Reaching the Peak of the Adirondack Park Agency Legal Dept.
Theres a new legal ranger at the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The agency named James Townsend to replace John Banta as general counsel following Bantas retirement after more than three decades with the APA.
A native of Bronxville, New York, the 68-year-old Townsend earned his B.A. at Trinity College, Hartford, and graduated from the Albany Law School of Union University in 1971.
Most recently, Townsend was a partner at Remington, Gifford, Williams & Colicchio, a general practice firm located in Rochester, New York. He advised corporate clients on a variety of legal business issues and matters related to real estate financing.
Adirondack Park was created in 1892 by New York State to preserve water and timber resources in the area. At over 6 million acres, it is the largest park in the lower 48 states, and encompasses Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York State, and 18 wilderness areas. (There are also a couple of prisons, which are not technically on park land.) The state legislature established the APA in 1971 to develop long-term land use plans for both its public and private spaces.
Getting familiar with the APAs legal issues should be a walk in the park for the new GC. Townsend was an active member of the agencys board of directors from June of 1999 until May of 2010. Townsend chaired the boards legal affairs, regulatory programs, state land, and technical advisory committees.
As head of the committees, Townsend worked with the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board and various stakeholders to address policy concerns. Their collaborative efforts helped push through regulatory reforms favorable to the park and led to increased protection of its shorelines and wetlands.
In a statement, Townsend said that his passion for the Adirondacks had only increased in the years since he left the board. The parks new GC belongs to the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, a club whose members goal is to scale the 46 High Peaks of the upstate New York range.