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But whether more should be done to oversee future development is a controversy that never cools to below a simmer. The presence of pristine landscape, after all, is what has always drawn people to the Adirondacks.
It's extraordinary to find open and untrammeled spaces of the magnitude found here, with New York, Boston, and Montreal only a half-day's drive away.
Each place you discover contends for your affections.
With 2,800 lakes and ponds to explore, how do you decide if the open waters and mountain views of Long Lake are preferable to the intimacy of deep-woods kettle holes like Nellie Pond and her sister, Bessie?
The story of the great camps, however, is just one episode, albeit the most baroque, in a long and colorful history of people at play in these woods."It makes a man feel what it is to have all creation under his feet," said the legendary guide John Cheney, after the first recorded ascent of Mount Marcy, tallest of the peaks, in 1837.And John Cheney, tradition has it, was a master of understatement. It's defined by cool morning air, deep vistas, and silence broken only by the trickle of an oar cutting through a mirror lake, the snap of a twig, the hoot of an owl.It's an odd park, though, for less than half the land within its boundaries is actually owned by the government.Since 1894, that portion, nearly 2.6 million acres, has been set aside as "forever wild." No tree in the preserve can be cut without a vote of the people.