The cannisters were part of Adirondack 46R lore and were part of the 46R experience until just a few years ago (circa 2000). It was at that point that a joint State DEC/46R Club effort was undertaken under the banner of "land use management." The major result of this was the consolidation of the multitude of herd paths to the trailless summits into one main path (not officially labelled a trail) to the the summit of each peak. The cannisters were originally put in place when the summits were much more difficult to find as a way of signing through to prove you were there. With the herd path consolidation, it was determined that such cannisters weren't really necessary anymore so they were replaced with simple wooden signs.
Notably, the cannisters still remain in place on the trailless Catskill 3500 club peaks, which receive much less use and often require bushwhacking skills to reach.
Catskill 3500 Club #1230