Adirondack Park Agency

Adirondack Park Agency Members and Designees

The Agency Board consists of eight commissioners hand-picked by the Governor; the other three members are the Secretary of State, Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, and Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. The Agency Board acts on Park policy issues and permit applications during Agency meetings, which are held monthly and open to the public. Currently, the Commissioners are:

Board Member Seat County Term
Chairman Sherman Craig In Park St.Lawrence 6/30/19
Mr. Chad Dawson Out of Park Onondaga 6/30/20
Mr. John Ernst Out of Park New York 6/30/17
Ms. Karen Feldman Out of Park Columbia 6/30/18
Mr. Arthur Lussi In Park Essex 6/30/17
Ms. Barbara Rice In Park Franklin 6/30/20
Mr. William Thomas In Park Warren 6/30/18
Mr. Daniel Wilt In Park Hamilton 6/30/19
Department of State Designees: Lynne Mahoney
Department of Environmental Conservation Designees: Bob Stegemann, Judy Drabicki
Department. of Economic Development Designee: Bradley Austin

APA Board July 2016

Seated from Left: Executive Director Martino, Chairman Craig, Counsel Townsend, Board Member Karen Feldman
Standing from Left: LGRB Executive Director Fred Monroe, Board Members: John Ernst, Barbara Rice, Department of State Designee Lynn Mahoney, Arthur Lussi, William Thomas, Chad Dawson, Department of Environmental Conservation Designee Robert Bob Stegemann, Department of Economic Development Designee Bradley Austin and Daniel Wilt. Not in photograph: Department of State Designee Sandi Allen

Agency Member Bios

Backgrounds of the current commissioners appointed by the Governor.

Sherman CraigSherman Craig is a retired teacher and school administrator. Since 2001, Mr. Craig and his wife Annette have resided in the Adirondack Park.  His experiences as an outdoor enthusiast and active community volunteer, as well as membership in several organizations including the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corporation, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Waterfront Revitalization Committee, have provided valuable background in Adirondack Park issues and opportunities.

As a member and past chairman of the Five Ponds Partners subcommittee, Mr. Craig managed relationships with groups associated with trail development and maintenance. The committee developed the Cranberry Lake 50 hike and assisted in snowmobile trail development and connectivity in St. Lawrence County. 

Previously, Mr. Craig held several positions in Pittsford, New York schools including teacher, principal, and District Administrator. From 1973-75 he served as Director and Headmaster of the International School of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He also served as President of the New York State Middle School Association and a Director of the National Middle School Association.

Since 2011 he has served on the core team of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance. Mr. Craig was appointed as an Adirondack Park Agency Board member in November 2011 and has served as Chairman of the Agency’s Regulatory Programs and Park Policy and Planning committees.

Mr. Craig was raised in Rochester, New York and currently resides in Wanakena with his wife Annette. Until very recently, Mr. and Mrs. Craig operated a custom furniture business which sourced local hardwoods. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from SUNY Brockport and a M.A. from the University of Rochester.

Chad DawsonDr. Chad P. Dawson is a Professor Emeritus of Recreation Resources Management and former Chair of the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forest in Syracuse, NY.  His primary focus for the last 25 years has been on visitor experiences and visitor use management on Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack Park as well as on federal lands managed for wilderness.  Dr. Dawson has collaborated extensively with the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to conduct research in support of the unit management planning process. Dr. Dawson is editor of the International Journal of Wilderness, co-author of wilderness management and resource management textbooks and publications on ecotourism.  He is a board member for the Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program and The WILD Foundation.

He earned a Ph.D in Resource Management and Policy from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York in 1983.  He received a M.P.S in Resource Policy and Planning in 1973 from Cornell University and a B.S for Conservation and Resource Planning from the University of Michigan in 1970.

Dr. Dawson resides in Lafayette, NY with his wife Carol.  Dr. Dawson’s term to the APA Board commenced July 2016.

