Fish sat down with Brian Mann last week during a visit to Long Lake. She was there for the Common Ground Alliance meeting with local government leaders and other non-profit groups. Fish says she hopes to take over as the Council's permanent executive director and plans to focus her time on reforming the way state officials manage the Park.
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In the past, transitions to a new, permanent director have taken up to a year. Theoretically, Diane Fish could be leading the Adirondack Council for a significant period of time.
“That’s possible. When Brian [Houseal] was brought on, it was a full year search before he was found for that position. So it could be a while that I’m in that position,” said Fish. She says that she will probably consider running to have the position permanently. There will be a nation-wide search for candidates.
The Adirondack Council has taken a leadership role in the Common Ground Alliance project. “I think it’s really, really important, and it’s something that I strongly believe in too, that you can talk to people even if you don’t agree with everything,” said Fish. “And the whole idea of the Common Ground Alliance was to find things that we did have in common and work on those things and put aside the differences that we may have. Of course, we’d like to surmount those too, but if there are things that are insurmountable, it shouldn’t keep us from working on the things that we can accomplish together.”
According to Fish, the council’s goals for the next year include APA reform. She said, “We’ve had a big push following the ACR project with lessons learned from that, and to make sure we’re continuing with that we had a big media push this spring and early summer to get people thinking and talking about that. There’s a lot of support across the board for APA reform.”
Fish says that council also plans to continue pushing the state to complete the Finch-Pruyn acquisition and add those lands to the forest preserve. According to Fish, the council is prepared to take on these issues. “We’re really strong,” said Fish. “And actually, Brian’s departure gives us the chance to do some reassessment and reaffirm where we’re going, but we have a great staff - a great, professional staff that I expect will be there for a long time. We have a great board. We feel strong and sure about what we’re up to. We’re in great shape.”
“I’m one of those people who married into the park,” said Fish. Her husband’s father was a teacher, and their family spent summers in Lake Placid. Fish said, “Eventually, we decided that we just had to be here. I grew up in the country, in New England, too, so I loved the Adirondacks as soon as I got here.”
Fish and her husband raised their two children in Lake Placid. Early in her professional life, Fish worked as a teacher and a dean of students. She says that she did a lot of public speaking and enforcing of rules during that time, and said, “So I feel like I have a lot of background that applies in this situation.”