Light shines through the trees in the Adirondacks
Adirondacks Pond Light shines through the trees in the Adirondacks © © Blake Gordon

Places We Protect

Santanoni Preserve

New York

Visit the first property protected by the Conservancy in the Adirondacks.

Acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1971 and donated the following year to the people of New York State as an addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the 12,500-acre Santanoni Preserve was the Conservancy’s first land protection project in the Adirondacks. Today the property—which features extensive mixed northern hardwood forests, waterways and wetlands—is enjoyed by a variety of recreational users and includes a designated historic area. Great Camp Santanoni, built in the 1890s as a wilderness family retreat, is reachable by foot, bike, ski, or horseback. A local boat maker has been known to hitch his solo canoe to a bike trailer to reach the camp area to fish and paddle on Newcomb Lake.

Why We Work Here

The Adirondack Park was established in 1892 and is a mixture of publicly owned and privately owned lands. More than half of the land within its borders is under some form of conservation status. At 6 million acres, the park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Olympic National Parks combined. It features more than 10,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams. One of the unique aspects of the Adirondack Park is that people live here—in more than 100 towns and villages—and is often looked to as a model for how people and nature can co-exist. The Park presents a rare opportunity to protect forests at scales that make the landscape more resilient to climate change and other threats.

What We Do

With half of our planet’s original forest cover gone today, the Adirondack Park is more important than ever. Our science shows that Santanoni and continuing land protection efforts are helping to secure one of the most intact forest types of its kind in the world.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation manages Santanoni Preserve and Historic Area, which is located in the central Adirondack town of Newcomb.

Hike, bike, ski or snowshoe on the five-mile carriage road that leads to the historic great camp. Along the way, keep an eye out for moose, white-tail deer, fisher, black bear, ruffed grouse, warblers and other wildlife. In the understory, you may see plants such as bunchberry, wood sorrel, blue-bead lily and starflower.

Hiking trails branch from the main route to the camp, leading to a variety of interior forest destinations, including Moose Pond and the High Peaks Wilderness. Visitor information can be found on DEC’s website as well as in hiking guidebooks. As part of your visit, learn more about local natural history at the nearby Adirondack Interpretive Center.