ADK 125: What Do the 'Daks Mean to You?

This year, the Adirondack Park is celebrating its 125th birthday. Because of the vision and leadership of those who decided to keep the land “forever wild,” watersheds for the Hudson River and Erie Canal were protected, forests were able to recover, and wildlife, such as the moose and beaver, have returned to their native home.

Today, the Adirondacks are one of the few places that you can go to experience true wilderness, quiet, and incredible natural landscapes. Generations have grown up here or visiting the park every year. Others may have just connected with the landscape. No matter what your relation is, those lucky enough to experience its wild spaces and beautiful communities deeply love and cherish the Adirondacks.

To celebrate the Park’s 125th birthday, the Adirondack Council collaborated with Evan and Hilary Williams of Pure Adirondacks to host the #125YearsADK photo contest, asking others, “What do the Adirondacks mean to you?”

 

I’m grateful for those who had the foresight, and those who continue presently, to protect the Adirondacks. Living there was second to none and visiting every year is something where I count down the days. There’s a peace and sense of community in Upstate New York, in the mountains. What do the Adirondacks mean to me? “He had everything, he possessed nothing.” -A.W. Tozer #125YearsADK @adirondackcouncil . . . #latergram #choosemountains #chasinglight #killercaptures #otherpath #nysculture #visualambassadors #MG5k #creativefolk #unknowntones #theimaged #beautifulplanet #hopeshare @hopeshare #visualcreators #iloveny #thevisualcollective #folkcreative #mobilemag #createcommune #LF10k #fatalframes #thecreatorclass @thecreatorclass #naturephotography #nothingisordinary #wanderfolk #upstateny #exploreny #optoutside @iloveny

A post shared by Ian Evans (@ieevans) on

The place where I most easily find peace and restoration. #125yearsadk #wildaboutthepark

A post shared by Jeremy Slesak (@slesakphotography) on

The Adirondacks mean so much more to me than I can put into words. You can’t help but fall in love with all little things that make the Adirondacks such a special place. I am extremely thankful for the lakes, rivers, trails and especially the mountains. They have become my home. They have broken me down and built me back up making me stronger and growing my confidence. The long days, hard climbs and rewarding views that have me going back for more. I love every minute, every mile and every tired walk back to the car. My food, water and energy level may be pretty empty but my heart is always full and I get to share it all with my best friend 💙 Happy #125yearsadk @adirondackcouncil @pureadirondacks. . . . #Adirondacks #visitadks #pureadk #adklifemag #iloveny #newyorkexplored #adventuredog #dogsthathike #neverroamalone #campingwithdogs #livelifeoffleash #zukespack #hikingwithdogs #llbeanmoment #likeamountaingirl #ladiesgetoutside #LGOAmbassador #womenwhohike #seekthetrails #ourwild #upperrightusa #exploremore #werehikers #wildernessculture #findyourwild #livewildbefree #liveyouradventure #builtforthewild #OptOutside #exploremore

A post shared by Rachel & Baloo (@rachkenney) on

These mountains are where I’ve doubted myself the most, but also where I’ve believed in myself the most. Spent hours and hours in the woods with people I love. Learned so much about myself and what I am capable of, and that failure doesn’t have to be final. The Adirondacks have taught me the value of leaving my comfort zone, learning new skills, trying something despite being scared. I’ve felt more alive in that park than anywhere else. The views aren’t bad, either. So, happy (early) birthday, Adirondack Park! @adirondackcouncil #125YearsADK . . . #PureADK #ADK #hiking #sunsethike #naturalnewyork #outdoorsnewyork #newyorkexplored #scenicnewyork #goeast #upperrightusa #visitADKs #lakegeorgephotos #sunset #staygold

A post shared by Courtney Vallee (@courtvallee) on

Words can’t even begin to describe the impact that this place has on me. The great Adirondack mountains are something that you just can’t find anywhere else in the world. Although I live 12 hours away from them in the state of Ohio, 4 generations of my family have made the trek to the ADK every summer for nearly 90 years in a row. This one place has affected my life so greatly that I can say if it wasn’t for the Adirondacks, I would not be where I am today. Almost every person that I know and love has been brought to me because of the Adirondacks. For the past couple of years now, I’ve had the privilege to be in the ADK for every season. I’ve traveled to 16 countries and I’ve been to every single continental United State and I can tell you right now that there is no place on earth or in America like this. Not only is it unique, but it is filled with people that are so passionate about life, it’s like a disease, leaving you wanting more. The reason why I chose this photo, rather than all the other ones that I have is because my favorite aspect about creation is the stars and the ADK display them in a way that no other place can. I believe this is one of the most amazing aspects about this place. Being able to just wander off into the wilderness with a friend, or sitting by campfire on the beach at night, the stars are always there watching over the park, while leaving us in complete amazement about them. Being apart of this park is a tradition that I will carry on through the rest of my life until the day I die. I can’t wait to see the memories that I make this year. Thank you so much Adirondacks. -Your dear friend- Jonathan Zaharek . . . #worldprime #earthfocus #master_gallery #amazing_longexpo #longexpo_addiction #nightphotography #longexposure_shots #night_excl #earth_shotz #allbeauty_addiction #longexpoelite #depthsofearth #nightscaper #artofvisuals #timelessuniverse #milkyway #astrophotography #moodygrams #worldshotz #adventure #discoverearth #jaw_dropping_shots #global_hotshotz #125YearsADK #adirondacks

A post shared by Jonathan Zaharek (@jonathanzphotography_) on

Help us protect the Adirondack Park for another 125 years. Follow Leave No Trace principles when you’re on the trail, follow DEC guidelines and rules, and make your voice heard on issues facing the Adirondack Park.