Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Occupying a large portion of Northern New York State, the Adirondack Park includes six million acres of public and private land that compromise over 85 % of all wilderness lands east of the Mississippi. Unique in many ways, the Adirondack Park remains a model for sustainable living and wilderness land management. This dissertation explores the way history is used to both complicate and enrich the relationship between humans and nature in the Adirondack Park. By analyzing historic preservation, cultural landscape management, material culture, and museums this project examines the way that Park history has been told through exhibits, public programs, tours, and commemorations. Chapters explore great camp preservation, the retention of cultural artifacts on state owned wilderness lands, the connection of the Adirondack rustic style to the land, and the increasing environmental focus of regional museums. Together these chapters provide an assessment of public history sites and exhibits in the park that reveals the close yet tenuous relationship between the people and the land. By looking at the presentation and history of interpretation of history in the Adirondack Park, I argue for the importance of an interpretation that incorporates natural and cultural elements. The future of the wilderness character of the park depends on the support of residents and tourists and, therefore, it is especially important for more individuals to understand the Park's history through both a natural and a human lens.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.