Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Adirondack Wild: More Trail Crews, Rangers, Test Permit System

adirondack wildWhile applauding large portions of Governor Cuomo’s proposed environmental budget, including support for the Governor’s Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, the nonprofit Adirondack Forest Preserve advocates Adirondack Wild submitted testimony to the State Legislature which calls for additional DEC Forest Rangers and trail crews and the testing of a pilot reservation system to reduce congestion and damage to the High Peaks Wilderness.

“The Governor’s budget proposals call for more durable trails, controls on overuse and education to improve stewardship of the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness. All of that is great. However, none of that can be successful without investing more in DEC Forest Rangers and trail crews,” Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson said in the submitted testimony.  “We ask the State Legislature to work with Governor Cuomo to add 20 additional DEC Forest Rangers to the current force of 134 positions. The real need is to double the Ranger force, so 20 new rangers funded by the DEC operating budget would represent a very modest but vitally important beginning.”

“Forest Rangers are on the front lines of Governor Cuomo’s public land stewardship program. They are educating the public and responding to public safety on our public lands, yet their numbers – just 106 field rangers statewide – are stuck where they were 50 years ago,” Gibson said.

On trail improvements, Adirondack Wild stated that “we see little evidence in the executive budget that trail work in the High Peaks and elsewhere will actually accelerate this year.” While Governor Cuomo has added $3 million to the Environmental Protection Fund for stewardship, nearly half of that money is dedicated to shuttle buses. The group asks that $2.5 million in stewardship funds be dedicated for Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve trail crews.

Adirondack Wild is also asking the Legislature and Governor to carve out a small amount in the budget to pilot test a reservation system into the most congested portions of the High Peaks Wilderness.

“Reservation systems are a management tool successfully used in other popular, overused Wilderness areas in the U.S. DEC would study and carefully set limits on the number of people hiking specified, heavily impacted trails to the High Peaks,” Adirondack Wild said in announcement sent to the press. “They would issue online reservation permits up to those limits – just as the state has done for years at State Campgrounds, holding back some for same-day use. DEC would then monitor and evaluate the system.”

In other comments made by Adirondack Wild, the organization urged the legislature to reduce the Governor’s proposed $14 million spending on a new lodge at Whiteface Mountain, characterizing that as bloated overspending on a single project, and to shift half of that money to Wilderness trail crews and DEC Forest Rangers.

Concerning the Adirondack Park Agency’s proposed budget, Adirondack Wild urged the Legislature and Governor to redirect new capital spending on a new APA headquarters and devote the money instead to needed programs at APA, including an analysis of Parkwide trends, measuring cumulative impacts of development permits, and establishing regulations for conservation subdivision design and for enforcing the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is a not-for-profit, membership organization which acts on behalf of wilderness and wild land values and stewardship throughout the region.

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56 Responses

  1. Retired says:

    When you ask to add Rangers don’t forget that behind the scene there are support staff that are dwindling in numbers. Every ranger has a mechanic, a dispatcher, training staff, secretaries . With out this staff at proper levels extra Rangers only weight down the system.

  2. Paul says:

    The 14 million at WF is to replace mid station that burned to the ground. That doesn’t sound like bloated spending – sounds practical given that WF has more users (paying above and beyond their taxes) than places like the HPW.

  3. Eric says:

    The argument that “permits work out in the national parks or in our own state campgrounds” is completely spurious. It had no bearing on the HPs. The big parks out west and the state campgrounds are able to work on a reservation system because people plan months in advance for those kind of trips and are traveling great distances. They know ahead of time when and with whom (usually family) they are going. The vast majority of high peaks hikers are people from Albany, Saratoga, Utica, and other surrounding areas who decide on Wednesday where they will hike Saturday and then spend Thursday and Friday finding out who will be joining them. A reservation system would favor older hikers who hike with their spouse or long time hiking buddy would disproportionately punish younger people just getting into hiking and finding their hiking tribe. It would also severely hamper the current local hiking culture in favor of out of state visitors.

