Free Shuttle for Popular Fall Weekends
On September 14, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Essex County, town of Keene, and Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) announced the Route 73 shuttle system launched in 2021 will return on Saturday, Sept. 23. The shuttle system helps manage safe, sustainable visitation along the busy Route 73 corridor in the Adirondack High Peaks region. The free shuttle system will operate on Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 23 through Oct. 8, and will also run Monday, Oct. 9.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, ”DEC and our partners in Essex County, the town of Keene, and ROOST are proud to resume the Route 73 hiker shuttle for the busy 2023 fall hiking season. The shuttle improves access to some of New York State’s most popular natural resources while reducing trailhead and roadside parking pressure. This collaborative and environmentally conscious program demonstrates our commitment to a proactive and data-driven approach to help manage visitors.”
“Essex County is proud to be a continuing partner with DEC on the hiker shuttle program,” said Shaun Gillilland, Chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors. “Developing a sage and efficient alternative for hikers to gain easy access to some of the most majestic trails and vistas in New York State is a task our county is committed to supporting.”
Joe Pete Wilson, Supervisor of the town of Keene said, “Leaf peeping season is the busiest time for hikers visiting the High Peaks. The shuttle schedule this year is set to provide hassle free transportation to some of the most beautiful spots to see the Fall colors. Thanks to Essex County, DEC, and ROOST for partnering to provide this service.”
“We are excited to promote the shuttle returning for the fall hiking season,” said Mary Jane Lawrence, ROOST Chief Operating Officer. ”The shuttle is a great alternative to driving; it helps offset the parking and also reduces the carbon footprint of the additional cars driving to and from trail heads. We greatly appreciate the collaboration with the town of Keene, Essex County and the DEC.”
The pilot shuttle system was launched in 2021 in response to persistent public safety concerns about parking along the busy Route 73 corridor. A public shuttle from Marcy Field, which has safe and ample parking, increases the ability of more visitors to reach their desired hikes while limiting illegal and unsafe parking along Route 73. The shuttle service is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
The primary shuttle route will start and end at the Marcy Field parking area, making stops to pick up and drop off riders at three popular trailheads along Route 73. The shuttle will stop at the Rooster Comb trailhead going eastbound, turn around at the intersection with Route 9, and drop off at the Giant Mountain Ridge Trail, Roaring Brook Falls, and Rooster Comb trailheads on the westbound return to Marcy Field. Town of Keene and DEC stewards will be stationed at Marcy Field to help hikers navigate the shuttle system and educate visitors about responsible recreation, including preparedness, hiking safety, and Leave No Trace™ principles. A route map and shuttle schedule are available on the DEC website. (PDF)
The shuttle will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 23 through Oct. 8, and will run the same schedule on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. The final loop providing return trips to Marcy Field will begin at approximately 6 p.m. There is no cost associated with riding the shuttle and no fee for parking at Marcy Field. One bus, which will accommodate up to 20 riders, is currently scheduled to operate. Boarding is available on a first-come first-served basis. Pets are not allowed on the shuttle; service animals are permitted.
Hikers in need of transportation from the Marcy Field parking area to the Garden Trailhead can take advantage of the town of Keene’s long-standing shuttle service. The town shuttle resumed operations on Saturday, August 26 and will continue Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 8, 2023. This service runs from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays when the Garden parking lot is full. Also supported by the EPF, the town of Keene shuttle is free of charge on the days that the Route 73 Hiker Shuttle is also running (Sept. 23 – Oct. 8).
The shuttle system was among the recommendations in the High Peaks Advisory Group’s (HPAG) final report on promoting sustainable recreation in the Adirondack Park. Comprised of stakeholders with expertise in local government, recreation, natural resource protection, business, and tourism, HPAG was tasked in 2019 with providing DEC with recommendations on how to address critical issues associated with increased public use of High Peaks resources in order to protect these areas in the short and long term, as well as for future generations. Visit the DEC website to read the report.
New Yorkers are encouraged to Love Our New York Lands at all natural spaces. Love Our New York Lands this summer and fall by recreating sustainably, visiting trails less traveled, always practicing Leave No Trace™ principles, and giving back through volunteer work and stewardship.
Check out this story about the town of Keene’s hiker shuttle by contributor Tim Rowland at the following link: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/hiker-shuttle
Photo at top: Shuttle driver Fran Shumway drove hikers back and forth from the Garden parking lot and Marcy Field during the summer of 2019. Photo by Mike Lynch/Adirondack Explorer file photo.