Current IssuesVideo titles - The Adirondack and Of Rivers and Men

Introduction by Dave Gibson, Managing Partner – Adirondack Wild

In celebration of Earth Day 2024, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is pleased to make Paul Schaefer’s timeless and pioneering documentary films about the Adirondack Park digitally available here.

Noted Adirondack wilderness leader, and founder of Friends of the Forest Preserve Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) inspired and led both film projects, but numerous volunteers, outdoor guides, and funders made these film projects possible. Both films capture not only beautiful Adirondack scenery and describe the State Constitution’s “forever wild” provision, but also graphically explain the reasons for the laws enacted in the 1970s to add legal protections to the Park – the Adirondack Park Agency Act, the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, and the Freshwater Wetlands Act, among them.

The films and production work were an all-volunteer effort, including a donated helicopter and pilot, and all the heavy camera gear then required to take good footage in the mountains, at the lakeshores, and on the rivers in all seasons. It was an extraordinary team effort, including editing the films down to 35 minutes each.

While thousands of audiences saw both films when they were produced, most New Yorkers living today have never seen them. Given their timeless environmental message, their cinematography, and their musical scores, these Adirondack films remain well worth watching today.

We are pleased to share them on our website and, by request, on DVD.

The Adirondack - The Land Nobody Knows
  • The Adirondack – The Land Nobody Knows (1980) earned a Cine Eagle award for non-theatrical events abroad and was distributed to every school district in New York State via BOCES. It had a memorable first screening to a packed audience at the Legislative Office Building in Albany in 1980. The film tells the story not only of Article XIV of the NYS Constitution (“forever wild”) but also of the creation of designated Wilderness areas, the importance of private forestry adjacent to the Forest Preserve, and the cooperation of public and private organizations created to protect the Park, including the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The two primary filmmakers, Walter Haas and Ed Niedhammer, often accompanied by Paul Schaefer, Adirondack guides and assistants, visited every corner of the Adirondacks in all seasons. Helicopter pilot Dick Weber provided the film crew with stunning aerial perspectives of the mountains and rivers. Included are statements from legendary Park conservationist Clarence Petty, noted alpine botanist Orra Phelps, and atmospheric scientist, Vincent Schaefer. The film’s editing and final production is due to the work of Noel Riedinger-Johnson.
Of Rivers and Men
  • Of Rivers and Men (1972) helped to influence passage of New York’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act of 1972, and its expansion in 1975. The film was directed by Glens Falls native Fred Sullivan and tells the story of the rivers selected to be in the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers system. It also describes then ongoing sewage pollution of the rivers, and what to do about it. The Hudson, the Ausable, the West Canada, the Bouquet, the Sacandaga, the Bog, the Grasse, the Moose, the Indian, the Independence, the Raquette, the Saranac, the Schroon; these and other rivers with their deep canyons, waterfalls, rapids, and their heavily forested watersheds are stunningly portrayed. In addition, the film’s environmental message exhorts all to contribute to improving the environmental health and wild character of the Adirondack region. Interviews with first Adirondack Park Agency Chairman Richard W. Lawrence of Elizabethtown, and original APA Member Peter Paine of Willsboro are included, as are memorable whitewater canoeing sequences filmed in the Hudson Gorge and during the Hudson River whitewater derby in North Creek.