Wednesday, June 1, 2022

State announces hiking season preparations

high peaks preparationIn anticipation of a busy hiking season, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos took a trip up to the Adirondacks last week to recap all the visitor management initiatives DEC and partners have implemented.

“This is paradise,” Seggos said. “This is New York’s Yellowstone, and New Yorkers have discovered that.”

The state is hiring 19 assistant forest rangers to help in the Adirondacks this summer. An education campaign in partnership with the state parks department will continue, and state education assistants will be scattered at pop-up locations around the Adirondacks to provide hiking information.

Julia Goren, deputy director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), said front country stewards will also be stationed at the club’s new welcome center at the old Cascade ski lodge.

Shuttle buses will run again. Portable toilets will be deployed. The Adirondack Mountain Reserve reservation system is back up and running. The state Department of Transportation is widening Route 73 along Upper and Lower Cascade lakes to provide a safer ride for bikers.

You can read the full list of actions happening now and through the summer here. 

The Adirondack Explorer did not attend this news conference as the DEC’s press office sent the media release 20 minutes before the conference started only after I inquired about a tweet Seggos posted from the Adirondacks. DEC press officers said the release was supposed to go out the morning before, but their distribution system never sent it. So I watched a video sent to me after the fact, of Seggos, Keene Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson, Adirondack Mountain Reserve General Manager John Schuler, Deputy Director of ADK Julia Goren, Essex County Chairman Shaun Gillilland and Department of Transportation Assistant Commissioner Thomas McIntyre.

I wasn’t able to see who else was in attendance at Marcy Field in Keene, but I hope we will be there and get a personal invite the next time such a gathering happens. I’ll segue to invite you to our July 20 event at the ADK’s new welcome center, the former Cascade Ski Center. I’m going to be interviewing a panel of experts about education and data collection around visitors to popular hiking destinations, from our local High Peaks region to other popular places across the country. You can get more information and RSVP here.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

DEC photo

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.




10 Responses

  1. Bill Keller says:

    “This is New York’s Yellowstone, and New Yorkers have discovered that.” I find that statement kind of sad. Yellow stone sees about 4.86 million visitors annually.

  2. Rob says:

    Shuttle is useless. It doesn’t even stop at the Loj or AMR. Even if it did no one would ride it because it doesn’t run 24 hours. Who wants to hike with a deadline? All it’s doing is taking away valuable parking spaces for designated drop-off areas at roostercomb, roaring Brook, and Ridge trailheads. At the very least get rid of these coned off areas. There is plenty of room to pull in and drop people off without them.

  3. Zephyr says:

    Though I have no reason not to believe the DEC’s excuse for not notifying the press it points to a huge problem with their communications in general. How many hikers have any clue about any of these things happening? I have talked to several avid Adirondack hikers about the folly at AMR and nobody has a clue about having to make reservations, how to do it, or why it was done. Fat chance the average person will have any idea about any of this. For some reason, nobody seems to use the High Peaks Rest Area for active outreach. Is there any signage or anyway someone coming from the north would know that things have changed? There is a lot of talk about outreach but most of it doesn’t happen until someone arrives at the trailhead and is either turned away or manages to park and then runs into one of the stewards on the trail or a summit. That is way, way too late. The information needs to be online all over the place, and at the rest areas and tourist offices, in hotels, Stewart’s Shoppes, etc.

    • Bill Keller says:

      All you have to do is go to this site, https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9198.html. “Hiking at AMR: The 2022 season of the Pilot Parking Reservation System at AMR will begin May 1, 2022. Parking reservations are required for all visitors to AMR. A reservation is needed to access trails through the AMR gate as well as the Noonmark and Round Mountain trailheads located on AMR property. Visitors can begin making no-cost reservations on April 17 (leaves DEC website) on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve website. Reservations can be made as early as two weeks in advance up until 12 hours in advance of arrival. Until May 1, parking is available on a first come, first served basis. This reservation system only pertains to the AMR Conservation Easement. Parking at trailheads on State land are available on a first come, first serve basis. See a map of the area (PDF) and find additional information in a list of frequently asked questions (PDF).” If people can’t figure it out with this information than maybe they should stay home.

      • Zephyr says:

        How would they know to go to that site in the first place? There is no ongoing public communications policy letting people know that they need to look up strange hiking and parking regulations that pertain to one trailhead and nowhere else in the Park. There needs to be a stronger social media, email, and web communications strategy by the DEC alerting people to all sorts of things. As I wrote, I have talked to regular and experienced Adirondack hikers who have no clue this strange policy even exists.

        • Bill Keller says:

          Just goggle Adirondack high peaks and the DEC website is on the first page along with the ADK Mountain Club and a host of other info. So, unless you’re from a generation that doesn’t use the internet, if you can’t plan your trip with all that info at your finger tips, than you best stay home. Do we really need more people trampling an overused area?

          • Zephyr says:

            The AMR trails see vastly less use than many other trails in the High Peaks, and by all accounts are in much better shape.

            • Boreas says:

              Indeed!! See the connection?

              • Zephyr says:

                They were that way before the idiotic hiking restrictions designed to keep people away. It is really rather humorous if you think about it. They create what they call a “trial” system on one of the least used trailheads in the High Peaks, with some of the best maintained and least degraded trails, and in a spot in which there is no recorded traffic incident (that I know of) with regards to traffic safety. You couldn’t make up a more farcical cover story for eliminating hiking so the exclusive club doesn’t have to see so many grubby hikers walk past their tennis courts and golf course.

  4. Jack Soffalot says:

    IMO Hiking shouldn’t be so regulated.

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