Skip to main content

Protect the Adirondacks!, Inc. records

Identifier: ARL-073


The records of Protect the Adirondacks!, Inc. measure 60 cubic feet and date from 1901-2012. They consist of organizational records, subject files, audio-visual recordings, publications, and other materials pertaining to environmental issues as addressed by Protect the Adirondacks!, Inc. and its predecessor organizations, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA) and Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA). Also included are records of the education arm of the AfPA, the Adirondack Research Center (ARC), later the Adirondack Research Library (ARL).


  • Creation: 1901 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research with the exception of some legal, financial, and personnel records.


Protect the Adirondacks!, Inc. (PROTECT) was formed in 2009 by the merger of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA) and the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA). It is a non-profit, grassroots membership organization dedicated to the protection and stewardship of the public and private lands of the Adirondack Park, and to building the health and diversity of its human communities and economies for the benefit of current and future generations.

The AfPA was organized in 1901 and incorporated in 1902. It is the first citizen-based organization for the Adirondacks and is the oldest professional, non-profit organization dedicated to public awareness and education regarding the protection and enhancement of the natural resources and human values of the New York State Forest Preserve and the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. The Association’s standard operating procedure for dealing with problems affecting the Forest Preserve was to collect accurate information about pertinent issues, discuss the matters among the trustees, poll the membership and then reach agreement on solutions. They would then exert both public and private influence to help implement policies. Lobbying included significant correspondence with governmental officials, representation at public hearings and widespread publicity to inform and arouse public opinion.

The founders of the AfPA included in their original charter the provision for a library. As an advocacy group, the work of the association was dependent on library research to carry out its objectives. The Adirondack Research Center (ARC) was founded in 1979 as an unincorporated association affiliated with Union College for the purpose of fostering a better understanding of the New York State Forest Preserve, the Adirondack Mountains, and the administration of the Adirondack Park. Most notable in the collection is the history of the conservation movement in the Adirondacks. Central to its mission was the growth of a research library available to the general public containing Adirondack titles, as well as the archives of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. In 1985, the ARC moved its office, collections and formal affiliation from Union College to the Schenectady Museum. In 1988, the ARC and the AfPA merged, with the ARC becoming the education arm of the organization. From 1989-2003, the collection again moved to rented space on Roland Place. In 1995, ARC became the Adirondack Research Library (ARL). This was after Paul Smith’s College founded the Adirondack Research Consortium, and began using the same acronym. Paul Schaefer died in the summer of 1996, leaving his lifetime accumulation of books, papers, and other materials to the ARL. The AfPA purchased Schaefer’s home from his family and, in 2004, built an addition with space designed to house the library. In 2011, the Center for the Forest Preserve was sold to Union College and it became the Kelly Adirondack Center (KAC).

The Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks was an offshoot of the Adirondack Council, designed to overcome criticism that the Adirondack Council was an organization of outside interests. It was formed in 1990 and intended to be a grassroots group of Adirondack Park residents who worked to protect the rural quality of life and the natural resources of the Adirondack Park.


60 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged as 3 sub-groups consisting of 13 series. The collection is generally arranged by material type and alphabetically thereafter.

Sub-group 1, Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, 1901-2011

Series 1, Archives of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, 1901-2009; Series 2, Reports, Newsletters, and Publications, 1902-2011; Series 3, Administrative Records, 1901-2011; Series 4, Miscellaneous, 1985-1986; Series 5, Buildings and Maintenance, 2001-2005

Sub-group 2, Adirondack Research Library, 1950-2012

Series 1, Organizational Records, 1979-2010; Series 2, Legacy Files, 1950-2012; Series 3, Card Catalog, 1979-1999; Series 4, Financial Records, 1988-2007; Series 5, Audio Visual, 1982-2009

Sub-group 3, Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, 1990-2008

Series 1, Subject Files, 1990-2008; Series 2, Special Projects, 1994-2007; Series 3, Unprocessed Materials, 1990-2008

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection is on long term loan from Protect the Adirondacks!, 2011.


1901 – The First meeting of the AfPA assembled. The members were a group of wealthy, prominent Adirondack landowners from New York City. Over time it would evolve into a grass roots environmental advocacy group. Its first action was to prevent the State from lumbering 100,000 acres of virgin forest near Raquette Lake.

