Thursday, May 6, 2021

It’s Debatable: Hiking permits

AMR lotEditor’s note: This commentary is in the March/April 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats: www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe.

The question: Should the Adirondack Mountain Reserve require reservations?

YES Julia Goren

Yes, now is the time for Adirondack Mountain Reserve and the state to be testing a hiker parking reservation system.

The High Peaks and heavily visited areas in the park are at a crisis point. Visitor numbers are breaking records each year, with the peak-hiking season lasting longer than ever. Crowds keep coming, despite the pandemic and travel restrictions.

Visitor safety, natural resources and the wilderness experience are negatively impacted. The harm to water quality, trails, wildlife and opportunities for solitude is well documented. The science and experts are clear. The negative impact of overuse is not debatable.

The recently released report by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s High Peaks Advisory Group (HPAG) calls for a three-year pilot program to test permits as a strategy for managing recreational impacts. As with other recommendations, such as portable toilets and increased educational presence, it is heartening to see implementation of the outstanding work of the HPAG happening so quickly.

In fact, under the 1999 unit management plan for the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the DEC determined and was authorized to enforce natural resource capacity limits to protect wilderness. After more than 20 years, a pilot program is overdue.

Testing on private lands, such as the AMR, will generate useful data and allow all to learn from the process. The pilot will also provide useful information for another of the key recommendations of the report—implementation of the Visitor Use Management Framework, an adaptive framework for managing recreational use. This tool will guide the state’s actions toward recreational management of the forest preserve. Under state law, recreation takes a backseat to ecological protection on the entire preserve, not just wilderness areas.

Limits at AMR this summer, combined with a planned shuttle, will help relieve some of the pressure on state Route 73 and its shoulders from Chapel Pond all the way to the Adirondack Loj Road.

We want visitors from Brooklyn, Binghamton and Buffalo to feel welcome. Part of that is giving them a fair shot at getting a parking spot in a popular location. A free online reservation system is more equitable and can help hikers plan.

If our most fragile areas are overrun, so that all sense of solitude is lost and signs of human impact are everywhere, is it really still wilderness? Research indicates that scientists and hikers say no. Both say they want to avoid overuse and overcrowding that leads to ecological damage. Hikers told us in recent surveys that they want to find a primitive landscape with nice mountain vistas, where crowds are not an issue. This pilot system is an opportunity to provide that experience in one area.

The AMR is a perfect test site since it is private land, purchased for and dedicated to preservation, and open for public use with limits. AMR and DEC codified this agreement in 1978, when fewer than 5,000 hikers came through the gate. The 1978 agreement gave both AMR and DEC the obligation to protect the resource and the right to restrict use as necessary to preserve the 1978 character of the reserve. In 2020 more than 35,000 users were counted. The AMR wants public access and preservation of wilderness, and they are willing to fund and staff this pilot, education and more staffing.

Hopefully, as the COVID-19 crisis starts to diminish, and with new money in the state budget, the DEC will increase staffing levels and assign new personnel to forest preserve management. All agree new rangers are sorely needed. So are new engineers, planners, trail crews, biologists, wildlife managers and laborers.

When we learn how reservations help, we can better handle the current 12-million-plus visitors and prepare to welcome more people in the years ahead. We can have systems in place to keep crowds from harming the solitude, beauty and health of the national treasure we call the Adirondack wilderness.

The HPAG report concludes, “The time for action is now.” I couldn’t agree more.

Julia Goren is director of the Adirondack Council’s VISION 2050 Project, a 30-year strategic vision for the Adirondacks, and former education director for the Adirondack Mountain Club.

***

NO Bob Meyer

I fully support Article 14, the “forever wild” amendment to the New York State Constitution, and I support all genuine, good-faith attempts to study and effectively deal with the real problems affecting the High Peaks. The High Peaks Advisory Group produced a thorough report covering all the issues and possible remedies affecting the High Peaks.

What are the real, pressing problems? Overcrowding, litter and human waste are real issues, but only in a few places. In my 65 years of Adirondack hiking and climbing in all seasons, most of the High Peaks are in better shape now than they were in the “good old days.”

