June 19, 2013

New Adirondack Council director looks to common ground

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Adirondack Park, says William “Willie” C. Janeway, is a fabric woven together by public and private stewardship.

“Communities and hamlets themselves are gateways,” said the newly hired executive director of the Adirondack Council. “We need that for the park to work. We need places for people to live and school for children to go to.” 


He replaces former Executive Director Brian Houseal, who left the position last year.

Janeway said he sees the Adirondack Council’s future in pragmatic light, supportive of local communities, building toward resilience for the future, wrapped as it is in a changing climate.

There are four pillars in the plan going forward, he said.

“The first pillar is ecological integrity, to protect the wild character of the Adirondack Park,” Janeway said in an interview at his Elizabethtown office.

“The second is in building vibrant communities — and blending these first two together, not doing them in parallel steps.”

The third pillar, he said, is to preserve clean water and clean air in addressing and adapting to climate change.

And the fourth looks to monitoring land use in private forest and farmland management.


Janeway drew a Venn diagram showing how, in a theoretical sense, often-conflicted efforts can find balance points in areas where they interconnect.

There, he said, pointing to the intersection, is the “common ground.”

Rather than pose opposition, Janeway said, the way toward building resilient and strong communities is in finding that common ground.

“When people have respect and civility, it leads to arenas for discussion,” Janeway said.

He shared a story about his first day on the job, May 1, that included a lunch meeting with a realtor in Lake Placid.

They discussed boathouse regulations, which have been revised recently by APA and are maintained by several local planning boards, including Lake Placid/North Elba.

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