Adirondack State Park

From Academic Kids

The Adirondack State Park, also known as the Adirondack Park is a large state park in northeast New York. It is the largest state park in the United States, covering a land area about the size of Massachusetts, although more than half the land within is privately owned, including several villages and hamlets.


Park Boundries

The Adirondack Park boundary, commonly referred to as the blue line, contains the entire Adirondack Mountain range as well as some surrounding areas. The park includes all of Hamilton and Essex counties, as well as considerable portions of Clinton, Franklin, Herkimer, St. Lawrence and Warren counties and small sections of Fulton, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga and Washington counties as well. (The Clinton County towns of Altona and Dannemora, despite being entirely within the park boundary are specifically excluded from the park by statute, however, due to the large prison facilities in both towns).

Not all of the land within the park is owned by the state, but new sections are purchased or donated frequently. The park contains the highest peaks (High Peaks) in New York State, including Mount Marcy the highest elevation in the state. About one-half of the park's six million acres (24,000 km²) are in the public domain.


The idea of the Park first occurred to surveyor Verplanck Colvin in 1870 while taking in the view from atop Seward Mountain. He wrote to the state government that action was necessary to protect the forests or it would be wasted. Three years later he was appointed to a committee formed to consider how to do this.

When his term "Adirondack Park" led to some derision and fears from longtime residents of the area that they might be bought out and evicted, proponents of the idea began to use "Adirondack Forest Preserve" instead. Both terms continue in use to thise day, with the former referring to the land inside the Blue Line and the latter to that portion owned by the state.

Serious efforts to protect this land began in 1882, when businessmen in New York began to be concerned about the effects of widespread logging. Without trees, the many steep slopes on the mountains in the region were likely to erode, and the silt from the slopes could conceivably have silted up the Erie Canal, choking off New York State’s economic backbone.

In 1885, legislation declared that the land in the Adirondack State Park and the Catskill State Park was to be conserved and never put up for sale or lease. The park was established in 1892, due to the activities of Colvin and other conservationists. The park was given state constitutional protection in 1894, so that the state-owned lands within its bounds would be protected forever ("forever wild"). The part of the Adirondack State Park under government control is referred to as the Adirondack Preserve.

The Adirondack Park Today

On-going efforts have been made to re-introduce native fauna that had been lost in the park during earlier exploitation. Animals in various stages of re-introduction include: Beaver, Fisher, American Marten, Moose, Lynx, and Osprey. Not all of these restoration efforts have been successful yet.

The park has a year-round population of about 130,000 people in dozens of villages and hamlets. There are more than 3,000 lakes and 30,000 miles (48,000 km) of streams and rivers. Many areas within the park are devoid of settlments and distant from usable roads.

The Adirondack Park Agency (created 1971) is a governmental agency that performs long-range planning for the future of the Adirondack State Park. It oversees development plans of private land-owners as well as activities within the Adirondack Preserve. Development by private owners must be reviewed to determine if their plan is compatible with the park.

See also

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