NYS Backcountry Stewardship Program

Adirondack Park. Photo of Lake Lila by MWanner via a CC License

New York State – Department of Environmental Conservation

Just a few hours north of New York City, the Adirondack Mountains offer an outdoor paradise. These mountains lie within the Adirondack Park, and contain millions of acres of protected land. Pristine and expansive, the Adirondacks’ mountains and rivers have inspired generations to hike, paddle and play in nature.

Representing the largest protected area in the contiguous United States, the Adirondack Mountains boast more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails, over 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 1,200 miles of rivers.

The Adirondack Mountains are the place to experience the thrill of every season and climate, to connect with nature and feel the great power of untouched wilderness. The Department of Environmental Conservation takes great care and pride in preserving the mountains, maintaining trails and structures that can be used to hike or camp in the area, and providing important information to explorers.

The Backcountry Stewardship Program is part of a long-running partnership between SCA and DEC that began more than a decade ago in the Hudson River Valley and the Adirondacks. With support from the Environmental Protection Fund, approximately 25 SCA interns will traverse Adirondack and Catskill Parks, the shores of Lake Ontario and numerous State Forests, Conservation Easement lands and New York State Forest Preserve lands. These individuals will hike and paddle through New York’s backcountry, protecting resources, monitoring usage and providing visitor services. The conservation work performed by the interns, combined with the public outreach and education provided by all of these individuals, will go a long way toward ensuring the preservation of these natural treasures for many years to come.

Working with DEC Foresters and Forest Rangers, the Backcountry Stewards will also educate the public about the appropriate use of state lands, including “Leave No Trace” principles for camping and hiking, and DEC rules and regulations. In addition, they will provide a direct communication link with local forest rangers and DEC Emergency Dispatch if greater assistance is needed, and assist in search and rescue missions and wildfire suppression.

For additional information contact [email protected]