Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

New York's Forest Preserve

Location of New York's Forest Preserve

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

Of the 4.7 million acres of land managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), nearly 3 million acres, or 61%, are classified as Forest Preserve. Comprised of 2.6 million acres in the Adirondack Forest Preserve and 286,000 acres within the Catskill Forest Preserve, these lands represent a majority of all state owned property within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

Tall pine tree

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 the "Blue Line". This term is commonly used today, as blue is the color used on state maps to delineate the two parks.

Protected as "forever wild" by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution, New York's Forest Preserve lands have exceptional scenic, recreational, and ecological 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 recreational use and resource protection in the Forest Preserve is achieved through a park-wide land classification system and individual unit management plans.

More about New York's Forest Preserve: