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

    It would definitely be beneficial for us all to do a deep-dive on overuse in the Adirondacks. The current stratagem of developing more expansive trail networks, higher capacity parking lots, larger campgrounds and new regional attractions is truly puzzling from an administration that is supposedly addressing overuse. Hammering away at the proximate rather than the ultimate causes of the problem will only result in uncontrollable “induced demand”, and worse, it is a management philosophy in complete opposition to basic conservation design principles–that is, cluster development and human use in specific locations to leave the larger landscape intact. A start would be to deal with the elephant in the room: amending the HPWA UMP to reflect increased vistorship and enable creation of robust and centralized infrastructure to empower visitors to recreate sustainably in the Park’s most trammelled “wilderness”. An ultimate solution would be for the State to adopt a more sustainable Parkwide conservation ethos as mediator of the commons rather than the outdated usher of a six-million-acre recreational attraction. The meaning of “Property of the People of the State of New York” is not the same as individual ownership extrapolated unto every citizen–it places the Forest Preserve firmly within the commons, in which stewardship trumps exploitative ownership. That is a difficult proposition to revisit now for a nation that, in the time since the inception of the Adirondack Park, has risen to become world’s foremost extractive economy, endowing us all with the exceptional quality of life that we have come to expect. As Henry George put it, “want appears where productive power is greatest and the production of wealth is largest”; we, and our environment, are victims of our own prosperity. We need to look beyond ourselves for solutions to the paradox of modern American conservation–either beyond our borders to other nations, where there are spectacular examples of properly functioning wildernesses preserves, or to the past, where our forebearers set aside untouched land for future generations informed by a wisdom that I fear that we could not match today.

  2. Boreas says

    Until the term “overuse” is defined for each trail, the problems will be impossible to “manage”. Politics being what they are, I don’t see it happening any time soon.

  3. Zephyr says

    It is incorrect to call the fiasco at the AMR trailhead a “pilot parking reservation system.” They would not allow anyone to hike without a permit, whether or not they arrived on foot, by car, by bike, or by bus. It should be called what it was, a hiking permit system that limited hiking to the members of the exclusive club, or members of the local community who are granted special privileges, despite the fact it is a public easement bought and paid for by the citizens of New York State.

    • Dana says

      That’s how permits work, whether they be hiking or parking. Was anyone denied an available permit? Was there an onerous charge? Unless there is evidence to the contrary, it is still a pilot program. File a suit against the DEC/AMR if you feel strongly enough. That is how you fight the DEC. I am content to wait and see if it is simply scrapped.

      • Pablo says

        That’s not how parking permits work, which this is billed as. Hikers who don’t need to park are still barred from hiking by the fake ranger AMR employs. Zephyr pretty much has it correct.

        • Dana says

          AMR employed “fake Rangers” long before there WAS a DEC. I am still waiting for someone to do something constructive about the issue other than whine and complain. A handful of people complaining about the same thing hundreds of times does not carry the same weight as hundreds of people complaining once. If so many people hate the system, I encourage you to form a group and gain some leverage – possibly with a lawsuit. I for one would be interested in the eventual outcome!

  4. Boreas says

    There are many more issues in the HPW and Park in general than the AMR parking permit system. We should be focusing on what are the biggest threats to the Forest Preserve and coming up with plans to mitigate the most threatening first. In my mind, we should focus on preservation first and methods of access second. Doesn’t make much sense to do it the other way around – such as a shuttle system being set up before comprehensive trail carrying capacity studies have even been started. Decide what you want to achieve before purchasing your tools.

  5. Jesse says

    The parking permit system at the AMR has been frustrating on many levels. There are currently 17 day-use parking spots on any given day. The only chance you have of getting a weekend spot is two weeks in advance, in the few minutes after 12 noon when the slots open. You have no way of knowing the weather two weeks from then, but you take your chances and hope for the best.

    On my first time there, I arrived and they had no record that I a reservation. Fortunately, I had the printed verification and they allowed me in – but would have been skunked if I hadn’t printed it out.

    I heard from others who had arrived without a reservation on a weekday, but they had an almost empty parking lot. The “ranger” told them they couldn’t stay, and couldn’t make the reservation there on the spot, because it had to be done in advance (even though there were clearly empty slots available). Why?

    Columbus Day weekend, it was packed! FAR more than the allotted 17 cars allowed. As I walked through the AMR, there were crowds of hikers in groups of up to twenty people (far more than allowed in the wilderness areas.) It turns out, the majority of them were guests of members of the AMR (as one of them explained to me).

    So… to clarify, this isn’t an effort to limit the amount of traffic on those trails. It’s an effort of the AMR to limit only 17 cars in their parking lot, so that they can hoard the hiking trails for themselves.

    A pretty sweet deal – they were bailed out of bankruptcy in the late 1970’s, and continue to pay very minimal takes on a multi-million dollar assessment – in exchange for hiker access to some of the most pristine hiking in the Adirondacks. However – they want to limit what they seem to consider the “riff-raff” to 17 cars per day, so that they can keep it to themselves – what a joke!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *