Forest Preserve Centennial History, 1980-1985

Forest Preserve Centennial History, 1980-1985

Margie Amodeo

This collection is open to research.


Norman J. Van Valkenburgh (NJVV) grew up on a farm in West Kill in Green County. He went to college in Maine but left after three years for a position with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In his 32 years with for the DEC, one of his responsibilities was surveying tracts of land the State of New York was considering purchasing. As appreciation of his writing ability grew, Van Valkenburgh was assigned to writing DEC reports including the story of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. The history was so well received that the DEC published it as, The Adirondack Forest Preserve: A Chronology. He was also author of The Forest Preserve of New York State in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains: A Short History, Land Acquisition for New York State: A Historical Perspective and editor of Verplanck Colvin’s 1899 Report of the Superintendent of the State Land Survey. In addition he also published at least twelve mystery novels set in the Adirondacks and Catskills. He was Director of Division of Lands and Forest at the DEC from 1977-1986. He was also Vice Chairman of the Adirondack Research Center.

As the Director of Division of Lands and Forests at the DEC, Norman Van Valkenburgh played a central role in the planning of the Forest Preserve Centennial Celebration. This collection is primarily correspondence and planning agendas relating to the celebration. Folder 1, however, contains envelopes of images related to the development of the Adirondack Park. References to “pages” within this folder may refer to a script for the centennial presentation on Park history referred to in the collection. Box 3 contains information on other local centennial celebrations. Box 4 includes information on the historical signs placed in honor of the Celebration. These signs provide an historical view of an interesting cross-section of the scope of Forest Preserve activities.