Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Updated: Group Of 67 People Ticketed On Algonquin Peak

Personal McIntyre RangeTwo trip leaders were ticketed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation Saturday after their group of 67 people drew attention on the trail to Algonquin Peak in the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the DEC. One of the men who says he was one of the leaders now says he is receiving death threats.

A forest ranger charged a 34-year-old Quebec man, who organized the trip, with exceeding the High Peaks Wilderness day-use group-size limit and guiding without a license. A 27-year-old Quebec woman was also charged with guiding without a license. The DEC has not provided the Almanack with the names of those charged in this incident.

Each charge is a violation with a maximum possible penalty of a $250 fine and 15 days in jail. In the High Peaks Wilderness, DEC regulation prohibits groups of more than 15 people from hiking or more than 8 people camping.

One of the leaders of the trip now says he is receiving threatening emails, including two from people who said they would kill him if he returned to the Adirondacks.

“(Another) two people just wrote me (that) I should go to jail for my whole life, and I would be better dead than alive for what (I) did,” he said.

The man said he has “learned his lesson” and that he flabbergasted by the amount of attention the incident has received.

“With just one mistake, my career for hiking will be ruined,” he said.

The man, who asked not to be identified because of the threats he and his family are receiving, said he was just an employee following directions from a travel agency and that the group of 67 was split into six groups of 10 to 12 people each. There were two paid leaders and four volunteer ones. He said the groups were separated by about a mile on the trail on the way up, with three groups going back down the way they came and the other three taking the trail toward Lake Colden on the other side of the mountain. Numerous commenters have reported seeing the large group together on the summit.

The leader has received many emails and comments from people angry about the group size. The topic has drawn a lot of attention on the Almanack and various Facebook pages.

According to the DEC, two buses from Quebec dropped off 67 people at the Adirondak Loj trailhead. The incident was reported to a forest ranger who worked with assistant forest rangers and summit stewards to locate the group. No one in the group registered at the trailhead.

“These regulations were developed to protect the trails and natural resources of the High Peaks Wilderness and to help ensure a good quality experience for all users,” according to a DEC statement about the tickets. “The regulation adheres to Leave No Trace principles.”

Hiking behavior in the High Peaks has been a topic of discussion on social media and the Almanack in recent days, in part because an article, “Beyond Peak Capacity: A Boom in High Peaks Hikers,” raised a series of questions regarding the management of several High Peaks trails. Usage on trails, such as those leading to Algonquin Peak and Mount Marcy, has increased significantly in recent years and has resulted in some negative impacts.

The Van Hoevenberg Trailhead, which starts near Adirondak Loj, is perhaps the most popular trailhead in the Park. Trails off it lead to Mount Marcy, Algonquin and other destinations in the Eastern High Peaks. Last year, 53,423 people signed the trail register — a 62 percent increase from 2005.

The increase in usage has come with problems associated with hikers not adhering to “Leave No Trace” principles by doing things such as hiking in large groups and leaving behind garbage. There have been numerous reports of hikers defecating too close to trails and directly on them.

Hiker Jilly McKissick said in an post in an Adirondack hiking Facebook group that she hiked Algonquin and Iroquois Saturday and found unsanitary trail conditions that same day.

“The amount of human (poop) on the trail was unreal. Disgusting,” McKissick said in the Facebook post. “On the way to Iroquois there was poop literally in the middle of the path! Before anyone feels the need to say ‘stop talking about poop’, let me say that it needs to be talked about it is a seriously health safety issue, and really people WTF! Another negative point was the amount of people on the trail…”

The male leader said that wasn’t from his group.

“We never pooped on the way,” he said. “It was already there.”

DEC and other groups have been trying to address this concern by  installing more privies near summits, and the AuSable River Association led a campaign to install Porta-Johns near numerous trailheads along state Route 73, including Cascade Mountain.

Several people interviewed by the Almanack have said that DEC lacks the proper staffing levels to properly manage the High Peaks Wilderness. Forest Ranger Scott VanLaer commented on the Almanack about that topic.

“The Forest Ranger staffing levels are completely inadequate for the High Peaks district,” he said. “We have evolved into a emergency response team because of the incredible volume of incidents and now the mere possibility of these incidents. If you review the Forest Rangers annual reports and look through the statistics there is significant evidence to support this conclusion…..miles hiked, campsites inspected, tickets written, public presentations made, have all dropped, some significantly. The high volume of rescue means more rangers are kept in the front country (their truck) so they can respond because we never know where the emergency will occur. We always had some rangers in that type of response mode but now it requires most of us to do so, especially on a Saturday. That is also when Stewardship and public interactions would be the most effective and we just can’t accomplish it now.”

The annual Division of Forest Protection reports show that the Adirondack High Peaks region (referred to as Zone C) contains 365,581 acres of state land (mostly Forest Preserve) and 12,581 acres of conservation easements. It says the land is patrolled by six forest rangers, three seasonal assistant forest rangers and one lieutenant.

Much of the High Peak forest rangers’ time is absorbed by search and rescue missions. Last year, 100 of the state’s 275 missions took place here. In addition, many of these rescues are time consuming because of the remote nature of the landscape. The 100 rescues are double the amount that took place in 2006.

As a result, DEC zone C forest rangers have had less time to patrol the backcountry and deal with the crowds. In fact, last year they issued the fewest tickets and arrests in the state of any ranger district. They recorded just 30 of the 2,847 tickets and arrests statewide.

The Division of Forest Protection shows that forest rangers in Zone C took part in no training events or public presentations last year. The report says there were 27,074 attendees statewide at these events, putting in 1,441 hours.

Adirondack Mountain Club Education Director Julia Goren told the Almanack previously that the DEC needs more staffing in the High Peaks area.

“The state funding hasn’t increased,” Goren said. “They’ve still got the same number of caretakers. They’ve got fewer assistant forest rangers than they used to have. They have rangers that have even more territory and even less time to be out there. Foresters, with ever more land that they are supposed to be managing, writing management plans.”

The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Facebook page reported that more than 1,000 people signed the Adirondak Loj trailhead Saturday. That trailhead leads to Eastern High Peaks trails, such as Mount Marcy and Algonquin.

Photo: McIntyre Range, which includes Algonquin Peak.

