The Adirondacks offer the highest peaks in New York State, thousands of miles of hiking trails and canoe routes, and numerous scenic highways and byways that draw visitors each year to the many towns, villages and hamlets that are scattered throughout the Adirondack Park. First-time visitors can choose from luxurious 5-star resorts, a week of solitude backpacking along a remote mountain trail or enjoying the many activities and amenities of a local campground. You might even find a piece of Adirondack real estate that's just right for you.
Many first time visitors to the Adirondacks are surprised to learn that "the Park" isn't a traditional park at all! You won't find an entrance gate guarded by conservation officers – but you will find a vibrant blend of public and private lands where thousands of people live, work and play amid the breathtaking Adirondack mountains, forests and streams.
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The 6-million-acre park, that comprises the Adirondack Mountains, was established by the New York State Legislature in 1892. It has evolved into a patchwork of public and private lands, where thousands of people live, work and play in a protected environment of mountains, forests and streams.
The private lands are primarily part of the the Adirondack Forest Preserve, a diverse system of State Lands created in 1885 by an act of the New York State Legislature as a conservation effort to stem widespread tree cutting that supported the many lumber, paper, leather tanning, and iron mining industries that predominated the 19th century landscape, as well as ensure the major transportation corridors of the day - the Hudson River and Erie Canal - would not suffer reduced flows from continued logging. This was one of the earliest acts of public land preservation in the nation.
In 1894, the Adirondack Forest Preserve was further strengthened by when these now often quoted words were added to the New York State Constitution:
"The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed."