Woody Guthrie said it best…this land is your land. These words reflect our deep connection to nature and remind us of our duty to protect the places we love. The peaceful solitude and restorative energy we enjoy in the wild are not guaranteed. Crowds and harmful human behaviors are damaging our public lands and threatening their natural beauty. We are all obligated to preserve them today and for future generations. Your gift to ADK will help do just that.

In recent years, the Adirondacks and, in particular, the Eastern High Peaks has seen a massive influx of hikers drawn by beautiful vistas and a desire to “unplug.” The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the continental United States, with sixty million people living within a day’s drive. The Adirondacks thrive on tourism, yet the old adage, “be careful what you wish for,” rings true. The increase in visitors to our beloved High Peaks brings questions of sustainability.

High recreational use presents a host of challenges, including damage to vegetation, trail erosion, human waste, negative human-wildlife interactions, as well as lost or injured hikers owing to lack of preparation or knowledge.

The problem is not limited to the Adirondacks, however. The effects of irresponsible recreation are visible on public lands throughout New York State.

How can we address these challenges?

Your support is crucial. For nearly 100 years, ADK has been committed to maintaining trails, stewarding the land, and advocating for wilderness. When people learn to recreate responsibly and develop an internal motivation to want to protect their public lands, wilderness thrives. ADK believes education is the most effective and sustainable way to limit the impacts of high use in the High Peaks and elsewhere. And you are a critical partner in our efforts to protect the natural environment.

Together, we are making a difference through:

  • Leave No Trace Outdoor Skills and Ethics Training
    Instilling a set of ethics to guide those recreating in the outdoors.
  • Teaching Authority of the Resource
    A communication technique that uses nature’s innate power to help others understand the impact of their behaviors.
  • Skills Workshops and Programs
    Teaching skills in backcountry preparedness and safety.
  • Citizen Science
    Training volunteers to monitor and report invasive species.
  • Summit Stewardship
    Protecting rare alpine plants from hiker impact.
  • Trail Maintenance
    Allowing access while protecting the surrounding environment.
  • Publications and Information Services
    Providing the tools to help people reach their goals and make safe, informed decisions along the way.
  • Digital Communications and Outreach
    Reaching over a half million people with educational messages.
  • Peer Training
    Sharing best practices so other groups and organizations can teach outdoor ethics.
  • Advocating for public land protections
    Defending all of New York’s publicly owned natural places.

This land truly is your land, and it needs you now more than ever. Let’s work together to help everyone discover how to simultaneously respect and enjoy the places they love. Your gift today supports the above initiatives and helps ensure the future of New York’s beautiful and beloved wilderness areas.

With gratitude,

Neil Woodworth's signature

Neil Woodworth
Executive Director and Counsel

P.S. We are loving New York’s popular scenic areas to death with behaviors that unintentionally harm the environment—but you can help. Your tax-deductible donation to ADK supports responsible recreation and protects the lands and waters we love.