Friday, October 16, 2020

DEC is Capable of Testing Limited Entry for High Peaks in 2021

route 73On this 2020 Columbus Day weekend, peak use of parts of the High Peaks and Giant Mountain Wilderness areas in the Adirondack Park were again exceeded. Now is the time to consider a permit reservation or limited entry system for key points of entry into these wilderness areas as necessary, helpful, practical, and practicable.

Adirondack Wild is concerned with a spate of recent comments made to North Country Public Radio that our NYS DEC is not ready to launch a limited entry or permit reservation system. Of course, DEC is not ready right now. They have not been given any direction from the Governor and the DEC Commissioner to get and be ready. Given such a direction and expectation, DEC could be ready in summer and fall of 2021. DEC is fully capable of studying, gaining public input, designing, and implementing with partners a fair and effective limited entry pilot program next year.

Public attitudes appear to be changing. Given the obvious crowding and pressures on wilderness resources in the High Peaks region, recent polls suggest that many are ready to support pilot testing of reservations or limited entry into a truly limited resource, which are our Forest Preserve Wilderness areas. We are not making more wilderness. However, there are more and more of human users of wilderness. That resource is clearly being degraded in portions of the High Peaks and Giant Mountain areas. A well-designed limited entry system on currently crowded hiking corridors, used in combination with a comprehensive information and educational campaign, can be an effective management tool here, just as it is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and many other wilderness regions of the country.

For example, in the Great Smoky Mountains, backcountry users obtain a reservation online with 24/7 access. That reservation system allows users to view interior capacity and availability for backcountry campsites. According to that National Park’s website, the system permits reservations at any time starting 30 days in advance, with maximum flexibility for those making last minute plans. Users of the system can get backcountry planning assistance from park staff, advice on Leave No Trace hiking and camping and with understanding regulations. In addition, that system has the capability to notify permit holders of site closures, safety issues and other emergency conditions via email and text messaging prior to beginning a trip. 

Our State DEC personnel are very familiar with the benefits of this and other examples of limited entry reservation systems being used around the country. During a Keene Valley Stakeholder Meeting in summer 2019, DEC staff demonstrated a keen awareness of a limited entry program in the designated wilderness areas of Oregon’s Cascade Range. That one and all examples around the country vary due to their own circumstances. All these systems require periodic reexamination and improvement. All limited entry systems require a comprehensive informational and enforcement element.

Because the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan legally requires the consideration of reservation systems if indirect methods of management are not effective in controlling overuse, DEC staff began to intensively consider such a system for the High Peaks as far back as 1974. The evidence of that work is contained in the 1978 draft High Peaks Unit Management Plan, where a range of limited entry alternatives are discussed as key tools in managing overuse of the wilderness.

Finally, twenty years later in 1999 the adopted High Peaks UMP, still in effect, directs the creation of a permit reservation working group to study and deliver its recommendations to the DEC Commissioner, with an expectation that such a system would be put into effect within five years. Unfortunately, this UMP recommendation has been effectively ignored for 20 years, not because it is impractical or not needed but because of resistance to the very idea of limiting access to the High Peaks.

I sense that resistance is starting to rapidly break down. It’s little wonder, given the extremely high levels of overuse and damage seen every day, risks to public health and safety, and the great stress being placed on DEC and private personnel every day, especially the Forest Rangers, Assistant Forest Rangers and Summit Stewards.

Given crucial political support from Governor Andrew Cuomo, there is no earthly reason why DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos could not pull together the staff, the partners, planning expertise and the resources in 2021 to pilot test a limited entry program for designated, heavily used points of entry into the High Peaks, such as the Adirondack Mountain Club’s trailheads to Marcy Dam and to Mounts Marcy, Colden and Algonquin.  Ready to benefit from a limited entry permit and educational program are a better informed, prepared and satisfied hiking and camping public, greater opportunities to experience solitude and naturalness, less pressure and damage to trails and natural resources, and higher levels of compliance with the Unit Management and State Land Master Plan Wilderness guidelines.

