29 Things to Know About the Adirondack Park
1. The Adirondack Park is located in northeast New York State.
2. The Adirondack Park was created by the New York State legislature in 1884 in order to preserve and protect New York State’s wilderness. The Park’s boundaries are delineated with a blue line which produced the Park’s nickname: “Blue Line.”
3. The Adirondack Park is a 6.1-million-acre patchwork of wilderness, mountains, rivers, lakes, and 105 towns, hamlets, and villages. It is the largest protected park in the United States and the largest park in the contiguous 48 states.
4. About the size of the State of Vermont, the Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined.
5. The Adirondack Park includes 2.5 million acres of public lands and more than one million acres of designated wilderness protected by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution – the “forever wild” clause: “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.”
6. There is no admission fee and no gate to the Adirondack Park.
7. The Adirondack Park contains 85 percent of all wilderness area in the eastern United States.
8. The Adirondack Park is named after the Adirondack Mountains, the highest mountains in New York State. Located in the Park, there are several alpine summits in the Adirondack Mountains where rare plants thrive under adverse conditions.
9. Mount Marcy, at 5,343 feet is the highest peak in the Park and New York State, and one of the highest peaks east of the Rocky Mountains.
10. The source of the Hudson River, Lake Tear of the Clouds, is on Mount Marcy at elevation 4,295 feet. It is the highest lake in the state.
11. There are over 2,000 miles of hiking trails in the Adirondack Park, which makes it the largest trail system in the United States.
12. The Adirondack Park contains more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles of rivers, and at least 30,000 miles of brooks and streams. Waterfalls abound and seasonal ones come to life every year during the spring snow melt.
13. Lake Placid, located in the northern Adirondack Park, is one of three places in the world to host the Winter Olympic Games twice, in 1932 and 1980.
14. The Miracle on Ice occurred in Lake Placid during the 1980 Winter Olympic Games when the heavy underdog Americans defeated the Soviet team in a surprising upset.
15. The Adirondack Park is home to more than 70 native tree species; 55 species of mammals such as the moose, fisher, American marten, white-tailed deer, and black bear; 218 different birds including the American bald eagle and the common loon; plus 86 species of fish.
16. The forests in the Adirondack Park are a mix of hardwoods and softwoods such as maple, beech, black cherry, yellow birch, balsam fir, hemlock, white pine, and several varieties of spruce.
17. The Algonquin and Mohawk Indians were the first to use the Adirondack region for hunting and travel.
18. The State of New York owns about 43 percent of the land in the Adirondack Park. The rest is privately owned but still protected.
19. Only about 130,000 people live in the Adirondack Park year-round.
20. Nearly 84 million people live within a day’s drive of the Adirondack Park and 10 million people visit the Adirondack Park each year.
21. The Adirondack Mountains have been an outdoor playground and place of rejuvenation for hundreds of hundreds of years.
22. The term “vacation” is said to have originated in the Adirondacks. Wealthy New York City residents would “vacate” the city during the sticky summer months and stay in the cool, northern woods of the Adirondack Mountains.
23. The Adirondack Chair was created in Westport, New York, on the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain.
24. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States at the North Creek train station in the Adirondacks in 1901 after President William McKinley died from a gunshot wound. Roosevelt received word of McKinley’s turn for the worse while hiking up Mount Marcy.
25. The Adirondack Mountains are part of the Canadian Shield geological formation. These relatively new mountains were created by geological uplift followed by etching and carving from mile-high glaciers.
26. Unlike linear mountain ranges that form along tectonic plate boundaries, the Adirondack Mountains resemble a dome shape and are estimated to be 1.2 billion years old.
27. Geologist think there is a geological “hotspot” beneath the Adirondacks that causes the mountains to grow at a rate of 1.5 millimeters year. The Adirondack Mountains are growing faster than the Himalayas, at a rate of one foot every 100 years.
28. Although the Adirondack Mountains are young, the most common mineral found in the Park, anorthosite, is among the oldest on earth.
29. Because people have coexisted with nature in the Adirondack Park for more than 100 years, the Park is considered a model way for humans to protect precious land areas near large population zones.