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The Blue Line could be red

August 20, 2011
By HOWARD RILEY , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Just think about this for a minute. So these guys were all sitting around in 1885, members of the New York State Forest Commission, drawing up the language for the legislature to create the Forest Preserve; one of them pulls a blue pencil out of his pocket and draws a line around all the Forest Preserve lands in ten Adirondack Counties including thousands of acres of private lands that is really how the Adirondack Blue Line was created now if that guy had been carrying a red pencil?

The Forest Commission (predecessor to the Conservation Department) suggested that the whole region be declared a park, the report was given to the Legislature and the Adirondack State Park was created with an item known as Chapter 707. Gov. Roswell P. Flower signed the bill into law on May 2, 1892.

The next year during a Constitutional Convention an amendment was added to the State constitution declaring the state lands in the Adirondacks "Forever Wild", a phrase borrowed from the 1885 legislation and the voters approved the amendment 410,697 to 327,402.

Article Photos

From the SL Centennial Booklet — 1992

During the years after that the Blue Line grew outward until it comprised the present 6 million acres of state and private lands. It includes 12 counties: Only two completely within the park, Essex and Hamilton; there are small parts of Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga and Washington counties and larger parts of Clinton, Franklin, Fulton, Herkimer, St. Lawrence and Warren counties.

Malone, the biggest village in Franklin County is not in the park.


Centennial plus 20

In a few short months the Adirondack Park and Saranac Lake, Incorporated in 1892, will have 120 years of history to share and review. The Enterprise published a Centennial tabloid full of pictures and history including an in-depth history of the Adirondack Park Agency which was then only 20 years old.

Saranac Lake created a Centennial Committee which published a Centennial booklet which I, as the spokesperson for the Adirondack North Country Association, had the pleasure of presenting to Governor Mario Cuomo at a celebration of the Adirondack Park at the Blue Mountain Museum.

Terry Martino who was then the Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association (and now holds that position at the APA) was greeting Governor Cuomo that day, and the Governor said to her humorously, "I met you before, but you probably don't remember."


History by John J. Duquette

That is how the "Park" began and here is how Saranac Lake became a village excerpts as written by Mr. Duquette.

"As the result of a special election held on May 3rd, 1892, Saranac Lake became the first incorporated village in the Adirondacks. During that same year the Adirondack Park also came into being. Not only by sharing of this centennial birthday with the Park, but rather by our own prominence in those related spheres of health and recreation, have we become widely known as the 'The Little City in the Adirondacks.'

"Our early pioneers were men of vision and energy who, with native ingenuity, fashioned the cornerstone of our community. They came bearing such strong Yankee names as Moody and Miller, Martin and Baker. It would be difficult, indeed, to imagine a Saranac Lake without the presence of these intrepid pioneers.

"To Jacob Smith Moody belongs the honor of becoming our first settler. He came from Keene (NY) in 1819 and built a log cabin in the Highland Park (later Park Avenue) area with his wife and four children. Five more children would be born in Saranac Lake. In this latter group was a son, Cortez, who became the first child to be born in the area. Jacob did not own the property at Highland Park but later acquired 160 acres in the extreme northwest corner of the Town of North Elba. This grant included 'the pines' and the general region including what then became Moody Pond. His second home was built in the eastern end of River Street near the Pine Ridge Cemetery."

The hamlet outside of Tupper Lake known as Moody was settled by "our" Moody's when Martin Moody, known as Uncle Mart, built the first Hotel on Tupper Lake. According to Duquette's history, Mart was famous as a guide and a teller of tall tales; among his advocates as a guide were Presidents Arthur and Cleveland and by Cleveland's invitation Mart visited the White House.



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