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. 



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. read more >

4/09/21 At 50, how are APA and DEC Performing? In the just-approved 2021-22 state budget is a $3 billion-dollar environmental bond act, subject to voter approval in November 2022. If approved, it may make a small dent in the $60+ billion needed statewide to upgrade our state’s old water and sewage treatment systems. If approved, it may help to do even more than we are doing today to prepare and make more resilient New Yorkers and their villages, towns, counties and cities for the more frequent and more severe weather events that will continue during a warming climate. read more >

3/18/21 Demystifying Wildlands Monitoring The long promised public unveiling of the Wildlands Monitoring Guidance by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), once again, did not occur. It was planned for the March APA Board meeting and was pulled from the agenda during that two-day meeting. What is so secret about it? Nothing, actually. So, why the repeated lack of transparency over multiple years?
read more >

3/17/21 Loss of Institutional Memory at the APA Institutional memory is important. It reminds folks who join an institution of any kind what the mission of that organization is, what has come before them, what was considered important then and why, what continues to be the mission today. It strengthens the links in a longer historical chain that can easily be weakened if there is no one left in the institution to remember, to teach and to motivate the newcomers.
read more >

3/8/21 Elk Lake: The First Adirondack Conservation Easement New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website reveals that 777,206 acres of private land in the Adirondack Park are protected by a state-owned conservation easement.  During the Adirondack Park Centennial year of 1992 there were 93,000 acres of private lands under state-owned easement in the Park.

read more >

2/18/21 ‘Out of harmony with forest lands in their wild state’ Previously, the Almanack has asked “which side are you on” when it comes to a court case involving Article 14, the “forever wild” provision of our state constitution. Recently, dueling press releases from plaintiff Protect the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Mountain Club, Open Space Institute, Adirondack Council, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, the group I work for – indeed suggest that all of us are retreating to our separate corners.
read more >



04/21/21 • Debar Lodge proponents map out process for saving it read more >

04/19/21 • Marina lawsuit presses state to study read more >

03/31/21 • Hiker parking reservation system coming read more >

03/30/21 • DEC, Private Club Piloting High Peaks Hiker Reservation System read more >

03/29/21 • DEC, Adirondack group to test parking reservations read more >

03/13/21 • APA approves major lakeshore subdivision read more >

05/04/20 • Adirondack Wild Applauds Court of Appeals Decision in Snowmobile Community Connector Case read more>
04/12/20 • Adirondack Wild Lauds APA Recommendation to Maintain Rural Use read more>
03/29/20 • Adirondack Wild Applauds Wilderness Pilot Reservation System at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve read more>
04/15/21 • Letter to Members of NYS Senate and NYS Assembly read more >
02/09/21 • Re. Debar Complex and Debar Lodge Comments read more >
01/27/21 • Re. Executive Budget for the Environment for FY 2021-22 read more >

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 | ©