KEENE VALLEY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Created in 1892, the Adirondack Park is known for its expansive forests, lakes, rivers, and outdoor recreational activities. The park contains six million acres and is the largest park in the contiguous United States. However, it does not have a national park designation.
The National Park Service is the organization that designates national parks and landmarks. There are a wide array of designations including national preserve, national monument, national memorial, national historic site, national seashore, and national battlefield park. The organization currently has around 19 naming designations.
The National Park System has 423 national places on its register. To be given a national designation, the place needs to meet the following criteria from the National Park Service:
- Possess nationally significant natural, cultural or recreational resources
- Be a suitable and feasible addition to the National Park System
- Require direct National Park Service management instead of protection by some other government agency or by the private sector
New York State does have sites that are designated as national places but does not have any national parks, such as Yellowstone or Arcadia. National sites in New York State include:
- Saratoga National Historic Park, Stillwater
- Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill
- Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park
- Statue of Liberty, National Monument, New York
- Fort Stanwix, National Monument, Rome
- Harriet Tubman National Historic Park, Auburn
- The Appalachian Trail, National Scenic Trail
According to the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Park takes up one-fifth of the state and is nearly three times the size of Yellowstone National Park. The park is a mix of state-owned and private land. More than half of the park is privately owned land, home to 130,000 permanent and 200,000 seasonal residents. The remaining 45% of the land is publicly owned forest preserve, protected as “Forever Wild” by the New York State Constitution since 1894.
Unlike a national park, the Adirondacks have no formal entrances and no entry fee, since it’s not just public land. The same thing goes for Catskill Park. It’s a mix of private and state-owned land, has no entrance fee, and is also protected as “Forever Wild” by the New York State Constitution.
The Adirondacks do not necessarily fit the criteria for a national park designation. Since much of the land is privately-owned, it doesn’t require direct National Park Service management. The public land is also currently managed by state agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Although the park does contain significant natural or recreational resources, it may not be suitable or feasible for the national park designation. A complete list of national sites can be found on the National Register of Historic Places, located on the National Park Service website.