VIDEO: Adirondack Wilderness and Overuse

The Adirondack Park is a unique national treasure with a legacy of clean water, wilderness and communities that we inherited over 100 years ago. It’s our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. 

This winter, Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Department of Environmental Conservation recognized the success of state promotion and economic development programs in the Adirondack Park, and the need to balance that success with preservation of the resource, and protection of wilderness. The State has appointed a special task force that has been working to prepare a comprehensive strategic plan for overuse. 

The 6 million acres of New York’s Adirondack tallest mountains, most pristine waters, 87 rare species, and wildest forests filter the clean air we breathe and clean water we drink while giving millions of people vast open space to explore and enjoy. The Adirondack Forest Preserve contains most of New York’s most rare and sensitive forests, waters and wildlife.  

Whether it is listening to the call of a loon, reeling in a native brook trout, or viewing the weather-shaped mountain tops from a secluded lookout- spending time in the wild provides food for the human spirit and restores our connection with the natural world.

Unaddressed overuse in certain locations in the Adirondack Park is putting pressure on the natural resources and, in some cases, creating unsafe settings for visitors and harming the quality of the wilderness experience that is central to the Adirondack Park’s legacy. It’s detracting from the benefits Wilderness provides to surrounding communities. 

At popular destinations, it’s common to see full parking lots, busier summits, and experience less solitude on weekends and holidays. As a result, there is more trash on the trails, more erosion and human waste. One study found E.coli bacteria at highest concentrations near trails with the highest use. (link to blog) 

It’s time to invest in the trails, parking, restrooms, rangers, and other staff, visitor management and comprehensive planning needed to preserve this national treasure for future generations. Together we can ensure that the Park’s legacy continues with fair access for all.  

Read more in our latest reports, studies and information on overuse here.  

Take Action

The success of the Adirondack Park depends on the funding made available by the New York State Budget to support programs like trail work, education and outreach, staffing for visitor managementand updated front and back-country infrastructure. Current funding levels and out-of-date strategies to address overuse have not improved along with increasing numbers of visitors in the Adirondack Park.  

This year, Governor Cuomo has announced historic proposed funding. The $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act$1 Billion for clean water infrastructure grants to communities, and a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund are big opportunities to preserve New York State’s biggest wildlands for future generations.  

That is why we are calling on legislators to again support a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund including an increase to $36 million in the State Land Stewardship category and a new $10 million dedicated for Forest Preserve stewardship. 

We are also asking legislators to support the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act and the $1 Billion clean water fund which will support infrastructure to protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change and preserve the Adirondacks. 

Send your email to the New York State Senate and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs advocating for funding to address overuse in the Adirondacks by March 30.  

Take Action


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