Document Type



Article XIV is probably the most controversial provision of the New York State Constitution adopted in 1894. The provision declares that State-owned land in the Adirondack and Catskill State Parks shall remain “forever wild.” Yet, implementation of this mandate by the State has varied since its inception; actions are dependent on the views and policies of regulating agency. The paper traces the history of Article XIV through judicial interpretation, Attorney General’s opinions, and implementation activities by the agency charged with its enforcement. The purpose of this paper is to prepare the policy-makers who will have a voice at the next Constitutional Convention on the issues pertaining to Article XIV and its future implementation by the Department of Environmental Conservation for the benefit of New York.