He has played a key role in numerous land conservation projects in the Champlain Valley. These include the preservation as a bird sanctuary of the Four Brother Islands in Lake Champlain, and the addition of the Split Rock Mountain Range to the NYS Forest Preserve.
He was also a major donor to and co-organized the Noblewood Park and Nature Preserve project in the town of Willsboro with Sayward, and helped create the Coon Mountain Preserve in Westport. At his instigation, the Paine family donated conservation easements to the Adirondack Nature Conservancy starting in 1978, protecting five miles of shoreline on Lake Champlain and the Boquet River and some 1,000 acres of farmland and forest.
A resident of Willsboro, Paine is a hunter, fisherman, horseman and wilderness expedition leader.
The Harold K. Hochschild Award is dedicated to the memory of the museum's founder, whose passion for the Adirondacks, its people, and environment inspired the creation of the Adirondack Museum. Since 1990, the museum has presented the award to a wide range of intellectual and community leaders throughout the Adirondack Park, highlighting their contributions to the region's culture and quality of life.