Thursday, September 17, 2020

ADK chapter launches wilderness camping challenge

five pondsUPDATED Sept. 18 with statement from ADK:

The ADK Iroquois Chapter has created a unique challenge that requires participants to camp in 18 of the 21 designated wilderness areas within the Adirondack Park.

Statement from ADK: Ideally, these types of initiatives would undergo wider scrutiny, not just by the ADK Board, relevant committees and staff, but also by partner organizations, such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Regrettably, this challenge was not. We are hoping that the Iroquois Chapter will delay a launch so the challenge can be discussed in more detail.

Important ground rules:

  1. Wilderness areas are subject to specific management restrictions:
  2. Leave no Trace policy must be followed:
  3. Use the document linked below to keep track of your adventures:
  4. Keep a record of your camping adventures starting on October 1, 2020 and submit them to Wendy Sanders upon completion (contact info in the Google doc).  
  5. A patch and sticker will be mailed to you as soon as your record has been received and reviewed. Include $10 with your record to cover the expense of the patch, sticker and shipping. Make your check payable to the ADK Iroquois Chapter.

This challenge is sponsored by the ADK Iroquois Chapter. See the following link to learn more about this chapter: 

Read more about Adirondack wilderness areas:

(Update on Sept. 17 from original post: The Adirondack Wilderness Camping Challenge has been altered to accommodate for the 21 designated wilderness areas described in the New York State 2019 Adirondack Master Plan. This number includes St. Regis Canoe area which is technically not a wilderness area, but is regulated in a similar manner. The challenge now states that participants are required to camp in 18 of the 21 designated wilderness areas within the Adirondack Park.)

Photo: Oswegatchie River, Five Ponds Wilderness, western Adirondack Park. Courtesy of John Davis


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28 Responses

  1. James M Schaefer says:

    A better challenge to would be to encourage hikers to log 25 miles of trail with garbage bags–turn in at various ADK Club locations around the Park with documentation of trails covered, number and weight of bags. Award with a hikers patch — “ADK” on a full garbage bag logo circled around the edge with “LEAVE NO TRACE.”

    Announce with wide press publicity, video press publicity of project in progress and wrap up publicity with influencers awarding patches.

    All in the interest of educating everyone who has moved into the the state or moved out of the big cities who want to use the Park but are in the habit of leaving their trash anywhere.

  2. Boreas says:

    Why not just do it for one season and see if the LNT principles are actually being met?

  3. Tanner says:

    Has the ADK learned nothing from these types of “challenges”? Promoting the 46er concept has had a direct, negative impact on the environment and “Wilderness” characteristics of the Adirondacks. This will do the same. 1950’s thinking does nothing to resolve 21st century problems.

  4. Pete says:

    OK. So yes the Adirondack communities need tourism dollars and maybe this would help. But not likely very much. On the other hand the problem now is overuse especially by people who have no clue about being in the “wilderness.” As Tanner points out, we have seen what the result of these “challenges” can do in terms of mobs of people who may or may not know what they are doing. If ADK was going to create this they should have included a requirement to FIRST complete an orientation course to learn or take a test to show you already know how to ‘leave no trace,’ like how to poop in the woods, when and where to make or not make a fire, how to not get lost, what kind of clothing to wear, etc.

  5. Ed says:

    Stickers and patches are for children .

    • James M Schaefer says:

      How arrogant. Baubles are almost as motivating as cash. Who is not proud of their green 46er, or V patch from the 1950s ADK Winter Mountaineering Event when 5 peaks were climbed — knee deep at 40+ below. Kids of all ages like rewards for their accomplishments. Patches say a lot.

  6. SNAPPER PETTA says:

    Has this already been approved by the ADK powers-that-be? If not, the chapter better get this approved before the newly proposed by-laws are. Looks like the ADK board is looking to relieve the membership of most, if not all, of their responsibilities and privileges for guiding the organization. I’ve already voted “No” on the proposed by-law changes but we’ll see how it all turns out in the end.

