Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Private Adirondacks

The Adirondack Park was created to be forever wild, but it is filled with privately owned homes, private clubs sitting on tens of thousands of privately held acres, and great camp compounds of wealthy families, passed down through generations. Along with the spirit of public benefit and openness, and free access to nature that compelled the State of New York to set aside this great Park as a protected haven for the people to enjoy, there is an equally compelling drive to keep parts of the Park very private, hidden from view. This is true in places like the Adirondack League Club and the Ausable Club in St. Huberts, New York. It is true, too, all around, in camps large and modest, whose owners tack POSTED NO TRESPASSING signs on every other tree. Private roads, private drives, private parks: these are everywhere mixed with the public lands that the State and the people have reserved for our own, and future, generations. There is a desire among property owners to shelter their Adirondack homes as secluded havens from the tempests of city life and, in a larger sense, to keep the secret to themselves.


  1. Anonymous11:37 PM

    The comments about the Ausable
    Club are not correct. The Ausable
    Club/Adirondack Mountain Reserve
    has permitted hikers to pass through its land for over a 100 year. This tradition continues.
    The issue of private property
    involved camping. NY State has
    plenty of camping land adjacent to the AMR with the request by the AMR to use their land for day hiking.
    We'll see you on the mountains.

  2. The commenter is correct - many clubs, like the Ausable Club, do also permit access to the lands to the public, but it is circumscribed. The nature of a private club is that it's private. That is why there are gates, gatehouses, posted signs and restricted membership. There is nothing wrong with exclusivity and there is plenty of space for the public to enjoy the Park. But the privately held adirondacks are, rightly, unto themselves. That is part of the character of the Park.