The Adirondacks were the first place where Americans realized that wilderness was going to be a distinguishing and permanent feature of their civilization. By the 1880s, more had been written about the Adirondacks than any other wilderness area in America. By the 1890s, the Adirondack Park was created as the largest protected wilderness area east of the Mississippi. Since then, the Adirondack Park has challenged each generation to define the role of wilderness in our increasingly urbanized civilization.
The Saratoga-to-North Creek corridor helped establish the Adirondacks as the First Wilderness. It is the logical starting place for those wishing to explore the possibilities of the First Wilderness. In 1771, the Jessup brothers’ 1 million-acre Totten and Crossfield Purchase from the Mohawks was the first sizeable European purchase in Adirondacks. In 1813, the Fox Brothers invented log driving along the Schroon/Hudson Corridor.
Indeed, the Adirondacks may have been the place that colored how Americans thought of all their wilderness areas. For example, in 1837, during a trip to Schroon Lake with Thomas Cole, Asher Durand decided to become a landscape painter and began a career that helped define the American notion of wilderness. He helped create the Hudson River School of landscape painting based upon that original experience of the Adirondack wilderness.