Reimagine the APA: How should the APA position itself for the future?
By Chad Dawson

Nelson Rockefeller signing legislation. Explorer file photo

The Adirondack Park Agency Act was a bold plan born with considerable thought, vision, controversy and hope for the future. 

Now we are 50 years into that future. Most supporters and critics would likely agree that the main purpose of the act, to “insure optimum overall conservation, protection, preservation, development, and use” of the park’s public and private resources and open space character was achieved. But the degree of success attributed to the act depends on each person’s perspective, hopes and aspirations for the park.      

With the lessons learned in this grand historical experiment, and some experience, wisdom, and insight, how do we refocus on the promise and vision of the APA Act? Some reappraisals have been suggested by Adirondack advocates and supporters. 



07/05/21 From Perkins Clearing to Cathead Mountain
I was hiking in Hamilton County recently when one of my companions spoke of the days of the Perkins Clearing land exchange (1979), a publicly supported amendment to Article 14 of the NYS Constitution which led to a significant land exchange between the State of New York and International Paper Corporation north of the village of Speculator.

06/16/21 The End of Arbitrary Powers to Dam Adirondack River The State Legislature has just adjourned, but on a good many nights this past month I grew sleepy watching legislative TV or legislative proceedings on the internet. For the non-debate pieces of legislation, meaning when the legislative majority is not allowing minority debate on bills, the viewer is treated to the following exchanges in a monotone, one after the other:  The speaker or his representative, or the Senate president or her representative: “The clerk will read the bill.” The clerk: “a bill to” …whatever it does.

06/01/21 Fragmenting Whitney Park? News on May 29 comes from the Times Union’s journalist Wendy Liberatore that the late Marylou Whitney’s husband John Hendrickson plans to apply for an 11-lot subdivision of Whitney Industries land in Long Lake. Unable to sell the 36,000-acres in one fell swoop, Hendrickson tells the TU journalist that he will change the name to Whitney Real Estate and try for a permit allowing one private, two-three-thousand-acre estate on each of 11 lakes, leaving him, he estimates, with $238 million.

05/20/21 Adirondack Nature Conservancy – An Unheralded Founder While visiting the Adirondack Nature Conservancy website this week I am reminded of this chapter’s founding fifty years ago. Like the legislative formation of the NYS Adirondack Park Agency, an Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy was one of the 181 recommendations of the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks, which reported to Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the public in 1970.

5/07/21 The Court’s Snowmobile Connector Decision in PerspectiveThe NYS Court of Appeals has just decided by a 4-2 majority, that New York State agencies under Governor Andrew Cuomo have violated Article 14, Section 1 of our State Constitution by impermissibly constructing snowmobile community connector trails through the ‘forever wild’ Forest Preserve, removing rocks, grading the trails, bench cutting the trails, and cutting thousands of trees.

4/23/21 An Earth Day remembrance: lessons in Adirondack activism Adirondack wilderness champion, conservationist, author, filmmaker and hunter/fisher Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) was a pied piper for young people in search of a cause, just as John Apperson and Bob Marshall had been for him when Schaefer was in his early 20s. During the 1980s and ’90s, Paul was in his eighth decade of life, and scouts, teens and Earth activists of all ages found a way to Paul’s doorstep in search of wisdom and to gain a sense of Adirondack history and current direction.



The mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

Photos: Top left: Adirondack scenery © Ken Rimany;
Field Notes From the Partners: Carved 'Beaver House' sign - by Paul Schaefer. Photo © Ken Rimany;
Wild Action Now photo: Dan Plumley at the Keene Valley Library, along with Naj Wikoff, sharing what they learned and offered to the gathering of leaders at the Conference of World Parliamentarians on Tibet. Photo  © Ken Rimany.

Peter Brinkley, Honorary Chair
Terry Jandreau, Chair
Kenneth J. Rimany, Partner
David H. Gibson, Managing Partner
Mobile: 518.469.4081

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve    Founded 1945   PO Box 9247 • Niskayuna New York 12309 | ©