ADK’s Conservation Guidelines

Protecting Public Lands and Recreational Waters

New York State’s six million acres of public land and its numerous recreational waterways are threatened by the increasing unpredictability in our global climate, pollution, over-development, over-use, and damaging invasive species. ADK works to protect all of New York’s publicly-owned natural places ensuring they remain unspoiled and protected for the enjoyment of everyone within the letter and spirit of the Forever Wild Clause of the New York State Constitution.

ADK is deeply concerned about the global climate. We work to safeguard critical habitats needed for species adaptation, promote natural processes to protect landscapes and natural carbon sequestration, and support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to ensure the survival of functioning ecosystems and human communities.

We work to ensure access to public lands and recreational waterways; to protect them from threats such as aquatic invasive species and pollutants such as oil spills, mercury, and acid rain; and from exploitation.

We work to save critical habitat and species. The increasing pressure on habitat from human impacts such as sprawl, invasive species, and climate change make identification and protection of threatened ecosystems a priority. Some species, like eastern hemlock, which is threatened by hemlock woolly adelgid, are foundation species, whose unique protective habitats will be destroyed if the species fails. Monitoring and guarding habitat of protected or special concern species, such as the common loon, is also critical. Advocating for wilderness and public land acquisition and protection are essential tools in this campaign.

Playing in ways that promote responsible recreation.

Connecting people with the natural world is perhaps the single most important action that will lead to a change in human understanding and behavior to protect our planet from over-use and habitat destruction. Promoting muscle-powered recreation and creating safe recreational environments through trail building and maintenance, sufficient law enforcement, skills training, Leave No Trace Principles™, and backcountry stewardship provide deeply satisfying experiences, enhanced personal and community health, and direct action to minimize impact.

We seek to live and play sustainably every day. We can all learn to adapt to a more responsible and ethical way of living with our earth. The Leave No Trace Principles™ that we follow in our recreational experiences can be adapted to everyday living so that by planning ahead, being respectful of all living things, and minimizing our impact in our daily lives we will build a sustainable path to healthy communities and ecosystems for those who follow.