This story was updated and expanded on Wednesday, August 31, to include information from the 34-year-old Quebec man who was one of the trip leaders, forest ranger Scott VanLaer, Adirondack Mountain Club Education Director Julia Goren, and background on the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s workforce based on info from the agency’s Division of Forest Protection report.


Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.




145 Responses

  1. Lew says:

    This is getting out of hand. I was out Saturday and the blatant disregard for LNT principals and just common courtesy by some of these ‘hikers’ is incredible. It makes me sad to say, but we need a permit system in place and maybe even need to close some trails so they can recover. The rangers are overwhelmed obviously as many of the offending parties show no concern for repercussions.

  2. Jim S. says:

    I hope they get the message. I don’t think the penalties are enough to deter this type of thing. The whole group could chip in to cover the fine for less than lunch at Tim Hortons. Maybe Trump should build a wall to keep out the Canadians

  3. Boreas says:

    Mike,

    So were 67 ticketed (title) or just the 2 “leaders”? I would like to see people ticketed for simply not signing the register.

    • Taras says:

      There is a DEC regulation requiring people to sign trail-registers. However, all group members aren’t required to sign, just the group leader. The DEC could’ve issued a citation to the group’s leader for failing to sign the register. You’d have to ask the responsible ranger why he/she refrained from doing so.

  4. Neil Luckhurst Neil says:

    I would suspect that this was a Bougex group. Multiple attempts at educating this group have met with hostility.

    • Boreas says:

      Neil,

      Forgive my ignorance, but what is a Bougex group? If they are a known concern, why doesn’t ADK turn their bus around at the parking gate? Or for that matter, turn ANY busload of people around? Or was it the Loj that called the DEC?

      • Taras says:

        Bougex is like Meetup. It’s a Internet platform that allows anyone to create a special-interest group (biking, knitting, hiking, chess, you name it). A Bougex or Meetup hiking group will typically have a small group of event organizers who regularly schedule outings.

        If one event organizer runs afoul of DEC regulations and is fined, that’s no guarantee another event organizer will learn from the other’s lesson. If “multi-headed serpent” comes to mind, well, bingo!

        Complaining directly to Bougex or Meetup rarely works because they just offer the platform and rarely care what their groups are doing (hmm, slum lord comes to mind). Bougex’s hiking groups have a track record of ignoring group-size limits. Things appeared to have come to a head last year but, if this group was indeed Bougex again, apparently no lessons were learned.

        Before one paints all Bougex/Meetup groups with the same brush, there are those who maintain squeaky clean reputations by respecting DEC regulations. They run tight ships and strive to keep their names unblemished.

        • Tim says:

          Even if these groups follow the letter of the law and stagger their departures, they still end up congregating together at the top, like so many mouches.

        • Boreas says:

          Taras,

          I believe large group sizes can be allowed by special permit. If Bougex/Meetup are intentionally doing end runs around DEC regulations and permitting regarding group size by breaking into smaller groups and meeting at the summit, no one is squeaky clean. If DEC refuses to issue special permits for these groups, they probably have a good reason. I have to agree with Tim here.

          • Taras says:

            What Tim said, reassembling atop a peak, has happened (looking at you again Bougex hiking groups) and that contravenes the DEC’s regulation regarding group-size. So the organization doing this couldn’t be called “squeaky clean”, right?

            When I said I know of groups that run tight ships I meant it. I know a Montreal-based group that restricts its day-use groups to 15 (usually less) and its overnight groups to 8 (again, often less). Period. They do not indulge in the charade of arriving with an army, dividing it into platoons, then proceed to regroup into an army on a summit.

            Group sizes and the loophole allowing larger groups to divide into smaller ones are spelled out in 190.13 (c) (1)https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I21eeaefec22211ddb7c8fb397c5bd26b?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default

            HOWEVER, 190.8 (c) stipulates sponsored hikes (and other events) exceeding 20 people require a permit.
            https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I21ee87ebc22211ddb7c8fb397c5bd26b?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)

            On State lands, no person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in any organized event of more than 20 people unless otherwise authorized by the department. Examples of organized events include, but are not limited to: sponsored hikes; archery and fishing tournaments; snowmobile, bicycle, horse and orienteering races, runs, rides or competitions (including biathlons and triathlons); encampments; and re-enactments.

            So had they applied for a permit and then divided into small groups that maintained a minimum 1 mile separation at all times, they would be in compliance with the relevant DEC regulations.

            I know about these regulations but I can tell you they aren’t easy to find, especially on WestLaw’s site. The DEC’s web-site doesn’t make it easy either (and I’m glad to hear they plan to improve it). The ADK Mtn Club has a cheat sheet and is “good enough” for the majority of hikers and campers (but you won’t find the 20 person limit there).
            http://www.adk.org/page.php?pname=dec-regulations

            I helped categorize a list compiled by another person, that attempts to display the regulations in a palatable manner (we overlooked the 20-person limit as well).
            http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=23488

            • Boreas says:

              Taras,

              As enforcement would say, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” As others would say, “Ignorance is no excuse for the law.” It is indeed a tangled conundrum with need of clarification.

  5. Paul says:

    This is one of the wildest stories I have seen! Crazy.

    Can they leave the US w/o paying the fine? If they did that is probably the last we will ever hear of it. They are gone. People crapping in the middle of the trail. Wow! This story should help cut down on the number of people going to that trail head. No thanks!

    • Taras says:

      There’s the nuclear option. Submit their names to Homeland Security. Next time they need to enter the US, for pleasure or business, they’ll be reminded of their unpaid fines or barred outright. That kind of message spreads quickly through the ranks of event organizers.

      • Boreas says:

        Sounds good to me! Basically trail terrorists…

        • Paul says:

          Guys forget it. DHS is not going to get involved in any kind of minor infarction like this. Trail terrorists – what in the world are you talking about. So a big group of Canadians showed up to hike a few mountains and didn’t have the right permit for their group size. That is the old Adirondack Wilderness for ya!

  6. Jim says:

    I passed a group of 25+ in the early 80’s on Crane Mountain, just south of Gore Mountain in Johnsburg. When I summited I discovered they had trashed the campsite. Trees stripped and bottles stuck on the ends of branches… I can’t imagine how it is today…

    • Boreas says:

      Jim,
      Plastic bottles instead of glass…

      • Bruce says:

        Boreas,

        Your remark about the plastic bottles hit me. People think they’re doing a good thing by buying water in plastic bottles, without realizing that many of these bottles are not recyclable, and when they are, it takes more than one bottle to make a new one (I worked in the plastics industry for 2 years), unlike glass which is almost 100% recyclable or refillable.