Crowded conditions along Rte. 73, High Peaks Wilderness region. Photo by Ken Rimany for Adk Wild

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Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest PreserveDuring Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history. Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

44 Responses

  1. Glenn says:

    Issue a limited amount of permits per year.
    Once that amount has been reached that’s
    It for that calendar year. Enforce the policy
    with heavy fines…

  2. Rob says:

    If the author “senses that resistance is starting to breakdown” I suspect he’s living in an echo chamber. I The more i see people learning more about what a permit system actually would entail the more their resistance builds. Most actual hikers are vehemently opposed. Author also loses all credibility when talking about recent polls. That Siena poll was a joke. The questions were leading and they polled people statewide, many of whom have no idea how hiking in the Adirondacks actually works. He loses even more credibility by quoting the 1999 UMP. A document so old and outdated it lists “opportunities for solitude” as a goal of wilderness stewardship – as if there wasn’t an epidemic of loneliness in this country. The last thing we need today is more solitude. Author also seems to have no problem designating a private business (the ADK’s HPIC) as the first target of limiting access. How’s that going to go over?

  3. Public land means public access for recreation, not limited access. If crowds weren’t wanted in the High Peaks or other popular features of the Adirondacks, then those lands should have been left in private ownership or the ownership of TNC, OSI or some other well heeled conservation group.

    The author states: “That resource is clearly being degraded in portions of the High Peaks and Giant Mountain areas. A well-designed limited entry system on currently crowded hiking corridors, used in combination with a comprehensive information and educational campaign, can be an effective management tool here…” but offers no other solutions.

    Better stewardship of public lands such as investment in engineered trails and adequate parking lots could also reduce resource degradation. Likely to a much greater extent than limiting use and expensive educational campaigns.

    Proposed solutions to recreation “problems” always seem to be regulatory and punish the very population which paid, and continues to pay, for the Park. It is time to look at all the alternatives not just those limiting use.

    • Chris says:

      I agree with you. When saying the natural resource is being degraded, I would like to know exactly what that means and not just a “its crowded” type of answer. I have seen more people on the trails that blatantly discard trash. I also see this happening by the overflow parking near the Loj. I have seen more agreesive ticketing too for parking violations. Most I would assume are coming from the cities to get away for the weekend and are disrespectful to the land and other people. There has to be another way than just limiting access.

      • Assume there are 200 miles of trails in the HPW and all are degraded. Assume each trail is 10 feet wide. This amounts to roughly 242.5 acres. The HPW is roughly 275,460 acres. This would seem to indicate that only 0.088 percent of the Wilderness is being impacted by hiking or crowding? Double the number of miles (say 400) of trails and the percentage is still less than 0.18 percent. Quadruple the 200 miles to 800 and you still are less than 1% of the HPW. While some are opposed to crowds it seems permitting really is intended to keep the public out of the HPW. There is plenty of room to avoid crowds in the HPW if one cares to do so.

  4. Steve B. says:

    @Rob, curious how often you were sitting trail side conducting your very own poll as to all the hikers “ vehemently opposed”.

    @Roger, the comment “ offers no other solutions.”, simply isn’t true. The state as well as many others have proposed trail hardening as well as parking improvements as the first steps needed and this has been discussed here repeatedly. Both take money the state doesn’t have currently and will take years. a permit system will be a lot cheaper and can be instituted much faster. But hardening is the ultimate solution.

  5. Eric says:

    Every permit debate I’ve seen boils down to this;
    – in Favor: People from far away that travel 3+ so they’re guaranteed a parking spot. People that plan their trips weeks in advance and have a designated hiking group or lifelong partner. Old people who remember the “good old days” when hiking wasn’t popular. State workers and teachers who know weeks in advance when they will have weekends off.
    – Opposed: people that live within 2 hours who can leave at 3am and get a spot. People who don’t have hiking friends yet and just show up at exit 16 at 4am to see who’s hiking where and just jumps in a car. Young people and private sector employees who have jobs where they don’t find out if they are going to have Saturday or Sunday off until a few days beforehand. People that find their hiking partners a week beforehand in online forums. People that are excited
    to see all the new people hiking including all the minorities on the trail.

    • Rob says:

      Seems like we could satisfy everyone by just adding some frigging parking. Going to have to add thousands of spaces anyway before having a permit system anyway. Why not just add the parking and forget the permits?

  6. Eric says:

    Yup! Permits or no, nothing is going to get better until add parking. That’s what the state should be living on. Not issuing permits for outdated minuscule parking areas.

  7. Paul says:

    Those people parked illegally 60 cars down the road are the “hikers”. They don’t seem to give a damn about crowds or overuse.

  8. Paul says:

    Yep, let some call center contractor in India take the job here. The state isn’t going to do anything themselves. These crowds are partially what saved the Adirondacks from financial oblivion this year. I get calls from people I haven’t heard from in years this summer asking me where to go have lunch or dinner in Saranac Lake after they get done hiking.

