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History Inside the Blue Line: Place Names of the Trans Adirondack Route

History Inside the Blue Line: Place Names of the Trans Adirondack Route
History Inside the Blue Line: Place Names of the Trans Adirondack Route

I sometime wonder if Erik Schlimmer and I live in parallel universes. I don’t know Erik very well and we’ve never met face to face, but I can understand why he’s so fascinated by hiking in the Adirondack Park and the region’s unique history. It’s the same passion I have for hiking and exploring New Hampshire’s White Mountains, researching its past, and protecting its future.

New York’s Adirondack Park is the largest state-protected park in the lower 48 . It is huge, containing 6.1 million acres of forest, ponds, lands, and mountains, including the Adirondack High Peaks, a range of 46 mountains all above 4,000 ft in height. By comparison, the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire is only 770,000 acres in size.

Surprisingly few hikers are aware of the history behind the Adirondacks, the White Mountains, Vermont’s Green Mountains or Maine’s Baxter State Park and their role in the development of the hiking trails, rock-climbing, and mountaineering in the United States. The birth of the National Scenic Trail System, Leave No Trace wilderness ethics, trail construction and maintenance techniques, and the wilderness conservation movement, all have their origins in these northeastern outdoor communities.

Known for creating the Trans Adirondack Route, a 265 mile hiking route across the Adirondack Park whose boundaries are often designated by a blue line on maps, Schlimmer’s latest book is History Inside the Blue Line: Place Names of the Trans Adirondack Route. Painstakingly researched, Eric uses primary historical sources to go back in time and learn the origins of the places names used in the region, reading personal journals of the Adirondack’s early settlers, looking up old property records and maps, and tracing family relationships through church and town records to dig up the stories and folklore behind the 125 locations covered in the book. Ranging from a paragraph to several pages in length, the origin of each place-name is explained in-depth. History Inside the Blue Line contains a wealth of arcane details that will delight anyone who plays in the four season wonderland of the Adirondack Park.

While the audience for this book is relatively small and probably limited to Adirondack diehards, local residents, and historians, I can understand why Erik undertook this project because I understand his relationship to the Adirondack Park. Erik is more than a hiker. a trail maintainer, or a highly vocal Adirondack evangelist. He’s become a Adirondack Steward, as interested in the history of the Adirondacks and the people who loved the land before him, as he is in the region’s future. If you love the Adirondacks and have an insatiable desire to learn all you can about them (the sure sign of a steward), then check out Schlimmer’s History Inside the Blue Line.


  1. I was aware of the book but didn’t find it at a couple book stores yet. I think this is likely a mail order item.

  2. Looks like a great hike. Someday…

  3. Haven’t seen the Book but if you do a web search there are a number of similar subject books out there…The Adirondacks were my families Playground since the 1750’s and my remaining Aunts and Uncles and cousins still own Cabins and property within the Blue Line and they will be very interested in this book for a number of reasons other than History. My brother’s new wife inhereited almost an entire Mountain just within the southern edge of the Blueline from her father some 4200 acres most of which she cannot do anything with because of DEC as I understand nixed any development plans but she still has to pay taxes on it. She wanted to break it up into 1000 acre homesites. I have pictures of me at 2 years of age swimming in Long Pond and then Camping at Floodwood Pond. Back then, at 7 yrs old, it was my Camp job to keep the firewood Stack at least a high as my belt. I soon became an expert with a Boy Scout hatchet and a Buck saw and we cut down I do not know how many Birch but it was legal back then and Birch was the best for Heating, Cooking and burning during rainy days and smell so sweet I have fished over 150 of the lakes, streams and Ponds within the Blue line. I’ve climbed 23 of the 46ers before I left. My last fishing trip with my Father before entering the Military was at Floodwood Pond. It has it problems though some are huge and some are miniscule depending on who you talk to. In the years from 1956 to 1972 there were only six free Campsites within 20 miles of Floodwood Pond, Long Pond, Rollins Pond and couple of smaller Ponds, now there are over 140 put in by DEC. Of Course Developers from New York City with deep Pockets want to build thousands of lake side Cabins and you see their Ad’s in various outdoor magazines 1 acre with a Cabin for $49,000. as do some of the Politicians whose Kingdoms surround or are within the Blue line.. The DEC or Department of Enrivonmental Conservation has a huge creditablity problem I hear and people who live within the blue line have a difficult time with their Dictates and alleged dishonesty. Most of DEC employees are from the Big City and have no feel for the Forest. For instance the Pond I mentioned Floodwood Pond, had signs Posted a number of years ago when I revisited it in 2010 that Stated no Gasoline Motors allowed on the Pond. Well that was true but not true Depending on what time of Day you called the DEC office and which DEC employee you talked to. Some people believe the signs were put up by DEC to help the Canoe Retail place just across the old Railroad Tracks who pays rent to DEC, so DEC could raise the Rent or just increase Canoe Rentals by people who did know the history of the area. But that is just one story. The following month my brother was there and he called DEC an got the runaround as well. It finally took the people who have permanent camps there for over 100 years to get the issued resolved. And yes Motors are allowed but only 5 hp which is as big as anyone would want a motor to be on the Pond. Back in the 60’s we called our Johnson 5 hp Seahorse, the Deadhorse because on every trip, at least once, it would stop working which required a hour tear down of the Engine, and then another hour to put it back together again..No new parts or fuel line or Plugs were needed. It just wanted the TLC I guess…The DEC is also trying to Move out those families who have been there for over 100 years. That is per a conversation with a Cabin owner I had in 2010. We played together in 1960 for a week. This is the Pond I just told the story about in the Storms Posting where I watched Lightening blow the top off of a Spruce. So I will look for this book for sure…Thank you for bringing it to our attention..Mmmm that is a thought, maybe I’ll write my own book of Short Stories about my adventures in the Park, I cut my chops on Camping and hiking there..it is dear to my heart…

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