1903 – AfPa successfully fought the Lewis Water Storage (land grant) bill.

1905 – AfPa finished the investigation of timber thefts in the Forest Preserve and caused the resignation of the official implicated.

1907 – Successfully fought a bill to dam Adirondack Rivers.

1908 – Paul Schaefer is born in Albany. His family relocates to Schenectady shortly after. He would be Vice President of the AfPA for almost 50 years.

1913 – Penalties and top-lopping law was revised to reduce fire hazards caused by lumber men.

1916 – Advocated a $7.5 million bond issue for the Forest Preserve.

1918 – Initiated a private donor campaign to acquire Mount Marcy, Mount MacKenzie and Saddleback Mountain for the Forest Preserve.

1923 – Defeated the Salmon River Reservoir which would have resulted in the loss of deer winter yarding grounds and trout waters.

1930 – Successfully challenged the state from cutting 2,000 trees on the Forest Preserve near Lake Placid for a bobsled run, forcing the Olympics to put the run on private land.

1932 – The Association chaired a statewide committee to defeat a close cabin amendment which would have permitted private cabin colonies inside the Forest Preserve.

1938 – Helped to keep the Forever Wild Covenant intact in the New York State Constitution.

1944 – Fought the United States Government on the Tahawus Railroad condemnation.

1940s-1950s – The Association strongly opposed the Panther Mountain Dam on the South Branch of the Moose River and financially supported the litigation.

1950s-1960s – Officers active on the Joint Legislative Committee on Natural Resources which initiated studies leading to the creation of 15 Wilderness Areas within the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

1963 – The AfPA gives up their office on Rector Street in New York City. Paul Schaefer drove to New York to rescue the organization’s archives and brought them to St. David’s Lane. In 1970s photocopies are made and the originals are sent to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

1964 – The Association’s officers authorized bringing suit against the State to set aside an amendment to DEC snowmobile regulations that would have permitted their use anywhere in the Preserve except where posted against their use.

1965 – Fought the Gooley dam on the Upper Hudson River.

1967 – Helped to kill the Adirondack Mountains National Park proposal.

1968-1970 – Worked with the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks, and strongly supported it recommendations to create an Adirondack Park Agency and a Wild Scenic Rivers System.

1972 – AfPA joined with others to defeat the legal challenge to the constitutionality of the Adirondack Park Agency.

1979 – The Adirondack Research Center is founded by Paul Schaefer to include a large number of books from his personal collection as well as the AfPA records. It is housed in Schaffer Library (Union College).

1988 – AfPA merges with the Adirondack Research Center. “We the ARC retained charge of our collection, research and educational activities, while shedding other administrative functions.”

1989-1990 – The Association carefully monitored the work of the Governor’s Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century. It Provided testimony at public hearings, issued a statement on its reactions, and held a special Conference on the Commission’s work in the fall of 1990.

1995 – Adirondack Research Center rebrands and becomes the Adirondack Research Library.

1996 – Paul Schaefer passes away and arrangements are made for the AfPA to purchase the home from the Schafer family.

2004 – The AfPA completes an addition to Paul Schaefer’s home to include the Adirondack Research Center and designates it “The Center for the Forest Preserve.”

2005 – Governor George Pitaki awards $100,000 in State Funding to assist in the completion of the Center for the Forest Preserve and Adirondack Research Library. An official dedication ceremony follows after.

2009 – The AfPA merges with the Residents' Committee for the Protection of the Adirondacks (founded in September 1990) to form Protect! The Adirondacks.

2011 – Financial difficulties lead to the sale of The Center for the Forest Preserve to Union College.

2013 – Union College reopens The Center for the Forest Preserve as The Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College.

Alternate Forms Available

For an index to the Archives of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, see the full-text searchable document located at

Processing Information

The collection was arranged and described to according to Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) in 2018-2019 by Matthew Golebiewski. Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to advance Adirondack Studies at Union College.

Protect the Adirondacks!, Inc. records
In Progress
Matthew Golebiewski
Spring 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Adirondack Research Library Repository

897 St. David's Lane
Niskayuna NY 12309