  9. Zephyr says:

    So what will the “permits” permit? Seriously. Are we talking about a parking permit, a permit that each hiker must obtain like a hunting permit, permission to be on certain trails at certain times, or what? I can see that each would have serious problems that would be hard to get around. The DEC, State Police, and local officials are already trying to limit parking, and are actively ticketing cars on busy weekends. Has done nothing to stop people. If every hiker needs a permit that won’t limit numbers unless you make the price onerous. If the permit is for a certain trail on a certain day what is to stop people from just bushwhacking new routes, or using alternate trailheads, or just ignoring the rules–I haven’t seen a ranger on the trail in years. And what is the Adirondack Mt. Club supposed to do if people show up and pay to park yet do not have a permit for the trail? They can’t enforce the law. What will it do the ADK parking revenue, which is one of their biggest sources of revenue? What will it do to the towns that benefit from hiker numbers? I know that if I am prohibited from hiking I will certainly not support any organization that promotes this, and I will spend my tourist dollars elsewhere. Imagine the social media fallout when people get POed at the permit regulations! Lots of problems.

  10. Steve B. says:

    I find it fascinating that having been at Minnewaska (NY) State Park this past Thursday, where everybody entering (and it’s difficult to hike in from outside the park) pays $10 to park, the lot is full near every day. Seems that for popular hiking and biking area’s, folks are not deterred by a reasonable fee to enter, thus I doubt anybody hiking into the EHPW would complain much about paying a nominal fee to park or obtain a permit for hiking. If the permit also guaranteed a lean-to or camping spot, people would prefer that as opposed to the uncertainty of having hiked miles to find all the campsites taken.

  11. Carl Heilman says:

    No permits! No limited use! I’d rather bushwhack the peaks than pay to visit the park. Frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of the almanac posting these opinion articles every few days without equal representation of views from the other side. The issue of parking is a big one… But it wasn’t illegal to park along the side of 73 until they made it illegal recently. I understand the hazard of people and cars along that section of road. Simple solution… Lower the speed limit to 25mph through the chapel pond area all the way down to Ausable club with speed signs and police on busy weekends to ensure safety for all. You could even put in a blinking people crossing sign, and crosswalk, for people to safely cross the road by the trailheads. Now you have plenty of parking, people are driving slow and carefully, and all are enjoying the views like they should. As far as actual use goes, most of the trails themselves are actually in pretty good condition despite what these “opinion” articles say. Most of the small sections that need maintenance, are from water erosion, not people use. All it needs is some careful rerouting here and there and some stones placed, and the trail will be good for hundreds of years. Just some thoughts on things to try before even thinking about permits.

  12. scott van Laer says:

    At the current staffing and budgetary levels the DEC is not capable of managing or providing stewardship for the High Peaks Wilderness. A tremendous portion of that work has already been pushed onto the ADK and the town of Keene. Consideration should be given to a National Park. The DEC has had a several decades of building use to show they are not up to the task. This is not a Covid thing.

    • Jeanne says:

      Scott, You are correct. Its time !

    • Carl Heilman says:

      For sure! The budget and staff should have been increasing along with the additional use since the 1970’s – instead of figuring out how to play catch-up after the fact.

    • Vanessa says:

      Ranger van Laer, I totally agree! I was thinking about your earlier comments on this topic when reading here.

      I strongly support the infrastructure upgrades such a move would bring, but I feel like many people would not. People get ruffled regarding a paper permit – imagine installing a gate on 73. Oh boy…

      Nonetheless, perhaps there will be opportunity to advocate for this more in the future.

  13. Carl Heilman says:

    The Smokies backcountry system is for backcountry camping only. They do not restrict day hiking or require hiking permits. There are 11 million visitors a year in a park with a much smaller area than the Adirondacks. The handful of high use trails have been well maintained and stand up to the traffic, while much of the park sees minimal use on its trails – much like the Adks. The few select high use trails are in great shape and there are no day use hiking or parking permits. They do regular trail maintenance as needed compared to Cascade which saw it’s last major trail work in the 1980’s. People need and want to experience these magical places. It’s these same people who will help fight to protect and maintain these special places. Harden existing trails and they will stand the traffic. Educate on backcountry ettiquete. I’d be fine with a hiking license that reinforces backcountry ethics and issues and helps fund maintenance and better accessibility. We need funds and easier means to harden high use trails, better parking and sanitation options, and reinforcements for the forest rangers that are in proportion to the additional use. Smashing rocks into gravel with sledge hammers is not going to solve the trail upgrade issue within the time frame this work needs to be done.

