The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, originally developed by the Adirondack Park Agency in 1972, divides the lands of the Forest Preserve into several classifications. DEC manages individual areas of the Forest Preserve in accordance with the guidelines given in the Master Plan, as summarized for the major classifications below:
There are 17 wilderness areas with a total area of about 1 million acres. Because access by motor vehicles and bicycles is not allowed, wilderness areas afford visitors exceptional opportunities for solitude in remote forest settings. The St. Regis Canoe Area is managed as a wilderness, but with special emphasis on travel by canoe.
About 1.3 million acres of Forest Preserve land are classified as wild forest. These diverse lands offer a wider range of recreational opportunities. Limited access by motor vehicle is permitted on designated roads, and most trails are open to mountain bicycles. Some wild forest areas have extensive snowmobile trail systems. Areas like the Moose River Plains and Aldrich Pond Wild Forests are available for a variety of motorized and non- motorized recreation.
Primitive areas generally are Forest Preserve land areas that have the natural characteristics of Wilderness but either because of small size or the presence of roads or other man made features cannot be classified as Wilderness. There are two dozen Primitive Areas and corridors totaling approximately 51,000 acres of land within the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
Historic areas are properties that are significant in New York State history and are now owned by the State of New York. There are three historic areas in the Adirondack Park: Camp Santanoni, John Brown's Farm and grave site and Crown Point. All are listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places and have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. Camp Santanoni is the only publicly owned Adirondack Great Camp and is managed by DEC as an Historic Area. More information about Crown Point and John Browns Farm and how to get there is available by visiting the website for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Intensive Use Areas
A number of places within the Forest Preserve are developed for more Intensive recreational use. Besides the Gore Mountain and Whiteface Mountain Ski Areas and the scenic highways ascending Whiteface and Prospect Mountains, there are numerous campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the region.