At six million acres, the Adirondack Park is the largest protected region in the contiguous United States. In fact, it's larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Glacier National Parks combined! This massive expanse of nature, divided into both public and private land, provides endless outdoor recreation opportunities for residents of New York State and visitors from all over the country and the world. Hiking, paddling, camping, fishing, hunting, climbing, skiing, snowmobiling - all of this and more is possible in the Adirondacks. From accessible nature trails to rugged mountains towering at over 5,000 feet, small ponds to the enormous Lake Champlain, there is a destination for every size and kind of adventure - and it is yours to explore. All that is asked of you in return is that you recreate safely and do your part to preserve this incredible place for generations to come.
Enjoy Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement Lands of the Adirondack Park
Of the 4.8 million acres of land managed by DEC's Division of Lands and Forests, nearly 3 million acres, or 61%, are classified as Forest Preserve, 2.6 million of those acres are in the Adirondack Park. Protected as "forever wild" by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution, New York's Forest Preserve lands range from remote backcountry to DEC-operated campgrounds, and have exceptional scenic, recreational, and ecological value. Rugged mountain peaks, remote lakes and ponds, millions of acres of unfragmented forests and nearly 2,000 miles of trails provide ample opportunity for many types of recreation while also providing a variety of habitats for plants and wildlife. Striking a balance between recreational use and resource protection is achieved through a park-wide land classification system and individual unit management plans.
- Forest Preserve Units (Regions 5 and 6) provide information on specific Adirondack Forest Preserve lands and their recreational opportunities (such as hiking, paddling, camping, etc.) and direct users to trailheads, parking areas, and nearby amenities.
DEC holds several conservation easements in the Adirondack region that allow for some level of public recreation. Every conservation easement is different regarding public access and recreation opportunities, so please be sure to read a property's individual webpage or contact the local DEC office for details.
- Conservation Easement Tracts (Regions 5 and 6) provide detailed background information, regulations, and recreational opportunities pertaining to each tract of land.
Wildlife Management Areas
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are lands owned by New York State under the control and management of the DEC's Bureau of Wildlife. These lands have been acquired primarily for the purposes of wildlife reproduction and survival. They provide great opportunities for wildlife-related recreation such as hunting, trapping, and fishing as well as areas for the public to interact with a wide variety of wildlife species through photography and bird watching. Several WMAs have accessible features, such as hunting blinds, fishing platforms, hand boat launches, trails, and kiosks. See the Accessible Recreation Destinations in the next section.