    • Balian the Cat says:

      “They do regular trail maintenance as needed compared to Cascade which saw it’s last major trail work in the 1980’s” ” Harden existing trails and they will stand the traffic. Educate on backcountry ettiquete.”

      Who and with what? There has been a hiring freeze at NYSDEC since the early 00’s. There is a multi billion dollar budget shortfall this year and that’s likely to get worse. You can’t get blood from a turnip, so just constantly saying “We need funds and easier means to harden high use trails, better parking and sanitation options, and reinforcements for the forest rangers that are in proportion to the additional use” constitutes a platitude.

      You cannot compare the Smokies or Acadia to the Park in any meaningful way, it’s just not the same.

      • Carl Heilman says:

        Yes – funding and effective solutions for trail hardening and parking are needed as I mentioned. And you CAN compare use in the Smokies with here. The Smokies has free access to the public. There is one major road across the park with a couple of other access points where 90% of the people travel and hike, concentrating people even more than the Adks. The Smokies have considerable boreal forest are at high altitudes with similar trail issues to the Adks. NYS pushes regional tourism with $$ but falls short on infrastructure for people once they are here. It’s past time to find a way to make that happen.

  14. Charlie S says:

    Glenn says: “Issue a limited amount of permits per year.”

    It is unfortunate that is has come to this! Permits to go hiking. Meaning that those of us who are spontaneous, and who don’t go along with the flow, who decide on a whim to up and go to a designated trail in the High Peaks area, will be dissuaded from doing so because he or she did not get a permit six months prior.

    We’ll be needing permits to breathe the air before long, and I’m betting we’re not far off from needing a permit to utilize one of our most basic rights….protesting.

  15. Charlie S says:

    Eric says: “Yup! Permits or no, nothing is going to get better until add parking.”

    Or until we reduce the population, but that’s never going to happen anytime soon especially if we outlaw abortion.

  16. Vanessa says:

    This is getting to be a very weird “deja-vu” discussion. I believe someone is writing about permits like once a week. At risk of adding to this Groundhog Day, I’ll repeat myself. It’s not my fav idea, but as long as enforcement is considered equitably I think someone should go ahead and pilot a program, see how it goes.

    I disagree with the author that resistance is breaking down, however. Most people who visit the region only read social media or maybe the I Love NY website. I have no idea how you get contacted for a Siena poll, but consider that many do not even have land lines anymore (like me). Further, lots of people don’t mind a certain degree of crowd. If you truly kept someone from hiking who was not aware of the system, that’s no good for anyone imo.

    I get why the state is reluctant to go down this rabbit hole. I’ve also said before that perhaps a private entity like the AMR should give it a shot on “Instagram mountain” first, and it was disappointing that they backed out of doing so last weekend.

    Targeted infrastructure can manage big crowds well. National parks do have permits, but they ALSO have facilities like big parking lots (you should see the amount of parking in Yosemite), shuttle systems to trailheads, big visitor centers that provide a lot of education, hardened trails that resist erosion, etc. And of course, an adequate Ranger staff!!

    Finally, the high peaks do not have an issue on a sunny Wednesday, they have an issue on a sunny Saturday certain weekends of the year. I really really hope that whatever system is considered takes into account that there are still many times that you can have a popular trail full of solitude. I hiked the Paul Smiths VIC on a cloudy Thursday this year and saw about 10 people in 7 miles. A couple of years ago I did Rooster Comb on a deeply foggy Saturday, and we were completely alone on the whole hike, despite starting at 10am.

  17. Charlie S says:

    “everybody entering pays $10 to park, the lot is full near every day. ”

    When I lived in Tampa there was a park I used to drive to (Lettuce Lake) whose boardwalk runs along the Hillsborough River. It was a very nice place to go to get some fresh air, to see gators, or osprey, turtles, otter, fish jumping, great blue herons, kingfishers, etc… Of course arriving early was always best so as to beat the crowd. I had stopped going there for a period of time, and when I finally did make it back I had discovered that they were then charging a fee to park. I believe it was $2. I was told by the attendant that since they started charging to park they had less problems with less desirables, ie…vagrants, drunks, etc. Am not sure if the same effect would take shape up here but there it is for what it’s worth.

    $10. to park! That seems to me like gouging!

