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The Paine family contributed financially to the purchase of this property. You can see photos of the property below and hear Paine talking about the purchase and value of the property in a video.
3. He’s a respected, well-credentialed lawyer: Paine served on the Adirondack Park Agency board for 25 years, where his legal understanding of the Adirondack Park’s laws helped guide the board’s decisions. Paine is a retired partner of the international law firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and he practiced law in New York, London and Paris. He was class valedictorian at Princeton University, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and a graduate of Harvard Law School.
4. He is the last surviving member of the Temporary Study Commission: Paine was appointed to the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The TSC recommended the creation of the state Adirondack Park Agency and the private and state laws put in place to protect lands in the park. The commission also recommended that citizens create an Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy to help protect private lands. Below Paine talks about the creation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
5. He’s a bank chairman: Both Paine’s father and grandfather served as the chairman of Champlain National Bank. Paine has continued that tradition. He has been the chairman of the bank and its holding company, Champlain Bank Corporation, for more than 20 years.
6. Horses helped log his property: A couple of years ago, the Explorer did a story about horse logging in Willsboro. The work, done by Chad Vogel of Reber Rock Farm, took place on Paine’s property. You can watch a video about the process below.
Want to read more about Peter Paine? This fall Brad Edmondson, author of “A Wild Idea,” penned an article about him that appears in the November/December 2021 issue of the Explorer. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE