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Hochul names Ernst new chair of Adirondack Park Agency

By Journal Staff (


John Lyman Ernst

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently designated John Lyman Ernst as chair of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). He will be nominated for reappointment to the APA board. 

 Ernst was originally appointed to the APA board in June 2016. As a member of the board, he served on the regulatory programs, state land, enforcement, and the park policy and planning committees. He most recently served as chair of the state land, park ecology, and park policy and planning committees. 

Ernst is also chair and president of a private investment firm in New York City. He and his wife, Margot, are owners of Elk Lake Lodge in North Hudson in Essex County. His family has spent vacations in North Hudson since his grandfather camped at Clear Pond in 1905. In 1963, Elk Lake Lodge donated the first conservation easement in New York state. The easement protected the shoreline of Elk Lake. Easements donated to the state in 2012 protected the remainder of the property and included public access to the Dix Mountain and Marcy Mountain state trails, the state says.

 A graduate of Harvard College, Ernst has been involved with Adirondack organizations for 40 years. He is past chair of the Adirondack Council and the Adirondack Foundation as well as a past president of the Adirondack Landowners Association. He has served on the boards of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Land Trust, the Adirondack Center for Writing, the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation, and the New York State Tourism Advisory Council. He has also served on the boards of the New York League of Conservation Voters and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. He currently serves on the board of the Open Space Institute. 


“Adirondack Park is a unique asset to New York and we must preserve its natural beauty for future generations to enjoy, while also boosting tourism and small businesses across the region,” Hochul said in a news release. “This appointment is an important first step in developing a long-term public and private land use plan for the largest protected area in the continental United States. John has demonstrated a strong dedication to the North Country and I am certain he will excel as the next Chair of the Adirondack Park Agency, helping build a better and brighter future for this natural gem.” 

APA Executive Director Terry Martino also commented on Ernst’s designation.

“The Adirondack Park Agency is thrilled to have John Ernst serve as Chair of the Agency Board. We thank Governor Hochul for her decisive leadership and commitment to the Park. Mr. Ernst has provided a calm and knowledgeable voice to board deliberations since his first appointment in 2016. We look forward to his continued contribution,” Martino said.    

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