Forest Preserve (New York)

Forest Preserve (New York)

Forest Preserve (New York)

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New York's Forest Preserve is all the land owned by the state within the Adirondack and Catskill parks, managed by its Department of Environmental Conservation. These properties are required to be kept "forever wild" by Article 14 of the state constitution, and thus enjoy the highest degree of protection of wild lands in any state. It is thus necessary to amend the New York State Constitution in order to transfer any of these lands to another owner or lessee. Currently there are more than 2.6 million acres (10,400 km²) of Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks and 287,514 acres (1,150 km²) in the Catskills.

While today the Forest Preserve is valued largely as a conservation measure, its establishment in the 19th century was motivated primarily by economic considerations. Gradually its inherent worth as a nature preserve came to be seen, as it became a draw for recreation and tourism. A later amendment to Article 14 also made the lands important parts of water supply networks in the state, particularly New York City's, by allowing 3% of the total lands to be flooded for the construction of reservoirs.



During the years after the Civil War, the state's business community began to fear that unchecked logging in the Adirondacks could, through erosion, silt up the Erie Canal and eliminate the state's major economic advantage. They were informed by George Perkins Marsh's seminal 1865...
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