Saturday, February 24, 2024

Discussion time: Hiker permits

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The three year “pilot” program has wrapped up for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve and Department of Environmental Conservation’s hiker reservation system. This program installed at a popular High Peaks gateway requires users to register and reserve a parking spot in order to access the trails.

Have you tried it out? Should it keep going? Or what modifications could be made?

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Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor with the Burlington Free Press, Ithaca Journal and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She worked as a communications specialist for the Adirondack North Country Association and is currently digital editor for Adirondack Explorer, overseeing both the Explorer's website and its community forum the Adirondack Almanack. She enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

30 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Hold on – let me get my popcorn!

  2. Craig Catalano says:


  3. THOMAS COLE says:

    DEC should never have supported AMR in their attempt to limit access to our public land. Didn’t the State secure an easement through their property in lieu of a reduction in taxes?

    • Bill Keller says:

      There are 70 parking spots in the new lot when the AMR is only required to provide 20 spots under the DEC/AMR easement. Increasing parking spaces and organizing a parking lot isn’t limiting access to public lands. From the easement, “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

      • Eric says:

        That part of the easement allowing them to restrict access was meant for things like floods and forest fires. Not made-up “overuse”.

      • Tony says:

        So make the 20 required spots open to same-day reservations or first come-first served. Then have the other 50 for their illegal permit system. Problem solved and everyone is happy.

      • THOMAS COLE says:

        So the pilot is over. Now we wait for the next shoe to drop. ADKFP has long maintained that the pilot program was an end around way for the AMR and Ausable Club to limit the public easement. While AMR and their apologists will cry out about safety, this is debunked by the simple fact that they do not allow walk ins or drop offs. Certainly people who are capable enough to hike miles in the back country are competent enough to cross the street from the roaring brook parking lot safely, can they not? Why is safety such a huge concern at this part of 73 but not at the tens of other trailheads that require people to walk along the road or cross the street? Why can’t the shuttle stop there? They must think we are idiots.

        The DEC said it themselves in that there were no safety concerns in 2019 and that any restriction would likely be found to be arbitrary. Something happened in the intervening months and the DEC capitulated to the bogus “safety” argument.

        Remember that survey they conducted solicit public input about the pilot program? Notice they haven’t published any results? The public does not like restrictions on access to public land.

        The language of the easement does not allow for it to be limited because AC members don’t like hikers near their property. It is a public easement, that’s public property. Don’t let them forget it.

        #adkfunpolice #adirondacks #adks

        • Dana says:

          Yes, the existing parking areas (lot) are relatively safe. But parking on the narrow, LIMITED VISIBILITY road (Rt 73) through the pass with motorists unfamiliar with the area rubbernecking Roaring Brook Falls, looking for a pull-off, finding a filled parking lot, and suddenly encountering parking congestion is obviously unsafe. Tractor-trailers, emergency vehicles, and other unwieldy vehicles winding their way through the narrow pass narrowed further by parked vehicles and operators opening doors into traffic adds even more opportunities for tragedy. The Roaring Brook parking area serves trails and a scenic attraction. The safety issue obviously isn’t simply about hikers crossing the road.

          • Ronald T says:

            Anytime someone says “safety issue” it is actually, 100% of the time, entitled locals who think they own the entire park. There has never been any safety issue at any point along Rt 73 even on the busiest holiday weekends.

  4. Jim Schaefer says:

    Publicize the Long Path with its 45+ day hikes to Landmarks within the Adirondacks (to be published on interactive maps with guidance to trailheads through Warren County Planning). The Long Path 1931 was established to highlight the eastern NY highlands from NYC thru the Palisades, ‘Gunks, Catskills, Schoharie highlands, Helderbergs, Rotterdam Hills, Glenville Hills and north through. 15 mile wide hiking corridor to Whiteface via Indian Pass ( not High peaks). Laid out by Vincent and Paul Schaefer to provide a thru trail with links to the AT NPT and Long Trail of Vermont.
    Also spotlight lower peak hiking challenges in Catskills, Lake George area and Brant Lake to name a few.
    Also with lots of educational pieces on proper equipment and training programs —- challenge the wintertime —snowshoe, ski, mini spikes.

  5. COL (R) Mark Warnecke says:

    No, keep all the people in the High Peaks. That way I can enjoy solitude in the rest of the Adirondacks.

  6. ADK Camper says:

    Program sucks and is a violation of the easement deed.

  7. Justin says:

    Its terrible if you pay taxes here you shouldnt pay to use state land. NYS ID and you dont pay. I havent returned up there to hike because of this.

  8. Robert DiMarco says:

    Many years ago i worked several different National Parks. I was surprised at first but got used to it. What I was surprised was you needed a back country permit to hike into the backcountry. Sure it was a bummer when I couldn’t go where I wanted when I wanted.
    But sure was nice when I did get to go and the back country wasn’t overrun with Too many people. So I ended up really liking that permit system.