  18. Jeanne says:

    Been hiking in the Adirondacks over 35 years, I have seen intense overuse of the trails. Crazy buzy! Might be time to do what Denali does. We need to protect the wilderness – period! Too many selfish people parking illegally, leaving behind trash, t.p. is out of control. The answer is using existing lots not build new lots. Hikers, nature lovers will need to plan their visit just like the Park service at Denali, bear lockers, too. It’s not about getting to the peak…its about being good stewards when in the Adirondacks. 30 years ago….comparing the hiking…you’d be more apt to see forest rangers then other hikers (Pete Fish) Pete would grill you with questions, preparedness that could and would keep you safe. It’s time to think of the mountains, animals and water ….There are way too many people. The time is now to start managing the high peak hiking issue.

    • Eric says:

      Ok Boomer

    • Dallas says:

      I hiked all 46 peaks since June and a over a dozen smaller peaks as well. I saw TP once on the way up Marcy, I definitely never saw feces on the trail. I saw a small amount of garbage on the busiest trails but certainly not large quantities. Frankly I think its being vastly overstated. Can you find examples of misuse or overuse? Of course! However I think people like to parrot others and are largely unhappy that things have changed from when they use to do things. They unhappy that more people around and its harder to park. Who are you to say what is too many people? Additionally most of the high use was on the weekend. I hiked a lot during the week and had many high peak hikes where I saw less than 10 people and rarely over 25.

  19. Boreas says:

    If we do not restrict access, we must spend a GREAT deal more money than we currently do on trail maintenance, trail re-routes, parking infrastructure, comfort infrastructure and patrolling. Should all of this cash come from the tax rolls, or should at least a portion come from users?? You simply can’t have great infrastructure without funding. I think we need to stop simply complaining about every little change we don’t like and come up with viable options. Very few of the complainers on the permit system are offering better solutions. If someone doesn’t come up with a BETTER solution that includes funding, guess what will happen?

    • Eric says:

      The funding conversation is different and separate from the limiting use conversation. Most of us strongly opposed to permits for limiting use are not opposed to paying modest parking fees or a modest fee for an annual license such as we do for a hunting license. Where the opposition comes from is the “limiting use” part. The environmental arguments make me nauseous. We are not talking about ATVs and snowmobiles here. We are talking about hikers. And I’m sorry but there is a lot less trash on the trail today than there was back in the 90s. I just did a 21 mile loop through the high peaks and didn’t see much as a snickers wrapper. The week before I found one mask that someone obviously didn’t know they dropped. Some focused trail maintenance and a few more strategically placed box toilets and most of our problems (except the parking issue) go away. Nothing is going to get better with the parking situation (permits or no permits) until we add hundreds (or thousands) of parking spaces. Even if we turned it into a National Park as some above in the comments suggest, the first thing the NPS would do (After they laugh at our pitiful parking situation) is start bulldozing and paving. For the love of god can we pleas just add some parking?

  20. Bob Meyer says:

    I must say that it seems easy for those of you fortunate enough to live in the Park to advocate limiting its use in places as you see fit.. Note: not all Park resident environmental advocates subscribe to your viewpoint. There are too many issues that need to be addressed first, or instead of, before anything so drastic as bucking the century and a quarter plus right of free access to the Forest Preserve, which we New Yorkers own. See above, but here’s a partial summary: 1;trail improvement and redesign 2; realistic parking areas for the reality on the ground 3; funding, especially now in the Coved19 era 4; and ESPECIALLY staffing, meaning MANY MORE RANGERS and assistants hired so there is staffing for education, back country stewards, front country interaction, search and rescue. The present staff is heroically over worked and the resulting over use of search rescue EMT and town fire departments etc. is unsustainable in the long run.
    Beating a dead horse? Yes, but these are the real issues.

  21. Todd Eastman says:

    Instituting a permit or reservation system commodifies a publicly owned resource and its benefits such as fun, adventure, challenge, beauty, etc.

    I suppose by creating scarcity the logical next step would be to properly set the market price for access… ?

    Mr. Gibson could better place his efforts into a real campaign for increased funding for managing the HPW and staffing the ranger and trail crews…

  22. Shawn Typhair says:

    If the state needs money for infrastructure for trails maybe the state should consider selling state land outside of the park such as the buffer zone state lands that surround the blue line. Or allow towns such Clare, Fine, Colton who are a after thought s to the rest of the park to develop atv trail system on old logging lands It would help the towns and collect revenue for priority places the high peaks

  23. Bob Meyer says:

    To Scott and all others who are proponents of a national Park: National parks do not have the same level of protection of the forest preserve as our New York state constitution. Things can be drastically altered by administrative fiat. It’s not a good idea.
    Scott, I am a great admirer of you and your tireless work as a Ranger! First and foremost we need many more Scott van Lears as Rangers. See my comment above.

