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. JWJ says

    Seriously? Rangers are expected to conduct rescues that require them to spend a night or 2 in the High Peaks in winter and the State doesn’t provide them with winter rated down bags and bivy shelters?

    And a good pair of winter mountaineering boots cost way more than $175. Heck that doesn’t even cover their day to day footwear.

    Shame on Hochul, Seggos and the Legislature.

  2. Boreas says

    I am glad the Rangers are taking steps to ensure their safety and effectiveness. While it should not be necessary in NYS, it apparently is. I’ll certainly contribute.

  3. Christopher Gurr says

    “DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said he was puzzled about the creation of the foundation…”

    Seems like that’s where the disconnect is. The rangers need equipment. The state isn’t providing it. They’ve turned to the private sector and created a foundation, presumably so donations to support the rangers can be tax deductible. I’m puzzled that Seggos is puzzled. Maybe he meant to say he’s embarrassed.

    • Boreas says

      Seggos is indeed the disconnect, and it is intentional. As long as he keeps stating that funding and staffing are sufficient, why would the governor and the legislature disagree? If he can’t understand the situation, why is he still there? Indeed, is he puzzled, embarrassed, or ashamed??

    • Boreas says

      We could do that, but then annual budget funding will likely be reduced even further. There is no reason to keep the Ranger force on a continual shoestring budget.

  4. COL (R) Mark Warnecke says

    This is what happens when you promote people to the highest positions based on politics on not qualifications! Seggos is surprised, and that doesn’t surprise me.

  5. Ann Marie B. says

    Talk about disconnect. What a jerk for making those comments.

    He should either be carried out of the woods strapped to a stretcher while Rangers strain to carry him….or do the carrying. Then he would see. Unbelievable.

    Seggos doesn’t even have enough understanding to be ashamed or embarrassed.

    What an uninformed idiot.

    As always Scott van Laer leads the way. Good job !

  6. louis curth says

    Thanks to the Adk. Explorer and to Gwen Craig for shining a light on this bootstrap initiative to form a “forest ranger foundation”. This fund raising effort is being led by forest ranger Andrew Lewis, et al, with a generous start-up contribution from retired ranger Scott vanLaer. Well done to all of you!

    The new foundation hopes to raise money to help our current forest rangers fill in state funding gaps that force rangers to buy expensive personal gear out of their own pockets or else try to get along without it. Additional funding will permit forest rangers to carry out their emergency response duties more safely and efficiently to the benefit of all of us.

    I urge everyone to stand by our forest rangers and contribute to this worthwhile cause.

  7. JOE says

    So, in 2018 over 30 rangers responded with volunteers to a difficult winter rescue in the High Peaks. This resulted in the hiring of 38 additional rangers which raised their ranks to 160 which is 25 above their authorized fill level. This also required the DEC to purchase 38 more trucks, equipment and uniforms. The DEC has a fixed budget like all state agencies. This means the funding was taken from existing programs’ hiring budget. This past year ranger union president Perryman requested new uniform equipment and were told that it would be financed by our politicians. Now the rangers come to the Explorer to release information that they have organized a “Go Fund Me” foundation to raise money for uniforms. It sounds like Seggos and Stec were not in the loop about the creation of this foundation. So, they are puzzled and embarassed. Their response is that funding will be secured to buy the uniforms while the foundation also raises money for additional expenses. Problem solved for the rangers. I hope there is funding for all the volunteers that unselfishly respond to these emergencies with their own equipment, gear and vehicles on their own time and are not salaried, funded and do not get overtime pay. I also hope that funding is returned to all the state agencies that suffer shortfalls in staffing to fund these efforts. Maybe they should also follow the example and start Go Fund Me pages or foundations.

  8. Anonymous says

    This is pretty embarrassing, why did they hire so many more rangers if there was no funding, why not invest more into the actual TRAILS to prevent injuries ? More money should be spent on trail crews to do good work and less injuries would happen. Seems the cheaper solution, and more beneficial to the entire public, Not just those doing and needing the rescue. Our trails are in terrible shape, only adding to the strain put on hikers leading to injuries. NYS Employees always take the single minded approach- we need more in our dept!!!! Screw everyone else!!!

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