"Cut down the trees and two-thirds of all the
beauty of this region would depart. And how solemn it is to move all day
through a majestic colonnade of trees and feel that you are in a boundless
cathedral whose organ notes swell and die away with the passing wind like
some grand requiem. Still more exciting is it to lie at midnight by your
campfire and watch the moon sailing up amid the trees or listen to the cry
of the loon, wild and lonely, on the wild and lonely lake, or the hoot of
the owl in the deep recesses of the forest."
Joel T. Headly
"We have our little air holes in the cities,
which we call parks, and we have some sections of the west roped off by law
which the east is welcome to roam over if it can pay the carfare to them.
But it has remained for New York State to set aside more than a tithe of its
total area where men and women can seek sanctuary from cities and heat and
the everlasting press of things. And New York State has done more. She has
not only offered her mountains and lakes and woods to the tired student from
Ithaca, the tired philosopher from the Hub, the tired businessman from
everywhere, but she has made trails through the mountains, has stocked the
streams and lakes, and is doing her best to preserve the forest. The
citizens of the State pay for this, and anybody can enjoy their gift for a
thank-you. All that they request is care in the enjoyment. Great care is the
least return that we can make."
T. Morris Longstreth
"As a man tramps the woods to the lake he knows
he will find pines and lilies, blue herons and golden shiners, shadows on
the rocks and the glint of light on the wavelets, just as they were in the
summer of 1354, as they will be in 2054 and beyond. He can stand on a rock
by the shore and be in a past he could not have known, in a future he will
never see. He can be a part of time that was and time yet to
William Chapman White, Adirondack Country
"The fact is new and seems strange to many that
there should be in the northeastern part of New York a wilderness almost
unbroken and unexplored, embracing a territory considerably larger than the
whole state of Massachusetts; a territory exhibiting every variety of soil,
from the bold mountain that lifts its head up far beyond the limit of
vegetable life to the most beautiful meadow land on which the eye ever
Rev. John Todd
"The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer
is this, "What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?" and my
answer must at once be, "It is no use." There is not the slightest
prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the
behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may
turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But
otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of
gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single
foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It's no use.
"So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds
to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle
is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see
why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is,
after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat
and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what
life is for."
George Mallory, English
mountaineer who died in 1924
while attempting to summit Mt. Everest.
"Far above the chilly waters of Lake Avalanche, at an elevation
of 4,293 feet ... is a minute, unpretending tear of the clouds - as it were
- a lonely pool shivering in the breezes of the mountains, and sending its
limpid surplus through Feldspar Brook to the Opalescent River, the
well-spring of the Hudson."
who led the first extensive survey of the Adirondacks and pushed for the
creation of the Park. In this quote he is referring to Lake Tear of the
Clouds, the highest source of the Hudson River.
"Each day mankind and the claims of mankind
slipped farther from him. Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as
often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt
compelled to turn his back on the fire and the beaten earth around it, and
to plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew not where or why; nor did
he wonder where or why..."
Jack London, in
The Call of the Wild
"If we had in the city six vacant lots available
to youngsters of a certain neighborhood for playing ball, it might be
"development" to build houses on the first, and the second, and
the third, and the fourth, and even on the fifth, but when we build houses
on the last one, we forget what houses are for. The sixth house would not
be development at all but rather stupidity."
"I went to the woods because I wished to live
deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could
not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I
had not lived"
Henry David Thoreau, Where I
Lived, and What I Lived For
"Who are we? We find that we live on an
insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some
forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than
"Wilderness complements and completes
civilization. I might say that the existence of wilderness is also a
compliment to civilization. Any society that feels itself too poor to
afford the preservation of wilderness is not worthy of the name of
Edward Abby, Down the
"After having some business dealings with men, I
am occasionally chagrined, and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is
hard to forget the ugly circumstance. I see that such intercourse long
continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard, and coarse. But the
longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does not thus
harden and make coarse. A hard insensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom
I have no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are
Henry David Thoreau
"You are entering an Arctic Alpine Plant zone.
The plants are rare, fragile, and very much endangered. Walking and sitting
on them will kill them! Please walk only on the trail or on solid rock
|Alpine zone sign just below|
the summit of Mt. Colden.
Text found on signs placed along
trails just before the hiker breaks treeline.
"The Majority already has its roads and hotels.
Only a small minority enjoy art galleries, libraries, and universities.
Yet no one would suggest making these facilities into bowling alleys,
circuses, or hot dog stands just because more people would use them.
Quality has a claim as well as quantity."
"In a canoe a man changes and the life he has
lived seems strangely remote. Time is no longer of moment, for he has become
part of space and freedom. What matters is that he is heading down the misty
trail of explorers and voyageurs, with a fair wind and a chance for a good
camp somewhere ahead."
Sigurd F. Olson
"Bear in mind ... that the lower animals are
only unhappy when made so by man; that man alone of all the creatures, has
"found out many inventions," the chief of which appears to be the
art of making himself miserable."
"...it's likely to occur to you that our daily
lives in the cities are full of seeing, hearing, and worrying over a great
many things that are of no damn consequence whatever."
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken,
over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains
is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and
reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating
rivers but as fountain of life."
"The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West," Atlantic
Monthly, January 1898.
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