John ErnstJohn Lyman Ernst is chairman and past president of a private investment firm in New York City.  He and his wife, Margot, are owners of Elk Lake Lodge in North Hudson, Essex County.  His family has spent summers in North Hudson since his grandfather camped at Clear Pond in 1907.  Elk Lake Lodge, in 1963, was the donor of the first conservation easement in New York State.  The easement protected the shoreline of Elk Lake.  In 2012, easements donated to the State protected the remainder of the property.  They included public access to the Dix Mountain and Marcy Mountain trails, continued operation of the Lodge to serve tourists and envisioned certified timber operation in the winter.

A graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Ernst has been involved with Adirondack organizations for over 35 years.  He is past chair of the Adirondack Council and a past president of the Adirondack Landowners Association.  He served on the boards of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Land Trust, the Adirondack Center for Writing, the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation, the Open Space Institute, and the New York State Tourism Advisory Council.  He is Treasure and member of the Executive Council of North Country Public Radio.  He has served on the boards of the New York League of Conservation Voters and the New York league of Conservation Voters Education Fund.  Currently, Mr. Ernst is Chairman of the Adirondack Foundation.

An interest in Native Americans led to board service on the National Museum of the American Indian and a co-chair role at the National Museum of the American Indian-NY, Smithsonian Institution.  He has also served on the Board of Managers of the School for Advanced Research on the Human Experience in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mr. Ernst’s term to the APA Board commenced July 2016.

Karen FeldmanKaren Feldman was appointed to the Agency in June 2013.  Ms. Feldman is an attorney with 30 years of legal experience in corporate, real estate, entertainment and sports matters. She provides legal, financial, and business consulting services to small entrepreneurial companies.  Ms. Feldman received her B.A. degree from Yale University in 1978 and her J.D. degree from the University of Miami (FL) School of Law in 1983. 

Ms. Feldman is a volunteer ski and golf instructor for the Wounded Warrior Project’s Adaptive Sports Foundation.  She and her partner, Tom Williams, also organize an Adirondack Adventure for the Wounded Warrior Project.  They are also members of the Adirondack Landowners Association and over the past 15 years have enjoyed the many types of outdoor sports and activities found in this special region.     

In addition, as the former Executive Director of the WTA Tour Players Association, she represented professional women tennis players world-wide. Since 1990, Ms. Feldman has participated in local, state and national level political campaigns. Karen resides in Columbia County and enjoys spending time at her Adirondack camps in Essex and Hamilton County.  

Arthur LussiArthur Lussi was appointed to the Agency in June 2006. Mr. Lussi hails from Lake Placid where he received a well-rounded education at the Northwood School. He attended Dartmouth College graduating with a degree in English. While at Dartmouth, Lussi was very activity on the Tennis and Ski teams. Highlights include All-East, Captain and Dartmouth Carnival Championship honors. Mr. Lussi went onto Syracuse University to study Law. While at Syracuse, he participated in the World University Games in Jasna, Czechoslovakia and was named Alpine Captain in 1987. Lussi joined the New York State Bar in 1989 and the District of Columbia Bar in 1990.

Mr. Lussi spent time coaching ski racing in Vail, Colorado returning in 1991 to help his family manage and operate the then Holiday Inn now Crowne Plaza Hotel. He encouraged his family to purchase the Lake Placid Club in 1996 and managed the restoration of 15 historic cottages. Lussi worked on the Village of Lake Placid's Comprehensive Plan in the mid 1990’s. He has coached ski racing for the New York Ski Education Foundation since 1991 serving as Chairman for the past 5 years. Art loves the Adirondacks, is a 46er, and appreciates the balance between economic development and conservation. His grandfather, Art Draper, demonstrated thoughtful balance by building ski areas in economically depressed areas in the 1950's and 60's while serving as a New York State Conservation Officer/Forest Ranger.

Mr. Lussi serves on the Adirondack Park Agency Board as the Essex County representative and believes that continued investment in the Park is the best way for the Agency to achieve its mandate. Lussi resides in Lake Placid with his wife Martina, daughters Danielle, Nina, and son Miles.