I think the most pressing problems are infrastructure, staffing and effective education. Most of our trails are straight-up-and-down disasters of no design. We need a real comprehensive remake of hundreds of miles of trails. 

We need many more rangers, not just a few more. We need more stewards, improved front-country facilities with trained educators. The need for more parking is not going away.

Regarding equitable access, this permit system will adversely affect the ability of access to underrepresented folks, especially minorities. Many people do not have the experience necessary to effectively navigate this unwieldy permit system. How will this be equitable for visitors, even those with camps, versus the full-time residents who are in the park all the time and have the advantage of being able to pick and choose their hiking days all year? There is already a reservation exception for the residents of Keene and Keene Valley. Is this not favoritism? All New Yorkers pay the taxes that support the forest preserve and make up for the tax breaks given to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The only reason for choosing private land is legal, not ecological. The reservation comparison to state campgrounds is a false analogy. Hiking is about the freedom to roam in the wild.  Campground camping is about a structured, limited number of available spots like an inn or hotel.

This “trial” is about people restrictions. The ban on dropping people off without reservations at the AMR overturns a longstanding right of way for people to access the forest preserve through the AMR property.  The restricted hours and car numbers further complicate the issue.

I am concerned about the slippery slope of the AMR limiting access through this contractual, nonvoluntary right of way to access to our forest preserve. More legal issues are at stake here, including tax abatement for the AMR, what constitutes degradation of land and how this is determined, the potential complications between the AMR and the Department of Environmental Conservation, any potential conflicts of interest between individuals or group proponents and the AMR/Ausable Club, as well as the legal right of way itself.

Will this “trial” reservation system solve either the resource degradation or the parking problem? I think neither. The number of vehicles in that specific parking lot may be lessened, but people will just go elsewhere. Thus, it just moves the problem elsewhere like whack-a-mole.

As for degradation of the resource, the well-used, packed-dirt Lake Road has not changed in decades. As for the trails on the AMR land, with the exception of those on Bartlett Ridge and Sawteeth, the property does not exceed 3,000 feet. In essence, the AMR trails (no off-trail bushwhacking allowed on AMR lands) are relatively stable, less-steep, lower-elevation paths. I hiked the E. Side trail (very lightly used) to Indian Head to Gill Brook in 2019 and noted that even the steep sections were in very good condition. Trail erosion and degradation occur at the higher elevations that are all on state land where soils are thinner, mostly organic and much steeper.

If all other remedies are thoroughly tried and the problems persist, then and only then should permits be considered.

Bob Meyer is a professional musician, jazz drummer and part-time professional photographer who lives near Peekskill and whose family has had a camp near Pottersville since 1938. He is an avid hiker and loves everything and anything about the Adirondacks. 

Almanack file photo

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53 Responses

  1. Pete says:

    “..this permit system will adversely affect the ability of access to underrepresented folks, especially minorities. Many people do not have the experience necessary to effectively navigate this unwieldy permit system. ”

    This is racism at its best. It is an insult to minorities. As if they don’t know how to use the Internet. Just isn’t so.

    It also just makes no sense. Anyone who knows how to get to the trailheads (most likely by driving their own car) is capable of getting on line and getting a permit. Virtually everyone has Internet access.

    • Bob Meyer says:

      I sincerely hope you’re not implying that I’m a racist and if you are my response to you is unprintable. Furthermore you are wrong about equal access to the Internet. There has been much written including in these pages about the Issues facing particularly people of color in the Adirondacks, whether living or recreating in the park
      Please educate yourself.

      • Boreas says:

        There is no denying much of the Adirondack Park is an internet desert – regardless of race. The people with the least access to the internet are the people who live here. All the more reason for a very limited number of daily walk-up reservations.

      • JohnL says:

        Your comments on ‘ability to access’ sure sound like the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’. Same thing that many people say about minorities and voter registration.

        • Mark m says:

          There’s a reason the AMR and DEC allow walk ups WITHOUT a reservation for those with a bus ticket.

        • Bob Meyer says:

          It’s interesting that you consider my remarks “soft bigotry“ when in fact it was a member of the ADIRONDACK DIVERSITY INITIATIVE that urged me to include the minority access concern in my general response to It’s Debatable.

