Wednesday, April 14, 2021

HPAG Report: Transportation, Parking and Trailhead Safety

This is the fifth article in a series examining the ideas in the final report of the High Peaks Strategic Planning Group (HPAG) that outlines a plan to build a new and improved management program for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex (HPWC). This article focuses on recommendations and ideas in the “Public Safety, Transportation and Traffic Safety” section of the report.

A high priority in reformed High Peaks Wilderness management is improvements to the ad hoc parking situation that has grown worse over the years and is stressed to breaking during periods of intense use all along the north side of the High Peaks Wilderness. Good public access with a coherent trailhead parking plan is as important as sustainable trails, science and monitoring, and higher levels of professional staffing to significantly improve the management of the High Peaks Wilderness Complex in the years ahead.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Rangers locate lost hiker at OK Slip Falls

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 9 at 2:30 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police B Command advising of a lost hiker in the OK Slip Falls area. The hiker stated she became disoriented while hiking out and was standing near a river. Forest Rangers Scott and Miller responded. Ranger Scott tried to call the woman, but due to limited cell service, texted her with instructions. Not knowing if the subject received the instructions, Rangers Scott and Miller searched the trail and found the 56-year-old woman from North Creek heading back in the correct direction. She had received the text message, but could not send a reply. The Rangers and hiker proceeded back to trailhead.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The buzz around AMR hiker permits

AMR lotLast Monday after this newsletter went out, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Ausable Club announced a new pilot reservation system at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The reserve, for those who may not know, is a gateway to nearly a dozen High Peaks and some very popular hikes like Indian Head and Rainbow Falls. It is also private property, accessible to the public through a foot traffic easement. The original press release left many questions, including whether or not this reservation system included a fee, or if it was free. The answer–it’s free to make a reservation.

It was also confusing because the state has called it a pilot parking reservation system, but it’s not. It is a full-on reservation system. You cannot be dropped off and walk in without a reservation. You cannot bike to the AMR and walk in without a reservation. The only way you are allowed to be on the AMR property without this permit is if you have a Greyhound or Trailways bus ticket from within 24 hours of your arrival to Keene Valley.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

HPAG Report: High Peaks Trails

This is the fourth article in a series examining the ideas in the final report of the High Peaks Strategic Planning Group (HPAG) that outlines a plan to build a new and improved management program for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex (HPWC). This article focuses on recommendations and ideas in the “High Peaks Wilderness Trails” section of the report. A focus on hiking trails in the High Peaks is vital, as in many ways, it’s the condition of the trails that ties together other management efforts.

As with other sections of the HPAG report, the recommendations on trails require significant new investment by the state on a sustained, annual basis to make progress. Trail work success in the High Peaks, given the challenges of the terrain and the heavy use, is measured in feet, not in miles. There are roughly 200 miles of formal trails in the HPWC and another 100 miles of herd trails for the so-called “trailless peaks.” Perhaps, more than any other area in the HPAG report, the measurement of its traction and impact will be seen through a change in trail work scope and intensity.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Ticks: They’re baaaaaaack

attached tick
It’s spring. And, after months of being locked down, people are getting outside again. Just a reminder, though. The longer, warmer days of April are also the start of tick season; the peak of which lasts through August.

    Ticks commonly overwinter by ‘nesting’ in groups; taking refuge under the soil, ground litter, and snow cover which acts as an insulating blanket, sheltering them from the frigid winter temperatures. When warmer weather arrives, they position themselves on vegetation and wait patiently, front legs outstretched, for any warm-blooded ‘host’ to pass by; a behavior known as ‘questing’. When one does, the tick latches on and soon begins taking its next blood meal.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Mud season advisory: Stay off high-elevation trails

mudNYS DEC has released an early season muddy trails advisory urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.

Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight. These conditions, known as “monorails,” are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Camp improv: Lemonade Bass

The Monroe familyFor our family, like most firmly rooted within The Blue Line, the equation is simple:

Summer + Camping x Kids = FISHING!

When my son RJ was 4, he was out fishing one morning at Bull Rush Bay with his “Gramps”.

