RAY BROOK — State Adirondack Park Agency board Chairman Sherman Craig announced his retirement after just two years in the head seat at the agency’s monthly meeting Thursday.
Originally appointed to the APA board by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June 2011, the Wanakena resident was approved by the state Legislature to chairman’s spot in June 2016, after Leilani Ulrich stepped down. Craig was the first chairperson from St. Lawrence County.
Commissioner Karen Feldman, chair of the board’s State Land Committee, will take over as acting chairperson of the Park’s most controversial agency.
Craig oversaw some of the most sweeping changes to the Adirondacks in decades. During his partial term, the classification of tens of thousands of acres of state land was determined, including the expansion of the High Peaks Wilderness Area to about 260,000 acres and the Boreas Ponds tract.
Saranac Lake’s Barbara Rice also recently resigned from the board after being appointed to the governor’s office as assistant secretary for economic development, leaving two openings on the APA’s 11-member board. The APA board consists of five people who live within the Blue Line and three who live in other parts of the state, plus representatives of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Economic Development and Department of State.
In a statement after the announcement, the Adirondack Council environmental group applauded Craig’s short tenure.
“The Adirondack Council thanks Sherman Craig of Wanakena for his service upon his retirement as chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency,” Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway said. “Sherm will be remembered for his faithful efforts on behalf of the communities of the park. Karen’s experience on the APA board and her legal background will serve her well in the new role. She would be the first non-resident of the Adirondack Park to serve as APA chair since the agency was created more than 45 years ago. We look forward to working with her.”
Craig’s announcement came at the beginning of one of the most consequential APA meetings in years, as the State Land Committee recommended approval of the DEC’s unit management plans for the High Peaks and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest. The meeting is set to conclude Friday.