APA@50 Symposium

A Half-Century of Policy and Planning in the Adirondack Park

June 22, 2021  |  9:30 am – 5:30 pm

In June 1971 New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed legislation creating the Adirondack Park Agency. Join the ADKX on June 22 in a daylong webinar symposium assessing the APA’s half-century of guiding both management of the Forest Preserve and development on private land in the Adirondack Park. Keynote presentations by scholars and others closely involved with the APA will be followed by comment by other experts and dialog with our audience. This will be an online symposium, free and open to the public. Register now!

Click here to register for this program

  • Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Harold Hochschild at the Adirondack Museum, c. 1960s. Accession number 12070


9:30-10:00: Preliminaries

10:00-12:00: “The APA’s Early Years: Energy, Innovation, and Perspective”
Richard S. Booth, Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Former APA and DEC Attorney and Former Member of the APA

In conversation with:

  • Marilyn Murphy DuBois, Former Sr. Policy Analyst at New York State Assembly
  • Bill Kissell, Former APA Counsel
  • Liz Thorndike, Former APA Commissioner

 12:30-2:30: “Trail Blazin’: Reconstructing Wilderness in the Public Mind”
Elizabeth Vidon, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF

In conversation with:

  • Heidi Kretser, Conservation Social Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Peter Paine, Member of Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks and Former Member of the APA
  • John Sheehan, Adirondack Council

3:00-5:00:  “The Future of State-Level Regional Planning”
Frank Popper, Emeritus Professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, and Professor, High Meadows Environmental Institute, Princeton University

In conversation with:

  • Peter Bauer, Executive Director, Protect the Adirondacks
  • Bill McKibben, Environmentalist and author
  • Lani Ulrich, Former APA Chair

5:00-5:30: Closing remarks


Brad Edmondson and Tania Werbizky

Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund

Adam Hochschild

Lee and Nancy Keet

F. M. Kirby Foundation, Inc.

Bruce McLanahan

McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Cullum, LLP

Northern New York Library Network

Mr. and Mrs. Peter S. Paine Jr., courtesy of the Adirondack Foundation – Paine Family Fund and the Boquet Foundation, Inc.

Nancy Reardon and Steven Sayer

Curt and Susan Stiles

Jim and Anne Townsend

Anne H. Van Ingen and Wesley Haynes

Learn more

The APA@50 Symposium is one of several initiatives the ADKX is undertaking to reflect on the history and impact of the Adirondack Park Agency. These programs and events are grounded in the work of historian and author Brad Edmondson, who interviewed dozens of insiders and activists with central roles in the birth the APA – including many who vehemently opposed the new governing agency. His book, A Wild Idea: How the Environmental Movement Tamed the Adirondacks, will be published in May 2021 by Cornell University Press’s Three Hills imprint. Learn more about the book here.