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. Boreas says

    I am hoping AMR and DEC can come up with a reasonable way to protect this important property into the future and continue to allow some hiker access without having to amend the easements. It will necessarily be a joint project.

  2. Paul says

    Hopefully the state will defend our rights to access this property via the easement paid for with our taxes! It most certainly was not a “gift”!

  3. Waltonbrook says

    I am curious as to why a FOIL request is necessary to review the 1978 easement – or why the Ausable Club needs to consult its attorney about sharing it. It is a public, recorded document easily reviewable online at the Essex County Clerks Office website.

  4. ADKSkier says

    The agreement was absolutely NOT a “gift” from the Club. It was definitely a business deal that helped the club stay open, and it was done using NYS public funding. The AE really didn’t need to pursue FOIL since the documents are already public here: https://www.searchiqs.com/nyess/LogIn.aspx

    This is really all about Willie Janeway’s personal agenda to transform the High Peaks region into a place where only locals and wealthy elitists like AMR members can go. Its real gatekeeping, and he’s going to keep rattling cages with false narratives, out of context pictures posted to social media, and junk science until he gets his way. Its going to happen regardless of its negative impacts (and there will be many) on racial/economic/social diversity, local economy, and public land Rights.

  5. Land Lover says

    Rights are not being denied, the state did not buy/ pay for the TRAVEL EASEMENT. When reading the agreement, it seems to me, the stated purpose of preserving the conditions as they existed when the agreement was signed is what is in question. Conditions today are clearly not the same as when this agreement was reached.

    You owned a house and the lot next to your house and you sold it to the person who owned the house on the other side of your house with the understanding that the home owner and his family could cut through your yard to get to the lot he bought.

    Then 15 years later the owner that bought the house tears it down and puts in a high rise apartment complex and tells everyone they can cut through your yard to get to the lot. Its not hard to understand that that was not the deal that was agreed upon.

  6. Robert cronin says

    It sure is ashamed that everyone is going through this,,,I myself have been coming up here since 1970 and boy things have changed so much

  7. Nature lover says

    We should abolish all elitist reserves and preserves and get back our public lands funded by tax loopholes and eventually public monies.
    These areas should not remain as a private backyard for a few privileged people.

    • Kevin Duffy says

      I agree 100%, they operate motorized boats and quads to access the upper ausable to get to the cabins that surround it. Don’t dare claim hiker overuse while you deny The public.
      That land should have been donated to the park when it was formed. It should be part of the park.

  8. Al Wortimgton says

    Perhaps close examination of the easement agreement is in order. I suspect significant land tax reductions were put in place in exchange for enabling hiker access to the trails within AMR lands.
    I don’t believe there’s a “need” to restrict hiker access. Furthermore, recent parking restrictions have exacerbated parking problems along Rt. 73.

  9. Al Worthington says

    Perhaps close examination of the easement agreement is in order. I suspect significant land tax reductions were put in place in exchange for enabling hiker access to the trails within AMR lands.
    I don’t believe there’s a “need” to restrict hiker access. Furthermore, recent parking restrictions have exacerbated parking problems along Rt. 73.

  10. Bluto says

    C’mon Willie…come clean, recuse yourself from this issue…Eminent Domain should be used to rightfully take what should be public land to be included in the park with wilderness protection. Give the AMR permission to retain a reasonable amount of land around their bldgs and golf course and make the rest available to the public. It’s inevitable. Like the Whitney property… these holdings are a left over from the robber baron days. Likewise with the Whitney property. These properties are way too precious to be enjoyed only by an elite cabal.

  11. hiker says

    That’s totally wrong. The 46ers do more good for the High Peaks than the state or anyone else. Do you have any idea how much volunteer trail work they do? And they also build and fix lean-to’s and bridges, etc, all for free. On top of that, the 46ers raise a lot of donation money for the Adirondacks. But they dobn’t draw attention to themselves and that’s why people like you come up with these wrong assumptions.

  12. Boreas says

    Jimmy Bee is not totally wrong, nor are the 46ers totally absolved of blame because of donations and trail-work. For a half-century, they have been a force directing hikers to the HPW specifically. As a 46er (by number only), I feel the 46ers need to reassess the goals the organization requires.

    I would like to see membership requirements modified to perhaps ANY 15 high peaks (5 in winter), 15 remote hikes elsewhere in the Park (including winter), 10 paddling requirements, and 6 days of trail-work. Complete those and you get your number and patch. These are suggestions I brought up 30 years ago and was ignored, so I left the fold. I no longer wear my patch.

  13. Ace says

    That’s really interesting, @boreas. Imagine a 46er program as a part of the wilderness management strategy, where the challenge is designed to produce the behavior that helps sustain or heal the natural resources. It seems important to make use of the difference between human-made systems or policies that can be changed or adapted when they cause harm, and natural systems that can’t be flexible resist human exploitation.

    I live outside the blue line, am not a 46er, but am absolutely drawn to participating in that challenge. I am ready to accept limits if they’re legit and truly in the public interest. The gatekeeping is a scam and we can’t be expected to cede access to the same old privileged white folks who miss more exclusive times.

  14. hiker says

    Hard to believe you’re a 46er. Do you realize your own irony? You did the 46 and you want to close everything down so nobody else can get theirs.

  15. toofargone says

    Range Rover.. or sorry, Land Lover. You and Janeway are disingenuous at best, and perjerous at worst. The sky is not falling and there is no crisis necessitating these restrictions. “We tried everything,” right? Wrong! Absolutely nothing has been done to maintain or improve the trails for the expected usage. Even so, they are not much different from how they were twenty years ago, and certainly do not threaten the resource. If I were the State Attorney General I’d haul AMR and the Ausable Club into court so fast and seek an injunction to restrain any restrictions and enforce public access under the easements. Perhaps private citizens can sue them to maintain access. Perhaps the property assessments should reflect the true value of the land and bankrupt the AMR/AC and the lands would become public instead of the preseve of the wealth few.

    And Boreas, it just becomes more self-evident with every comment that you make that you are an idiot with too much time on your hands.

  16. Avery Braico says

    As a NYS licensed Adirondack guide, It has always bothered me to see a golf course in the middle of the high peaks. Golf courses are widely known to have a massive carbon footprint, use many fertilizers and pesticides which wind up in public waterways, and the people who maintain these golf courses have some of the highest cancer rates in agriculture. The Ausable club, and the Adirondack mountain reserve, are playgrounds for the 1%. Their private preserves are not for the “great unwashed” except for their occasional sense noblesse oblige. The same family has been ensconced in their wealth and privilege for 7 generations? This is America, we don’t do nobility here… right?

    The idea that they are protecting the high peaks from the taxpayers, after seeing that golf course… is insulting. Protection of public lands is the purview of the state, through the administration of the DEC.

    Let’s ban golf courses in the park, watch them loose members since they don’t have enough people actually interested in real wilderness to keep it going… and they can sell the property to the state, plant trees on the golf course, and return the property to forever wild. DEC should be in charge of parking, permitting, and regulations.

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