Legacy

Governor Nelson Rockefeller signs the Adirondack Park Agency's Private Land Use and Development Plan into law in 1973. Behind him stand APA Chairman Richard W. Lawerence (left), Perry Duryea (center) and Bernard C. Smith (Right), Chairman of the New York State Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee.

Governor Nelson Rockefeller signs the Adirondack Park Agency’s Private Land Use and Development Plan into law in 1973. Behind him stand APA Chairman Richard W. Lawerence (left), Perry Duryea (center) and Bernard C. Smith (right), Chairman of the New York State Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee.

John Apperson Jr. and Paul Schaefer’s legacies imbue our experience of the Adirondacks today and stretch well beyond the Park’s boundaries. Their leadership in the preservation of New York’s Forest Preserve and wild places expanded the Park’s “blue line” on multiple occasions, led to the complete preservation of Dome Island in Lake George, the formation of the Adirondack Park Agency, and the creation of many parks and preservation lands around their hometowns of Niskayuna and Schenectady, New York. Both men left their imprint in other ways as well. Apperson was an early adopter of many winter sports in the United States, including skiing, snowshoeing, and skate sailing. He introduced a variety of innovations to the equipment and techniques for these sports, and is credited with being the first westerner to make winter summits of many mountains in New York and New England. Schaefer’s unique period‐style of house-building and insistence on restoration instead of demolition for many historic homes shaped the aesthetic of Niskayuna.

More widely, both Apperson and Schaefer inspired generations of environmentalists into action. Apperson’s lectures, retreats, articles, pamphlets, films, and mentoring informed the next generation of great conservationists, including Paul Schaefer as well as many others. Schaefer’s articles, books, editorials, and films also inspired today’s defenders of the wilderness. Additionally, Schaefer grew his personal collection of Adirondack books into a publicly accessible research library for environmental justice. For many years under the stewardship of dedicated volunteers, latterly the association known as Protect the Adirondacks!, Schaefer’s Adirondack Research Center today lives on as a part of the Adirondack Research Library of the Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College. The archival collections of Apperson and Schaefer – including nearly a century of correspondence, litigation, publications, audio recordings, maps, photographs, and other artifacts – that are showcased on this website are now available for research in the Adirondack Research Library through the links at the top of this page.

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