Monday, November 11, 2013

Public Lands: How Does Your Town Rank?

adkHamletBuffersSortI’ve often heard people say that there’s either too much or not enough public land in the Adirondacks.  I thought I’d crunch some numbers and let readers explore the data for themselves:

I put together a map visualization that shows the relative proportion of public land, trails and lean-to’s around the interior hamlets of the park.  The land classification figures are probably very accurate, as they are derived from the Adirondack Park Agency’s Land Classification and Land Use map.   If you notice some strange numbers for biking and horse trails its because these trail types have not been as diligently classified in the DEC trails database as hiking and snowmobile trails.

You can find the map online here.

I think the visualization is pretty self explanatory, but be sure to try out the sort toggle and variable drop-down menu.


And let me know of any other Adirondack-related visualizations you’d find interesting, and I’ll see what I can put together.


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Steve Signell is the owner of Frontier Spatial, L.L.C., an Adirondack-based company offering mapping and data services. He splits his time between Schenectady and Long Lake, where he punctuates his time at the computer with stints on the fiddle and banjo.

9 Responses

  1. Bill B says:

    Interesting info, but how about the same parameters on the actual political boundaries in the park? By that, for example, I mean the numbers within the Town of Keene, not within a radius of Keene Valley.

    • Steve says:

      The reason I chose to buffer the actual hamlets is that some of the townships (e.g. Long Lake where I am based) are very large and many of the recreational resources in the township are not easily accessible to people in the hamlet. That said, it would not be hard to re-run the analysis using political boundaries. I’ll add it to my to-do list!

  2. Paul says:

    These are very interesting. Some towns that benefit from Forest Preserve have little or no Forest Preserve land as part of the town. If some towns hope to grow in the future there will have to be some “swaps” or they have hit a dead end as far as size. Wait a minute they wouldn’t have anything to swap? Done. And I think that sky scrapers are not an option inside the Blue Line.

  3. Evan says:

    Why are no towns along Lake Champlain included?

    • Steve says:

      I didn’t include towns within 10mi. of the Park Boundary (like most of the towns along Lake Champlain) because it would sort of be an apples to oranges comparison with towns whose towns whose entire buffered area is within the park. But maybe that doesn’t matter too much… it would be interesting to see them all.

  4. Walker says:

    Motor-free lakes? Of course then how do you count them– number? acreage? miles of shoreline? percent motor-free?

    Maybe that’s why you left them out?

    • Paul says:

      Walker, the DEC has a pretty comprehensive (and lengthy) list of all the motor free waters in the Adirondacks at their website. It would not be difficult to incorporate that into this map. That would at least give you all the ones that are legally considered motor free.

  5. […] is a contributor to Adirondack Almanack, where he wrote an essay on the progress of Adirondack mapping, Parts But Little […]

  6. Deb Evans says:

    great tool. Thanks Steve.
    be fun to know 1970 town populations (pre apa) compared to 2010. We have a staggerring increase in 2nd homes and decrease in yr round population.

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