Located within Adirondack Park in northeastern New York State, the 2.6-million-acre Adirondack Forest Preserve is the first state forest preserve in the United States. To prevent destructive deforestation driven by private and commercial interests, the New York State Legislature, in 1885, declared that State-owned lands in several Adirondack counties should never be sold or leased in order to keep the land “forever wild.” In subsequent decades, the aspiration to prevent the removal of timber also extended to private lands in the Adirondack region. In 1894, a Constitutional Convention approved Article VII (now XIV), bringing New York's preserved forest lands under the state's highest level of protection.
Managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a legally protected wilderness, the landscapes of the Adirondack Forest Preserve range from rugged mountain peaks and remote lakes and ponds to millions of acres of intact forests. The preserve is also marked by nearly 2,000 miles of trails, with recreational activities that include hiking, camping, canoeing, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Within the preserve, the 107,230-acre Five Ponds Wilderness and the 23,816-acre Pepperbox Wilderness provide some of the remotest old-growth forests in the northeastern United States. In 1966, the Adirondack Forest Preserve was designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.