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Making Progress in our Public Process

A collaborative, community-based planning initiative to enhance and diversify public access to the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands in the southern Adirondack Park.

What is the ‘Great South Woods’?

The Great South Woods is a vast region of over 2 million acres including much of the southern and southwestern Adirondack Park. It is one of five regions identified by NYS DEC and APA for a new approach to landscape planning that emphasizes increased access to Forest Preserve and State-owned conservation easements lands, and increased connectivity among communities, via the development of destination-based recreation infrastructure and amenities.

Map of the Great South Woods Trail network

Project Partners

  • NYS DEC Division of Lands and Forests Forest Preserve Bureau
  • Adirondack Park Agency
  • Hamilton County Board of Supervisors
  • Leading E.D.G.E.

Final GSW Strategy & Recommendations

We are happy to announce the completion of the GSW project and the official release of our final reports and web resources to the public. Two pdf documents are available in electronic format: a full-length GSW Strategy and Recommendations report with appendices, and an abridged quick-reference guide to the GSW Recommendations. Both are large files that contain numerous high-resolution color maps and images, and therefore are not recommended for download on mobile devices or via slow internet connections. Hard copies are limited but can be requested at

The GSW Interactive Map

The GSW recommendations for trail features can be explored using an interactive online map hosted by, which provides the map interface and all of the secondary map layers available. ESF has provided the primary map layers that represent the recommendations produced through the GSW planning process.


We wish to extend our thanks to our partners at DEC, Adirondack Park Agency, the Hamilton Co Board of Supervisors, and many other individuals and organizations that contributed so much to the GSW process. Without their engagement and support, this project would not have been possible:

  • Nick Rose, CAP-21
  • The View, Old Forge
  • Bernadette Speach and Lisa Salamon, Gore Chamber of Commerce
  • Tannery Pond Community Center
  • Laura and Matt O'Brien, Oak Mountain Ski Resort
  • Lake Pleasant Central School
  • Piseco School
  • Northville Central School
  • Long Lake Central School
  • Bill Farber, Town of Morehouse
  • Brian Towers, Town of Wells
  • Clark Seaman, Town of Long Lake
  • Ron Vanselow, Town of Johnsburg
  • Craig Leggett, Town of Chester
  • .Brian Wells, Town of Indian Lake
  • Dan Wilt, Town of Speculator
  • Alexandra Roalsvig, Town of Long Lake Office of Parks and Recreation
  • Garet Livermore, Great Camp Sagamore
  • John Warren, Adirondack Almanack
  • Steve Signell, Frontier Spatial LLC
  • Jack Drury, Joe Dadey and Duane Gould, Leading E.D.G.E.
  • Bill Ingersoll
  • Steve Ovitt
  • Rocci Aguirre
  • Jesse Caputo
  • Daphne Taylor
  • Paul Hai

Public Feedback Meetings on Draft GSW Strategy

  • November 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.
    View arts center in Old Forge, New York
  • November 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, New York
  • November 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Oak Mountain Ski Center, Speculator, New York

Infrographic about connecting communities and recreation destinations in the Great South woods

Our efforts will focus on promoting regional-scale thinking on how to develop recreational access and infrastructure – for both self-powered and motorized activities – that better connects Adirondack destinations and Adirondack communities 


A destination-based network of diverse outdoor recreational opportunities in the Great South Woods that improves connections among local communities and New York State lands, strengthens local economies, contributes to the well-being of visitors, and protects the region’s unrivaled wild character and natural ecosystems.

Knowledge Workshops

The GSW project hosted six public 'knowledge workshops':

  • January 28 - Piseco School in Piseco, NY, from 6-8pm.
  • February 9th - meeting postponed - rescheduling TBD
  • February 25th - 5:30-7:30pm Old Forge Library, Old Forge
  • March 2nd - 6-8pm Long Lake Central School, Long Lake
  • March 9 - 6-8 pm, at Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek
  • March 16th - 6-8pm Northville Central School, Northville


We will engage communities and stakeholders in a landscape-scale participatory planning process that seeks to:

  • optimize the potential of the Great South Woods to provide a wide spectrum of outdoor recreational activities available on Forest Preserve, conservation easement, municipal and private lands across the region;
  • establish a new, community-based land-and-water trail and lodging system that would strengthen community linkages to each other and to nearby Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands;
  • better develop front-country areas of State lands for improved access to and heightened enjoyment of diverse – including motorized –  recreational activities; and
  • improve protection of back-country areas of State lands in their primitive, wild condition while improving their trail systems for heightened enjoyment of self-powered recreation;