The Adirondacks



In 1892 the state of New York created Adirondack Park. It had a mountainous landscape, tons of wild life, waterways, forests and of course the Adirondack Mountains. This land was perfect for conservation or cultivation and is on the edge of deforestation.

In the 1800’s one of the biggest concerns was clear cutting, however, in 1894 the Adirondack forest preserve was created which protect forever wild area. Out of the 6 million acres the state owns 2.6 million area of the Adirondack Park leaving 3.4 million acres privately owned.

In this region there is a publicly protected area that is the largest in the U.S. that is home to over 100 towns and villages. The Adirondack Park is a state park, however, with the mix of private and public land it allows for civilization to thrive.

Adirondack Map

Adirondack Park has the largest protected wilderness area that is east of the Mississippi. It is larger than Yosemite, glacier, Yellowstone Canyon New England and the Great Smokies national parks combined.

There are seven distinct regions within the Adirondacks which are Lake George region, the Adirondack wild, Adirondack lakes, Adirondack coast, Adirondacks-tughill, lake placid region and the Adirondack seaway.

With 3,000 ponds, lakes and 30,000 miles of streams and rivers there are mountains and water as far as the eye can see. The waterways are primal, vast and wild and are the ultimate destination for kayaking and canoeing. There are 46 mountains in Adirondack Park that are commonly known as High Peaks.

Adirondacks over water

Towering over 5,000 feet about High Peaks is Mount Mercy and is the highest point in the state of New York. Adirondack park has thousands of miles of hiking trails that every level of hiker is bound to love.

Every trail is handicap accessible so that all visitors can experience the wilderness. To catch a glimpse of the rich history of the Adirondacks visit blue mountain lake Adirondack museum. If you want to know more about the geology and the environment of the park you can visit the Natural History Museum located in beautiful Tupper Lake.

Adirondack Park is known for have the best outdoor recreation, however the park also offers a unique and authentic wilderness experience just hours from Boston, New York City, Montreal, Burlington and Iowa the Adirondacks is the perfect family vacation spot.

Consider also its location. It’s within a day’s drive of every Eastern Seaboard city between Washington, D.C., and Boston; a few hours from Montréal; and a few more from Detroit. Yet some of the most remote patches of wilderness east of the Rockies are here.

Finally, consider its diverse attributes. Most people associate the park with the Adirondack Mountains, but these peaks make up only a fraction of the landscape (Geology and Terrain). The Adirondacks are at once a wilderness park and a popular resort. Tumbling rivers, secluded ponds, and the rugged shoreline of Lake Champlain, “the sixth Great Lake,” are full of opportunities for fishing and boating. You’ll find cross-country ski trails, crafts fairs and horse shows, scenic roads, tranquil communities, plant life rarely seen south of the tundra, and the rink where the U.S. hockey team toppled the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

The Adirondack park differs in several important ways from most public lands. Only about 47% of the park is public property; the rest is owned by individuals, corporations, clubs, or municipalities; you can’t set foot in these sections without the owners’ approval. Lake George’s motel-pocked main drag is just as much a part of the park as
the Five Ponds Wilderness Area’s soaring pines. There are no user fees and no “entrances,” other than occasional road signs marking boundaries. Park services are relatively limited. There are just two official visitor centers, and they’re both in the middle of the park, more or less. There are plenty of places to stay including motels, hotels, cottages, cabins.

A glance at the park’s topsy-turvy history sheds dim light on some of these conundrums. Sidestepped by the westward migration, the Adirondack region was not carefully explored until the mid-1800s. Pike’s Peak, Colorado, was tackled before climbers reached the Adirondacks’ highest peak, Mt. Marcy. And the source of the Nile was
discovered before the source of the Hudson River–again, near the peak of Mt. Marcy. Once people settled the region, the sacking of its dense forests transformed New York into the nation’s leading lumber state. White pines (Flora) were turned into ship’s masts, spruce into paper pulp, and hardwoods into either furniture or charcoal necessary to the success of the region’s secondary enterprise, iron mining.

It was predicted that the resulting deforestation would wreak havoc upon the Erie Canal, New York’s commercial lifeline, whose water level depended heavily upon the Adirondack watershed. In 1885, state business leaders and solons, on the advice of America’s pioneer conservationists, instituted one of the country’s first measures of
enlightened conservation. The legislature established the Adirondack Forest Preserve, declared it state-owned, and disallowed the removal of trees. The purpose was clear: Protect the state’s business interests.

Resentful timber cutters scoffed at the preserve law, inspiring the legislature to create a second layer of protection in 1892, called the Adirondack Park. The original forest preserve and much of the private land around it fell within this new designation. With loggers still disregarding these measures, however, an amendment was added to the state
constitution in 1894, declaring the state owned forest preserve portions of the park “forever wild” and rendering it unconstitutional to take down a tree on preserve lands. Subsequent alteration, such as construction of the highway to the top of Whiteface Mountain, has required state voter approval. No other wilderness (Fauna) area in the
world enjoys such protection.

The park has grown to its present size through additions over the years. Since 1971, development on private land has been controlled by the Adirondack Park Agency.

Park and forest preserve–the distinction is important. The park comprises all land, including private, within the lopsided circular boundary called “the Blue Line.” The forest preserve is the state-owned public land within the park, spread out among dozens of individual fragments. It is identified by small, usually yellow signs marked with the words FOREST PRESERVE along with that area’s use classification: “Canoe Area,” “Wild Forest,” or “Wilderness.”

Leave a Comment