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. Dan says

    Does the APA have any legislation in terms of light pollution regulation? The dark skies in the park are quickly being swept away due to a lack of dark sky ordinances which call for shielded fixtures, warmer bulbs, motions sensors, etc which still allow for the dark skies to coexist amongst future and past developments.

    But, without the proper implementations of dark sky friendly fixtures, our stars are quickly becoming a thing of the past in this supposed “forever wild” ecosystem. I was on Whiteface Mountain at night not too long ago and for some reason the lights from Whiteface Resort as well as Mt. Van Hoevenberg were on all night, with fixtures pointing up that were so bright that they were blinding me from the summit of Whiteface.

    Without light pollution being taken into account in future developments, the ADK is quickly losing one of its most notable features—dark skies.

  2. JT says

    Let’s say the proposal goes through and the resort gets built. Now they need a workforce to run the place. There was a recent article in almanac about the lack of affordable housing in the ADK’s. I expect the jobs created will be lower wage tourist industry jobs. This could be an issue no one is thinking about.

  3. Scott says

    I think it would be good for the area and bring jobs to an area where people normally drive 30 to 45 minutes to get to work. Hopefully it would bring Ausable Forks out of the permanent recession that it has fallen into over the last 25 years. Take a drive down Main St and count the empty store fronts

  4. Sarah M says

    Honestly it seems like a gamble. People want to go to Keene or Lake placid or lake George. I just don’t see it being too popular. It’s far enough from those places people might feel isolated and not close enough. There are already a ton of resorts in those areas. The problem is there’s not much hopping in that or ausable. Ausable forks is not what one thinks of as a tourist town. Main Street is down trodden. It could be cute but you’d have to reinvigorate the entire town. Of course it’s beautiful area but a lot goes into sustaining a place like that and undertaking a job like that. It would have to be run well to attract high priced tourists and that requires at the very least good staffing. It’s hard to see why tourists would want to be there instead of in lake placid. And I can’t imagine the jay folks are going to be fly with this project.

    • Boreas says

      Sarah M,

      I agree. People have had the opportunity for decades to buy/build affordably in Ausable Acres, and that area is far from full. So the only hope to really get this project going is with early sales of McMansions – just like the doomed Tupper Lake project. It would be foolish to put in the hotel first. Transportation was also less of an issue with the TL project where a ski area would be present along with a good size town ripe for rejuvenation. This area would almost require shuttles to Wilmington/Lake Placid.

      • Sarah M says

        And to be honest, I don’t see McMansions going like hot cakes in that area either. It seems this guy may not really know the area that well, since he’s from Florida. I would think McMansions would go along the lakes, next to lake towns, not really on the river next to already struggling towns. That’s rough living out there when you compare it to areas closer to the hot towns like Lake Placid. And even Tupper had more going on than jay/ausable.

        For one, the ausable area also has its fair share of really horrible flooding. The river is beautiful, but it rises. So I would think twice before building a mega community near a known flood zone. You can still see the water line on some houses from the hurricane several years ago. That was really devastating flooding.

        I also think revitalizing the town as an outsider is gonna be very difficult. You have to get everyone on board. I think if people are looking for McMansions, there are better places for that kind of lifestyle already in the adirondacks. Rich buyers want easy living. This area is really a drive away from the towns people like, and I doubt the appeal of staying in a resort type community is gonna stick as there’s not enough to do. I have always thought of jay as a quaint artistic kind of place. It doesn’t seem to mesh with this kind of grand scale project.

  5. Amanda says

    What about Forever Wild? I realize that this is private land, but when I hike, I prefer vistas without development. Plus, as others have pointed out, light pollution, lower paying jobs, and lack of affordable housing for those workers. Seems bass ackwards to me.

    • Boreas says

      It is along 9N, just outside of Ausable Forks heading toward Jay. It is on the west side of the E. Branch of the Ausable that was virtually destroyed by floating logs over a century ago. Its wild character and fishery has yet to be restored. This is much of the reason for flooding, although the project is upslope of most of the flooding. So, near a depressed but quaint village along a beautiful but severely damaged river. Minimal hiking opportunities. Minimal shopping opportunities. Plattsburgh for “cheaper” groceries. Snowy drive to winter sports and hiking trails along older mountain roads. If I had a pocket full of cash, it would not be my first choice for my McMansion. I believe the ACR in TL had a better chance of success.

  6. John R Gannon says

    Just like the John Denver song. More people ,more scars upon the land. The sad thing is the rich always come into the beautiful areas and push everyone else out. You won’t be able to touch any realestate if this goes thru. Just say no!

    • Lillian says

      Agree. It is all about the rich. McMasion are not for regular hard working folk. They need more affordable housing. Everywhere is getting overcrowded. I like to see the beautiful Adirondack stay remote. Just enjoy the beauty and not have cars and people all over the place. Don’t let the Adirondacks get taken over by the rich.

  7. Jeanne says

    Its the same old story! Air BnB’s! Why not consider old eye sore areas. Like Steinhoff’s, or the many older hotel sites for purchase & rejuvination? What will go in by the restaurant Wilderness Inn? Logging is one thing,but…what ELSE?
    I livedin Wilmington in the 80’s , it was awesome…for an outdoorsy person! The development by the Wilmington Beach is spawning another part 2 development. What’s driving this? $$ gives people second home opportunities. Meantime the Wilmington’s older hotel’s and restaurants stand there like old relics of the past (80’s) and they are eyesores! New development means – increase Tax base, temporary jobs. To me…I see nothing good …. long term. Vacation rentals….when does it stop?

