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About the Adirondack Park

The Adirondack region boasts over 3,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and a wide variety of habitats, including globally unique wetland types and old-growth forests. The heart of the Adirondack Park is the Forest Preserve, which was created by an act of the Legislature in 1885 which stated, “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 state of New York either owns or has protective easements on approximately half of the six million acres. Of the remaining private lands, there are private homes and camps, forestry companies, farms, and open space recreation. The Adirondack Park is unique in its intricate mixture of public and private lands. About 130,000 people live here year-round in its 101 towns and villages. The harmonious blend of private and public lands give the Adirondacks a diversity found nowhere else – open space and recreational lands, wildlife and flora, mountains and meadows, and people from all walks of life.
To identify and protect the natural resources of the Park, all parcels and lots of land, in both the private and public sectors, are classified in the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map and State Land Map. The largest single category of land (totaling 1.3 million acres) is Wild Forest, where a variety of outdoor recreation activities are allowed. Other types of State Lands are: Primitive and Canoe areas; Intensive Use areas (such as public campgrounds), and State Historic Sites. The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan sets policies for managing state-owned lands.
The Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan also apply to the remaining 3.4 million acres of private land in the Park. The Plan is designed to balance the Park’s natural resources and open-space character, with human resources.  Under the Plan, all private lands are mapped into six land use classifications: hamlet, moderate intensity use, low-intensity use, rural use, resource management, and industrial use. Guidelines are specified for the intensity of development within each category, based on the number of buildings per square mile.
While these guidelines can be confusing to a property owner, the team at Coldwell Banker Whitbeck can help guide you with your Adirondack purchase.

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