        It’s the old, “why should I put trash in my pack to carry it out thing”.

        Certain well known writers and groups are calling for more hiker access (does Boreas Ponds ring a bell). As you know, I’m all for more reasoned access, but why can’t some great places be left for the more adventurous among us? Do all these places need “hiker highways” cut to them?

        Here in the Smokies, I can tell when Spring has arrived. Near trailheads, the trail is covered with the beautiful red, blue, yellow and green plastic trash flowers (the plastic drink cups folks have in their hands when they jump out of the car at the trailhead and finish on the trail).

        • Bruce says:

          I used Boreas Ponds as an example, but I was really thinking about someone suggesting a trail be cut to North River Mountain.

  7. Taras says:

    As a Quebecer and frequent High Peaks hiker, I applaud this action.

    The DEC’s regulations and guidelines are more than adequate to address many of the woes afflicting the High Peaks. Enforcement is key and there’s simply an inadequate number of rangers available to patrol the backcountry.

    Throwing more paper-pushing responsibilities on the limited number of extant rangers isn’t a solution. Hiring more rangers to inspect paperwork is a waste of their talents. Hire more rangers to enforce the existing laws, through education or citations, and you’ll see progress.

    • Boreas says:

      Taras,

      I would applaud it if all were given citations and fines, as all were obviously guilty. But fining only 2 organizers? What lessons did they learn? It certainly won’t keep them from doing it again. If the DEC regulations aren’t strong enough to cite and fine every member of that group, then they simply aren’t strong enough.

      • Taras says:

        Imagine an oversized group of high school students, or scouts, or members of a church, all unaware of local laws but placing their trust in the group’s leader to not lead them astray. Unfortunately, the leader is equally ignorant of the local laws. Or he chooses to ignore the laws. The group members aren’t accomplices, they’re dupes. Punishing the leader is just. Punishing everyone isn’t.

        • johnny says:

          Then the fines should be larger. Make the leaders think twice if all their profits are eaten up by the fine.

        • Boreas says:

          Taras,

          If I walk into the woods unprepared and break the regs, I can be fined. If I have a friend with me, we both can be fined. Two friends, ditto. Where is the cutoff between innocent sheep and co-conspirators? As you have said, DEC must decide on the spot. But is that consistent rationality or just pragmatic expedience? Kinda like dropping the Thanksgiving turkey.

        • Bruce says:

          Taras,

          Agreed. It’s the leader’s job to know the regulations in force before hand, and take action to stay within those regulations.

          While not quite the same thing, when I was a young sailor in the Mediterranean, it was impressed upon us that we were “ambassadors for the US”, and our deportment in other countries was an important part of foreign relations.

          I’m just glad this group does not represent most Canadian’s view of the US and vice versa.

          • Taras says:

            Ambassadors, yes; thank you for mentioning that. I cringe whenever I hear another group from my province has run afoul of DEC regulations. The incident grabs headlines and, unintentionally, throws shade on law-abiding Canadians.

  8. Justin Farrell says:

    As a tax paying New York resident, I would fully support a user permit/registration fee system for high-use areas with the Adirondack State Park.

  9. Stephen says:

    “Each charge is a violation with a maximum possible penalty of a $250 fine and 15 days in jail.” So they received 3? 2 for not having license and 1 for exceeding group limit? or is “each charge” for everyone over the group limit(52 people)?

    • SusannaDanna says:

      You understand, this will require a massive new infrastructure of permitting system, places where they would be available, as well as enforcement personnel at trail heads, etc. This will never fly under the current anti-state worker, anti-tax ethic we suffer with, thanks to the sainted dead president Reagan…..

    • Taras says:

      Vraiment? Il est un coach personnel ? Incroyable!

      Je suppose qu’il va payer l’amende avec de l’argent trouvé sur le plancher de sa Lexus.

  10. Ron says:

    Regulations should be re-written so that a fine is levied on every member of the party AND if they are foreign nationals, the data on their passports should be recorded so that if they do not pay the fines, they will be denied future access to the USA. Canada has long denied access to US citizens who have a DWI conviction on their records. In my opinion, trashing our mountains is equally as serious.

  11. Hayduke says:

    The ADK is a for profit group-despite their not for profit status. Those parking fees they collect off large groups don’t even go to trail work, it goes right into their general fund. For them to allow buses is pure hypocrisy, if they really cared they would deny buses and limit use through their property.

    • Boreas says:

      Hayduke,

      In reading the article (my only source of info right now) it isn’t clear they “allowed” the buses to do anything. It just says the buses dropped them off. Were they refused entry and deposited the people outside of the parking area? Or were they allowed to park? The article is unclear on that. My GUESS is that the parking attendant didn’t want to confront 60+ angry people but wisely let them do as they pleased, then called DEC and the Loj reporting what was taking place. But this is pure speculation on my part. I would think ADK has procedures on hand for such occurrences.

      • Seth Jones Seth Jones says:

        Adirondack Mountain Club is a non-profit organization that facilitates many mission oriented programs like its advocacy work in Albany, Summit Stewardship Program, 4th Grade School Outreach Program, Backcountry Water Monitors Program, Trails Program and more. The parking fee at the Adirondak Loj is one way you can support these mission oriented programs.

        The buses in this incident arrived before ADK staff was present at the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC). When ADK staff did arrive they informed the bus drivers of the group size regulations. The bus drivers refused to pay the parking fee so the buses ended up leaving the parking lot. When a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) arrived at the HPIC, ADK staff informed the AFR of the over sized group. When the AFR checked the register the group had not signed in. At this point this is when the Forest Ranger was informed of the incident.

  12. Doreen Heer says:

    My husband and I climbed the Macs today and there was poop right in the middle of the trail to Iroquis as stated in the above article. I removed it and thought about the ignorance of some one who would take a crap and leave it for some one else to deal with. So frustrating!

  13. Katherine Grimard says:

    There need to be hiking permits, just like fishing and hunting permits. And a requirement for a permit should be a safe hiking practices class. It’s about time hikers started paying their fair share of the stewardship of our woods. My fishing license, my families hunting and fishing licenses, as well as extensive taxes on the equipment all are dedicated to the protection of our environment.

