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Adirondack State Park :: New York

April 24, 2010 by  
Category: Landmarks

Here is one place that even people from New York have little idea exists. Adirondack State Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States by far. The park is 9,375 square miles in area; approximately the size of the state of Vermont. It was known to the Iroquois as “Bark-eater area”, probably due to the vast number of beavers and other types of tree eaters. To try to understand the size of the area encompassed and (all with-in the state of New York) you really have to see it to believe it. An entire third of the whole state is a national park! The size of Adirondack State Park exceeds the five next biggest national parks in the United States combined. Often called the Blue Line, the park includes rivers, lakes and the entirety of the Adirondack mountain range. Although the park sites are not clearly delineated, signs marking the park boundary can easily be found on all major roads and admission is and always was free.

The vast majority of the Adirondack Mountains are in an area known as the Mohawk First Nation area. The Mohawks were part of the Iroquois Confederation or Six Nations and they fought alongside of the British in the American Revolution and were subsequently punished by the loss of their lands after the war. The Haudenosaunee Confederation is in court today seeking claims to their ancestral homeland. The park came into existence when Verplanck Colvin wrote to the state government and asked that the area be protected in 1870. He felt that (and probably quite rightly) if not protected that the area would be destroyed. The state authorities eventually agreed and the concept was put into action, the area becoming known as the Adirondack State Preserve. In 1892 legislation was passed declaring the land for conservation. In 1894 further legislation was passed making the land “forever wild”. The park today is undergoing a transformation back to its origins with native flora being reintroduced back into the environment. Animal species also are being reintroduced into areas that they had once populated. The osprey, eagle, beaver, fisher, lynx and the marten are back, however it will take time to see if the repopulation into the wild will be successful.

There are a lucky few human inhabitants that can say they live within the park’s borders. They number a little over 100,000 residents. Ironic in an area that is accessible to about a third of the American population and all this is within a one day drive. The park contains 30,000 miles of streams and rivers, including are the mighty Hudson. The park also contains over 3000 lakes and over 2000 miles of trails; the largest and longest in the nation. The park has many areas that are completely clear of roads and are free of human inhabitants; and it is these areas that will stay pristine. The Adirondack Park system is a model of conservancy for the ways of nature with human population and wild life area protection. The things to do and places to visit are so numerous it would take a whole new article to encompass them all. Suffice it to say come visit and roam and explore. Go on line to New York State Park system or call the New York State visitors Bureau. This one is a no-brainer!

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