  4. Freethedacks says:

    First, stop calling the High Peaks a wilderness area. Any place with thousands of visitor days will never uphold as wilderness. Plus, calling it wilderness only encourages more visitors – everybody wants that “wilderness experience” these days. Reclassify it as the Intensive Use area that it is and the state can build some big ass asphalt parking lots to properly handle the throngs of visitors who want to bag their 46 peaks. Maybe even harden the trails with asphalt too, so as to mitigate erosion. Works pretty good down south. Hell, they even have roads going to their high peaks. Peeps drive up, take the short walk to the summit, take their selfies, and then leave. Not saying we should pave a road up to Marcy, but then again, it’s more a road than a trail now anyway.
    The permit idea is great. NY has fees for everything – hell, they just added a permit for watching the stars in the state parks…so bring on the permits. It’ll help pay for the additional rangers, and of course, where’s there’s permits, there will be scofflaws – who will be issued citations and fines. More booty for the budget. Might lose a few Canadians with these tactics, but hey, they are used to getting speeding tickets on the Northway, so it’s just another cost of doing business in NY. Maybe even add an extra permit for those peak baggers going for the 46. Everybody wants to prove how awesome they are…breaking speed records, dragging along children who have no business being in the woods (it’s practically child abuse)…everybody wants to fill their bucket with the 46 in their own unique way. I say, make em pay, with a nice expensive permit. It’ll discourage some, which of course is the goal. If you want to play, you gotta pay. It’s the NY way. No free loaders anymore. Pay your fare share.
    So there you have it…all these initiatives will discourage people from hiking the High Peaks, which of course is what Adirondack Wild and the other “protectors” really want. And the revenue from permits, fees and fines will create more jobs for the DEC and APA. And we all know that more jobs in the Adirondacks is a good thing. So enough talk, let’s get on horn to Cuomo’s office and demand action.

    • adkDreamer says:

      Oh holy satire! The sad truth is too many are still selling the illusion of wilderness while at the same time attempting to sell themselves as the anointed saviors of it. Same old, same old hegelian dialectic deja vu all over again. Just by simply saying it is a wilderness over and over again does not magically make the land that spreads out before you a wilderness and in so many ways similarly regurgitating the word permit over and over again is of little practical use.

      Before anyone spouts another catchphrase of their self approved solution, please take a good look at what may arguably be one of the most over loved and over managed and still sold as a seemingly remote wilderness area: Mt Everest. From a distance it sure appears to be wilderness and access to it is controlled by some entity. If you go there, please stop taking selfies and take more photos of all the frozen poop and dead bodies frozen hard to the trail.

      The article above and its sources are less interesting than if they just inserted a few paragraphs of Ipsum Lorem.

    • Retired says:

      Off topic sorry but the comment about hiking with infants. We see this all the time . Mom and dad are fully clothed , the baby , no hat , no sunscreen and no socks…. seriously no socks…should be a fine for that.

  5. Boreas says:

    Freethedacks,

    The South has nothing on us – we already have a road and an elevator to one of our summits! Great for people with limited mobility.

  6. Dean D Lefebvre says:

    While Chairman of the AATV in the very esrly 1990s our organization was the very group to ask for additional Forest Rangers.

    We were successful in succeeding

    I’m sure that the AATV would once again support the hiring by the DEC of new much needed Forest Rangers

    All sides of our Adirondack debates should support this initiative

  7. Balian the Cat says:

    Forest Rangers are great and every one of the comments that lauds them is justified and reasonable – but it’s the Foresters and Natural Resource Planners who write the UMPs and RMPs. They propose, monitor, and reroute the trails and facilities. It’s the Operations staff who build and maintain the trails. The less glamorous DEC titles are just as important to fund/maintain as the Rangers are. and that can be forgotten.