  14. JF Bergeron says:

    I’m a Quebecer and though I strictly follow the leave no trace principles I still feel that I should apologize for this behaviour on behalf of all Quebec residents. One of the reasons I hike in the United States is because of the hiking ethics present on the trail and the idea that a trail is a trail and not a freeway. Leave no trace, is something which is unfortunately virtually unknown in the province. I’m hoping the fines will discourage such vile behaviour in the future and perhaps bring a sense of awareness to the LNT principles.

  15. Mike says:

    same problem with poop on the Appalachian Trail too!

  16. Ed Burke says:

    Certainly existing regulations need to be enforced and DEC should beef up their ranks to deal with the situation in the busy summer and fall seasons, perhaps by partnering with ESF, ADK or whoever can provide stewards in these areas. In July I shared a great sunset and moonrise with an ATIS youth group of nine on the summit of Cascade. I was there to try out new hiking boots, they were there to camp, in their bags, on the summit. Every ten minutes one of them would bring up the ‘bathroom issue’ which had to be addressed. I mentioned to their leader about the regulation against camping but was told by the woman “we have permission”. I doubt anyone in DEC would go out on that limb. I can certainly understand their desire to be there because 30 years ago I pitched a tent there and in 1976 I did the bag on rocks thing on Algonquin but this was long before the High Peaks hit the tipping point that exists now. Other areas are also under pressure such as the Lake George Land Conservancy’s Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve Trail where the relatively new trail has expanded be 40ft wide in spots. It’s possible that even NY corporations may be interested in sponsoring the salaries for stewards in high use ares to keep hikers in check. Underwriting by IBM, GE, Albany International etc. might be easy to obtain because the costs are not exorbitant.

    • Taras says:

      I would’ve asked “May I see the permit? I’ve never seen one before.”

      If you suspect a lie, just report it to the DEC. You can even take note of the leader’s info in the trail-register (assuming they bothered to enter it).

      The EHP regulation concerning camping is clear: no camping above 3500 feet except at a designated site (and currently there are only two above 3500 feet).

      If you meet someone who debates the meaning of “camping” (I won’t be using a tent, it’s just a long rest break, we won’t be cooking, etc) ask them if they would pull this stunt in one one of the many spots marked with “No Camping” markers. Would they sit down in such a place (typically found at low elevations in the woods) and spend the night under the “No Camping” marker. Highly unlikely.

      Why not? Because it isn’t the equivalent experience (or offers the same bragging rights) as sleeping atop a mountain. In other words, their need to be there is purely selfish and damn the regulation.

  17. Neil Luckhurst Neil Luckhurst says:

    Turns out it wasn’t Bougex. Here is our “hero”: http://www.jimmysevigny.com/
    The web page regarding the “3 Summit Challenge” has been taken down. He was charging between 500 and 800 a head incl. 2 nights at a hotel.

    • Taras says:

      I joked with Charles that this fellow will pay the fine with money found on the floor of his Lexus. Now I don’t believe it’s all that far from the truth.

      Hometown boy follows the American Dream. Lose a few hundred pounds, become a motivational speaker, charge to hear you talk, charge to join you for a hike. It’s the last part that explains the citation for operating as an unlicensed guide (he charged for his services).

      Yeah, I theorized it elsewhere but I’m now more convinced that the busload of Jimmy Sevigny acolytes were clueless about local laws.

      • Boreas says:

        Taras,

        Do we know if he was there? I am not sure he received any reprimand, unless he was one of the “leaders” pinched.

        • Taras says:

          Good point. Mea culpa. I made an assumption he was present. I don’t know for a fact if he was leading the group or if it was a member of his staff.

  18. Neil Luckhurst Neil Luckhurst says:

    One more point. The deeper message to this incident is that the High Peaks have an image problem. This took place in a wilderness zone. (I’m sure everyone here understands the significance of the wilderness designation.) But, many areas of the High Peaks don’t look much like a wilderness any more. And, if doesn’t look or feel like a wilderness or if the authorities don’t administer it like a wilderness then people won’t treat it as such. I often get the impression that the HP’s are treated more like a cash cow for the local region than an actual wilderness. Well, here’s a business man who simply took that to the next level.

    • Bruce says:

      Neil,

      My point exactly. In some places the wilderness doesn’t look like wilderness any more, yet some “environmentalists” are calling for more trails to be cut to make it easier for hikers to get around, especially in the new areas.

      I’m sure ADK appreciated the business. I’m sure we won’t hear much from them regarding limiting their potential intake of dollars.

      • Boreas says:

        Neil,

        I am not sure of the point you are trying to make here.

        “Environmentalists” asking for more trails doesn’t mean they will get them, no more than others who want more road access.

        Keep in mind, the Loj trailhead is private property. I doubt they were happy with this situation.

        • Neil Luckhurst Neil Luckhurst says:

          My point is that the authorities are treating the region more like a cash-cow than a wilderness zone. The result of that treatment is an erosion of “wilderness values”. This erosion would have contributed to this particular example of using the area as a money-making, open-air gymnasium. We have also seen the HP’s as a venue for a keg party. What’s next?

      • Taras says:

        Trail-runners? They’re gone in a flash. By the time you notice the color of their shoes, they’re gone.

        Compare that to slow hikers who stop for a break and obstruct the trail. Now that’s something we can all get into a lather about!

        😉

      • Seth Jones Seth Jones says:

        ADK did not collect any parking fees from this group. They refused to pay the fee so the buses left after they dropped off their group.

        • Taras says:

          There’s no denying this entire outfit rubbed a lot of people the wrong the way, right down to refusing to pay for parking.

          One way for them (Jimmy Sevigny’s organization) to turn these lemons into lemonade is to donate money to trail maintenance and/or volunteer time for trail-maintenance. Publicly admit to screwing up and pledge your financial support to right the wrong. I’m sure he’s clever enough to spin this reputational blemish into some kind of “growth” lesson for his business of motivational speaking.

          • Walt says:

            “… turn these lemons into lemonade is to donate money to trail maintenance and/or volunteer time for trail-maintenance …”

            Good idea.

            Reminds me of DEC’s existing $5 Trail Patch program that goes to trail work. It would be good to see more promotion of voluntary donations like that.

