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. adkresident says

    “Fewer than 2,000 candidates took the Civil Service exam for conservation officers in 2019”

    For how many job openings?

  2. Boreas says

    I don’t know about University police and others that were intended to be upgraded as well, but I definitely feel the Ranger force should be on par with State Police WRT retirement age. It is a very physical job. But if she wants to save money, should she consider RAISING the retirement ages of State Police?? That would go over in Albany like a fart in church.

    Bottom line is, you get what you pay for. If you want strong enforcement and a healthy Park, you need feet on the ground patrolling – not just in pickups responding to emergencies. Far too often Albany seems to view the Park as an island off in the distance somewhere that doesn’t really matter. Out of sight, out of mind. We ALL need to keep reminding them the importance of a healthy Forest Preserve. It isn’t an “ordinary” State Forest. People live here and depend on a strong Park infrastructure.

  3. louis curth says

    With Covid surging, outdoor recreational use of our Adirondack and Catskill public lands has never been greater. At the same time the essential skills users need for safe, low impact use of our wildlands has never been more inadequate. Our current forest rangers are being squeezed to the breaking point by too few forest rangers trying to handle too many urgent demands. Something has to change!

    For Adirondackers – and all of us – who want our wildland visitors to continue to have safe, enjoyable outdoor adventures here – and come back again – we must work together to support a long overdue overhaul of the 137 year old NYS Forest Rangers.

    Our forest ranger force needs to be revamped significantly. The future will require a larger and more diverse forest ranger force that can protect, educate and relate professionally to the changing demographic of visitors coming to recreate in our public wildlands.

    I would call your attention to the “Forever Adirondacks Campaign” article by John Sheehan in the Adirondack Almanack of 12/14/21. It outlines one such plan for a how this goal might be accomplished – if we all work together.

    Take it from a retired NYS Forest Ranger with many, many years of service, this need is real and it is urgent!

  4. AK67 says

    The retirement for Forest Rangers should be on par with other law enforcement at “20 years and done”. Their job is physically and mentally demanding not to mention extremely dangerous. Rangers deserve to be, “eligible to retire with full benefits at any age after completing 20 full years of creditable service” as other law enforcement currently are.

    The class of new Forest Rangers should begin training this Spring but how many will be assigned to the High Peaks as opposed to downstate/Long Island? They are needed here in the High Peaks to provide some relief to the few existing Rangers assigned here. There have been a number of back-to-back rescues of late requiring Rangers to clear one scene and head directly to the next.

    Education of the hiking public is key and there just aren’t enough Rangers to be at busy trailheads, patrolling popular trails and rescuing people. The academy is a good start but the Governor needs to realize that regular funding is needed to protect the valuable resource that is the Forest Preserve and its Forest Rangers.

  5. TooFarGone says

    Seriously, they’re not on par with the State Police or other law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line every day and are a target just by virtue of wearing their uniform. Like the military, who also risk their lives every day, the State Police and other law enforcement officers have a 20 year full retirement benefit plan. Most of the regular state and local public servants have a 30 year full retirement benefit plan. Rangers and others in this group have a 25 year full retirement benefit plan. When you add that to the generous holiday, vacation, sick leave and retirement health insurance plans that most of us regular folks could only dream of, I get a little tired of the incessant whining. Like they say, pigs get fed; hogs get slaughtered.

  6. Tom Paine says

    Here is a novel idea. The monies in the NYS budget to purchase lands in Adirondack Park. Divert some of that funding for increased manpower for NYS Forest Rangers. Or perhaps shift the NYS Police to strictly major highway patrol only, use the county sheriffs for local work and divert that funding for rangers.

    • Todd says

      Not sure relocating the NYSP to major highways is a viable option for the state, especially in the ADKS. No disrespect to Sheriff’s Offices but they don’t have the manpower. Hamilton County has four (4) full time deputies and three (3) part time.
      Herkimer County has seven (7) deputies and I don’t believe they have a road patrol. The NYSP may actually be the best police agency in the nation and it is paid for by all New Yorkers, why wouldn’t everyone in the State be entitled to the services that they provide.

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