During the pandemic this spring and early summer, hiking has continued to be an activity that people have engaged in to stay healthy and find respite.
One indication that people are out and about is the weekly search-and-rescue bulletin issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The most recent one contains nine incidents in the Adirondack region, indicating that forest rangers have been keeping busy.
In a Facebook Live forum held recently, three Adirondack leaders asked visitors to make sure they are wearing masks and practicing social distancing this Memorial Day weekend, which is expected to be busy because of the holiday and the warm, dry weather forecasted for the region.
“We have some responsibilities to our local communities and residents to make sure we keep our infection rates low, so anyone coming from outside the region, we’re really encouraging them to get back to the principles,” said ROOST CEO Jim McKenna. “Let’s go beyond social distancing as much as possible, a mask all the time whether it’s required inside or not, let’s wear masks.”
Earlier this spring, I asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a list of lesser known hikes in the Adirondacks in an effort to provide people with options outside of the more popular trails. (As I recently wrote about the challenges that surround social distancing on well-traveled routes.) Part of that list ran in the May-June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, but the entire list can be found below. Many of the trails are relatively flat and go to ponds, a type of route that tends to attract few people but can be just as rewarding as a summit hike.
This list will provide you with the hikes. You can use other tools to find the details of each hike, such as maps, guidebooks, and the DEC’s website.
The state has launched a new #RecreateLocal hashtag and issued guidance that encourages people to recreate responsibly, practice social distancing, and stay near their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a recent press release.
The guidance includes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases.
(The following is from Backcountry Journal, a weekly newsletter by Adirondack Explorer multimedia reporter Mike Lynch.)
Getting through the coming weeks and months is going to be challenging as the coronavirus spreads, and being prepared as you navigate through this new world is going to be important. It’s not too late to get organized for dealing with it, and you can use your outdoor skills to help you get through it, even if most of your time in the near future is spent inside.
People who hike, camp, paddle, fish and hunt develop survival and organization skills through these activities. Now is the time to put those to use. Here are some thoughts about how you can do that, framing this upcoming journey as a backcountry trip.
These reports are brought to you by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, who respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.
Conservation organizations and communities are looking at a variety of options for reducing road salt, including improved technology on salt trucks, improved monitoring of road conditions, and the use of alternatives to salt.
David Wick, executive director of the Lake George Park Commission, said the towns of Lake George, Bolton, and Queensbury and the village of Lake George will experiment with using a brine — a solution of road salt and water — this winter. Brine is applied to roads prior to winter storms to reduce the formation of ice and hence the amount of salt that must be applied after the storm. » Continue Reading.
A state Supreme Court judge has ruled in favor of the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society in its suit against the state to stop the removal of 34 miles of railroad tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid for the construction of a multi-use recreational trail.
Judge Robert Main issued a decision on Tuesday, saying that the state’s 2016 Unit Management Plan for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor violated the State Land Master Plan (SLMP), Adirondack Park Agency Act, and state historic laws. » Continue Reading.
Chip Moeser hiked fifteen miles from Lake Placid in early July to spend the night at Duck Hole deep in the High Peaks Wilderness. He was looking for quiet, but in the late afternoon, a helicopter started descending from overhead.
“It was coming in like it was going to land,” Moeser said, adding that it got as close as ten feet to the ground before taking off.
At first, he had assumed it was a state helicopter. In fact, it was owned by Go Aviation, which this summer started flying helicopter tours out of Lake Placid and Lake Clear. » Continue Reading.
Since Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, climbed all forty-six of the High Peaks in the 1920s, more than ten thousand hikers have followed in their footsteps.
You can read more about some of the hiking challenges easing pressure on the High Peaks in the latest issue of the Adirondack Explorer. Subscribe here or download the app.
Here is a list of other hiking challenges in the Adirondack Park. Most have websites or Facebook pages that can be found by googling their names. Unless otherwise indicated, finishers qualify for a patch: » Continue Reading.
A man who allegedly flew a drone in the High Peaks Wilderness in June is headed to court in Keene next month.
The man allegedly flew and landed a drone on June 17th near the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Johns Brook Outpost. The man was issued a ticket after the incident was observed by a forest ranger.
The ticket was first of its kind for operation of a drone on the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve. It alleges the individual operated motorized equipment within land classified as wilderness. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) owns land with trailheads for some of the most popular mountains in the High Peaks Wilderness, but you wouldn’t know that from their recent promotions on social media and traditional print publications. That’s because the club does not want to exacerbate overcrowding in the High Peaks.
Instead of encouraging people to climb Mount Marcy and Algonquin Peak, ADK is teaching people backcountry ethics, including Leave No Trace principles. “People are coming no matter what, so we don’t need to promote it, and what we need to promote is how to recreate responsibly,” said Julia Goren, ADK’s education director and summit-steward coordinator.
The education campaign is just one of several ways that ADK, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and other organizations are addressing the overcrowding issue. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, June 25, Spencer Morrissey reached a major milestone in his hiking career: he climbed his thousandth Adirondack peak.
“It was kind of a sigh of relief,” Morrissey said. “It was kind of surreal, because I didn’t ever really think I’d get to this point.”
Morrissey chose Peaked Mountain near North Creek for his thousandth peak. He picked the mountain because it has a trail to the summit, which would make it easier for people to join him. Eleven people did.
Morrissey’s goal is to hike all of the Adirondacks mountains that are open to the public, or that he’s allowed to do through permission of the landowners. He’s counted 1,817 possible peaks. He’s not aware of anyone who has hiked 1,000 peaks, let alone all of them.
Forest Rangers found a 10-year-old Sunday morning in good health after he went missing overnight in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness.
Forest Ranger James Waters said he found the boy (who forest rangers wouldn’t identify because of his age) about a mile off the Short Swing Trail.
Waters had been on the way to meet up with another forest ranger near Gooseneck Pond when he took a break atop a boulder field. While taking a break, Waters yelled out, hoping the boy would hear him, which is standard during search-and-rescue missions. » Continue Reading.