In 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.
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.