"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s
peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms
their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

— John Muir


Can the APA Rediscover its Park Mission?

Chad Dawson

Ever since his resignation from the Adirondack Park Agency last December, Chad Dawson (now a member of Adirondack Wild’s board of directors) has been reflecting on the APA during its 50th anniversary and what the agency must strive for in order to regain the public’s trust that it will carry out its basic legislative purpose: “to insure optimum overall conservation, protection, preservation, development and use of the unique scenic, aesthetic, wildlife, recreational, open space, historic, ecological and natural resources of the Adirondack Park.”
At our September 24th Annual Meeting in North Creek, keynote speaker Chad Dawson listed six critical goals for the APA to regain its effectiveness, goals that Adirondack Wild also embraces and will share with Governor Kathy Hochul and her team:

  1. Leadership: APA members serve the public, not any one Governor. APA has been without a chair for over two years. This greatly weakens an independent agency like APA in its legislated role as a check and balance on the much larger NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. A dynamic leadership team must be reinstated at the APA. 
  2. Strategic planning: Who is planning for the entire park and public these days? For some time, APA has largely lost its public planning role and staff and been reduced to review and approve every private application that comes before it. This reduction of APA’s public planning role underprepares park communities for climate change. The carrying capacity of the Park’s lakes and ponds are neglected as one consequence, as is planning for long-distance hiking and paddling opportunities.
  3. Monitoring of change: The Adirondack Park will increasingly become a refuge region as people migrate to the Park to escape the climate impacts they face near the coastlines. APA must gain more capacity to expertly monitor trends brought on by climate alterations to the park’s communities of life, growth in park human populations, and to help prepare park communities to become more resilient.
  4. Staffing: APA staff once thought of their jobs as much as a personal and professional calling as well as a job. Fresh, dynamic leadership is required to help the hard-working APA staff regain their sense of and personal obligation to agency mission and purpose.
  5. State Legislature: The State Legislature should once again consider the Adirondack Park a vital statewide resource and priority in need of their attention. From conservation subdivision design, to the neglected program of adding new Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers, to the State Land Master Plan, to new APA nominations, the Legislature needs to re-engage and seek to strengthen 50 year old Adirondack statutes.
  6. Education and engagement: Without its former visitor interpretive centers or sub-offices spread around the park, when will APA once again consider its role as a regional educator? APA can do much better to communicate how and why its legislated responsibilities are carried out to achieve statewide public objectives and expectations.

2021 Awards and Honorees

Following Chad’s and Andrea Hogan’s presentations it was a great pleasure to present these 2021 awards and recognitions in North Creek:

Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award to Walter (Walt) Linck:

Walter (Walt) Linck

Throughout his life, Walt Linck has been immersed in the woods and waters of the Adirondack Park. For the past 20 years he has elevated the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan as essential planning to preserve our ‘forever wild’ Forest Preserve.  While serving the Adirondack Park Agency, Walt improved the agency’s application of the Master Plan to hundreds of Forest Preserve units. From his editing of the Master Plan, to his field work, to his writing dozens of detailed critiques of Unit Management Plans, Walt’s influence has been profound.  Whether an action affected Wilderness or State Campground, whether the issue was overuse or damaging design, Walt’s attitude was constant: “more can be done and done better.”  Despite great pressure to do otherwise, Walt placed the protection and preservation of natural resources of the State Lands first. For this, 20th century wilderness pioneer Paul Schaefer would celebrate the life and career of Walter Linck. 

Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award to Richard (Rick) Weber:

Richard (Rick) Weber

For two decades Rick Weber has devoted himself to the best practices at the Adirondack Park Agency. In applying the APA’s complex, intertwined public-private land use plans, Rick is more than a land use planner; he is a patient educator of planning tools and strategies. Rick recognized how the Park’s public and private lands must be viewed as one integrated landscape.  His interest in Adirondack Park land use history led him to follow its threads to ultimate creation of the APA. Rick’s thoughtful search for best policy and practice makes him a modern link in an historic chain of Adirondack stewards. Though presented with daunting issues and tempting shortcuts, Rick did not compromise his integrity nor the legacy of protective concern for the Adirondack Park which he had inherited.  Rick comes from a family immersed in the Adirondacks and has given much back to it. Paul Schaefer would be applauding him.

Wild Stewardship Award to Martha Swan and John Brown Lives!:

Martha Swan

Martha Swan filled a great need for an organization questing for social justice and to view the Adirondacks as a lived and moral landscape.  After founding John Brown Lives! Martha and her board took the further step of becoming the Friends group of John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Due to that partnership, new generations of Americans seek a spiritual journey to North Elba and find a renewed sense of community there. Since 1999 Martha and JBL! have shifted the cultural conversation in the Adirondack Park, standing up for human rights, social justice, and community engagement. Thanks to Martha and her team, countless people of color of all ages have come to view the Adirondacks as their Park, too, as a welcoming place to renew their understanding and passion for history and justice carried out on the ground - social, moral, environmental justice and equity. This caring for moral landscape exemplifies the highest standards of Park stewardship.

Champion of the Forest Preserve to Evelyn Greene:

Evelyn Greene

No one has done more to advocate for a motor-free Adirondack Forest Preserve than Evelyn Greene of North Creek. Her persistent field work and other investigations have shown the state’s relentless pursuit of snowmobile connectors to be, in most cases, senseless, as key connections lacked snow and private landownerships intervened. This year, the Court of Appeals ruled that the state lacks the authority to alter the Forest Preserve by construction of snowmobile community connector trails. The Court reaffirmed that only the people can amend our forever wild Forest Preserve. In this ruling can be found the footprints of Evelyn Greene, Champion of the Forest Preserve. 


25 Year Wild Service Award to Terry Jandreau:

Terry Jandreau

In 1996, Terry Jandreau thought that the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks deserved sound financial underpinnings. He assumed responsibility for our modest investments and became our Treasurer. As we achieved more success, Terry helped our investments to match our progress. When we had built our Center and were forced to leave it to become Adirondack Wild, Terry came with us. His personal loyalty, honesty, friendship, devotion to nonprofit, service-oriented work, good humor and outstanding leadership qualities have been instrumental in leading Adirondack Wild to where we stand today. Without Terry, Adirondack Wild simply would not exist as the conscience of the Forest Preserve. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Terry Jandreau for devoting 25 years of his life to us and to our cause.

All photos by Ken Rimany

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10/04/21 Can the APA Rediscover its Park Mission? read more >
08/24/21 Annual Meeting read more >
04/18/21 Reimagine the APA: How should the APA position itself for the future? read more >
03/22/21 A History Project - Forest Ranger Scott Van Laer read more >
01/11/21 It's Debatable - Debar Pond Lodge
read more >

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ADK ALMANACK - Writings by David Gibson

Wilderness 50th

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.

Top left, Autumn © Ken Rimany; Maple Leaves and Lichen ©Ken Rimany

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