    • Retired says:

      The Cat is right. This is the only comment one needs to absorb from this article. Reality , if you keep hiring rangers their support staff needs to grow. Why do you think Rangers become disgruntled? Reality , DEC will have to contract a private firm to manage the “permit” system . It will be like DECALs and Reserve America it will cost big and….it still won’t work. Permit system might be a solution but I am skeptical DEC can handle it without increasing support staff to mediate between it’s hiking permit contractor and the DEC . DEC is guilty of assigning 1 employee the work of 2 or 3 and nothing ever is done completely or accurately. Create a permit system and you will have hikers using the high peaks in fowl weather because they couldn’t reserve a summer hike with out a years wait.

      • Zephyr says:

        Retired makes several good points. Permits will push people to hike in unsafe conditions in order to not miss their assigned date. Sure, a contractor can be hired to handle the backoffice work, but you will still burden rangers with the enforcement–“Papers please!!”

    • Dean D Lefebvre says:

      I agree with everything you’ve judt ssid

      Perhaps there should be two completely separated agencies

      The DEC

      and

      The Lands and Forest Agency with its own office facilities located within the Adirondack Park boundaries

      This was the way it was yesrs ago and it was much more beneficial to all here in the Adirondacks

      Somehow its seems as though when the title DEC came along things actually turned wirse for us who live here and more importantly our Lands and Forest

      Often looking back at what worked then can be a learning experience

  8. Zephyr says:

    Yes, more Rangers are needed, but adding a permit system will certainly add vastly to the duties of the force. Who else will check the thousands of hikers for permits? Those advocating for permits always underestimate the difficulties and costs. They have already shown an inability to enforce simple parking regulations most of the time. Permits might work well for parks with limited access points and strictly enforced parking lots, but it is hard to imagine how they could be effective in the Adks. Remember, a permit system was already tried and abandoned as unworkable back in the ’90s.

    • Steve B. says:

      Permits need not add personnel to the system. The DEC already has a free permit system in place in assorted preserves on Long Island. They’ve added no staff or Rangers to manage (it’s a computer program on the existing DEC website, as far as I’m aware and I’m certain that would be an issues given the sorry situation of current state funding. The system is essentially an honors system. You apply for and get the permits, parking and carried. You know that if they happen to check (rare) you are subject to a hefty fine, thus the inclination to obtain the permit. It does allow the DEC to gather the information of who uses the preserves and for what activities. It’s been in place likely 25 years.

      • Boreas says:

        I agree. Another screening point for permits could be at the touted new “bus terminals” before people even get on the shuttle. And DEC has incorporated volunteers into trailhead management – why not deputize them? I am not a fan of permitting, but I say let’s test it again and try to fix what broke last time. Then we can either adopt it or come up with s different solution.

        • Zephyr says:

          Those pushing permits want to both limit use and raise revenue. I doubt a simple online permit system would do either. Picture it from the enforcement side. How would a Ranger be able to tell if someone has a permit or not unless they stop people and ask them to produce some piece of paper? Many areas have no cell reception, so some smartphone app won’t do it. Then, if a person doesn’t have the permit, how will the Ranger fine the person unless everyone is also required to carry photo ID with address? Now what if the person can’t produce that? Will the Ranger march the person out from say Lake Colden in order to arrest them? Is that really a good use of Forest Ranger time? There are just so many problems with permits in the Adks that I could go on and on, but the point is the costs and difficulties of instituting such a system are always vastly underestimated.

  9. Eric says:

    The difference between those parks on Long Island and the Adirondacks is that up here there is no gate or entryway or anything to serve as a checkpoint. If you initiate a permit system people will just stop using the trails altogether and start bush whacking, eventually creating new herd paths all over the high peaks, further damaging the area. Your chances of being caught will be near zero so a permit system will be a pointless waste of money.

    • Retired says:

      New patch…” Mt Marcy Bushwack Survivor”

    • Boreas says:

      Eric,

      Are you saying hikers are just scofflaws and cheapskates, willing to disregard their own safety over an inconvenience? Plus, they still have to park somewhere! Parking without a displayed hiking permit could be subject to a ticket.

