Early Years of The Adirondack Mountain Club

The Adirondack Mountain Club began with the intention of organizing and publicizing a trail network in the Adirondacks. Meade Dobson, the secretary of the Palisade Interstate Park Conference, brought up the lack of adequate trails in the Adirondacks to the commissioner of the Conservation Commission, George Pratt, in January of 1921. Dobson suggested that logging roads on Forest Preserve lands could make up the basis of a recreational trail system. After months of talking to interested parties, Dobson and Commissioner Pratt finally held a meeting of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) in December 1921 for attendees including representatives of hiking, mountaineering, outing, hotel, transportation and commercial interests. After that meeting the general feeling was that the purpose of the club was to give as many people as possible a chance to get into the woods, to improve trail systems and camps, and to educate the public about conservation (Freeman). 

1922-24 crew building the Northville-Placid Trail

Within the first sixth months of its establishment, the ADK had 583 members, it had cut three short trails and 135 miles of the Northville-Placid Trail, established a monthly bulletin, and erected five shelters along the Northville-Placid Trail (Freeman).

The Ausable Club and the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society

The Ausable Club was established alongside the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) in 1887, and it helped to increase trail construction in the area by cutting routes up the Gothics, Mount Dix, and elsewhere in the park. The AMR established the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society in 1897 to help maintain and safeguard trails near the club. It was, and still is, responsible for trail construction, maintenance, conservation, and fire forest control to protect trails. By 1905, incredible trails, such as the Great Range Trail, were built by the Society (Waterman, 211-213). These trails became publicly accessible, and it would become the most popular gateway to the High Peaks.

Newspaper clipping from the New York Times, 1923.

In 1916, Robert and George Marshall climbed Amperisand Mountain, which is one of the high peaks. The two men grew an affinity for the mountains so they worked alongside a local guide by the name of Herbert Clark and climbed all Adirondack peaks over 4,000 feet above sea level (Terrie, #). This was the beginning of the Adirondack 46-ers, as people who heard about their adventures were inspired to do it too. The Adirondack Trail Improvement Society helps maintain the High Peaks trails today.

Map of the trails made by the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society.

Image Sources

Image 1: https://www.google.com/search?q=1922-24+crew+building+the+northville+placid+trail&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj00eWLmfr7AhUTFFkFHYt7Cr4Q_AUoAnoECAIQBA&biw=1440&bih=742&dpr=2#imgrc=oPCNtz0iB6oWzM

Image 2: https://www.proquest.com/docview/106645057?pq-origsite=primo&parentSessionId=L4rQXZGsGcnsa42O33NQv2GZ1G%2Fm0%2BpNVhHlp%2B6f2fQ%3D

Image 3: https://adirondack.pastperfectonline.com/library/F0824BF5-37ED-4E13-98FB-956126663340