          • JohnL says:

            I simply said it sounds like it. Only you know what’s in your heart. Soft bigotry can be anywhere Bob, maybe even in the ADIRONDACK DIVERSITY INITIATIVE. This is particularly true when political agendas are being advanced.

            • Joe says:

              Refusing to acknowledge that minorities have a set of challenges to overcome when it comes to access for many things that privileged people take for granted (because of decades of public policy, might I add) is way, WAY more bigoted than anything Bob said.

              Less “minorities are dumb” and more “minorities have been systemically boxed out going back centuries”

              Come join us in the real world, John

              • Zephyr says:

                Here you go. Pew Research: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/04/02/7-of-americans-dont-use-the-internet-who-are-they/
                Internet non-adoption is linked to a number of demographic variables, but is strongly connected to age – with older Americans continuing to be one of the least likely groups to use the internet. Today, 25% of adults ages 65 and older report never going online, compared with much smaller shares of adults under the age of 65.

                Educational attainment and household income are also indicators of a person’s likelihood to be offline. Some 14% of adults with a high school education or less do not use the internet, but that share falls as the level of educational attainment increases. Adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year are far more likely than those whose annual household income is $75,000 or more to report not using the internet (14% vs. 1%).

                There are no statistically significant differences in non-internet use by gender, race and ethnicity, or community type.

                • Joe says:

                  Adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year are far more likely than those whose annual household income is $75,000 or more to report not using the internet (14% vs. 1%).

                  Now do household income by race and ethnicity

                  by transitive property…

                  • Pete says:

                    Check the details of statistics on Internet access. Check what survey questions are actually asking (or what respondents think they are asking). I think you will find that some people who report not having or using the Internet are actually just reporting that they do not have a computer and/or home Internet connection. But they actually do have a smart phone (even if it is just a Tracfone) capable of Internet access.

                    Indeed, in the Pew survey, three quarters of the respondents were interviewed by cell phone, and Pew says 85% of mobile phones are smartphones.

                    Pew also says that there is virtually no difference in Internet access by race/ethnicity.

                    https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/internet-broadband/?menuItem=d5edf003-5858-4269-89c5-f2889ecf7951.

                    The big gap is by age, with only 75% over 65 and about 98% of everyone else using the Internet. Adirondack Council high peaks hiker survey says most hikers were between 25 and 44 years old, with the second-largest group between 45 and 64.

                    Digital marketing experts who pay close attention to Internet use statistics point out that well over half of all Internet access is by mobile device, and that if your customer base includes the lower income demographic you must design web sites and other on line marketing to be mobile-friendly. In other words, they know there is a lot of Internet access by people who “do not have the Internet.”

                    A cheap but perfectly adequate Amazon Fire tablet costs well under $100. People who can’t afford that are also unlikely to be able to afford driving to the Adirondacks to go hiking on any regular basis.

                • Bob Meyer says:

                  Thank you Zephyr!
                  Some folks, who grew up and have lived to [taken for granted] privileged life of a white person, just do not see the forest for the trees. Pun intended.

              • JohnL says:

                I stand by my comments. I think you’re (maybe intentionally) selling a lot of capable people short to make some point or gain some advantage. Not sure what or why?

    • Dismayed says:

      My parents, in their low 60s, would not be able to figure out how to use their phone to get a permit. They also should not have to give their personal information to a private enterprise to hike on a public easement.

      Me personally, I’m just making a reservation for every Saturday or Sunday regardless if I go or not, just in case the weather is nice and I do fancy a hike through there that weekend. Unfortunately, as a business owner (who pays an exorbitant amount of money in taxes in this state), I don’t get vacation time and simply cannot take off weekdays or plan two weeks in advance. The equalizer for me was always being able to get there on a Saturday morning by 5:00am to get a parking spot. There’s going to be a lot of empty parking spots there this year on my account – sorry.

