New York state is rich with natural resources. New York is much more than the Big Apple and its vast metropolitan area. Upstate and Central New York has untamed land that is kept safe by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). Most of the state's natural resources are forests, watersheds, estuaries, rivers, and lakes.
New York has over 3 million acres of forests. The largest is the the Adirondack Forest Preserve, which contains more than 2.6 million acres. The second largest is the Catskill Forest preserve at 286,000 acres. Both of them have untamed wilderness and parks for hiking, camping and other recreational hobbies. The Adirondack Forest Preserve has more than 1,800 miles of walking trails.
There are 7,600 freshwater lakes in New York. The state even touches two of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The largest network of lakes is found in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which features 400 lakes and ponds. Most of them are used for swimming, fishing, and as reservoirs of drinking water.
Of New York's 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, the largest network is found in the Finger Lakes Region. There are about 9,000 miles of rivers, streams, and canals in this region. Some of the larger, and most famous rivers of New York state are the Hudson, Oswegatchie, and Susquehanna River.
An estuary is where fresh water and salt water mix. Water from the ocean meets water from the rivers and create a brackish water area. The estuaries in New York are the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve, Peconic Estuary, Hudson River Estuary, and the New York-New Jersey Harbor.
A watershed is an area of land, rivers, lakes, and streams where water drains into larger bodies of water such as the ocean. All of New York is part of a watershed. The state is divided into 17 watersheds. These are also called drainage basins. Each watershed is named for the river where the water drains. The largest network of watersheds is in the Finger Lakes basin.