The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced they are holding a joint public comment period to solicit comments regarding proposed guidance for ski touring trails in the “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve and their conformance to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
The proposal adds to existing standards and guidelines for cross-country ski trails as currently defined in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Preserve Policy Manual. The joint public comment period will conclude on February 1, 2019.
The Backcountry Ski Trail plans can be found here. What follows is an unedited APA press release describing the proposed changes:
The proposed design standards address a growing interest by the general public in backcountry skiing. The goal is to provide skiers of any ability level a wide range of opportunities to enjoy skiing in a wild forest setting. Criteria to protect natural resources, limit user conflict and improve the skiing experience are key components of the proposed guidance.
Construction standards would apply to all Adirondack Park State Land classifications except Intensive Use Areas. Three ski trail categories are proposed: Nordic Ski Trails, Backcountry Ski Trails and Skin Tracks.
Nordic Ski trails would be located on terrain which is not overly challenging and includes limited obstacles to negotiate. Trails would be designed with gentle curves and mild slopes to control speed and ensure beginner level skiers are capable of safely navigating variable terrain. Existing examples of cross-country ski trails that fit this category include the Hays Brook Trail (Debar Wild Forest) and the Old Farm Clearing Trail (Siamese Ponds Wilderness).
Backcountry Ski Trails would be located on more demanding terrain and designed to accommodate challenges associated with intermediate to advance level skiers. Steeper slopes and tighter curves will be features of these ski trails. Existing trails which exemplify this category include the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness (HPW), the Avalanche Lake Trail (HPW), and the Wright Peak Ski Trail (HPW).
Skintrack routes will be designed to provide skiers will access to existing slides and other skiing opportunities. Skintracks will have steady, sustainable climbs to ensure elevation gain is safe and not overly strenuous. The width of vegetative clearing for skin tracks will be limited to four feet.
Design standards and criteria in the proposed ski touring guidance includes:
Clearing width and height
Trail surface management (drainage, grading, wood and rock removal)
Side slope management
Water crossings (bridges and boardwalks)
The guidance also proposes integration of design standards into the management of existing multiple use trails.
For more information or to download the proposed Adirondack Forest Preserve Backcountry Ski Trail Development Guidelines please go to the Agency’s website (apa.ny.gov).
The APA and the DEC are soliciting comments on both the proposed management guidelines and their conformance to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. All comments will be shared and reviewed by both DEC and APA staff.
Address all written comments on the specific management guidelines and your position on their conformance to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan to:
Environmental Program Specialist 1, Natural Resources
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977
Email – [email protected] ([email protected])
Submit all written comments by February 1, 2019.
For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit their website.
Map showing trails managed or promoted as cross-country ski trails in the Adirondack Park provided by Adirondack Atlas.