      I say you don’t get on the free shuttles without a permit. And/or half of the same 2-part permit can be left on the dash of your car when parking. No permit = ticket or tow.

      I agree it is silly and a waste of time for Rangers to be the primary people to be checking for permits. Volunteers or perhaps even NEW JOBS (isn’t that a good thing??) can be created to do much of this more menial stuff, at least at first. It is unlikely hikers without permits will be shot on sight or even ticketed early on anyway. And smart phones and internet should help streamline the process. After a year or so and word gets around, then enforcement can be ramped up as needed, or scrap the program entirely if it is impossible to manage. But there is likely to be more pressure on NYS to develop a permit system now than decades ago.

      • Eric says:

        There are plenty of places to be dropped off and the lots will still be there for parking when the shuttles aren’t running. Hikers aren’t “scofflaws” but they will preserve their way of life. We are not talking about people visiting the area for a week. Most HP hikers are hiking every single weekend and have been their entire lives. Many of them helped build or rebuild the very trails (after Floyd, Irene, etc) that you are trying to keep them off of. Plus, no ranger (or any other government official) is going to walk up to someone in the middle of the woods and interrupt their hike and ask to see their papers and ID (which no hiker will have on them) unless they have backup. Rangers can’t cover the area roving around by themselves and now you’re asking them to roam around in groups of two or three? That’s insane.

      • Zephyr says:

        Lots of hikers in the Adks arrive from far away, and will not even know they need a permit until they get to a trailhead or parking area. Even if they have cell phone reception, which is unlikely in many places, how will they print the permit to leave in their car or have with them? You can’t have volunteers writing tickets or having cars towed–must be at least a parking enforcement officer. Who is going to pay them? How much? Now imagine having to do all this at the myriad trailheads and parking areas leading to the High Peaks. Lots of problems…

        • Retired says:

          If the use is truly regulated with a permit (more like a reservation) parking will never be an issue.

          • Eric says:

            You can’t make a reservation for something you haven’t decided to hike until the day before and when you don’t know who is joining you until you see who actually shows up at Exit 16 at 5am. Did Jimmy get the day off? Is Kathy’s ankle feeling better? And then you change your mind three times on the drive north as you get an idea of the weather and conditions. That’s how hiking the Adirondacks works. It doesn’t work like a National Park where you plan your visit months in advance and you’re just with your family.

            • Boreas says:

              Sounds like people will actually have to plan!! OMG!! Perhaps that will cut down on backcountry rescues. Perhaps it will even cut down on usage, especially at peak times. Isn’t that the idea?

              You refer to how the HPW has worked in the past. Things are going to change – sooner or later. The question is, how much? Most people have the ability to change as well – even us locals. Residents may not like it, but the HPW is a shared resource that is being used as a local revenue source, and needs to be properly managed. Provisions are going to be made to attract tourists and make them happy. Just like any major attraction.

              • Eric says:

                The people needing rescued aren’t the people showing up at exit 15 at 6am. Trust me, I’m a search and rescue volunteer. The people needing rescued are the people complaining the can’t find a parking spot when they show up at 10am and then head up the mountain without a headlamp. Only people with families and long time hiking partners can plan. What are you gonna tell all the young people who don’t know who they will be dating in three months or what friends might have off from work that day? Permits would be incredibly biased against young people and single people.

              • Eric says:

                Permits will increase the need for rescues. This is the exact reason there is no designated date style permit system in the Whites. They don’t people to “go for it” in foul weather they aren’t prepared for just because it’s their permit day. Plus having to jockey for parking two hours before sunrise weeds out the people who don’t have a headlamp.

                • Boreas says:

                  Eric,

                  You make some good points, but reservations/permits (are they the same??) are for the benefit for tourists and local tourism, not for local residents. Locals such as myself have much more year-round access and opportunities and more flexibility in scheduling. The ultimate decision will come down from NYS and what particular agenda any given administration is pushing at the time will be implemented. That is politics.

