"The lands of the State, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the Forest Preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold, or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public, or private, nor should the timber thereon be sold, removed, or destroyed."

Article VII, Section 7 of the New York State Constitution was unanimously ratified on Thursday, September 13, 1894, by all 112 delegates to the Constitutional Convention. In the fall of that same year, the voters of the state approved the addition to the Constitution. In 1938 the clause was given its own article in the Constitution, Article XIV. It now requires a Constitutional amendment to change any Forest Preserve lands; an amendment requires passage in both houses of the legislature for two consecutive years and then approval by a majority of the state's population. This has only occurred a handful of times. The amendments with probably the most lasting effect were those authorizing the construction of the Whiteface Mountain Veterans' Memorial Highway (1927), built in honor of World War I veterans, and Interstate 87, the Adirondack Northway (1959). However, there have been numerous threats to the Forest Preserve in the way of proposed amendments; most of these were defeated once they came in front of the general public.

View the full text of Article XIV in the current NYS Constitution.

Go to the Political History of the Adirondacks.
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