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The Adirondacks: Images of America’s Largest Protected Area

Created in 1892 by the state of New York, the park was preserved just when it was on the brink of widespread deforestation. Today, its 6 million acres encompass 105 towns and villages, making it a unique mix of conservation and civilization.

 
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 A classic wooden boat heads into the channel toward First Lake.

 


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Due to the pandemic, traffic is currently limited on the five-mile long roadway to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Construction began in 1929 when Franklin Roosevelt was governor. He returned six years later for the opening, this time as president.


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Waiting for permission to reopen, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad remains idle in Thendara.


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For nearly three decades, the annual Antique Wooden Boat Show has been held in Old Forge. This year's event had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus.


 

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People and deer peacefully coexist in Old Forge. Visitors love them. Residents, not so much.


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A tree grows through the roof of Hoss's Country Corner in the town of Long Lake. The general store is open for business but had to cancel its annual author's night event this year.


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In years past, hikers were encouraged to climb the steps of the restored Bald Mountain fire tower, the most visited tower in the Adirondacks. Today, the lookout is closed due to COVID.


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A secluded spot on Minerva Lake.


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The Clearwater will not cruise the Fulton Chain of Lakes this summer due to COVID-19. "Captain Paul" has put his boat and his company up for sale.


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Logging was once the dominant industry in the Adirondacks. Deforestation in the 1800s led to the creation of the Adirondack Park.


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On top of Whiteface Mountain, one of the Adirondack High Peaks.


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Built in 1874, the North Creek Station helped make Adirondack tourism possible. It is the site where Theodore Roosevelt learned he was soon to become president, after the assassination of President McKinley.


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The Adirondack Hotel on Long Lake was built in 1898, replacing an earlier hotel that was destroyed by fire.


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With three boats on the water and a few changes to the schedule, the Lake George Steamboat Company is offering sightseeing and dinner cruises this summer. But the annual "Rock the Dock" event has been cancelled.


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The owners of the Strand Theater in Old Forge continue to make improvements as they wait for permission to reopen.


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The hotel registration book from 1922 is still at the front desk at the Woods Inn in the town of Inlet.


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Taking wedding pictures at 4,867 feet on the summit of Whiteface Mountain.


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Now a restaurant, the nearly century-old Big Moose Station sits at a higher elevation than any train station east of the Mississippi River.


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Fishing on Fourth Lake is one of the few things that hasn't been affected by the pandemic.


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The owners of the Strand Theater in Old Forge display their vast collection of cameras for all to see. "People now just drop them off. Sometimes on our way out the door we'll find a box of cameras on the step."


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The Mountainman Outdoor Supply store in Old Forge is still limited to curbside pickup of kayaks. Business is good although boat, bike and gear rentals are indefinitely suspended.


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The rising price of lakefront property means that not everyone can afford to live like a 19th century industrialist in one of their great camps.


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Annual snowfall records are posted Inside the Old Forge government offices. The economic well-being of the town rises and falls with the total number of inches.


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Social distancing on Minerva Lake.


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Dave Rowe, owner of the Donut Shop in Eagle Bay, twice had a deal to sell the business and move to Florida. But both deals fell through.


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The Enchanted Forest/Water Safari park has not been given permission to open due to the pandemic. Smaller businesses in the area depend on the tourist traffic generated by the family-friendly attraction.


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The owner of this former Howard Johnson's in Old Forge recently restored the exterior using the iconic restaurant chain's signature colors.


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White Lake is one of few spring-fed lakes in the Adirondack Park. This year's Fourth of July picnic, blessing of the fleet and boat parade all fell victim to the pandemic.


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David Kidd is a photojournalist and storyteller for Governing. He can be reached at dkidd@governing.com.
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