ALBANY, NY (01/27/2017)(readMedia)-- Former Adirondack Park Agency Chair Dr. Ross S. Whaley has been honored by the New York State Bar Association with its 2017 Environmental Law Section award.

Whaley, an influential advocate for sustainable development, received the award on Jan. 26 during the Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City.

"This award is given in recognition of Dr. Whaley's distinguished leadership and long-standing dedication to the environment," said Environmental Law Section Chair Lawrence Schnapf (New York City). "In particular, his work has significantly advanced a balanced vision for the state's Adirondack Park of environmental protection and of a sustainable economy for Adirondack communities."

Whaley served as chair of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) from 2003 to 2007. In that position, Whaley advanced a vision for the Adirondack Park as a place where resource preservation and sustainable economy are both desirable and possible. Whaley supported the protection of the Park's scenic appeal, water bodies and wetlands as well as the need to enhance Adirondack communities with a focus on affordable housing, infrastructure and economic diversification. During his term, he oversaw a comprehensive classification of state lands within the Adirondack Park.

Prior to becoming chair of the APA, he was president and professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (1984-1999). He has served in a number of public and professional service activities, including as chair of the State Needs Task Force on Environmental Conservation and as a member of Gov. Mario Cuomo's Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century. Whaley is former director of Forest Economics Research at the U.S. Forest Service.

Whaley is a founding member of the Common Ground Alliance, a group that brings together people from different backgrounds to address issues related to the environment and economics in the Adirondack Park, and is also a senior advisor to the Adirondack Landowners Association.

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.