Thursday, June 3, 2021

A review of the AMR permit system

Three days before Memorial Day Weekend, a partly cloudy, but warm Tuesday, I decided to check out the new hiking reservation system put together by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). This new permit system, a few weeks old at this point, is set to run into the fall of 2021. It was greeted with concerns about limitations on public access and lots of speculation about how the program would or would not work.

 

The AMR manages a trailhead parking area off of Route 73 in St. Huberts, east of Keene Valley, and across the highway from the DEC parking lot for the Roaring Brook Trail to Giant Mountain. The AMR is part of the Ausable Club, an exclusive private club where many members own homes spread around its legendary golf course, its fairways basking in great views of Giant Mountain, or camps on Lower and Upper Ausable Lake. A state conservation easement purchased in 1978 secured public access through the AMR, which is now managed jointly by the AMR and DEC. The trailhead leads to High Peaks like Armstrong Mountain, Gothics, Saddleback, Sawteeth, Colvin, Blake, Dial, among several others, and popular shorter hikes such as Indian Head and Noonmark Mountain.

I decided the check out the new reservation system as a consumer, just like everybody else. In addition to going through the reservation system, I’d work in a hike up Gothics Mountain to boot, and what could be better than that. On Monday afternoon, May 24th, I looked at my schedule for the week and looked at the weather. The only time I could fit in a day in the field for this trip was Tuesday, May 25th.

I figured I’d get shut out of a parking reservation given the short notice. One complaint among the local hiking population is that the new reservation system precludes folks from hiking spontaneously on a day when the weather is good, or when they want to hike. I made a reservation on Monday afternoon for a slot at 8 AM on Tuesday, having a 90-minute drive to St. Huberts from my home in Blue Mountain Lake.

The AMR reservation website is easy to use, but users need to set up an account. The reservation for a parking spot is free, doesn’t cost a dime. I was emailed a confirmation. The website provides good FAQs, emphasizes preparedness, and links to Leave No Trace.

While hikers can’t make a reservation for a month ahead of time, one can make a reservation on fairly short notice. AMR staff told me that the most favorable comments they get regularly come from people traveling from far away who are happy to nail down a slot for the opportunity to hike one of the AMR trails. I can understand complaints from people who drive up without a reservation, see a half-empty parking lot, and are turned away. No one can walk in or ride a bike in. No one can be dropped off. If the state and Essex County get the shuttle system running, it will not stop at the AMR lot. Overall, the number of vehicles parked at AMR this spring appears to be running below the rate of past years when it was free-for-all parking.

When I arrived at the AMR parking lot, greeted by a Front Country Steward, an “Ambassador” says the AMR, a recent Paul Smith’s College grad, who checked-in a friend and me, as my name was on the daily list printed out earlier that morning. The AMR parking lot is now gated and striped, which is weird for an Adirondack trailhead but helps the AMR staff regulate the parking and make the whole thing work. Passenger vehicles are limited to a max of 8 hikers, vans that seat up to 15 must sign up for two slots. These correspond with longstanding DEC group size limits for the High Peaks Wilderness Area. On Tuesday, there were a dozen other cars in the lot at 8 AM, more than the nine vehicles across the highway at the DEC Roaring Brook lot.

There are 70 parking spaces and three for disabled individuals in the AMR lot. Eight parking spaces are set aside for overnight campers, who make a multi-day reservation, so there are 65 parking spaces available each day. Under the DEC-AMR conservation easement, AMR is only required to provide parking for 20 vehicles. In 2018 and 2019, when parking was less organized and hikers parked atop one another, somewhere around 90 to 100 vehicles often squeezed into the AMR lot on peak-use days. While the reservation system marks a reduction, it’s more than the lot allowed all through the 2020 COVID19 summer when social distancing parking was practiced. The DEC provides porta-johns at the site, and they were the cleanest ones I’d ever seen.

The hike to Gothics starts with a walk along a dirt road into the Ausable Club from Route 73. Within a few hundred yards, it passes the trailhead register and trail to Noonmark Mountain and the Dix Range. Just beyond, the dirt road joins the Ausable Club paved roads around the golf course and Clubhouse. The stunning view of Giant Mountain towers over the fairways and accompanies the hikers.

