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New York's Forest Preserve

For a list of DEC-managed recreation lands see the Places to Go page.

Location of New York's Forest Preserve

Of the 4.9 million acres of land managed by DEC, nearly 3 million acres, or 61%, are classified as Forest Preserve. Comprised of 2.7 million acres in the Adirondack Park and 288,000 acres within the Catskill Park, these lands represent a majority of all state-owned property within the two regions.

The two parks were designated by the New York State legislature near the turn of the 20th century, and originally included only the state-owned Forest Preserve land. The description of each park was revised in 1912 to include ALL lands, both public and private, within each "Blue Line". This term is commonly used today, as blue is the color used on many maps to delineate the two parks.

Protected as "forever wild" by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution (leaves DEC website), New York's Forest Preserve lands range from remote backcountry to DEC-operated campgrounds, and have exceptional ecological, scenic, and recreational value. Rugged mountain peaks, remote lakes and ponds, millions of acres of unfragmented forests, and nearly 2,000 miles of trails provide ample opportunity for many types of recreation while providing a variety of habitats for plants and wildlife. Striking a balance between resource protection and recreational use of the Forest Preserve is guided by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (leaves DEC's website), the Catskill Park State Land Master Plan (PDF), and individual unit management plans.

Catskill Visitor Center

Stop at the Catskill Visitor Center on
Rte . 28 in Mt. Tremper to plan your next trip or
learn about the Catskills' recreational, historic
and cultural locations and events.

The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center (CVC) at 5096 Rte. 28 in Mt. Tremper NY is your gateway to all the Catskills has to offer.

The CVC opened in July 2015. Visitors can learn about the Catskills' extraordinary recreational, cultural and historic opportunities as well as take advantage of a variety of tourist services through the Center's iPads and wall displays.

The CVC is staffed seven days a week, from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM through a partnership including the Catskill Center, the NY-NJ Trail Conference, Catskill Mountain Club, Ulster County Tourism, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and DEC. Learn more about the CVC or use their interactive trip planner on their website.

Forest Preserve Brochures

DEC's full-color, fold-out Forest Preserve brochures have great tips on planning your next adventure! Contact the offices indicated to request hard copies.

Visit our Welcome to the Catskills and Welcome to the Adirondacks webpages for more information and resources on the recreation opportunities mentioned in the brochures.

Adirondack Forest Preserve Map and Guide

Copies of the 2021 Adirondack Forest Preserve Map and Guide are available at DEC's Region 5, Region 6, and Albany offices. The foldable booklet is available for viewing below.

Catskill Park Map and Guide

Copies of the 2018 Catskill Park Map and Guide are available at The Catskill Visitor Center (leaves DEC website), DEC's Region 3, Region 4, and Albany offices, and local tourism offices. The brochure is also available for download below.

More about New York's Forest Preserve: