The word Adirondack is believed to come from a Mohawk word that means “eater of trees.” The park that bears its name covers over 6 million acres of land and has over 10,000 lakes within it, which breaks down to roughly one lake for every 13 year-round residents.
In 1892, the park was established by New York State for “the free use of all the people for their health and pleasure.” Three years later, the State of New York amended its Constitution to proclaim: “the lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold, or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed, or destroyed.”
The ability of the park to withstand legal challenges to its preservation led the United States to use it as a model when, in 1964, the Congress passed, and Lyndon Johnson signed into law, the Wilderness Act, after over sixty drafts and eight years of work. Today, the United States have 110 million acres of protected land, or 5% of the country, thanks in part to the inspiration provided by the astounding natural beauty of the Adirondacks.