It’s about a half-mile from the parking lot to the gate at the beginning of the Lake Road, where there is a trailhead register and ornamental Adirondack twig design gate. There is a foot traffic counter at the gate. Under the new reservation system, there is now an attendant at the gatehouse who asks hikers for their names and checks them off the list, which the same morning printout for reservations that’s used at the parking lot. If one is not on the reservation list, and accessed the property by some other means to reach the gate, they are asked to leave the property.

I’ve always found walking down the Lake Road a pleasing experience. I probably walk in the middle of the road too long for passing vehicles, because I’m either yacking with a friend or lost in thought. I’ve never encountered more than a few vehicles on the road. The road is immaculate and the surrounding forest and rocky Ausable Brook are beautiful. I enjoy warming up for a hike on the Lake Road on the way in, and I like walking carelessly and weary on auto-pilot on the way out.

The hike up Gothics at its shortest route using the Beaver Meadow Falls Trail is about 12 miles round trip, with 2.5 miles on the road. The trail through AMR lands passes through a forest dominated by towering 30- and 40-inch-diameter hemlocks. At about a half-mile in, the steep ascent begins and continues for more than two miles. The trail is hammered, packed with exposed and fractured tree roots, is heavily eroded in stretches, hardened with stone staircases in some places, and worn down in many places to open slabs of slippery exposed bedrock. A typical degraded, poorly designed and maintained, High Peaks fall-line trail that runs straight up the mountainside in many places. As we hiked, we were treated to the calls and responses of Hermit thrushes.

Just east of the junction with the Great Range Trail, we met Joe Henderson, a professor at Paul Smith’s College. Joe had made his reservation on Sunday afternoon for his hike on Tuesday morning. He’d hit the trail early and steamed up the Lake Road and climbed to Gothics via Pyramid. He said he’d spent nearly an hour completely alone and bug-free in a stiff wind on the summit of Pyramid Mountain. He was also alone on the summit of Gothics.

When we reached the summit of Gothics Mountain it was empty. The wind was fierce, and there were no bugs. When I’m on a summit of one of the interior High Peaks, surrounded in every direction by other High Peaks, the scene always astounds me. Massive mountains, open cliffs and slides, all carpeted with a thick, dense forest (interrupted from Gothics only by the rooftop of ADK’s Johns Brook Lodge and the Ausable Club boathouses). There’s a reason why the High Peaks are so popular. They’re so popular because they’re so spectacular, and because there’s nothing anywhere near the High Peaks that’s anything like the High Peaks.

Perhaps our experience of having the summit of Gothics Mountain to ourselves was because it’s bug season. Or maybe it was due to the uncertain weather forecast. Or maybe it was because it was a Tuesday in May before a holiday weekend. Or perhaps it was the reservation system. On Gothics we sat and ate our lunch and soaked up the view. A Junco flew in. It hopped across the summit and then stood for the longest time on one of the large boulders on the west side with its back to us, looking over the expanse. We encountered just two other hikers on the way down.

In the late 1970s, then-DEC Commissioner Peter A. A. Berle and then-Governor Hugh Carey bought spectacular Adirondack properties for addition to the Forest Preserve, for which we all are indebted to their vision and action. They purchased Lake Lila. In 1978, they purchased Armstrong Mountain, Basin, Blake, Colvin, Dial, Gothics, Haystack, Saddleback, Saw Teeth, Upper Wolf Jaw, Lower Wolf Jaw, and Noonmark Mountain from the AMR. At that time, they also purchased a conservation easement over the AMR holdings that insured the right of the public to traverse the property from numerous points, such as access from Route 73 up the Lake Road to a dozen different hiking trails, including trails to Indian Head, or through the property between the two lakes. The easement lists 24 public trails that AMR must maintain and provide public access, requiring those areas to be maintained in a forever wild and natural state. Click here to read a copy of the conservation easement.

In the AMR conservation easement, the state purchased “a foot travel easement” for “foot travel only on, over and across all such trails, paths and roadways as now exist” or for new trails that the AMR and DEC “may in the future permit.” The public access right is for the “width of said trails, paths and roadways.” The easement has more expansive language about the purposes of public access, but public access is distinct and absolute. As stated above, the easement calls for AMR to maintain a public parking lot for 20 vehicles, which was expanded to 28 when the Roaring Brook lot was expanded. The current AMR reservation system accommodates 73 vehicles, well beyond what the easement legally requires.