      • Smart phone savvy says:

        I don’t wish to be part of the debate pro or con on the permit question. However I take great exception to your statement that you parents would not be able to use their cell phone to acquire a permit. Are you implying that all “senior citizens” are technically feeble? Or just your parents? Not sure how old you may be but for the record I have been computer literate since the MAC Classic came out in the early 1990’s and now in my early 70’s am fully capable of using a smart phone.

  2. Zephyr says:

    How will this idiotic parking permit system provide useful data? The only ones who will be counted will be the happy few who manage to get a permit on the day they want to go, while nobody will be counting the average person who was unable to make a reservation on the website and decided to go elsewhere. I hope at least they carefully count the number of people who arrive at the gate with no idea they need a parking permit and are turned away in disgust. The average person has no clue this permit system exists. And why is it that a very tiny minority of almost all white local people get special access to state land that is owned by all the people of New York? Land that New Yorkers pay property taxes on to the local town? That isn’t equity. That is pure privilege.

    • Zephyr says:

      A “free online reservation system” is not more equitable as has been recently documented extensively with the vaccine distribution. All over the country we have seen how the digital divide eliminates access for many people, including many residents of the Adirondacks who don’t have easy Internet access at home. How about older people too? My father was an avid Adirondack hiker up until a recent injury, but any online system is far beyond his modest computer skills. Sure, I could help him make a reservation, but he would only want to go in perfect weather which requires a last-minute decision. In any case, the whole idea that an exclusive club for rich people drastically limiting access to public lands makes everything more equitable is just laughable.

  3. Rich says:

    I don’t agree that we should be leading with solutions over gathering data. Such as spreading use use out and causing damage to places that can withstand even less use than the high peaks.

    While permits and limits have their place, it is clear they are also being used to set an a thinly vailed agenda by those from the Council. All they have is pseudo-science, biased surveys and a politically driven agenda to try to keep people out in the name of solitude.

    Also if we really care about equity, why are KV residents getting passes when they pay no more in taxes than any other person in the State….

  4. Steven Leslie says:

    Trailhead parking is a total mess in the High Peaks, so any effort to sort the problem out is welcome. The park has 6 million acres, of which the tiniest portion is devoted to parking. Yet cars are the only practical way to get around (ever see a public transit bus in Keene or Tahawus? No) Trailhead parking needs to be expanded if the region wants to hold on to its visitors and their tourist dollars.

    AMR is a private club and I suppose they have the right to try out reservations on their parking lot. Personally I never go there since they don’t allow dogs on their trails.

    There are plenty of lovely trails and waterways elsewhere. The hassle of the High Peaks has turned me off.

  5. Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

    Agree with some of both perspectives, disagree with some. I’m glad the AMR folks fixed the system so you can arrive anytime of day regardless of permit time.

    Awareness is going to be an issue for lots of folks, because unless you follow local media I’m still not sure how you’d know this is happening. There was an NCPR reprint article that noted people already being turned away on a recent weekend. If the Keene shuttle is up and running it will make the situation better. Have I mentioned the shuttle enough times yet? A super cool, green, expensive electric shuttle thus far sitting idle so far as I am aware.

    I am making fun of myself, but a shuttle system is how all of the national parks I’ve been to made life bearable for visitors. High peaks wilderness area is the size of a national park. Shuttle advocacy is the hill I’d like to die on, I think.

    • Zephyr says:

      Sorry Vanessa, but I’m not getting on a crowded plague bus with other people until long after the pandemic is over, and certainly not this summer.

      • Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

        Aww that’s OK. But since this is my hill to die on, ;), I’ll counter that a lot of energetic hiker types probably won’t mind. Hec, most of the greater Northeast will be vaccinated by July. The pandemic will probably never be “over” in the sense that the virus is completely gone. Hopefully it will evolve into the common cold.

        More concern is needed for the driver of the van, who would def need to be vaccinated and should absolutely be well compensated for a riskier-than-most job. In the comments on the Explorer just now, I jokingly noted that I would apply. I’m half kidding here, but the point is that given the right conditions, I would be surprised if it would be tough to find someone for what seems like a low key seasonal gig.