                  Another point that doesn’t get brought up much in this argument is the fact that there is a big difference between the HPW and the ADK Park. I haven’t read anywhere where anyone is suggesting a Park-wide registration or permitting system. Anyone (including locals) not wishing to deal with getting a reservation or permit in advance can easily hike somewhere else in or out of the Park. Yes, for a long time, the first-come-first-served policy has worked in favor of locals. But if it is reducing tourism revenue, do you think it will last? Perhaps any test of a permit/reservation system should just be seasonal and/or weekends in the HPW only. Same with the shuttles. That may be a good middle ground.

                  So the place to be voicing our opinions is in county and municipal meetings where we can make our opinions known to the local politicians. They, along with Albany, have been pushing for increased tourism for a long time. They have ignored dramatic usage changes over the last decades and are now behind the 8-ball in having to control it. We are all going to have to give a little here. I hate to use the “C” word, but compromise isn’t entirely a bad thing.

    • Steve B. says:

      Actually at most of the preserves on L.I. that require a use permit (good for any day the preserve is open for that activity, for 3 or 5 years, can’t remember) there are multiple entry points. There’s no real checkpoints excepting the assorted parking lots that are located on the preserve property.

      The whole concept is mostly for the state to get a handle on whose using the properties, when and how.

      People keep talking fees. There are no fees.

      Folks mention the inability to be impulsive as to where to hike, well if the permit is for the HPW, you can still use any entry point where you can legally park.

      The system on L.I. requires as example, a permit to mt. bike on the Rocky Point Preserve. This is one of the best trail systems on the east coast and is very well used. The fact that it’s heavily used and requires a permit, while there are many other nearby trail systems that do not require permits, states how, over the past 25 years, the entire idea of the permit system has been accepted by the local mt. bike community.

      Permit systems are just not the end of hiking the way so many folks complain. It’s just a tool for the land managers to use as they attempt to deal with the many issues they face in over use. The very fact that users need to open a communication with the State to get the permit, provides the State the opportunity to inform users of conditions, suggested equipment to bring, etc…..

      • Eric says:

        Well people up here aren’t used to (and WILL NOT TAKE KINDLY) to “checking in with the state” to go for a walk in the woods. Sounds like some serious 1984 type stuff to me. That may fly Ok on LI but one of the main attractions of the Adirondacks (and the thing that makes it better than all those other parks out west) is the freedom we have here. We don’t need a government permission slip and no one needs to know where we are. If you think we are going to let downstaters take that away from us then get ready for a fight.

        • Steve B. says:

          Really ?

          Do you hunt ? you’ve agreed to “check in with the state”. .

          You go motor boating ?! You’ve checked in with the state.

          You fish ?, you’ve checked in with the state.

          And all that has cost you what in terms of freedom ?. Nothing. You’ve accepted the need for rules and regulations in many activities. Any permit for hiking is to improve the conditions in which you undertake that activity. That’s it. This is not a “big government” 1984 scenario, it’s a thought that perhaps the agencies we task to manage the very park we want to protect be given the resources to do so.

          And as a reminder, the park is not just for local residents. It is owned by all the residents of the State of NY, downstaters as well, who have as much right to an opinion as to what happens here as you do.

          • Eric says:

            You don’t have to tell the government where you are hunting or fishing on any given day like you would with a designated date style permit system. This is definitely some big brother type stuff people are talking about.

          • Eric says:

            For the 100,209th time…it’s not fees anyone had a problem with. Charge for an annual hiking license. That’s fine. Who cares. What we have a problem with is having to reserve a permit for a specific date for a specific trail or parking lot. That’s some serious big brother stuff.