            PUBLIC EDUCATION about all these matters needs massive increases in funding. to push “the word” In all media, in posters and signs, in flyers and handouts.

            When I was a kid, I don’t think a week went by when I didn’t see Smoky Bear say “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Or the teary Indian looking at pollution.

            I never see commercial TV anymore, but PBS and public radio, which I consume a lot, aren’t pumping PSAs or interviews about Leave No Trace and privvy practices.

            Education on conservation and recreational use of nature should be pushed continually and conspicuously on the entire population via all media. How often do you hear a ranger interviewed on a conservation topic in the media?

            They’ll pick up a story like this one from time to time and everyone will gasp and forget it, thinking it’s just an isolated case of abuse and violation.

            The ranger doesn’t have the time for an interview, literally, because taxpayers don’t provide for it. That’s because the topic doesn’t matter enough to them. Education and experience make it matter. Get the children into the woods, long and often.

  19. smitty says:

    I was hiking at the Adirondac LOJ this Monday and a pet peeve of mine is trail runners. The trails are already overcrowded and over used to begin with. If you’re just using it to get some exercise rather than experience the grandeur of the high peaks, then please just go somewhere else. Not to mention that everyone needs to stop to let you go zooming past.

    • Bruce says:

      Smitty,

      As a hiker, how would you feel if there were nice trails to nice places for runners that you weren’t allowed to use because you might get in THEIR way?

      I’m not talking about motorized vs non-motorized, or wheels vs. foot, but ever since I started reading the Almanack a few years ago, and reading about wilderness usage there’s a subject many nibble around but few really broach, and you brought it up. “Hiker elitism.” I keep getting the impression that as a user group, hikers feel the Adirondack Park belongs to them, and other groups have to make way. I suppose in a sense, the Park does belong to hikers, because they can go virtually anywhere they want on state land, trail or no trail.

      When I lived in Oswego County, I was a snowshoer and winter camper. If there was a narrow track I was on, and a cross-country skier came along, I had to make way for them, but I didn’t feel that just because I was the slower traffic that they should go elsewhere.

      • kathy says:

        In Oneida county BREIA trails are tracked by a cross country ski groomer and snow shoes have their own lane to the side as their shoes disrupt the track and cause skiers to lose their glide and may stumble. In open country w/o groomed trails then they should go around you. However I do give snowmobiles the right of way on their trails.

        • Bruce says:

          Kathy,

          I’m talking about the days when there were very few pre-made or even maintained trails on state land outside the Park. Users just went into the woods, excepted whatever conditions they found, and went for it. If it wasn’t a road, it was most likely a game trail used by everyone.

          • kathy says:

            Bruce,
            That’s how I started X country skiing also by breaking trail in the woods and I did appreciate any snow shoe tracks to follow. I do remember being chased off to the side by the early style skate skiers who go for speed.

    • Paul says:

      I assume that cross country skiers are another one of your pet peeve’s? The one issue I do see with trail runners is that they are often totally unprepared for a problem if they have one. Some usually have nothing more than sneakers and a pair of shorts. They obviously expect someone else to take care of them in a pinch, and there are lots of roots to help break an ankle on the trails of the HPW.

      • Smitty says:

        I guess I didn’t make my point very well. It’s not so much about having to yield to someone going faster. It’s that the high peaks trails are something to be savored like a fine wine. Not chugged like soda pop. Their already too trammelled and beaten by overuse. So if all your doing is using them for your run, why not go somewhere that doesn’t suffer from overuse. I am an avid cross country skier by the way, although if I went on the high peaks trails you’d likely see my name in the DEC rescue reports.

  20. JoeB says:

    The staff at the Loj who tend the booth did not take notice of two tour buses full of people and question the intentions of the people on board. Maybe remind them of the High peaks regulations? Hmm!! It took the group being on the trail before being noticed!? Wow! Seems to me the staff is just as at fault as the tour operators.

    • Seth Jones Seth Jones says:

      The buses in this incident arrived before ADK staff was present at the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC). When ADK staff did arrive they informed the bus drivers of the group size regulations. The bus drivers refused to pay the parking fee so the buses ended up leaving the parking lot. When a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) arrived at the HPIC, ADK staff informed the AFR of the over sized group. When the AFR checked the register the group had not signed in. At this point this is when the Forest Ranger was informed of the incident.

  21. Walt says:

    An acquaintance of mine from Keene Valley told me earlier this summer that he recently (last year, I think) climbed Cascade on some weekend that is a holiday weekend for Canadians. He found a WEDDING going on at the summit, and after incredulously counting 500 people he gave up. Is there a meaningful DEC presence in our High Peaks Wilderness? Obviously and sadly, not.

  22. Walt says:

    (Excuse me. “Meaningful” in the sense of visitor day-use control and such – as we are discussing this – is how I’m using the term here.)

  23. Tim says:

    I am so glad the DEC is starting to crack down on this behavior. I, too, am sick of seeing human waste near or on the trails. However, if there’s no tp, it could very well be bear, which have been coming out of seclusion due to the drought.

  24. Kate says:

    I’m a Keene Valley native and people I know here have been tossing around the permit/license idea for a while now (since the beginning of the beginning of the current flood). One idea that I love is based on the carbon trading idea. Since the Adirondacks are a State Park, all New York State residents should be eligible for a permit. The DEC should set the annual limit and then enter all NYS residents in a lottery. The state could then host a secondary market online whereby the permits could be sold by recipients who will not use them to Canadians, Vermonters, etc. As a “native” of course I have an interest in figuring out a way to distribute a set of permits to landowners and year-round residents as well. A lot of summer and year-round families have invested years of work and money to make sure they maintained easy access to these mountains.

    • Neil Luckhurst Neil Luckhurst says:

      That sounds complicated and prone to gaming the system. I like the idea of control via parking. (limited slots, all numbered and reserved through a web site like Reserve America, charge so much per car-more for out of state -same as is done in the DEC campgrounds ) . Too complicated? Too easily gamed? Anything would be better than the current “system”.

    • Taras says:

      Any system that seeks to control the number of people entering the High Peaks, requires enforcement otherwise it is doomed to fail.

      If you issue tags that rarely ever checked, nothing prevents people from entering without them (or creating facsimiles that look authentic from a distance).