        • Zephyr says:

          Vanessa, I have to take public transport to get someplace regularly, and hardly a week goes by that I don’t read a report in the paper of a worker in the system who has caught COVID. Even now with many of them vaccinated apparently. The variants are much more contagious than previous strains according to health professionals I know. They are seeing even vaccinated people getting sick. Yes, less are going into the hospital or dying, but it is still important to exercise great caution, vaccinated or not. The current wave is hitting younger people hard. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/05/01/992148299/covid-doesnt-discriminate-by-age-serious-cases-on-the-rise-in-younger-adults

          • Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

            That’s true, and that’s a good link. I don’t disagree at all with your concern for transit workers or any essential workers. I also agree that young people need to take the disease seriously. We’ve had two friends die in their 30s due to COVID, one of heart failure as a side effect, and one of old fashioned respiratory failure. He was intubated for 15 days before he died – absolute hell for everyone. 🙁

            But it’s also true that vaccines make a critical difference, and vaccines will allow society to start functioning again. There’s no way to completely eliminate risk. But vaccination absolutely brings your risk of severe illness down, by a bunch, and I believe Moderna just announced phase 1 results for a booster, which were good.

            It’s definitely gonna be weird and traumatizing for a while, but I don’t think it means that goals that are net wins for everyone (like an efficient shuttle system) shouldn’t still be pursued.

          • Dallas says:

            “Vanessa, I have to take public transport to get someplace regularly, and hardly a week goes by that I don’t read a report in the paper of a worker in the system who has caught COVID.”

            Yeah almost certainly because they are unvaccinated…NY is still at less than 50% despite everyone having full access. Not sure why you assume all transport workers decided they would get it. Unless they told you they got it or you found a way around HiPAA laws you really dont know.

            If you take public transportation regularly why would you be worried about a ADK shuttle especially if you’re vaccinated? This is a really bizarre take…

            • Zephyr says:

              It’s a ferry I have to take–no way to get there by land.

              • Steve B. says:

                Remember that just being vaccinated twice does not prevent you from getting CV, it’s only helpful to keep it from getting life threatening. You can be vaccinated, get Cv and be a carrier, able to spread to others. This recently happened to my 32 yr. old nephew.

                • JohnL says:

                  And getting vaccinated twice doesn’t prevent you from being run over by the shuttle bus either. If anyone wants to curl up in a little ball and wait for the end, be my guest. I’ve gone back to living my life. Thanks for your attention.

  6. Ben says:

    Well since snowmobilers PAY to maintain the trails in the ADK, I think hikers should PAY for a permit to hike in the ADK. They need to pay their FAIR SHARE!!!

    • Murray's Rush says:

      I’ve been buying multiple trail supporter patches every year they were available until the pandemic hit last year and they stopped selling them. I still buy the habitat & access stamps. I’m happy to contribute to the resources I enjoy. Next argument

  7. Anita Dingman says:

    What about people who don’t know which day they want to hike so they make several reservations when they only will use one of them? This would restrict someone who really wants to hike. I know that, when in campgrounds, some sites remain empty because someone has reserved them and they never show up.

    • Dallas says:

      I agree with you, its going to be a major problem. One of the commenters here is basically saying they will be reserving and wasting almost 2 spots pretty much every weekend.

      I think there should be a penalty for no-shows that don’t actively go cancel their reservation for others to use. They should be allowed to cancel even the morning of their reservation. This would incentivise people to use their reservation or cancel it. Based on this past weekend this was clearly a major issue. The AMR then really needs to allow for people to pick up others cancellations even on the evening before or the day of instead of this blackout period they have 24 hours before which is to print out the reservations I assume. Seems like something they could find a solution to.

  8. ADKFunPolice says:

    Well said mr Meyer. Could not have said it better myself. Also, anyone listening to the Council’s opinion here must remember that Mr. Janeway and the council are highly conflicted here because of their ties to the ausable club.

    Also if one more person refers to the easement as “private property” I am going to lose it. It is a public easement.

