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Great South Woods Complex Plan

The Great South Woods (GSW) project is the first planning exercise to be conducted on a much larger scale than that of individual State land management units. A new approach was undertaken to conduct recreation planning at a landscape scale, beyond the boundaries of individual management units, and to engage communities and stakeholders in the design of a destination-based system of trails and infrastructure that could stimulate economic activity while protecting the Adirondack Park's ecosystems and wild character. The process used to develop the GSW Strategy and Recommendations emphasized public participation and prioritized local knowledge and community-generated ideas to inform recreation planning at multiple scales.

The GSW process was designed and led by the State University of New York - Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in collaboration with representatives from DEC, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors.

Project Objectives

  • Optimize the potential of the Great South Woods to provide a wide spectrum of outdoor recreational activities available on Forest Preserve, conservation easement, municipal and private lands across the region;
  • Establish a new community-based land-and-water trail and lodging system that would strengthen community linkages to each other and to nearby Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands;
  • Better develop front-country areas of State lands for improved access and greater enjoyment of diverse - including motorized - recreational activities;
  • Improve protection of back-country areas of State lands in their primitive, wild condition while improving their trail systems for heightened enjoyment of self-powered recreation.

Download the Plan

Great South Woods Complex Plan - PDF (19.4 MB) - This is a very large file and may take a long time to download. As an alternative, you may download individual sections below.

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