Adirondack Life

GIANTS OF THE FOREST

Moose.

They are so much a part of the iconography of the Adirondacks that you would think the state’s largest land mammals were ubiquitous. There is the Moose Tooth Grill in Lake George, the Big Moose Inn on Big Moose Lake and, of course, countless coffee mugs and magnets etched with their image. But compared to Maine, where there are north of 60,000 moose, the Adirondack population is minuscule, estimated at about 400—or, on average, approximately one every 15,000 acres. No wonder people boast of seeing a moose in the same way others might brag about being a 46er, having climbed the tallest peaks in the Adirondack Park.

Maybe because of their small numbers and elusive nature, moose are not well understood by state wildlife biologists. Environmental officials know that moose prefer forests that are in the process of regenerating and therefore gravitate toward private lands that are actively harvested for timber. They understand that moose returned to the Adirondacks sometime in the 1980s, after being wiped out in the mid-1800s. And they believe that the public is generally fond of the giant, relatively gentle beasts.

But in the park, the exact number of moose,

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