      In the Eastern High Peaks, people camp illegally, create illegal fires, and don’t store their food in bear canisters. I witnessed all of this on one day in one place just over a week ago. I’ve read of similar incidents occurring throughout the summer.

      Improve enforcement of existing laws and then then let’s see if additional schemes are needed. Because almost all of those schemes are predicated on enforcement which is currently in short supply.

      If there’s no money to expand the number of rangers then I fail to see how there’s money to create new schemes that will rely on the same tiny pool of rangers.

      • Paul says:

        Look at the parking and camping reservation system that they use at a place like Baxter State Park in Maine to control numbers on mountains like Khatadin. It isn’t that difficult. I am not talking about making it only for the wealthy like you see on Everest just a system to limit the numbers. My guess is businesses in Lake Placid will not be supportive. But if it gets to bad people will eventually stop coming.

  25. Dave says:

    Regulating total numbers, like is the case with hunting licenses, will not help. The problem is the bunching up of hikers at peak times. Other popular places issue time of entry passes, for free. That might help the Cascade type of problem. Also a social media campaign in French in Montreal to educate people might help. The problem is in a few areas a few times a year making it hard to respond to at the right scale.

    DEC many campgrounds have paid reservations, a system that could extend to back country.

  26. SusannaDanna says:

    When hiking in Montana a few years ago, I was surprised by the clean and modern toilet facilities at all the trail heads. It seems long past time for NYS to recognize human bodily needs and the growing popularity of our beautiful Adirondacks.

    • Taras says:

      Walk several yards into the woods, well away from the trail, sources of water, campsites, and lean-tos. There’s an infinite number of spots in the High peaks that meet the criteria.

      Create a hole 6-8″ deep, into the organic soil layer, make your deposit along with the TP, cover it with the excavated soil, and garnish with some leaf-litter (if available). I also add a few dead branches as camouflage for the disturbed soil. Easy-peasy.

      Yet, crapping like a cat is rocket science to the many who dump like a dog. In fact, I’ve seen gardens of TP flowers in close proximity to box-toilets and outhouses. Why? I guess theythe rivies were too “icky” and it was deemed better to poop all over the “floor” than use the “john”. Yes, this is what some of those nice people you meet on the trail do.

  27. Austin Spite says:

    It is a shame that this kind of thing happens…..there is a general lack of concern for community lately. So many have a “everything is about me and my comfort” attitude. The Adirondack hiking community needs to band together and stop this. If we don’t then it is our fault that no retribution occurs.

  28. James says:

    lets make an investigation was it USA poop or Canadian Poop , NYCSI will help solve the problem

    when the economy is slow, when the tourism is welcome, why not have a better sensibilization and education and guidance for groups,

    i doubt the nurses and professional in the canadian group did poop in the middle of the trail

  29. David Thomas-Train says:

    Unfortunately, it may be time for a permit system.

    It is well past time for thorough and proactive Leave No Trace and poop-in-a-cat-hole-well- away-from-water education initiative by all stakeholders, from DEC on down.

    • Taras says:

      How does that work again? A permit automatically makes people follow the rules?

      The key rules are currently posted at trailheads … and people don’t follow them. Buying a permit won’t change that … unless the permit features the following in bold type: 😉

      $250 Fine
      Failure to comply
      with DEC regulations
      carries a penalty
      of $250
      or 15 days in jail.

      That might be effective in getting (some) people to read *and* comply with regulations. Especially if the number of rangers is increased to enforce them.

      • Katherine Grimard says:

        A permit or license generates income that can be used for stewardship of the land. The fees can help pay for better enforcement.

        • Taras says:

          All permit and licenses require system to record, issue, manage, and enforce them. This has been described in greater detail many times elsewhere in these comments and in the related article dealing with increased hiker traffic.

          Everyone says “permits” but doesn’t think through the details and costs of implementing and operating such a system, let alone the increased enforcement required *immediately* to make it worthwhile.

          A far simpler system is to copy the White Mountain National Forest and charge for parking at the top 10-15 trailheads. Enforcing the system is simplified because it’s in the front country where it’s easier and faster to identify non-payers and ticket them. You don’t need to employ rangers to perform this function.

          • Katherine Grimard says:

            Just use the existing hunting and fishing license system. It wouldn’t take much to do. It’s having the support from the public to do it.

    • SusannaDanna says:

      Yes, long past time. How about trail head toilets???? Like civilized states have?
      Everyone poops.

  30. Neil Luckhurst Neil Luckhurst says:

    Mike, I would hardly call those comments “death threats”.

    Also I think it’s incorrect to associate feces on the trail with this group.. A summit steward reports more than 400 people on the trail that same day. 67/400 = blame in the courts of public opinion perhaps but implied causation in journalism is a slippery professional slope if you ask me.

  31. Walt says:

    This is why I stay out of the High Peaks area. And where I do go, if there is more than one car at a trailhead, I move on. I’m thoroughly disgusted that Governor Cuomo pushes the outdoor experience up here, that the state keeps buying (and taking easements in) expansive tracts of land, that they add trails for snowmobiles pursue other tourism promotions and what I call “incitements,” ALL WITHOUT HIRING MORE RANGERS AND ECOs. If I were a ranger here, I’d be looking for a job in the state of Washington, where, by the way, they require a permit to use any state land. I favor a permit system with a significant cost (special rates or free for certain people needing or deserving it) requiring a hang tag in the car AND a card carried on your person (like a hunting license does) AND mandatory sign-in at those trails that warrant registers with your permit number (hunting license, too) and last name (no other privacy-breaching info), AND the funds used strictly for DEC staff funding to enforce laws, manage the properties (including foresters), maintain in-service training, and rescue people. Groups? No more than 10 without a permit for any activity. Larger groups don’t have to split a mile apart. They have to split a DAY apart. When a permit is granted for a larger group (school, etc.) they must be informed in writing that their activity WILL be checked on by at least a volunteer ranger, and the permit incurs a fee per person in the group, with all adults in the group required to have their own personal annual permit, too. It’s time to get serious about crowd control. As for me, I’ll just stay out of the peaks area. I can’t tolerate it the way it is now, and I have no doubt it will get much worse before it gets better, thanks to lack of staff funding and lax, largely unenforced regulations. I think there should be special regulations for the more trafficked areas, too, like mandatory register sign-in with a fine equal to that of not carrying a permit. Just put a sign on the register box. No tickie, no shirtie.