While the public’s right to access the property is absolute, how public access is managed is negotiable between the state and AMR and has changed over the decades as public use pressures have changed. Neither side can make unilateral decisions. Here’s the relevant section on page 11:

(4) Said Easement is and shall be subject to the right of
either the Grantor or the Grantee, with the consent of the
other, which shall not unreasonably be withheld, to close said
trails, paths and roadways, or to deny access thereto or to limit
such access whenever and to the extent necessary to protect said
trails, paths, and roadways from undue adverse environmental
damage, or in case of fire, drought or other disaster or threat
thereof, or under any other circumstance in which the failure to
close, deny or limit such access shall constitute a threat either
to the public health, safety or welfare, or to the natural,
aesthetic, scientific and educational resources of the Protected
Property or the Benefited Property or to the safety or integrity
of the structures arid facilities located on the Adjoining Property
or the Protected Property. Nevertheless, any action closing or
limiting the use of trails, paths or roadways pursuant to this
item shall be done in a manner consistent with the purpose and
objectives of the Foot Travel Easement.

While public access is now managed this summer through a reservation system, it’s not abridged in any way that I can determine. So far, the biggest friction points are about having to make a reservation and around the hours of operation. If you can’t get beyond making a reservation, like some of my friends who are boycotting the area, then you’re out of luck. There are plenty of other trailheads in the High Peaks Wilderness Area where public parking and access is managed as a free-for-all, so have it.

As to hours of operation, AMR opens the gate at 5 AM. The initial program had sought to cap public use at 7 PM, which drew many complaints. Given the challenges of hiking a High Peak, completing a hike and exiting the property by a set time seemed unfair and unreasonable to many. It was the biggest sticking point in the plan for me. AMR has relaxed the exit plan and has not locked in anybody. A parking lot attendant remains at the lot now until 8 or 9 PM, and evening security patrols it after that and while the gate is closed after hours, it’s not locked. Anyone walking down the Lake Road in the dark, dodging shadows, their way lighted by their headlamp, is not going to find their vehicle locked-in at the parking lot.

Super early access does not appear possible for those who want to reach one of the mountain summits before dawn to set up for sunrise picture making or for those who are chasing Verplanck Colvin’s mythic “Brocken spectre.” For that you’ll have to make a reservation for an overnight camping permit and come in the day before or access your desired mountaintop from a different trailhead.

The reservation program runs through the fall. It will not be in place through the winter as use drops off considerably. This type of program was recommended in the recent High Peaks Strategic Planning Group report. The DEC has not yet announced how it plans to assess and evaluate the AMR reservation program. I hope that they contract for an independent outside scientific assessment that surveys users and analyzes the data freely.

The DEC is struggling to organize a new comprehensive, coordinated management program for the High Peaks Wilderness Area that is based on science, public education, sustainable trails and good facilities, stronger financial support and more dedicated staffing. The AMR reservation system is an experiment and DEC should be given the space to experiment with different public policy and management options for the High Peaks. There’s a lot to learn from this type of experimental program, which is something new for the Adirondacks. For its part, AMR is making a big effort with more staffing and building and administering a new reservation system.

As I was forming a narrative in my head with thoughts about this trip during the month of May, when the new reservation program kicked off, and before I was able to get there and experience it for myself, I focused on the gripes I had read that the purposes of the program made no sense or complaints from my friends who told me that the program was unworkable for them or that they were planning to boycott the area out of principle. As I planned for this trip, I anticipated finding a poorly designed, cumbersome, intrusive, and inefficient program that restricted public use.

What I found by actually using the reservation program is a system that’s easy to use, safeguards public use, especially for those from far away who visit and want to make sure they have an opportunity to hike the AMR trails, and is a program that has shown flexibility to make the public user experience as easy as possible. I imagine that the program will see greater numbers of hikers in the months ahead as more and more folks see how easy it is to use and are repeat customers. My hike on May 25, 2021 to the summit of Gothics Mountain, using the new reservation system for the AMR parking lot, despite the terrible conditions of a hammered and degraded hiking trail, was as wonderful as every other trip I’ve ever been fortunate enough to make to the top of a High Peak. I’ll be back.