    And we haven’t even talked about the impact of too many people on the

    Keep the system in place and please expand it to many over utilized areas.

    And for all of you complaining saying tax money etc. We paid for it so we gwt to use it.

    Sorry, The resource, i.e., Earth has to come first

    • Rob says:

      That’s right we paid for it we get to use it. Shouldn’t be a permit system for state residents

    • Zachary Denton says:

      I agree. Hiking permits for any trail in the ADKs, Discounts should be available to NYS residents (but not free). Also, it should automatically be included in any resident NYS Hunting or Fishing License. Lastly, a backcountry camping permit with minimal reservation fee (5 or 10 dollars to cover the system to put it in place) should be used. This would make the backcountry experience so much better.

      It’s just not like it used to be, and the adks have become overrun. DEC needs to do something to control use. Put the permit money back into the park. It’s not the good old days anymore and residents of NY should agree. I was born in raised in the high Peaks. We need something. I’ve since been all accross the country and seen similar systems very successfully and easily used.

    • Tony says:

      Most national parks with permit systems have plenty of same day slots available for the people that can’t or didn’t plan their trip weeks in advance. The AMR doesn’t, and the only possible reason they don’t is to keep out “undesirables”

  9. Eric says:

    It’s criminal that they haven’t been forced to leave a third or more of the spots for night before or same day reservations. Making them all reservable two week out is denying a huge chunk of tbe population from being able to access state land. Many people have jobs where they find out on Wednesday or Thursday which day they might have off on a weekend or have family situations where they may not know if they can hike until the day before.

  10. Boggins says:

    Although not perfect, the permit/reservation system helps limit overuse, thus protecting this valuable resource!

    • Tim T says:

      What overuse though? Too many people walking past their golf course? 99% of the people hiking there are day hikers not campers so what’s the negative impact?

  11. Charlie Stehlin says:

    If we could but somehow go back in time; if it was the case that we were even of the mind to have sound judgment, and had the capacity to uncorrupt what once was unthinkable, and were we to arrive at such a place, wisdom would tell us to undo what we had already done, viz….pull back the ads on tv and in the daily rags which shouted out to the public “Go to the Adirondacks, make excess use of their trails, and while you’re at it…spend your money in those communities near, or where, those trailheads begin.”

    The capitalists locals, or neo locals, and their leaders, are partly, if not wholly, to blame for the over-usage that we, or some of us, so much gripe about today. They cherish the region for what it is, the magic of the place which sends out its rays from every forested quarter, the stillness and quietude which seemingly is becoming less and less to some large extent. At the very least the Adirondacks aren’t what they used to be…we can all attest! What is?

    What was once as simple as taking a long, or short, drive on a moment’s notice to those magical woods to get-in a medicinal walk, has now become a complex matter. It used to be ‘ours’ no qualms about it, and on a whim. Now we are obligated to pay beforehand, and we’ll be darned if someone else gets there first which could very much leave others, or the public, who not long ago had free-reign…out of the equation. There is some ‘thing’ fishy about these matters, even if adaptation has set in, long since, upon us. It’s almost as if the very last of what once was untouchable, a thing which we could go to, to find relief, is in small increments being sapped out of us, until at last…..

    And who, or what, loses? We all, those of us who are enlightened, know the answer to that query!

  12. Lou says:

    I have used the parking reservation system many times and hope that they make it permanent. I live about two hours away and really appreciate knowing that I have a space for the day I want to hike. All of the folks complaining about taxes must know something the rest of us don’t. If you look up the Ausable Club on the Essex County website, they pay a significant amount in taxes. Further,, in my opinion they’ve done a great job, I remember when there were a third as many parking spaces and you’d have to get there at 5 AM to hope to get a spot on the weekends. I suspect that all of the naysayers simply hate the Ausable club and its members and there’s nothing that AMR could do please them.

    Lastly, I’ve gone and checked the AMR parking website quite a few times over the last few years, and other than the busiest weekends in July-October, there are always reservations available. So it’s competitive to get a reservation about 30 out of 152 days. I’m not a professional statistician, but that’s about 20% meaning 80% of the time there are reservations available. So if you get boxed out on those 30 days, there are still about 6 million acres of ADK park to go hike. By the histrionics of some of these responses you’d think AMR was limiting access to oxygen. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and try to get some perspective on this.

  13. Andy says:

    My experience with the permit system has been 100% positive because I know before I go that I have a spot to park. A couple of times I’ve planned an afternoon hike, secure in knowing my noon reservation slot would be waiting.

    I’d also like to commend the AMR staff at the parking lot and the sign-in cabin who have been unfailingly polite.

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