State-owned Forest Preserve
What is the Forest Preserve?
The Forest Preserve is the state-owned land within the Adirondack Park. These lands are protected by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution, which states, "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." The only way that a project can go forward on the Forest Preserve is through a constitutional amendment process.
Because the Forest Preserve contains most of New York’s most rare and sensitive forests, waters and wildlife, the state created the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP), to guide its management. These lands are broken down into categories based on their capacity to withstand use. These categories are:
A Wilderness Area, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man - where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. A Wilderness Area is further defined to mean an area of state land or water having a primeval character, without significant improvement or protected and managed so as to preserve, enhance and restore, where necessary, its natural conditions, and which
- generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable;
- has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation;
- has at least ten thousand acres of contiguous land and water or is of sufficient size and character as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and
- may also contain ecological, geological or other features of scientific, educational, scenic or historical value.
A Wild Forest Area is one in which the resources permit a somewhat higher degree of human use than in wilderness, primitive or canoe areas, while retaining an essentially wild character. A Wild Forest area is further defined as an area that frequently lacks the sense of remoteness of wilderness, primitive or canoe areas and that permits a wide variety of outdoor recreation.
A Canoe Area is one where the watercourses or the number and proximity of lakes and ponds make possible a remote and unconfined type of water-oriented recreation in an essentially Wilderness setting. The terrain associated with parcels meeting the above definition is generally ideally suited to ski touring and snowshoeing in the winter months.
A Primitive Area of land or water that is either:
- Essentially wilderness in character, but
a. contains structures, improvements, or uses that are inconsistent with Wilderness, as defined, and whose removal, though a long term objective, cannot be provided for by a fixed deadline; and/or
b. contains, or is contiguous to, private lands that are of a size and influence to prevent wilderness designation; or,
- Of a size and character not meeting wilderness standards, but where the fragility of the resource or other factors require wilderness management.
An Intensive Use Area is one in which the state provides facilities for intensive forms of outdoor recreation by the public. Two types of intensive use areas are defined by this plan: campground and day use areas. These areas provide overnight accommodations or day use facilities for a significant number of visitors to the Park and often function as a base for use of wild forest, wilderness, primitive and canoe areas.
- A Wild River is a river or section of river that is free of diversions and impoundments, inaccessible to the general public except by water, foot or horse trail, and with a river area primitive in nature and free of any man-made development except foot bridges.
- A Scenic River is a river or section of river that is free of diversions or impoundments except for log jams, with limited road access and with a river area largely primitive and undeveloped, or that is partially or predominantly used for agriculture, forest management and other dispersed human activities that do not substantially interfere with public use and enjoyment of the river and its shore.
- A Recreational River is a river or section of river that is readily accessible by road or railroad that may have development in the river area that may have undergone some diversion or impoundment in the past.
A Travel Corridor is that strip of land constituting the roadbed and right-of-way for state and interstate highways in the Adirondack Park, the Remsen to Lake Placid railroad right of way, and those state lands immediately adjacent to and visible from these facilities.
Historic Areas are locations of buildings, structures or sites owned by the state (other than the Adirondack Forest Preserve itself) that are significant in the history, architecture, archaeology or culture of the Adirondack Park, the state or the nation; that fall into one of the following categories:
- state historic sites;
- properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
- properties recommended for nomination by the Committee on Registers of the New York State Board for Historic Preservation; and that are of a scale, character and location appropriate for designation as an historic area under this master plan and the state has committed resources to manage such areas primarily for historic objectives.
State Administrative areas are areas where the state provides facilities for a variety of specific state purposes that are not primarily designed to accommodate visitors to the Park.
This category includes the administrative offices of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Division of State Police and Adirondack Park Agency, as well as the DEC fish hatcheries, Department of Transportation offices and maintenance and storage sites, the Atmospheric Science and Research Center at Whiteface Mountain, the Sunmount Developmental Center, the Adirondack Correctional Facility, the Dannemora Correctional Facility, Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility, Camp Gabriels, and several sewage treatment plants operated by the Environmental Facilities Corporation. All of these facilities are in close proximity to public highways and are generally in developed areas of the Park.
Information on this page came from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's website.