Barbara RiceBarbara Rice is a lifelong resident of the Adirondack Park, and a third generation business owner in Saranac Lake.  Presently, Ms. Rice is the Vice Chairperson of the Franklin County Legislature.  She also serves as chairperson for the Finance Committee and is a member of the Safety, Economic Development/Planning and Investment Committees.  She effectively works with legislators to oversee Franklin Country policy as well as manage a multi-million dollar budget.

In her prior role as Saranac Lake Village Trustee, she worked hard to ensure the effective operation of the Fire, Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works and Water/Sewer Departments. Serving in this capacity provided a valuable perspective on Adirondack Park local government issues. 
Ms. Rice is an owner and manager of G. Carver Rice, Inc. a furniture and flooring business located in Saranac Lake. Since 2003, Ms. Rice has coordinated marketing, purchasing, staff and customer service.

Ms. Rice is a trustee for the Adirondack Health Foundation.  From 2011-2014 she was a member of the Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation. She is also a member of the Saranac Lake Area Tourism Council and Outdoor Movie Committee.

Barbara Rice earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1988, a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre Medical Sciences from Bennington College in 1996 and an Associate of Science, Physician Assistant from Albany Medical College in 1999.

She resides in the Village of Saranac Lake with her husband Chad McCarthy and son Cal Rice who is a graduate student at the School of Fine Arts in Boston, Ma.  Ms. Rice was appointed to the APA Board in June 2016.

William ThomasWilliam H. Thomas was appointed to the Agency in December 2006. After graduating from Pottersville Central School, Mr. Thomas received an associate’s degree in business administration from Adirondack Community College in its first graduating class of 1963. He went to work at Montgomery’s Department Store in Pottersville after graduation then was employed at the State Bank of Albany. In 1968, Mr. Thomas was employed at NL Industries in Newcomb for 21 years before the plant closed in 1989. In 1990, Mr. Thomas was elected Supervisor of the Town of Johnsburg, a post he will continue to hold until his retirement on December 31, 2007.

He has served as the Warren County Budget Officer from 1996-2000, then in 2001, was elected by his fellow supervisors as Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, a position he will also hold until his retirement. Mr. Thomas spent six years in the Army Reserves, 25 years as a member of the North Creek Volunteer Rescue Squad (including eight years as Captain and 18 years as an Emergency Medical Technician. Mr. Thomas has also been a member of the North Creek Volunteer Fire Company since 1970, and also serves as Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of Commissioners. Mr. Thomas has also served on the Johnsburg Central School Board from 1983-1989, as Johnsburg Town Justice from 1986-1989, a as a member of the Adirondack Tri-County Home Board of Directors form 1984-1992.

Daniel WiltDaniel Wilt was appointed to the Agency in June 2013. Dan is Supervisor of the Town of Lake Pleasant and Secretary of the Lake Pleasant-Sacandaga Association, an organization formed in 1953 to protect the quality of our lakes. Since 1978, Mr. Wilt has served as President of Wilt Industries, Inc. in the Town of Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County. Wilt Industries manufactures state of the art equipment for the semiconductor, glass, fiber optics, scientific glassblowing, chemistry, environmental and ceramic industries.

Dan served on the Town of Arietta’s Zoning Board of Appeals from 1984 – 2013. He is a past member and President of the Piseco Common School District, served as an Emergency Medical Technician for the Piseco Ambulance Squad and is a current member of the Speculator area Lions Club. Mr. Wilt served as Director of the Northeast Section of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society and was Symposium Chairman for the 2004 American Scientific Glassblowers Society Symposium. He also served as National Secretary of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society from as 2006 – 2009.

Mr. Wilt is a North Country Economic Development Council member and firmly believes that with proper planning and implementation the APA can maintain and preserve the unique natural resources of the Adirondacks and promote economic growth and stability for Park communities. Among his various hobbies, including fishing, hunting, boating, and golf, Dan is also a pilot. Mr. Wilt resides in Lake Pleasant, NY with his wife Kendal.