Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve has presented its 2020 Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award, the organization’s highest honor, to Kevin Chlad, Director of Government Relations for the Adirondack Council with offices in Elizabethtown and in Albany.
“Adirondack Wild has admired Kevin’s work for a number of years,” said Adirondack Wild’s managing partner David Gibson in an announcement sent to the press. “We’ve worked with him as part of a coalition of Adirondack groups and we’ve noticed how he steers citizen advocacy for the Adirondack Park in very productive directions, just as Paul Schaefer used to do. He puts himself in the shoes of others and lets them take the credit to advance Park goals. That was Paul Schaefer’s way of accomplishing great things for the Adirondacks.”
“Kevin is passionate about preserving wildness and wild conditions in the Adirondack Park,” Gibson added, “yet his passion is tempered with a strategic approach to decision-makers. Some of them may not know a great deal about issues affecting the Adirondack Park or why a piece of legislation is relevant to their constituents. Kevin is patient. He puts them at ease. He gives them the information they need about Adirondack legislation to help them appreciate the ways that the Adirondack Park benefits the health of every New Yorker and the millions who visit the Adirondacks from across the globe.”
“I am deeply humbled by this recognition and share this honor with my colleagues at the Adirondack Council, as well as our fellow environmental partners,” Kevin Chlad said. “The clean water and wildlands of the Park hinge upon on our collective efforts.”
In 2016 Chlad organized volunteers from across the state for the Adirondack Park Wilderness Campaign, which resulted in a Wilderness classification for the Boreas Ponds and to the most significant expansion of the High Peaks Wilderness area in decades. He is also being recognized for his lobbying efforts on behalf of more funding for Forest Preserve stewardship through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. Chald helped organize the 2020 Adirondack Park Environmental Lobby Day to heighten legislators’ consciousness about the Adirondack Park which led, in part, to passage of the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act of 2020. That legislation awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature.
“Adirondack legislative coalitions are more effective today thanks to the tireless efforts of Kevin Chlad. For that Paul Schaefer would be celebrating,” reads Adirondack Wild’s award which features an original photograph “Elk Lake – In the Middle of Everything Wild” by Adirondack photographer and Adirondack Wild staff member Ken Rimany.
The Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award is named for 20th century wilderness champion and Adirondack coalition leader Paul Schaefer (1908-1996). Schaefer founded Adirondack Wild’s forerunner, Friends of the Forest Preserve, 75 years ago in 1945. Following his death in 1996, Schaefer was named as one of 100 of the nation’s most influential conservation leaders by Audubon magazine.
The award presentation took place at the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College, where Paul and Carolyn Schaefer raised their family beginning in 1934.
More information on Adirondack Wild is available on their website.
Illustrations, from above: Kevin Chlad receives the 2020 Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award from Adirondack Wild at the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College and Elk Lake – In the Middle of Everything Wild” by Ken Rimany.