Gramps overheard RJ humming to himself, singing a little tune while they fished.  When they returned to camp, Gramps wrote RJ’s lyrics down.  They went like this:

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Rangers conduct two overnight Search & Rescues

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Mar. 25 at 5:14 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting he was concerned that his 18-year-old friend was lost after the pair were separated on the trail for Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. After speaking with the caller, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he and Forest Ranger O’Connor were responding to assist. Once on scene, Ranger Praczkajlo notified Dispatch that he and Ranger O’Connor made contact with the reporting party at Marcy Dam. Ranger Praczkajlo continued up the trail to locate the lost hiker while Ranger O’Connor began to escort the friend out of the woods. Lt. Burns advised that Ranger Lewis would respond to the Garden parking lot and begin to hike up the Mount Marcy trail from Johns Brook Valley.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

It’s debatable: A permit to hike?

ausable clubNow that you’ve had a chance to process the news about the Ausable Club and partners moving to a reservation system for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve trailheads. I’d like to hear your thoughts. Are you celebrating this news (like the folks at Adirondack Wild)? Will this impact your hiking plans this summer? Do you feel this change is needed to protect the resources or an arbitrary move?


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Adirondack Wild applauds pilot reservation system at AMR

AMR lotThe non-profit Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve applauds the announcement by Commissioner Basil Seggos of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation of a pilot reservation system for accessing selected trails from the privately-owned Adirondack Mountain Reserve located off State Rte. 73 in the Town of Keene.

“This pilot program for the upcoming High Peaks Wilderness hiking season is part of a critically needed set of user management tools for both the DEC, the Town of Keene, and the adjacent, cooperating private landowner, the AMR,” said Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson.

“We have been calling for a pilot reservation system for a number of years to reduce Wilderness congestion, restore wilder conditions, and increase both hiker education and public safety. Now, we wish to thank the High Peaks Strategic Advisory Group, the DEC, the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, the Town of Keene, and other stakeholders involved for their study of the problems, and for their upcoming cooperation and commitment to initiate this pilot beginning on May 1.”

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

New trails aim to undo mistakes of the past

poko moonshine trailwork

“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line”   – Archimedes

The early Greek mathematician posed this rule for flat surfaces, which the Adirondacks are anything but. Yet this was the scheme for our first mountain trails  –  hardly layouts, but ad hoc routes to get hikers and particularly Fire Observers,  to the summits ASAP.  After twisting past down trees, boulders, cliffs, or water, their lines would straighten right back out.  Trails out West more gently curve along the contours and switchback to ease their ascents, but not those here. Most of our old direct goat paths are still in place.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

DEC begins ‘mud season’ seasonal road closures

Adirondack Mud SeasonClosures due to Spring Thaw 
Effective Monday, March 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 6 began closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands, due to spring thaw and muddy conditions. Gate closures are expected to be completed by Friday, March 26.

Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season damages roads, resulting in road opening delays. DEC will reopen the roads once they become dry enough to safely handle motor vehicle traffic and any necessary maintenance is completed.

Region 6 is comprised of Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, and Oneida counties.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Lost hikers, illegal brush fire and more

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Mar. 20 at 8:11 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance from Warren County 911 for a report of three 19-year-old hikers from Saratoga Springs lost on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The reporting party stated the hikers had no light source and were cold. Forest Rangers St. Claire and Donegan responded to the trailhead and hiked into the woods, locating the lost group at 9:44 p.m. The hikers were in good condition and able to hike out on their own. All parties involved were cleared of the incident at 10:15 p.m.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Injured hiker calls for help when separated from group

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Mar. 13 at 6:41 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 27-year-old subject from Rochester suffering from a sore knee while hiking to Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness. The hiker did not have a headlamp or flashlight and reported that his four friends hiked out ahead of him. Just before 10 p.m., at Marcy Dam, Forest Ranger Sabo made contact with the hiker and two friends who had turned back to help him. Ranger Sabo and the hikers arrived back at the Loj parking lot at 11:16 p.m. and reunited the hikers with their group.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Your insights wanted: Recreation content

Mike Lynch

Looking to hear your thoughts to help shape future recreation content. The Adirondack Explorer would love to hear from you about recreation: What you enjoy doing outside, where you go for information. All outdoors experience levels welcome to participate!

In addition, we’d love your feedback about our current outdoors content. Can you let us know how we’re doing?

Click here to take a brief survey: https://us5.list-manage.com/survey?u=f2786fbb7862339a0b90113d7&id=0d1997b6e1&attribution=false

Photo of Mike Lynch by Gwendolyn Craig/Adirondack Explorer