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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 4.8 million acres of land managed by DEC's Division of Lands and Forests, nearly 3 million acres, or 61%, are classified as Forest Preserve. Comprised of over 2.6 million acres in the Adirondack Forest Preserve and over 287,000 acres within the Catskill Forest Preserve, these lands represent a majority of all state-owned property within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

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.

View of the Adirondack High Peaks
Adirondack High Peaks. Photo by Wayne Jones.

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:

  • Adirondack Forest Preserve - The Adirondack Forest Preserve is defined as the 2.6 million acres of state land within the Adirondack Park.
  • Catskill Forest Preserve - The Catskill Forest Preserve is defined as the 286,000 acres of state land within southeastern New York's Catskill Park.
  • Forest Preserve Unit Descriptions - Descriptions of Forest Preserve units: recreation activities, guidelines for use, and maps
  • Birth of the Blue Line - Learn how the boundaries of both the Adirondack and Catskill Park Preserves were established
  • Article XIV of the New York State Constitution - The 1894 Constitutional Convention approved a new Article VII (now XIV). This proposal was approved by the people at the 1894 General Election and became effective on January 1, 1895.