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Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children, enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.

Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Twitter.




30 Responses

  1. Steve B. says:

    Only oddity is the inability to make a long term reservation. Really no different than a DEC camping reservation, you make it for a period far in the future and weather be damned. Not sure why there’s this limitation.

    • Boreas says:

      I don’t really understand that either. My guess is it is intended to reduce the number of no-shows, but that is only a guess.

  2. Boreas says:

    Thanks for the information Peter!

  3. Nice article. I remember riding the shuttle down the lake road that the club used to run. In the off season, more often than not a club member driving down the road would stop and give us a lift.

    I think the reservation system make sense. The next trailhead to get one should be the Garden.

  4. Zephyr says:

    So, you’re OK with the AMR and DEC unilaterally, with no public input whatsoever, instituting a permit system that drastically limits access to public lands? Everyone knows the AMR, a very exclusive private club, has wanted to do this ever since the easement was negotiated in exchange for the state (taxpayers) bailing them out of a financial bind. Taxpayers now have the privilege of paying taxes on the land while secure in the knowledge that the club members get unimpeded access to public lands in exchange for drastically limiting access to ordinary taxpayers. Oh, also locals apparently have some sort of special privileges, paid for by all the taxpayers of New York State. Included in the bargain was the elimination of traditional parking areas along Route 73 just to make sure people wouldn’t park and try to sneak onto the public easement. You now need a parking permit in order to hike–no drop offs, no bicycle riders, no bus dropoffs. The idea that this is being promoted as more fair, or an attempt at “equity” is just a farce.

    • Steve B. says:

      “So, you’re OK with the AMR and DEC unilaterally, with no public input whatsoever, instituting a permit system that drastically limits access to public lands”

      It’s private property. There’s no law stating the AMR has to allow public input. They could just close all access to the public.

      • Zephyr says:

        There is a public easement that allows access to the trail that was secured when New York purchased property from AMR, bailing them out of a financial bind. An easement is a legal right of way. There are lots of them all over the Adirondacks, and they can’t just be broken because somebody doesn’t want people using the easement. They can’t limit access without DEC agreeing to limit access. We the taxpayers of New York essentially paid for public access, and we continue to pay the local town in lieu of property taxes. Instead, AMR wants all of the rights with none of the obligations of their legal contract with the state to provide public access.

        • Boreas says:

          “Under the DEC-AMR conservation easement, AMR is only required to provide parking for 20 vehicles.”

          How many decades now have AMR put up with parking and consequent hiking numbers far in excess of this figure? When this figure was AGREED UPON by both parties, what do you suppose the hiker numbers were? This is how hiker numbers were controlled at any trailhead in 1978.

          In this easement, there are no unilateral decisions or actions. Both parties must agree to changes. If you read the 1978 agreement, you will also find there are requirements for both parties to protect and maintain the natural qualities of the wild areas. How has the state abided by this? Virtually no restriction on numbers until now.

          Believe me, the state was more than happy to create this easement in 1978, at which time AMR could have simply CLOSED their trails to the public! Both parties agreed to an easement that benefitted both in different ways. Yet people continue to make it sound like AMR came begging for the tax relief and forced NYS into the easement. BOTH parties agreed to the easement, and in no way is AMR unilaterally limiting access – especially if there are three times the parking spaces they are required to provide! NYS now owns much of the elevation around the core AMR property – with trails that intersect trail systems other than AMR. But the access across AMR is only by easement, which the AMR has always honored – and still does.

          The question is, what has DEC done to protect the resources in the easement? Attracting more and more hikers every year until they realized they also had to deal with the problem. Now people are blaming AMR, which is ridiculous. They never agreed to this amount of use by hikers, but NYS kept packing them in. Read the agreement people.

          • Zephyr says:

            There is no limit on the number of hikers in the easement. It guarantees access to the “general public.” Limiting access to only those that can obtain a parking permit means the general public does not have access.

        • Steve B. says:

          There’s nothing stopping anybody walking in and accessing trails. They need a permit to park is all.