  9. Joe says:

    Hire more Rangers and actually put in some effort to clean up the park before we start blocking access because AMR wants to keep the hiker riff raff out of their private country club

    Unreal. All this manufactured consent for permits is absurd. I’d like to see the venn diagram of AMR membership and pro-permit “opinion articles”

  10. Brian Sullivan says:

    This entire “overuse” controversy is a tempest in a teapot. The few genuine examples of overuse are restricted to a small number of the High Peaks with trailheads located on or near Route 73. Even there, it is only in July and August when the capacity of the existing parking areas is truly tested. The rest of the year (and in the rest of 6 million acres of Adirondack Park) the controversy about issuing hiking permits seems to be much ado about nothing.

    Furthermore, the inanity of the recent decision by NYS DOT to close off access to some 300 legitimate parking spaces along Route 73 just before hiking season must have been inspired by some Keystone Kops fans in Albany. I won’t even mention the recent reporting that a shuttle bus driver can’t figure out how to make a three-point turn to get out of the Chapel Pond parking lot.

    The more I read about this issue, the more I suspect the IQ of everyone involved (including myself, now that I’ve wasted the time and effort required to write this comment.

    Let’s all get out there with some plastic garbage bags and trash pickers and do some real good for the Park, rather than get our underwear all twisted up in a knot over nothing.

    Brian Sullivan
    (W46er, just in case I need any trail cred to voice my opinion on thjs topic)

  11. Dallas says:

    Lets call a spade a spade. Hiking was busier than it ever was last year because of the pandemic. There was nothing else to do. The AMR shut down half of their parking. It pushed more people to Roaring Brook at to the overflow sections up 73. Because parking was limited the time to get to the lot kept getting earlier in large part due to people posting on social media causing a feedback loop of continually making it earlier to the point where people had to get there so early they were sleeping in their cars or on AMR property and at the last being disruptive in the very early morning hours. If you don’t think this is the real reason for the permits you may have your head in the sand.

    It has nothing to do with wilderness experience, water quality or solitude. Like where does this come from? I hiked from the AMR 6 times last year. If you hike Indian Head you’re going to have less solitude. Thats the price you pay for a popular destination. Indian Head is also accessible almost entirely by road and then from a very well maintained trail. What evidence is there that the 9 high peaks, Noonmark & Round mountain have vast ecological damage? Where is this science?

    • Dallas says:

      I will add that I have used the permit system & the idea of being able to reserve a spot is invaluable. However the system still has some major flaws. The gate is closed at 7pm and requires tracking down someone to open it if you get there later. Also the first weekend there was a massive number of no-shows from what I read leaving the parking lot pretty much empty. I think it can be successful if the AMR adapts. I do however think you should not need a permit to simply go through the gate eliminating drop offs or biking. I would love to be able to reserve a spot at the Loj or Garden as the problem for parking influenced by social media pushing the time earlier every week is a major issue there as well.

  12. EDP says:

    Julia, HPAG had many recommendations in their very recent report, of which permits was one. Concerns about the AMR as being the appropriate location/partner for this effort, aside, what was the review process by which the pilot permit system was accepted and actioned so quickly? Are all the HPAG recommendations being adopted? Within their recommendations and the guidance for this pilot program, are there specifics available for public view as to the predetermined metrics that will define success/failure? Presumably it’s only the permit process itself that’s being evaluated as lower hiker numbers and improved environmental impact are a foregone conclusion. What are the ‘controls’ for this ‘experiment’? Given that ‘The 1978 agreement gave both AMR and DEC the obligation to protect the resource and the right to restrict use as necessary to preserve the 1978 character of the reserve’ seem like such arbitrary and vague guidelines, isn’t the challenge simply quantifying the ‘right’ or acceptable amount impact and/or hiker headcount? For that, I don’t think you need a pilot program.

    That overuse in the High Peaks needs a solution is not in question. I think some more clarity will alleviate some of the concerns that the implementation of the HPAG recommendation was rushed, has ill-defined goals, will simply provide a 3-year reprieve for the folks at the Ausable Club, and/or just result in more analysis 3 years from now.

    • Zephyr says:

      EDP asks some good questions. I would also like to ask how this idiotic permit system is supposed to improve on the simplicity of just setting a parking limit and enforcing it and maybe setting a trailhead limit for hikers and enforcing it? Why the need for an elaborate and confusing online parking permit system? Just say 70 cars is the limit, open the gate at 5am, when the lot is full close the gate. Let people arrive by bike or drop offs and just hike in with someone counting numbers. Of course this would first require an actual study as to the carrying capacity of the trails in the area. In any case, I the permit system does nothing but arbitrarily limit access by putting hoops in front of people to make them jump through.

