The Adirondack Park encompasses approximately six million acres of public and private lands. These lands are a natural wonder of scenic mountains, pristine lakes and streams and extensive boreal and hardwood forests and include permanently protected public lands as well as working forests, farms, and economically diverse communities that together contribute to the Adirondacks’ unique natural and cultural character.
Although almost 2.6 million acres of land in the Adirondack Park’s blue line are protected as public “Forest Preserve,” almost half of the land in the park is under private ownership. Continued conservation and stewardship of critical open space and wildlife habitat on private lands is essential, especially along lakes, rivers and streams where development can affect scenic views, wildlife and water quality.
While most of the High Peaks in the Adirondack Park are permanently protected as Forest Preserve, the majority of lowland forests surrounding the High Peaks are still under private ownership. Lowland forest communities of the Ausable and Saranac River valleys contain some of region’s greatest biodiversity but are also subject to the greatest development pressure.
As part of its mapping initiative, LPLC identified four focus areas in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, each of which represents distinct landscape scale conservation initiatives characterized primarily by lowland forest communities and river valleys that have significant concentrations of private land (totaling almost 100,000 acres).