Craig confirmed to chair APA

The state Senate confirmed Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Sherman Craig Friday night to chair the agency board and Franklin County Legislator Barb Rice of Saranac Lake to be an APA commissioner.

The Senate also approved the appointments of Chad Dawson, a professor emeritus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Elk Lake Lodge owner John Ernst to the agency’s Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Daniel Wilt of Lake Pleasant was reappointed.

The governor nominates people to the APA board, and the Senate votes on approving them for four-year terms. The Senate considered these APA board appointments Friday after two members announced in May that they will not seek new four-year terms.

Daniel Mac Entee, spokesman for Sen. Betty Little, said by email that the nominations went through the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, the Finance Committee and then the Senate floor for a vote Friday.

Mac Entee said Little, whose district covers the much of the Adirondack Park, supports all five nominees.

Craig, who lives in Wanakena in St. Lawrence County, will succeed outgoing Chairwoman Lani Ulrich. He owns Wanakena Woodworks, a furniture manufacturing company.

“I’m happy to be reappointed to the board,” Craig said Friday. “And I thank Governor Cuomo for that opportunity.” Craig said he couldn’t comment further at the time as his nomination had not yet gone through the Senate.

There are also three new names in the mix. Rice is a Saranac Lake native, vice chair of the Franklin County Board of Legislators, former Saranac Lake village trustee and co-owner of her family’s business, Rice Furniture in downtown Saranac Lake.

“I’m excited and honored to be considered,” Rice said Friday, also before her nomination was confirmed.

Ernst, who along with his wife operates and owns the Elk Lake Lodge in North Hudson, is a board member of the Adirondack Landowners Association and the Open Space Institute. He is also board chairman of the Adirondack Foundation, a philanthropy management group based in Lake Placid, and chairman and president of Bloomingdale Properties, a private investment company. In the 1990s he was he was board chairman of the Adirondack Council, the Park’s largest environmental advocacy group.

Dawson is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Wilderness. He was the featured speaker at a 2014 event on the 50th anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act, hosted by Adirondack Wild, another environmental group. In 2004, he received the Adirondack Stewardship Award from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for “protecting wilderness values.”