Adirondacks State Park

Adirondacks State Park
Adirondacks State Park (Joe Sohm/Photodisc/Getty)

The Adirondacks arose approximately ten million years ago. The Adirondacks are not part of the Appalachians, but rather, the Canadian Shield. The exposed bedrock on the summits is 1.2 million years old, among the oldest in world.

1,200 miles of rivers run in the Adirondacks, fed by 3,000 miles of brooks and streams. One of the major reasons for founding the park was protecting the Hudson River watershed, which flows out the Adirondacks from Lake Tear-of-Clouds on the slope of Mt. Marcy. The park also contains about 2,800 lakes and ponds, the largest of which include Lake George and Lake Champlain.

The Adirondack forest supports over 70 different species of trees. Spruce is the leading variety, followed by fir, beech, birch, and maple. The five major plant communities are white pine, spruce swamp forest, mixed wood, hardwood, and upper spruce slope. At the top of the the highest peaks, alpine plant communities hold on, with their distinctive tough plants, mosses, and lichens.

More than 55 mammals walk the Adirondacks, notably beaver, raccoon, porcupine, weasel, mink, otter, bobcat, white-tailed deer, and black bear. Moose and lynx have been reintroduced to the park. And there is a growing group who want to see the wolf return.

The Adirondacks plentiful waters are rich in fish varieties—86 in all, including salmon, trout, bass, northern pike, and walleye. As for birds, 218 species have been spotted, including warblers, loons, herons, hawks, woodpeckers, ducks, hawks, and bald eagles.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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