About James Odato

In a career rooted in watchdog reporting, Explorer editor James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top journalists covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal. In October 2021, the University of Massachusetts Press released his book, This Brain Had a Mouth, Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation.

Reader Interactions


  1. Vanessa says

    Well, I get it and am sympathetic, but these are the same folks who wave the (federal) constitution around all the time for stuff like, their ability to own AR-15s. The constitution and the law doesn’t care if you are upset about a particular provision. I have many friends seriously traumatized by all the gun violence they witness in schools. I grew up with active shooter drills every couple of months. I’m willing to bet a lot of $$ that these folks are for the most part unsympathetic to my dislike of this particular part of the (again federal) constitution. Change the laws if you don’t like them, all. That’s what democracy is about. “Forever wild” is popular and that has annoyed some people for generations.

    In fairness, it’s probably ultimately a mistake of the state, and probably a conversation was had where expectations were not tempered. Nor has anyone on any side of the aisle been real about the economics of the region and what it will take to bring true prosperity to the communities in question. Take it out on the environmentalists if you want, but I think there are more productive conversations to be had – conversations where these towns and environmentalists have a LOT of common ground – about the modern economy. Door is always open to talk economics. There is of course room for improvement there on all sides.

  2. Jim S. says

    It concerns me that the leaders of the Adirondack towns are so eager to ruin the wild character of the forest.

  3. Charles says

    Give me a break. A few miles out of 6 million acres. This land is for everyone not just Peter Bauer and friends. This few miles means jobs and opportunity for the locals .

  4. Boreas says

    One wonders if these early meetings to convince local governments to go along with the acquisition were more public, if the legality of tree removal, bridges, and trail cuts would have come up before the deal was finalized. Same with the “promise” of auto access to all of the roads within the Boreas Ponds tract. They made promises they couldn’t guarantee. And even if the issues WERE raised, why were they not given much credence? This administration seems to think it influences the courts as much as other NYS agencies. They gambled on this issue with local communities’ money and livelihoods. I can certainly see why local governments feel the way they do, but are they also guilty of insufficient due diligence as Todd Eastman suggests above? We don’t really know.

  5. TSM says

    Thanks for the informative article that captures the perspectives of the local town officials, the DEC, and environmentalists. However, I do have to the point out that the articles title of the article is misleading and incorrect–according to former DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens, he and his deputies made no promises but did embrace the concept of the snowmobiling corridors that the town leaders desired. Mr. Martens goes on to say “I can understand why they would perceive these as promises … but these were objectives that we shared realizing that there was a process that we had to go through and with no guarantee.” The author should have not used “Promises” i the title of this article.

  6. ADK Bill says

    How does Whiteface and Gore cut so many acres of “forever Wild” land. I know Gore sit’s in the Siamese Ponds wilderness area, stripping 3 mountains of trees, and ugly trails that Ray Charles can see for miles around.

  7. Dave says

    Time to use all those old logging roads that were put off limits since the DEC/APA wanted to get snowmobiles out of the interior of the park. The roads are there let’s use them!

  8. John says

    The state acquired the lands from finch pryrne whose main purpose for owning those lands for the past 100 years or so was to supply their paper mill with pulp wood. They probably cut millions of trees there over the time they owned the land and now we are concerned with a couple of thousand trees to make trails safe and accomadate two passing snowmobiles. come on get real this is all about the few who want it all their way. They can’t even come to an agreement amongst themselves about keepin hiking trails clear of blowdown for fear of running a chainsaw might desecrate the park. From here on out cut the trails before they are turned over to the state stop the nonsense

  9. William Cramer says

    I live in the Adirondacks. I live the forest. I also realize that Peter Bauer and his ilk are a bunch of elitist snobs who want their little back country ski trails. As far as I am concerned, the snowmobile trails should be allowed and encouraged. Don’t like snowmobiles? Don’t buy one. Don’t ski near their trails. There are plenty other places to ski. Being as no trees can be cut for these snowmobile trails then I am thinking that NO TREES should be cut for new/current hiking trails. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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