RAY BROOK, NY – At the July 2018 Agency meeting, Chairman Sherman Craig announced his retirement from the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board. Chairman Craig’s distinguished term marked the first appointment of an APA Board Member from St. Lawrence County. Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Mr. Craig to the Board in November 2011 and selected him to serve as Chairman in July 2016. Prior to holding the position of Chairman, Mr. Craig served diligently as the Chair of the Regulatory Programs and the Park Policy and Planning Committees.
“I am ever grateful to Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to help advance his agenda of open space protection and economic sustainability inside the Adirondack Park, said Chairman Craig. “When I accepted my appointment, it was my goal to build upon the work of my predecessors. I committed to working to leave this magnificent place wilder at its core and with more vibrant communities tightly connected to the Forest Preserve. Today, with the help of so many, I believe we continue to advance this challenging mission.”
APA Executive Director Terry Martino said, “Chairman Craig led the APA through the complex 2016/17 Classification Package involving the Boreas Ponds Tract, numerous unit management plans, and in the redesign of the APA’s large-scale subdivision and variance applications. His efforts to revise our review processes identified opportunities to eliminate redundancy and effectively incorporate best management practices.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Chairman Craig’s impressive experience and intimate knowledge of the most important issues facing the Adirondack Park are matched only by his passion for protecting and preserving it for future generations to enjoy. With his collegial approach, he accomplished much throughout the Park and has strengthened stewardship of New York’s majestic Adirondacks. On behalf of the entire DEC family, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Sherm for his partnership and extend best wishes for a wonderful retirement.”
Improvements to the Large-Scale Subdivisions Application and Shoreline Variance Application increased efficiency, clarified project requirements and eliminated unnecessary costs to project sponsors. The revised application process ensures proposed projects are designed in conformance with the APA’s review criteria, including protection of open space, wildlife, and habitat resources, and in accordance with the objectives of conservation design. The variance application includes questions and appendices specific to the type of variance requested to help applicants better prepare plans.
Mr. Craig’s commitment to prioritize natural resource protection while ensuring reasonable public access to Forest Preserve lands was clear in the Essex Chain Lakes and Boreas Ponds State land actions. APA, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation, protected critical natural resources, preserved remoteness, and incorporated a diverse array of recreational uses on lands which were best suited to withstand a higher degree of use. The Finch land transaction, in its entirety, reflected a careful and thoughtful balance of many different points of view. These interests were well-represented throughout the public discourse on this historic classification which protected the environment and supported the economy of the Park.
The Chairman’s effective outreach helped to strengthen collaboration amongst government, citizens, Park advocacy organizations and the Common Ground Alliance. This was evident in November 2017 with the passage of the Health and Safety Land Account – an important milestone. Park stakeholders worked together to address the critical need for the establishment of a land bank for use by Park municipalities for community and public safety projects.
In closing, Chairman Craig stated, “I would once again like to acknowledge the steadfast commitment of my colleagues on the Board and the tenacious dedication of Agency staff. We are forever united in this grand endeavor to bestow the Adirondack Park to future generations unspoiled and with opportunity for growth. I fully realize that successful completion of important work in the Adirondacks is not the sole responsibility of any single organization. Instead, it is the responsibility of many working together toward common goals. I am very appreciative to all who have embraced a growing holistic view of the Park. Our ability to work together bodes well for the future of the Adirondack Park.”
State Land Committee Chairwoman Karen Feldman will serve as Acting Chair. Ms. Feldman was appointed to the Agency in June 2013. She is a retired attorney with 35 years of legal experience in corporate, real estate, entertainment and sports matters. She proudly serves on the advisory boards of several important Adirondack-related not-for-profit organizations, including the NY Invasive Species Research Institute and the Adirondack Lakes Alliance, where considerable resources are devoted to the detection and prevention of invasive species. Karen Feldman is a volunteer ski and golf instructor with the Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain in the Catskills, where she devotes considerable time to working with post-9/11 veterans. She and her partner, Tom Williams, also organize an Adirondack Adventure for wounded veterans residing in New York State.