Adirondack Fact Sheet   Just a few quick facts for the curious mind of what's in the invisible Blue Line.


   The Adirondacks are part of the Canadian Shield geological formation.  These mountains are relatively new mountains born as a result of orogeny (or uplift) followed by etching and carving by mile-high glaciers.  It is believed that there is a geological "hotspot" beneath the Adirondacks that is causing continual uplifting.  The mountains continue to grow at a rate of 1.5 millimeters annually.   Although the Adirondack mountains are young, the most common found mineral "anorthosite" in the Park is among the oldest of the various types of earth.  Unlike linear mountain ranges that form along tectonic plate boundaries, the Adirondack mountains resemble a dome shape.  The mountains are estimated to be 1.2 billion years old.


   This area was first named "Adirondack" by Professor Abenezer Emmons when he did his geological survey of the region in 1837; describing the well-known tribe of Indians who once hunted here.  Professor Emmons referred to the area as the "Adirondack Group."  The name "Adirondack" was not the name of one individual tribe, but rather the original terms used to refer to the Algonquin's who were forced to live on tree buds and bark during the severe winters.  The term "adirondack" was often disputed.  J.B. Hewitt of the Smithsonian Institution believed it was derived from the language of a tribe of Indians that lived on the lower Saint Lawrence in the early 1500's and it meant "They of the Great Rocks."  When it was passed onto the Iroquois, the meaning got mixed to mean "They Who Eat Trees."  Adirondack is also a Mohawk word for "porcupine" (whose diet consist of bark).  The Algonguian and Mohawk Indians were the first to use this region for hunting and travel. 


   There are several alpine summits in this region where rare plants thrive under adverse conditions.  The highest peak being Mount Marcy at 5,344 feet.  Mountain climbing is a favorite activity in the Park, and hikers have organized a Forty Sixer Club.  The Adirondack Park is home to black bear, white tailed deer, loons, mergansers, beavers, coyotes, fishers, bobcats and over 260 species of birds.   Because of the boreal forest habitat, the park has many breeding birds not found in most of New York.


The Adirondack Park region was created in 1882 by the New York State Legislature.  It includes 6.1 million acres and is best known for its mountains and lakes.  About 45% of the land is owned by the state and is regulated by the Adirondack Park Agency.   The Park is commonly referred to as the "Blue Line". The forest are compromised of hardwoods and softwoods, including maple, beech, balsam firm, hemlock, scotch and red pine and spruces of several varieties


   The Park is unique in its intricate mixture of public and private lands.  The park is a patchwork of parcels, large and small.  The Forest preserve belong to all the people of the State, others to industries and individual.  The Park is home to over 130,000 New Yorkers in 105 town and villages, with 200,000 seasonal residents.  The Park lies within a day's drive of 60 million people and it is estimated that 7 to 10 million tourists arrive in the park each year.   The heart of this great Park is its treasured Adirondack Forest Preserve (i.e. "The lands now or hereafter constituting the Forest Preserve shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.  They shall not be sold nor shall they be leased or taken by any person or corporation, public or private.").  The harmonious blend of private and public lands gives the Park diversity found nowhere else.


The Adirondack Park is full of flavors and there is NO Preserve admission charge!  ACHR's complimentary concierge site explores all the Adirondack Park's features (from boating, hiking, biking, birding, shops, restaurants, accommodations to the unique of bingo, farmer's markets to where are the waterfalls).  With our compliments, click on the icon shown.




     Abbreviated Facts:

  • Geography:  6.1 million acres, over 3,000 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles or rivers and 30,000 miles of brooks and streams.  The Adirondack Park is 2.5 times the area of Yellowstone National Park, and roughly the same size as the state of New Hampshire!  The Adirondack is the headwaters for most of the five major basins (Lake Champlain, Hudson, Black, St. Lawrence and Mohawk Rivers).  There are 46 high peaks of which 42 are over 4,000 feet high (including 9 alpine summits).  Mount Marcy is the highest peak in the Park at 5,344 feet.  The geologic formation is an estimated 1.2 billion years old.

  • Population:  130,000 permanent residents and 200,000 seasonal residents.  7 to 10 million visit annually.  There are 105 towns and hamlets and 43% of the land is State owned.

  • Historical:  In 1885, the NY State legislature created the Adirondack Park, and established a  "Blue Line" that was used to delineate a park boundaries.






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