    • gebby says:

      Excellent points EDP! What about the increase in rescues that we’ll no doubt see as people who shouldn’t be bushwhacking, start bushwhacking on to the club property on Gravestone Brook? How about the damage that will be done there as it becomes more of a herd path? How about the damage elsewhere that is sure to occur as turned away hikers go to areas not serviced by a 3 mile road in the woods and to areas that don’t have the ATIS or ADK 46ers doing trailwork? How about the increased rescues as people try to do the Great Range with greater distances from the Roostercomb lot? Will this data show up in the permit “study”?

  13. gebby says:

    Could we expect any different response than emphatic support for a permit system from someone who now works for the Adirondack Council, which many of us view as a political arm of the Ausable Club?

  14. Bob Meyer says:

    Wow! Some folks just will not admit that what race/color a person is has a bearing and effect on access to or enjoyment of the Forest Preserve. It does and THAT is institutional and societal racism. It’s not racist or condescending to mention it. It is racist not to personally and collectively actively work to correct the injustice.
    Remember also, this is just one of many reasons for my NO response to the question of permits to access the AMR. Let the comments fly! 🙂

  15. Sarah Bacon says:

    Well said, Mr. Meyer. You explained it far more articulately than I could have. I agree with you completely.

  16. I wonder how this will affect places like Henderson Lake whose parking lot serves as both a major trailhead and access for boating?

  17. Gary Hartwick says:

    We agree wholeheartedly with Bob Meyer. The residents of the State of New York pay for the Park and their ability to access it must be no less than that of the residents of the Park so there will need to be well enforced restrictions on Park residents if a permit system is to be implemented. For example residents of the Park will only be allowed trail access to specific trails on specific days of the year.

  18. Zephyr says:

    Interesting article on the permits in Politico. https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/05/03/parking-permit-requirements-begin-for-a-few-popular-adirondack-hikes-1379645

    According to the article this is not supposed to be a model for other locations in the Adirondacks: “The no-fee permit system at the AMR lot is not meant to be a test for something that could be applied elsewhere in the Adirondacks, said Katie Petronis, Department of Environmental Conservation deputy commissioner for natural resources. It’s intended to specifically address the risk of people parking and walking along a busy stretch of Route 73.”

    “This pilot was not developed as a model for any other location,” she said during an afternoon media briefing in the mostly empty lot on Saturday. “This was intended to respond to a unique set of challenges, in a unique location, in a unique way.”

  19. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Dismayed says: “They also should not have to give their personal information to a private enterprise to hike on a public easement.”

    Now we’re talking!

  20. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Smart phone savvy says: “I have been computer literate since the MAC Classic came out in the early 1990’s and now in my early 70’s am fully capable of using a smart phone.”

    We’re all different Smart phone savvy, none two are alike. I don’t have online service at home (by choice for very just reasons), nor do I have, or wish to have, a smart phone. Some of us, very few though they may be, are just not into all of the complications that come with a “tech savvy” society. Yours truly is one of those, not that I matter but there was a time when all of us mattered in some regard or another when there wasn’t all of the complicated, and oftentimes dysfunctional, technology which has less regard for the individual than it does for some kind of selfish gain or another, and which is proving to be the case moreso as time ever so rapidly moves on.

  21. Zephyr says:

    And now they cancel the shuttles too because they can’t figure out how to turn them around, yet obviously the public Ausable Rd/Rt. 86A is nearly a perfect turnaround loop. This once again points to this mess being all about keeping people away from the AMR property and easement no matter what. I suspect they switched their tune to calling these parking permits because there is no legal way they can demand a permit from someone just hiking on the easement. I also can’t imagine there is any law against a car temporarily stopping on the public Ausable Rd/Rt. 86A to simply drop off or pick up a hiker.

  22. Bob Myers says:

    Although he spells his name in a funny way, Bob Meyer is exactly right.
    Bob Myers

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