For Release April 10, 2024
Contact: David Gibson, 518-469-4081

Governor has Big Opportunity to Strengthen the APA, says Adirondack Wild

The nonprofit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve has written to Governor Kathy Hochul asking her to strengthen the make-up of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) this spring. The organization asks the Governor to nominate individuals who will add urgently required  legal, planning, and environmental perspectives, expertise, independence, and competence to APA decisions about major projects having large, regional impacts.

The organization is also asking the State Senate to scrutinize the Governor’s APA nominations prior to confirmation.

“The APA, the lead agency for planning, protection, and administration of the six-million-acre Park, has become a politically reactive and compliant permitting agency and not the proactive guardian of Park resources that it was intended to be, and actually was in prior years,” reads the letter.

“This situation needs to change. The state’s climate crisis demands change at the APA. Nominations to the Adirondack Park Agency constitute some of the most important any governor must make,” said Adirondack Wild’s managing partner David Gibson.  “And the Governor has a big opportunity to strengthen the APA this year.”

By June 30 of this year, there will be five members of the APA serving expired terms and one vacancy on the eleven member APA. “These openings provide a crucial opportunity for Governor Hochul to appoint and reappoint highly qualified individuals,” Gibson said.  APA members serve four-year terms.

“APA is charged by the State Legislature with the protection of the Adirondack Park’s natural resources which have regional, state, and global importance. The health of those Park resources, including human communities, affects the entire State since the Adirondack Park’s forests help to mitigate climate change, while the Park’s five major watersheds flow out as major river systems to the rest of the state.  APA members make the truly big decisions affecting these crucial resources with statewide consequences. Choosing APA nominees wisely is therefore crucial.”

“The future of the Adirondack Park impacts the entire state and depends on the Governor sending to the State Senate this year nominees who will be enthusiastic and determined to fulfill the Agency’s obligations to protect Park resources and provide rigorous oversight of private development, resource planning, and State Lands,” Gibson added.

Joining the request to the Governor are Adirondack Wild board directors Chad Dawson and Rick Hoffman. Hoffman was a former  representative of the NYS  Secretary of State to the APA Board. Dr. Dawson is Professor Emeritus of Recreation Resources Management and a former member of the APA board (2016-2020). “Frustration with the lack of commitment to rigorous environmental review and long-range Park planning at the APA caused me to resign,” Dawson said.

“There are a number of people living in the Park and outside its boundaries who not only possess the ecological, planning, and legal expertise needed to strengthen the APA this year, but who are eager to serve and who represent statewide concerns for the Park and the APA.  Governor Hochul has a list of recommendations to choose from and we are asking her to act in the long-term best interest of the State by choosing wisely,” Gibson concluded.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is a not-for-profit, membership advocate acting to safeguard wilderness and to promote wild land values and stewardship. More is found on the web at