  24. Tony Goodwin says:

    I guess I will add to these comments with a few notes from 65 years of hiking the High Peaks. There is no question that overall the trails are in better shape today than they were many years ago -even with much lower use levels. Additionally, the litter situation is far better, although the unburied toilet paper continues to be a problem – even around the box privies that some just don’t seem to want to use.

    The “original’ Cascade trail that went straight up the slope, had several areas that were many yards wide before the current route was established in the early 70s. The grassy bog just before timberline on Marcy was black mud edge to edge before first corduroy and now planks keep hikers on the “straight and narrow” and let the vegetation grow on the rest of the bog.

    The “solution” for Cascade that I proposed in my comments on the recent amendment to the High Peaks UMP was to build an ADK Loj size and style (i.e. fingered lots) on the Mt. Van Hoevenberg trail system – an area already classified as “Intensive Use”. Then there would be a say $10 parking fee with no parking allowed on the highway. Hopefully that money could be dedicated to trail maintenance and more forest rangers.

    As far as I’m concerned, major work on the current Cascade trail would be far more cost-effective than the “gold-plated” trail that is being attempted from Mt. Van Hoevenberg parking areas.

    Providing more parking at other popular trailheads will be harder, so maybe those will ultimately have to have some form of limitation. That said, we have endured surges of hikers in the late 60s (hippie back-to-the land style), the early 90s (let’s all get healthy), and now the social media/COVID surge. Each previous surge resulted in changes in regulations that managed to mitigate the increase. Given that we’ve somehow survived the earlier surges, I think we can deal with the current surge with something less draconian than a major limiting of all hikers at every popular trailhead.

  25. Bob Meyer says:

    Well said Tony! Mr Bauer et al should heed your wisdom and far greater experience in the High Peaks and stop calling for their false panacea.

  26. Zephyr says:

    By the way, I think some are ignoring the technical and legal hurdles involved in limiting parking beyond what is currently happening. Rt. 73 is a state highway, meaning that there are all sorts of state regulations with regard to markings, enforcement, traffic flow, etc. etc. Building parking lots on Forest Preserve land would require amendments to the state constitution, as would the use of power tools, etc. Towns along the way could possibly find some land to build parking areas legally, but then that gets into local politics, funding, enforcement, etc. The few private parking areas are already full up most days, like at the Adirondack Mt. Club. In short, I don’t think creating gated paid parking would be feasible for years even if the push to do so started right now. Without gated restricted parking I don’t see how parking permits could possibly work to limit use of the trails. But then you would need shuttle buses to get people to the trailheads. Seems like a very difficult problem.

  27. John says:

    Cars are the problem – not people (although granted there are individual bad actors).

    Rather than this exhausting permit debate (which simply goes around and around), why not just institute a fee for all major Route 73 parking areas and fully implement a shuttle service for that corridor. This would encourage carpooling and just generally manage traffic better since people would know with confidence where to park. Plus the money could be used for front-country improvements and back-country trail maintenance. Maybe have an annual pass and/or blue line resident discount if it would make it more politically appealing.

  28. Charlie S says:

    Jeanne says: “We need to protect the wilderness – period! its about being good stewards when in the Adirondacks. It’s time to think of the mountains, animals and water ….”

    We need more thinkers like you Jeanne! Soon!

  29. Charlie S says:

    Bob Meyer says: “National parks do not have the same level of protection of the forest preserve as our New York state constitution. Things can be drastically altered by administrative fiat. It’s not a good idea.”

    Yessiree! Did you all hear about how our Godhead president is offering up our national parks to the oil and gas industries, including that once sacred haven the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? He is working on giving away half a million acres of “our” parks to big money whose favorite thing to do is pollute! Have ya’ll heard?

  30. Charlie S says:

    “the Coved19 era ….”

    If you really take a deep look at the way the global situation is right now, what with all of our woes, especially here in this country; if you look at the political, social, environmental unrest, and all of the other, and now Covid-19, which is a major reminder of what can come……you will come to the realization that no matter how much we keep looking ahead for the preservation of our beloved Adirondacks, it is becoming more and more likely none of this is going to matter in the nearest future unless we get our act together, which we shoulda started doing ten years ago at the latest. Just think all that can come to be to add to our misery! It’s looking bleaker by the moment…and I’m an optimist.

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