Northville-Placid Trail History
“The N-P Trail was begun in 1922 as the first project undertaken by the newly-formed Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). George D. Pratt, an officer of Standard Oil Company, and a wealthy benefactor, was the principal funder of the work. He was also the first president of ADK, and commissioner of the New York State Conservation Commission, a predecessor of today’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Here was a man who clearly saw the value of having a major hiking route through the heart of this great treasure known as the Adirondack Park.”
“Why Northville to Lake Placid? It was a matter of trailhead transportation and convenience. When the trail was visualized the automobile was not yet a staple and Northville and Lake Placid had regular train service.
[Graphic]Train Station in Northville, NY (from a post card circa 1920’s)
[Graphic]Train Station in Lake Placid, NY (Currently a Museum)
There were other reasons. At that time much of the Adirondacks had been recently logged. A convenient network of woods roads stretched through the wilderness. These roads would provide a clear route deep into the woods and into remote areas. They would eventually grow in as the now-protected forest reclaimed itself from the loggers’ axe and saw, wagons and trucks. In addition, several long river valleys stretched north, providing natural rights-of-way through the rolling hills and peaks. They could be followed for some distance on foot.”
“The N-P Trail was completed in 1924. In 1927, it was donated to the State of New York, with the Conservation Department becoming responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. Today the DEC has oversight of the trail as part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. ADK, however, along with its numerous volunteers, contributes valuable time and energy in joint cooperation with the DEC. Many ADK members adopt sections of the trail, or lean-tos along the trail, and become stewards of these domains. They organize projects in conjunction with National Trails day in early June each year. They convene to assemble prefabricated lean-tos. In addition to these volunteers, ADK, with the DEC, sponsors professional trail crews that work seasonally on improvement projects. It is this cooperative, volunteer spirit that ensures the enjoyment of new generations of hikers on the N-P Trail.
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