          • Zephyr says:

            “There’s nothing stopping anybody walking in and accessing trails. They need a permit to park is all.” The AMR requires anyone arriving to have a parking permit whether or not they are on foot or on a bicycle or get dropped off. Even those exiting via the trail are supposed to have a parking permit even if they arrived from another part of the High Peaks.

            • Tony Goodwin says:

              No reservation is required if one starts at another trailhead, but exits through the AMR. Don’t try to make this system seem bad by “creating” restrictions that don’t exist.

              • Zephyr says:

                OK, then you are saying this statement in the DEC/AMR FAQs is incorrect?

                “Reservations will be required for
                parking, daily access, and overnight access to these specific trails.”

                https://www.hikeamr.org/files/AMR%20FAQ%204-15-21.pdf

                As I have stated before, any permit system that requires multiple pages of explanation is idiotic, and this system also requires insider knowledge to use. For example, how is someone supposed to know that even if your reservation is for 3pm you can actually show up at 6am? Where is that stated clearly?

                • Zephyr says:

                  The FAQs also state, “Walk in users without a reservation will not be permitted.” States nothing about where you are walking in from. Seems pretty clear cut that the stated rules don’t allow anyone to use the trail without a reservation.

                  • Ben says:

                    Zephyr- There are no staffed gatehouses in the backcountry where the AMR boundary is. Go walk from the Garden or wherever over one of these peaks and exit the lake road and AMR property. You are making this more complicated than it is.

                    • Zephyr says:

                      I’m just quoting their rules as published on the reservation website. They made it complicated. How is the average person supposed to know what the unwritten rules are?

          • Matthew says:

            “There’s nothing stopping anybody walking in and accessing trails. They need a permit to park is all.”

            Okay, try this experiment: have someone drop you off at the Roaring Brook trailhead. Cross NY-73. Try to “walk in and access the trails”.

            After you get turned back by an Ausable Club part time employee, come back tell us about how this is a parking permit only.

  5. Robert White says:

    My High Peak days were in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I’m glad they are over and I don’t have to deal with this nonsense. The lower peaks and trails are less crowded and therefore more pleasant to hike. Off trail hiking is the best if you want to enjoy privacy.

  6. EDP says:

    If the available permits, on any given day, are fewer than the typical number of hikers seeking access to the AMR, than we should be framing discussions and debates of the permit pilot in that context; as an exercise in limiting hiker numbers in the High Peaks, and not get sidetracked by:

    • The actual number of parking spots in the AMR lot – parking discussions are secondary to those about restrictions on actual hiker numbers.
    • Whether Gothics will be less crowded as a result – it will.
    • There will be less hiker environmental impact – of course.
    • Boycotting or not, hikers unable to access AMR (especially those without the luxury/flexibility to hike mid-week) will seek out alternatives ‘where public parking and access is managed as a free-for-all’ – they definitely will.
    • The AMR/AC is acting in its own self-interest in supporting this initiative – it is, but that’s immaterial.

    We’ll, no doubt, get some helpful feedback with respect to the mechanics of the reservation system itself and maybe this is a good first step towards the difficult goal of deciding, and getting the public comfortable with, the appropriate headcount limits for every High Peak trailhead. To be determined is whether an ‘experiment’, where the primary control (hikers) can, and will, easily seek out and crowd into, other access points, (or get frustrated and stay home), will provide the clean data points needed for the DEC and APA to get closer to that goal.

    • Zephyr says:

      There will not be any “clean data points.” As far as I know the only numbers collected prior to the permit system were informal numbers as supplied by AMR. There was no independent or DEC study done of hiker numbers, trail impacts, who was using the trails, how they got there, or anything. Plus, has the carrying capacity of the trail there been determined? Remember “No data, no science.” https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/dec-apa-address-land-management

  7. Vagabonding says:

    I see two real solutions that would have solved everything without any uproar.

    1.) enforce “no parking” rules on route 73. If you can’t get all four tires off the right of way, then you get towed. If you park in a “no parking” zone, hand out a $250 ticket. You wouldn’t even need to speak of a reservation system.
    or
    2.) if you insist on a reservation system, have a reservation system that works like Baxter Park in Maine. Your reservation is good for 6am. At 6:05am, your reservation is given up and your parking spot is given away to the next “walk-in”.