  8. Nature Lover says

    This massive project will undoubtedly pose a threat to wildlife that will be displaced, forests that will be cut and logged, and recreational enjoyment that will be overshadowed by new urbanization. The purpose of the Adirondack Park Agency is to “ensure optimum overall conservation, protection, preservation, development and use of the unique scenic, aesthetic, wildlife, recreational, open space, historic, ecological and natural resources of the Adirondack Park”. Accepting the major land development proposed by Eric Stackman will be neglecting this duty and promise to keep the Adirondacks “forever wild”.

  9. nathan says

    will they build a top level sewage plant to keep water clear? limit light pollution? what about salting the roads? huge amounts of development in a water shed area, it seems forever wild is about developers going wild! but developer has that high a budget for his build, I’m sure he will “grease” the right APA people and get it built…

    • Timothy Dannenhoffer says

      Yeah, I’m sick of the APA being so pro development. Reminds me of a Democratic Party that has turned out more like a Republican Party, not opposing the Republican Party.

  10. Timothy Dannenhoffer says

    How about no? I’m sick of the Adirondack forest being nickeled and dimed to death. Isn’t undeveloped private property inside the Adirondack Park supposed to be protected too?
    And Jay, from what I remember, is a sleepy little Adirondack town…it might be nice if some places remained that way?

  11. Linda Ramirez says

    My questions are as others have asked: Why this size of a development? Impact on light, noise etc. Where will workers live during construction and after completion, and impact on affordability of local housing? What’s the developer’s history and experience? Impact on the River watershed?

  12. Mike says

    This sounds like a mini ACR type development. So the town of Jay should gear up for requests for services etc. Watch out for any proposed private sewage treatment plans, plan ahead for increase costs for road maintenance, plowing etc. If they propose a PILOT plan to pay for their infrastructure just show them the door.

  13. Karen says

    I really believe that this is put forward you will regret it for the rest of your lives and your children’s lives. As he former resident of New York, North Carolina and now Florida, I can testify to the fact that they developers do what they’re told to do and once they have a foothold it is over the surrounding areas and the developments. Pollution, air, land and water, are horrendous. There are payoffs, lying hidden dumping in you and all your surrounding wildlife will suffer. This is proposed by a water system? Lake, River, stream… Well you better take pictures and now so that you can remember what it used to look like and show it to your children and grandchildren because it will never look that way again. I hate Florida and they’re developers whether they are high-end developers or low-end developers, developers are developers and they don’t care about the environmental impact. Stand up now where you’ll regret it for the rest of your lives. I can’t wait to get out of here and go back to the mountains of North Carolina.BTW The people who buy or rent these places have no respect for wildlife. A good portion of these people consider wildlife a nuisance. That includes everything. They complain about the deer, black bear, alligators, and raccoons, possum, squirrel s and birds!

  14. Jan says

    As a resident of the very area this will be neighboring ,I do NOT want the beautiful and yes simple way of life disrupted by a community built by an out of state developer. The animals being disrupted, the light pollution, extra traffic, increased taxes and more undesired consequences that will occur if allowed to go through are not what keeping our Adirondacks wild and free is about..He states there is not much going on in the area and that is where he comes in, how about maybe the people who live here don’t desire to have MORE going on as he describes!
    The fact that our precious simple natural area complete with the river, occasional moose, deer and various other critters as well as locals who love this area as it is, speaks volumes that this is NOT progress that we need or want.
    The immediate reward of increased tax base is not worth a future of regrets that can never be changed back.
    Don’t turn our paradise into a regret!

    • Barbara g says

      As another local who’s family has lived in the town since 1863 i so agree with you. They all come here for its beauty and peacefulness but yet try to turn it into the cities they are trying to escape ironic isn’t it.

  15. Gilbert Smith says

    I love the Adirondacks, I met and married my husband there. His are all 46ers. Developers do what they want and leave the waste for the town to pick up If he is from Florida, look at his record. Do you really want what happened in Miami to happen on Whiteface Mt? I understand we need development and jobs, but be careful what you do. Don’t let the snakes in.
    Thank you,
    Dr. Gilbert and Mrs. Mary Smith

  16. Frank Vizard says

    I think the development would turn Jay and AuSable Forks into a destination, something that is sorely needed. Even the hardware store in AF left. Environmental concerns should be duly noted and can be ironed out but generally speaking, it’s a positive move in terms of jobs and revitalizing an area in need of it.

    • Barbara g says

      As a person who was born and raised in Au Sable Forks and the town of Jay area the majority of us don’t want to be a destination area. My family has lived here since 1863 and have managed to survive in our little town without being a destination and don’t need this resort. Yes we do need some revitalization but not this

  17. Dakota Arabia-Meyer says

    It is not a bad idea wanting to bring more roads and houses to the Adirondacks, I mostly am concerned about where they might put them. The Adirondacks would thrive so much more if people would come live and work up here instead of just visiting for the holidays. Plus it would be nice to have a gas station not 15 miles away.

  18. Barbara g says

    As a person who was born and raised in Au Sable Forks and the town of Jay area the majority of us don’t want to be a destination area. My family has lived here since 1863 and have managed to survive in our little town without being a destination and don’t need this resort. Yes we do need some revitalization but not this

  19. Sue says

    This is happening everywhere. I sympathize with those who are exhausted even thinking about this in addition to everyday concerns. We’re dealing with the same @#% in the Hudson Valley.

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