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The History of the Adirondacks
A Timeline

cascade2.jpg (23462 bytes)10,000 BC - Algonquin speaking peoples began visiting the region to hunt and fish.

2,000 BC to the 1600's - Iroquois people had settled and farmed in the Mohawk, St. Lawrence and other river valleys, continuing a seasonal forages into the Adirondack region. The name "Adirondack" may have derived from the Iroquois word "ha-de-ron-dah", which means "bark-eater," a derisive term they gave to the Algonquins.

1600 - The first Europeans arrive. Samuel Champlain and Father Isaac Jogues were the first Europeans to visit the region

1700 - Scattered settlements and military posts are located along Lake George and Lake Champlain, a focal point in the struggle between France and Britain for control of North America

1757-1763 - French and Indian War. The largest land battle in American history before the Civil War occurred at Carillon (Fort Ticonderoga) in 1758.

1776 -1783 - The American Revolution. The capture of Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point in May 1775 are pivotal battles. Cannon from these posts were used to drive British troops from Boston. The Battle of Valcour Island (1776) in Lake Champlain delayed a British invasion of New York from Canada by a year. This invading army was later defeated at the Battle of Saratoga (1777).

Late 1700's to Mid 1800's - Rich iron deposits were discovered in the Champlain Valley, setting off a round of land clearing, settlement and mining that continued for the next century. Rivers, flowing out from the center of the region provided the transportation for millions of pine, spruce, and hemlock logs to mills around the rim of the mountains. Logging continued slowly but relentlessly into the interior of the mountains during the late 1800's. The discovery of iron ore fueled efforts to develop iron mines, furnaces and forges in many places in the region. A burgeoning demand for timber pushed loggers deeper into the wilderness. Farming communities developed in many of the river valleys. Serious exploration of many areas did not occur until after 1870.

1837 - First recorded ascent of Mount Marcy by Ebeneezer Emmons

1872 - The State Legislature authorizes an expenditure of $1,000 to Verplanck Colvin "to aid in completing a survey of the Adirondack wilderness of New York, and a map thereof."

1874 - Verplanck Colvin, the director of the state survey of the region, reported to the New York State Legislature:

"Unless the region be preserved essentially in its present wilderness condition, the ruthless burning and destruction of the forest will slowly, year after year, creep onward . . . and vast areas of naked rock, arid sand, and gravel will alone remain to receive the bounty of the clouds and be unable to retain it."

1880's - The region became a popular destination for residents of polluted, industrializing cities. Vacations in the northern wilderness were recommended for health, well being and as a cure for tuberculosis. Hotels, inns and guide services sprang up to serve visitors. During this time it became fashionable for the wealthy to establish "great camp" estates.

1883 - The legislature responded by withdrawing all state lands from sale.

1885 - The legislature adopted legislation establishing the Forest Preserve (FP) stating that the land “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” This was the start of protecting the Adirondack wilderness.

1968 - The Temporary State Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks was created, chaired by a long supporter of preserving the Adirondack region, Harold Hochschild, the founder of the Adirondack Museum. The commission recommended, in 1970, that the Forest Preserve article in the constitution be left as is, and that the suggestion to become a national park be dropped. Another recommendation was very controversial and read as follows:

An independent, bipartisan Adirondack Park Agency should be created by statute with general power over the use of private and public land in the Park.

1971 - The bill to create the Adirondack Park Agency passed

1972 - The APA presented the state land master plan. It divided the areas into a number of categories based on the extent that man had affected land use ranging from wilderness to travel corridors.

1973 - The Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan was passed by the legislature

Currently: The Adirondack Park includes portions of 12 counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington. The population is about 126 thousand permanent residents and about 100 thousand seasonal visitors (2002 statistics).

Adirondack Park Acreage Totals as of August 2000



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