  32. Paul says:

    If they had arrived in 30 or 40 cars (or even 67) and signed in there would be no story.

    • Boreas says:

      Likely true, but they didn’t. However, they did maintain a good carbon footprint and saved a lot on parking fees…

  33. Chris says:

    I was there this past Saturday. I witnessed the chaos caused by this group, especially the tight areas towards summit. Not to mention the disrespect they displayed by pooping in the trail. Like seriously wtf.

    • Taras says:

      Are you saying you witnessed one of the group members defecate on the trail.

      Or are you echoing what the article reported, namely someone who saw the feces but didn’t witness anyone doing the deed.

      I question the author’s choice to include the circumstantial evidence of trail-poop. It would’ve been more informative to mention that on the very same day a group was fund-raising for Cystic Fibrosis. They took special precautions to ensure their group sizes complied with all regulations and they maintained the minimum one-mile separation. That dramatic contrast would’ve been far more informative than some random, circumstantial anecdote about trail-poop.

    • Boreas says:

      Chris,

      We still have no proof of who actually added that particular exclamation point to the incident. Did you happen to witness it? If you did, or know someone who did, please share.

  34. Charlie S says:

    ““The state funding hasn’t increased,” Goren said. “They’ve still got the same number of caretakers. They’ve got fewer assistant forest rangers than they used to have. They have rangers that have even more territory and even less time to be out there.”

    With all of the money Cuomo is spending on advertising for people to go to the Adirondacks it’s no wonder there’s not enough money for caretakers and rangers. My friends wife on Long Island told me she cannot believe how much advertising she sees on television down there to get people to go to the Adirondacks. ‘The marketing is tremendous’ she says..’much more than usual….ziplines,horseback riding,indoor amusement centers,,hiking,campgrounds.’

    Tourism is more important than the Adirondack ecosystem. Why should this surprise anybody?

  35. Charlie S says:

    “One of the leaders of the trip now says he is receiving threatening emails, including two from people who said they would kill him if he returned to the Adirondacks.”

    A Trump supporter!

  36. Charlie S says:

    ““The amount of human (poop) on the trail was unreal. Disgusting,” McKissick said in the Facebook post. “On the way to Iroquois there was poop literally in the middle of the path!”

    I’ve seen this at least once or twice on trails in the Adirondacks….toilet paper with brownish shades. And did I tell ya’s about the two loaded diapers I found in the water on the north bank of the Moose River in the Moose River Plains? I was able to retrieve one not the other. A permit system is not going to help matters due to the fact you cannot fix stupid.

  37. Charlie S says:

    “said he was just an employee following directions from a travel agency…”

    And who put the feelers out to the travel agency?

  38. Joe says:

    Phew. Well, finally we get to the idea the hikers are a problem sometimes too. They poop and pee and litter and erode trails. Always have always will. But I can’t see how permits lower numbers. They may allow collection of money but not likely big amounts. Also, residents are not likely to take well to paying for a walk in the woods! Fees for parking will only work at a handful of lots, not for trailheads like Cascade or Giant or other roadsides. Forget it. The only real option is more DEC staff. Or let it degrade enough that people stop going. Then it will recover. And the cycle will begin again.

    But, death threats! Come on people. We are better than that. Lighten up.

    • Boreas says:

      Taras,

      They did change the title to include the death threat thing, but I would have preferred to see a spin-off article.

    • Boreas says:

      Joe,

      As far as I am concerned, permits and licensing are not geared toward limiting use, but limiting abuse. The more prepared someone is when they enter the HPW, the better. If it lowers numbers, that would be an additional benefit to an over-used area.

  39. Charlie S says:

    Bruce says ” why can’t some great places be left for the more adventurous among us? Do all these places need “hiker highways” cut to them?”

    Some segments of this society would have it no other way Bruce. By following these threads on the Almanack you can see that. As time goes on it’s going to be more of a struggle to keep the Adirondacks from being what every other place is in this country. There’s not near enough “more adventurous” among us.

  40. Taras says:

    I’d like to request that the Adirondack Almanack use some means of identifying the fact their news articles are subject to “continuous enhancement” and new information is added as it becomes available. Just a footnote would do.

    The date of this article is Tuesday August 30th but what I read then and what is visible today (August 31st) is quite different. I’m not complaining about the welcome added details, including the other side of the story as experienced by the group’s leaders, but the fact these things are silently slipped into the article without even so much as a footnote is not good … well I won’t say it.

    • Boreas says:

      Taras,

      They did change the title to include the death threat thing, but I would have preferred to see a spin-off article.

      • Taras says:

        I noticed that I figured I wouldn’t carp about it because at least it signaled something had changed. But still, that’s an awkward way to do it.

        Ditto: footnote indicating the additions (like many news organization do) or post a separate updated article. Silently adding and/or subtracting information isn’t (… and I still won’t say it).

        • Taras says:

          To Mike Lynch:

          Thank you! I saw the recent addition of footnotes, summarizing the modifications, and the inclusion of “Updated:” in the title. Much appreciated!

  41. Charlie S says:

    “Mike says: “same problem with poop on the Appalachian Trail too!”

    It a societal thing. As we advance through the nuclear age we have less morals,there’s not the sense of a common purpose,there’s less respect….we are declining in quality all the way around.

  42. Roy Hogan says:

    They did break down into smaller groups less than 15 so I don’t get what they did wrong.

    • Taras says:

      First, that information was slipped into the article after it was published. So many of the commenters here weren’t aware of it when they posted.

      Second, it’s possible the “platoons” regrouped into a full “army” along the way or on the summit. There may have been reliable witnesses (like Summit Stewards) who reported this activity (speculation). They are obligated to maintain a minimum separation distance of one mile at all times. This isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds if you send all the groups to the same destination. The first group has to vacate the summit before the second groups arrive but if they’re using the same trail. to ascend and descend, they’ll meet somewhere along the way. The odds they’ll pause and talk to one another are high (excited descending party telling the laboring ascending party what a great view is awaiting them).

  43. Rich Stevens says:

    They should have fined everyone, if allowed by law. In Annapolis, a kayak tour company that had ignored a pervious warning that they and their clients lacked whistles, which is a USCG requirement, were all fined $125. The tour company elected to reimburse all of the clients the $125 each rather than wait to be sued for it.