            • Balian the Cat says:

              Eric,

              While I don’t agree/identify with some of the things you are saying – you are stating them in a reasonable and appropriate manner and that’s a breathe of fresh air. I had almost forgotten what it feels like to read a “discussion” where people were making their point in a civil manner. To one of those points: If natural resource protection is a concern, some of us are willing to tolerate the Big Brother aspect. I know you have made your distinction between public lands out west and here, but applying for and working around a permit for some of the highly sought after NPS locations has never been anything I have minded as I understood the reason for it. It is certainly okay with me if aggravating an angsty teen is required to better manage sensitive areas. There are those who will learn from the process of having to turn around and go home disappointed. While I appreciate generational differences, I do not think we should dilute land management principles because there are some people who live there life moment to moment and haven’t developed the skills to adapt.

              • Zephyr says:

                We all need to keep in mind that those floating the permit idea have two goals in mind: reduce peak use on certain trails, and raise revenue for more trail maintenance. I believe the first goal probably could be achieved eventually, if for no other reason than it will chase away a lot of people like Eric or me. I’m an old fart who works more than full time and due to my lifestyle, work demands, and schedule would find it impossible to schedule a hike up a particular trail for a particular day off in the future. Besides, I consider it unwise and unsafe to do so. Anyone with any skills or knowledge knows you don’t fight mother nature and you go when and where the weather allows. So, yes, a backcountry permit system will keep some people away, like me and Eric. I’m afraid that the people it won’t keep away will be the least experienced, the least equipped, and the least knowledgeable. Those are the ones that can plan a trip well in advance because they have no idea what they are getting into! Ask the folks at the High Peaks Information Center how many people they see show up with out of state plates who plan on summiting Marcy, despite the forecast of severe thunderstorms and hurricane force winds. Of course, they are hiking in sneakers and have no rain gear. But, in the future they will have their permits purchased online!

                • Retired says:

                  Amen to that. Lots of hiking will be available in October, November and December . Dangerous times to be hiking poorly prepared. That’s the sneaker crowd.

                • Balian the Cat says:

                  I feel like we keep circling back to a “the main problem we have in the ADKs is idiots who endanger themselves/others and damage resources because they do inappropriate, spontaneous stuff.” I understand this doesn’t account for the good folks who rush headlong into situations they don’t know anything about and either make a mess or get themselves into trouble – but that’s a fine distinction. Zephyr and Eric both make reasonable and thoughtful points and I am not inclined to just argue back and forth with them for the sake of doing it. I will simply say that, at the end of the day, I value the resource more than I do peoples experiences. I would fault on the side of protection despite my full acknowledgement that it will never be fool proof or universally satisfying.

            • Boreas says:

              Eric,

              I wouldn’t use the “L” word around here either. Although it addresses an entirely different problem (education), it is about as popular as smallpox with certain individuals. Any change to the status quo, be it licenses, permits, reservations, limits, alternate side parking, odd/even parking, and lines in a parking lot, are all viewed as an affront to their constitutional rights.

  10. Paul says:

    All the negative comments regarding how the permit system could never work for the types of areas we have here ignore the fact that it does work in similar types of places – the White Mountains of NH for example.

    It is pretty much based on the honor system, don’t require much policing. I guess some folks here think that New Englanders and those folks that visit New England are more honest than the people in the Adirondacks or those that visit?

    • Eric says:

      There is no permit system in the Whites. For many of the same reasons outlined here and in thirty other comment threads on this site. Maybe you are thinking of Katahdin? The reason permits work at Katahdin is the same reason they work out west. It is isolated and people need to plan to go there (and with whom) weeks or months in advance and there is controlled access (a literal gate) Most people hiking the whites and the HPs live within a couple hours drive and aren’t planning more than a few days in advance. And there are no gates.

      • Paul says:

        Here are some of the places in the Whites where you need permits:

        https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whitemountain/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5187652

        As far as out west… I lived in Denver for 9 years and there are many ways to get into places like Rocky Mountain National Park (which is by no means isolated – it’s about a one hour drive from a major metropolitan area and a large international airport). When we wanted to go up there from Denver we didn’t plan months or even weeks ahead of time, we just jumped in the car and drove up and paid and went in. There are probably more entry points in RMNP than major trailheads in the HPW?

