Enforcing Article XIV

Many of us involved with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve are very familiar with and protective of Article XIV, Section 1 of our NYS Constitution. That section, 54 words unchanged since they went into effect in 1895, states that “the lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”
That section is at the core of Adirondack Wild’s very mission.

However, far fewer people are aware that Article XIV, Section 5 of the State Constitution allows any citizen of the state to seek to enforce the provisions of the forever wild mandate, or seek to block any violation of same.

This is the sole citizen suit provision in New York State and it allows citizens to stand up for wilderness in court!

The NYS Constitution’s Article XIV, Section 5 states that: “ A violation of any of the provisions of this article may be restrained at the suit of the people or, with the consent of the supreme court in appellate division, on notice to the attorney-general at the suit of any citizen.”

For example, a citizen suit by the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks back in 1929 led to the 20th century’s most consequential judicial decision about what may and may not be permissible on the Forest Preserve.

Known as McDonald v. Association, or the McDonald decision (McDonald was conservation commissioner at the time), it forbad the construction of an Olympic bobsled run on State Forest Preserve at Mt. Van Hoevenburg just outside Lake Placid village.

The dicta in McDonald is frequently quoted by Adirondack Wild and other organizations even today as we attempt in the first instance to persuade New York State officials not to undertake construction or other activity on Forest Preserve that would violate Article XIV. read more >

For more, read the arguments here Minnewaska Article 14 petition.


04/28/19 In 1969, Citizens Saved the Upper Hudson from Destruction Fifty springs ago, the Upper Hudson River was conserved as a wild, free flowing river. The Schenectady Gazette’s writer Pete Jacobs reported the news in the April 17, 1969 edition of that newspaper: “Without opposition, the Assembly gave swift approval to legislation prohibiting the construction of the Gooley Dam on the Upper Hudson River, branded by conservationists as a threat to the wild river country.” read more >
Upper Hudson River.

04/09/19 Making Conservation Design The Norm, Not The Exception My hometown of Ballston in Saratoga County is poised to make the principles and detailed process of conservation design the standard for major subdivisions. The town’s revised subdivision law comes on the heels of some disastrously bad subdivision approvals here, projects which sprawl new housing, roads and traffic all over this once wildlife-rich, rural, wet, heavily forested and formerly farmed part of town. read more >
Woodworth Lake subdivision in Fulton County, approved by APA in 2015.

03/19/19 Adirondack Wild and Sierra Club Seek Sunset for Mineral Sampling in Wilderness Lot 8 This month, Adirondack Wild and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter have written to the NYS Senate and NYS Assembly asking for a further constitutional amendment which would establish a date certain by which all further mineral sampling and the land exchange for Lot 8 in the Jay Mtn. Wilderness must be completed. read more >
Existing open pit mine in Lewis as seen from the adjoining Jay Mountain Wilderness, 200-acres known as Lot 8. Photo © David Gibson

03/07/19 E-Bikes Are Not For The Forest Preserve Jack Drury’s recent essay promoting the use of E-bikes opens with the challenge facing an older but reasonably well conditioned body attempting to keep up with younger bicycle riders. Jack articulates well what many of us baby boomers are feeling as we take up a ski, paddle, hike, or bike with younger friends and colleagues. We think we are reasonably fit, but how to keep up? Especially, as Jack wondered, on the uphill sections? read more >
Bicycling on a Wild Forest corridor near the Cedar River. Photo © David Gibson

02/21/19 New York’s Highest Court Accepts Brief in Defense of Wild Rivers In mid-February, our state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, considered whether or not to accept a brief submitted by the Adirondack Council in Elizabethtown. After a challenge by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, who wanted the brief withheld, the Court announced that it would accept the brief.
read more >
Wild section of the upper Hudson River near Indian Lake. Photo © Dave Gibson


05/10/19 • Cedar River bridge lawsuit proceeds before Warren County Supreme Court read more >
04/11/19 • Green groups want ATV ban on Adirondack forest preserve read more >
04/06/19 • APA board in transition read more >
03/12/19 • Conservation groups ask for more rangers, mandatory boat washing and ATV ban on adk. state lands read more >
03/11/19 • Trump environmental record worries Adirondack advocates read more >
03/10/19 • Groups name top five threats to the Adirondacks read more >
05/17/19 • Adirondack Wild: Celebrate Endangered Species Day by Recovering our State’s Endangered Spruce Grouse read more >
01/22/19 • Adirondack Groups Sue State Over Plan to Construct Snowmobile Bridge Over Scenic River read more >
01/18/19 • Wilderness Advocate Dan Plumley Departs Post with Adirondack Wild read more >
03/14/19 • Adirondack Wild and Sierra Club Seek Sunset for Mineral Sampling in Wilderness Lot 8 read more >
02/19/19 • Climate and Community Protection Act, S. 7971 - A. 10342 read more >
01/31/19 • Cross Country Ski Trail Guidance
read more >

The mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

Photos: Top left: Bog on Upper St Regis Lake. © Ken Rimany;
Field Notes From the Partners: Carved 'Beaver House' sign - by Paul Schaefer. Photo © Ken Rimany;
Wild Action Now photo: Dan Plumley at the Keene Valley Library, along with Naj Wikoff, sharing what they learned and offered to the gathering of leaders at the Conference of World Parliamentarians on Tibet. Photo  © Ken Rimany.

Peter Brinkley, Honorary Chair
Terry Jandreau, Chair
Christopher Amato
Vice Chair & Counsel
David H. Gibson, Partner
Mobile: 518.469.4081

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve    Founded 1945   PO Box 9247 • Niskayuna New York 12309 | ©