    That would have made an impression on the organizers of this hike and taken a bite out of any profit. It might have come to the attention of anyone else planning such an event.

    A choice of a few days of train maintenance or jail time hay have been an option as well.

  44. Death threats – really? Come on people. Yes, it was a bit extreme bringing 67 hikers to one trail. By all accounts, they split into separate groups of 10-12, but still a large group at the top…

    However, isn’t it a bit hypocrytical to say “too many people are going on the hikes, so I can’t enjoy it as much with my friends?”

    These hikes are for everyone to enjoy – because of their beauty, they’ve become popular.

    The same has happened in Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and others – but this is exactly WHY we have these parks – for all to enjoy.

    They seem remorseful for the mistake, and I think a fine is fair – but let’s please tone down the rhetoric and judgement on folks who by all accounts were trying to enjoy one of the high Peaks… I wish we could get more Americans out and enjoying them instead of playing on their phones…

  45. Catherine says:

    So, serious question from a new-ish hiker who has a family of new-ish hikers: what’s the best way for us to learn the etiquette and rules of hiking in the Adirondacks? Are there books people recommend? There was an earlier mention of “hiker elitism” and we have absolutely come across people who have an attitude of “If you have to ask, you’ll never know…” about hiking. I didn’t grow up hiking (or anywhere near wild areas), and it seems that much of this community knowledge is passed down in families, among friends, and through years of experience and trial and error. Where does one who wants to be a good hiker gain this knowledge quickly?

    • Taras says:

      This is the easiest-to-digest summary of the many (almost Byzantine) regulations and guidelines governing the most regulated (and popular) area of the Adirondack Park (Eastern portion of the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the “EHP”).
      http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=23488

      If you heed the listed rules and follow the guidelines, you will minimize your impact, increase your enjoyment of the area, and leave it in a great shape for future visitors. Other areas of the Adirondack Park are less restrictive but if you follow the EHP’s rules in other places, they will benefit from your reduced “footprint”.

      “hiker elitism” can be the product of “hiker exasperation”. Imagine telling a doq owner to clean up after their pet on your lawn. And they do. Now imagine repeating that message to hundreds of dog owners every day because it’s rarely ever the same dog owner. Eventually, some of your frustration is going to leak into the way you deliver your message. 😉

      Easier peaks in the High Peaks, like Cascade, attrtact thousands of new hikers every years and many behave like unhousebroken dogs. Yuck! Or they avoid mud (“Ohh! Icky!”) and steep rock (Ooh! Too hard!) by walking along the edges of the trail (making bypass trails) and adding to its erosion. Or they bring unleashed dogs, or trample alpine vegetation, or make illegal campfires or they .. you get the picture. It’s an endless stream of “babes in the woods” who involuntarily, but definitely, despoil the place they’ve come to enjoy.

      • Boreas says:

        Perhaps the Cascade/Porter “experience” could be improved by moving the trailhead a mile or so further away, closing the roadside parking, and putting in a safer, off-road parking lot. The extra mile or so might make it a lot less attractive and take some of the heat off.

        • Taras says:

          Good idea but there’s still the need to provide parking for Pitchoff across the street. If you reroute it to the new Cascade trailhead, you still have the problem of crossing the highway. You can solve it with a pedestrian underpass but now this project is suffering from “scope creep”! 🙂

          Don’t get me wrong, it’s good idea and could be combined with someone else’s suggestion of a manned information kiosque. The only thing is someone will have to run the numbers because, as busy as Cascade gets, it’s not a major “portal” into the High Peaks like the Loj, the Garden, Ausable Club and Upper Works.

          Having said that, it is a major portal for sightseeing tourists and beginning hikers, namely people who could benefit the most. Of course, this all depends if there is any non-Wilderness land nearby to locate this otherwise non-conforming structure.

          • Taras says:

            Whoops! Apologies! The information building was not “someone else’s” suggestion it was yours.

          • Boreas says:

            The Pitchoff trailhead could also be moved by providing a nice crosswalk somewhere between the parking area and the trailhead that has good visibility and possibly a flashing light when someone is in the crosswalk. (I don’t know if Pitchoff is busy enough to warrant flashing lights.) But simply walking along the narrow road would be dangerous. I think it would be best to move both trailheads to a wider, straighter section of road where it is safer to turn in with a car and cross the street. The current parking couldn’t be much worse.

            But wishin’ ain’t gonna get it done…

  46. […] chaque année, 45 feux de forêt sont causés par des excursionnistes et, pour couronner le tout, voir une expédition de 67 Québécois qui ont randonné sur une montagne des Adirondacks, là où on ne peut qu’être 15 par groupe […]

  47. Kyle says:

    I wonder how much of this is a result of Cuomo’s “boosting the local economy”?

  48. […] buses who seriously caused a ruckus throughout the area (see article for more on this fiasco: http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/08/group-67-people-ticketed-algonquin-peak.html). So, when we saw a ton of people getting off the buses, we basically ran to the trailhead in an […]

  49. […] chaque année, 45 feux de forêt sont causés par des excursionnistes et, pour couronner le tout, voir une expédition de 67 Québécois qui ont randonné sur une montagne des Adirondacks, là où on ne peut qu’être 15 par groupe […]

  50. Billy Bob says:

    Interesting happening upon this article now. I was at the Loj trailhead that day and remember the bus. One of the guys I was hiking with commented why did these people not sign in at trailhead. These people made excessive noise on trails. Thankfully they went of on McIntyre range trail we proceeded thru Avalanche Lake in peace. I then summited McIntyre via Lake Colden and encountered some of the group (around 15 people). Once I was on Mac trail it was a crush of humanity, noise and litter. These people should been levied a major fine. I remember that an elderly member of their group was injured coming down from Algonquin. Loj should never have allowed that bus in. As a Canadian it was very embarrassing. In fact I apologized to many Americans for the behaviour of them and admitted it was very bad form. Not impressed.

    BTW offending tour operator that organized:
    https://chantallacroix.com/defis-sos-sante/defi-3-sommets/

    Further seems one of the guides was Jimmy Sevigny….
    http://jimmysevigny.webminutes.net/defi-des-3-sommets-p2154.html

    What an ass… beware I assume these clowns will be back in 2017. There is some chatter about it on web. Should be banned for life.

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