        • Eric says:

          Those are for Parking Passes. Not Permits. Huge difference. No one has any issue with season or annual long parking passes. I have one for the Whites that expires in June. No buggy. What people have issue with is a designated date style reservation system where you have to pick a specific trail or parking lot weeks in advance for a specific date. You don’t need to do that in the Whites and it would never work in the Adirondacks either.

          • hurricaine hiker says:

            Its absolutely would for the most ridiculously over used trail heads at the busiest times. Lets just say the new cascade trail head at Van Ho, say limit to 150 car permits on the busiest of weekends- about 8-10 weekends a year. That would help distribute some crowds and preserve the trail. No need for week days or non peak times but perfect example of a ‘permit’ style working and being part of the overall solution.

    • Zephyr says:

      If I am not mistaken, in the Whites the permits are really just parking passes for some trailhead locations and you purchase them from an onsite machine, leaving the ticket in your car. That would work in the Daks at some of the bigger and more crowded trailheads and might be worth trying. Maybe sell an annual parking pass sticker you can put on our car somewhere. As far as I know you can hike the trails in the Whites without a pass on you, eliminating the problem of backcountry policing. Parking restrictions and parking fees makes sense–backcountry permits don’t.

      • Paul says:

        And yes they are mainly based on parking restrictions. If you are going to hike or camp in the “backcountry” you probably need to get there by a car or a shuttle call them whatever you want.

  11. Steve Hall Steve Hall says:

    If you charged High Peaks hikers an annual fee of $5, imagine how much money you’d raise to hire rangers etc.? You place DIY registration stations at all major trailheads, as well as occasional signs which warn that “You may be asked to display your hiking pass,” and the passes can be clipped to your pack or dangled around your neck. In the event the trailhead registration station is broken or not present at that trailhead, the sign would include a link for reaching a web site where you can pay your fee, generating a receipt, which can be displayed on your cell phone. (I often camp in Algonquin Park west of Ottawa, and you may sign in at any hour, long after the manned stations are closed, and the DIY station prints a pass which is placed on the camp site). You also create an application app which would work on any smartphone, which would help minimize embarrassing confrontations with summit stewards, and the occasional DEC Ranger you encounter. Obviously, you don’t want to discourage High Peaks tourism, but we’ll have to raise money not only for rangers, but for rerouting and maintaining over used trails. It’s hard to believe that any serious hikers would object to an annual fee of $5, as long as you make it easy to obtain. It would also fix another issue, that “Greenies” (like me) often complain the DEC is more receptive to the concerns of hunters and trappers, but these groups have to pay annual fees, thereby giving them more leverage. I have not been able to determine what percentage of ranger fees, e.g., are paid by such fees, but hikers and campers greatly outnumber hunters and trappers, so charging hikers an annual fee, would not only raise quite a lot of money, it should give Greenies more skin in the game.

  12. Zephyr says:

    By the way, Pete Nelson spelled out the many reasons permits are not the answer right here in the Almanack. Good read: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2019/10/pete-nelson-we-need-visitor-management-not-permits.html

  13. Charlie S says:

    Permits! Meaning that those of us who are spontaneously combustive will lose out because we didn’t plan ahead two months…or will it be three or four months? Those of us who wake up one morning feeling his or her oats and, on a whim, decides to hit a trail somewhere in the Adirondacks and cannot do so because once again….limitations, suppression, not fitting a certain mold. Permits are a bad idea methinks and while they may work in some areas keep in mind it used to be we didn’t need a permit to do any hiking in this country. Slowly we’re being conditioned to accept more and more restrictions (and paying for it by the way) and before you know it there’ll be free speech zones where you’ll need a permit to protest in certain areas in a public sphere. Let us hope we don’t get there any time soon…at least while I’m still alive!

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