    • RB says:

      It is ALL priviledges revoked. Membership will have zero voting power moving forward. BoD will vote on new Board Members, BoD will vote on any amendments to by-laws or Charter. Zero checks&balances. Recipe for disaster. Membership will be purely a dues paying service.

      • RB says:

        Not only should Iroquois Chapter rethink their proposal, the ADK in general should rethink their bylaws changes. Their consultant who recommended group dictatorship should not be paid.

  7. Bill Ingersoll says:

    This is a horrific idea, simplistically conceived and damaging in its potential. The specific concern is that several of these wilderness areas — and I won’t name which ones in this venue — have few, if any, existing campsites. Yes, camping can legally occur anywhere in the Forest Preserve if the long-standing 150-foot rule is followed, but there is not even a mention of that key regulation.

    The organizers do not strike me as possessing the competence or basic boots-on-the-ground knowledge to host such a challenge, nor do they seem cognizant or concerned about the potential harm this could cause. If the main club’s leadership is condoning this challenge, this is a black eye for the Adirondack Mountain Club, an organization which should know better by now.

    The wilderness areas of the Adirondack Park are available for everyone to explore. A few of them have existed as protected areas for nearly 50 years, and if people wish to explore them (and support the local communities) they have been free to do so for decades. This challenge should be swept away in a file called “bad idea” and forgotten before it begins.

  8. Jeanne says:

    I agree with you Bill !

  9. James M Schaefer says:

    Well said. In the interest of promoting use of the Forest Preserve…..why not cut the challenge to 9 Wilderness Camping areas– the lease vulnerable, and create a major effort at educating about “no trace.” While I too question the wisdom of promoting use, I have no problem with the concept of this challenge.
    My earlier suggestion of a direct “NO TRASH” clean out of 25 miles of trails, was primarily aimed at educating folks who use the Preserve. Many come from a place that does not value WILD. The trails are used by folks that often toss their debris with no regard to the wilderness ethic. It has always been the basic problem with blazed trails.
    My Dad, Vincent J Schaefer (1906-1993) and Uncle, Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) instilled the “no trace” ethic in the second half of their 20th century. It is why their signature “Long Path of New York” was designed as a hike to historic, cultural or geologic places in the eastern highlands of New York. No two steps in the same place–bushwhacking. So much for the past.
    A trails clean up could serve to educate the next users to a new value system…..

  10. Bill Ingersoll says:

    The Almanack may want to investigate this in more depth before promoting this ill-conceived program. It is being promoted by an ADK chapter, but my understanding is that the main club’s leadership might not be on board. This “free advertising” should be suspended until the Almanack can at least get a comment from actual ADK leadership. Thanks.

    • Good point, thanks Bill! I just added the following statement from ADK:
      Ideally, these types of initiatives would undergo wider scrutiny, not just by the ADK Board, relevant committees and staff, but also by partner organizations, such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Regrettably, this challenge was not. We are hoping that the Iroquois Chapter will delay a launch so the challenge can be discussed in more detail.

      • Bill Ingersoll says:

        You’re welcome. It would seem that the responsible thing to do would be to take this story down until this “challenge” is properly vetted.

  11. Paul Kalac says:

    Woe to the campsites closest to the road!

    This is not good.

  12. James M Schaefer says:

    An “Adopt a Trail” program would directly addresses the LNT ethic. And may start the learning curve to a degree. Northerly migration and Covid brings many to use (enjoy?) parts of the Adirondacks. In my opinion, education not challenges are needed. ADK Chapters. hiking clubs, and motivated individuals could adopt a trail — with the goal of keeping it pristine. Isn’t that the point? Anyone who has recently visited NYC can see what is coming — Midtown Manhattan is looking more like Slum Francisco every day. It is coming.

  13. Robert White says:

    I’ve done several of these already for the adventure and the chance to explore.
    I suspect the Rangers business will pickup some. That’s okay, for those not found, the bears and the coyotes could use the extra nourishment.

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