    As parking spots open up throughout the day, allow someone else can park there. It’s ridiculous. Right now, they’ve cut down a ton of trees for a parking lot that remains 3/4 empty all day, because of no shows. So safe parking exists, but you can’t use it and are once again forced onto route 73 to park (which was apparently so dangerous they needed to institute this policy to begin with).

    It reeks of cronyism and the DEC should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. J says:

    Hey Pete how much did the Au Sable Club pay you to write this?

  9. Erin says:

    This is false- they do the lock the gate, and there is no security to let you out. We hiked Colvin, Blake, Nippletop, and Dial on 5/8. We started at 5:30am and got back at 11:30pm, cold, wet, and muddy after ~18 hours of hiking to find our car locked into the parking lot. We tried calling the hiker emergency number (after multiple dropped calls due to poor service there) and were told because it’s private property they couldn’t help and the best option would be to sleep in the car overnight. Another hiker came back around 2am and woke us up, wondering if we could open the gate for him, as he was also locked in. This was not a busy day and both attendants knew where we were headed and both remarked “You’ve got a long day ahead of you,” but no one mentioned they would lock us in at closing time. We did not have an overnight pass so there should’ve been no confusion when our cars were still there at closing time… we did not plan to spend the night. There was no apology the next day, instead we were met with “How long have you been here? Did you have an overnight pass? You know we close at 7pm don’t you?” And best of all, “ Did you try the lock?” as if that wasn’t the first thing we would do when we saw the gate closed. There has to be a better after hours system in place. No one plans to get back from a hike late, but things happen and in our case, we slowed our pace on the descent to be as cautious as possible and avoid injuries, and due to this caution, we were punished.

  10. I am hoping this new program is effective. I worry about misuse of our beautiful area. With monitoring perhaps people will respect the environment more. If hikers leave behind rubbish ir damage our area we have a list of names we can follow up on.thank you

  11. Todd Eastman says:

    This permit regulates parking, in this case on private land with a long-standing easement, which is the most identifiable and easily addressed issue related the increased use of the HPW. Actually limiting public access to the HPW, other than parking, will be far more difficult due to state constitutional constraints…

    … it appears the major stakeholders have only parking restrictions in their toolkit as they see how this plays out on private land. Regulating trail heads on state land will be nearly impossible…?

  12. Paul says:

    Is there a membership list for this club? Who’s personally benefiting from these restrictions put in place with the help of the state. The whole thing lacks any transparency. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea there just isn’t much information. You could get the tax records to figure out who own the camps in there but they would all be under LLC’s and other things for tax and insurance reasons.

    • Zephyr says:

      Here’s one member. The ED of the Adirondack Council is Willie Janeway, who describes his background like this: “Janeway added that his family were among the original purchasers of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve in 1887. Every generation of his family, including himself, has been a trustee of the property and a member of the Ausable Club. Janeway said he is only speaking for the Adirondack Council, however, and not the Ausable Club or the Adirondack Mountain Reserve trustees.” The same article notes the president of the Ausable Club is Roland Morris. https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/more-hiking-limits-are-coming

  13. John Grasing says:

    This is not journalism, its propaganda. Journalism fairly evaluates and criticizes. It’s points out flaws and suggests improvements.

    I wonder if the author would have been spouting all these platitudes if his reservation came on a rainy day. I am more interested in the inner dialog of a person standing in the parking lot debating whether their one chance of getting to the top of Gothics this year is worth possibly getting hypothermia. Or the person who wants to to take a spontaneous day off to climb Dial and Nippletop but can’t. How do they feel driving past that parking lot on their way to another?

  14. Zephyr says:

    In regard to Tony Goodwin’s comments above I see he is correct. They have now added a new FAQ on page 5 that says: “I am planning on accessing the AMR property from a different trailhead. Do I need a reservation?
    o No, users accessing the AMR property from other trailheads, such as on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail or from Johns Brook Valley, do not need a reservation.”

    As a resident of Keene, I wonder if Tony could elaborate on what “local privileges” residents get?

    From the FAQs: “Residents of Keene and Keene Valley will retain the same local privileges as in years past. Please contact AMR directly for more information.”

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