New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers, working with New York State Police and the Hopewell, New Jersey Police Department, are searching the Western High Peaks Wilderness for Alex Stevens, 28, of Hopewell.
DEC is asking anyone who may have seen Stevens or has information about his whereabouts to contact the New York State Police at 518-897-2000.
DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call on at 1:25 p.m., on Sunday, September 10, from a family member reporting Alex Stevens overdue from a hike into the southern High Peaks Wilderness in the town of Newcomb, Essex County. » 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.
Great news: The Ausable River Porta-John program will continue. They reached their crowd-sourcing goal of $4,000 earlier this month to pay for handicap accessible Porta-Johns required by the state. More than 100 people supported the campaign.
Now they’ve added another $1,000 stretch goal to pay for an initial round of E. coli and total coliform testing of 10 back-country sites this summer and fall, according to Brendan Wiltse, science & stewardship director for the Ausable River Association. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack History Museum will continue its summer lecture series on Thursday, August 24 with “History of Hiking in the High Peaks” by presenter Sharp Swan. Swan is a local historian and board president of the Essex County Historical Society.
The High Peaks of the Adirondacks little resemble the mountains that settlers first gazed upon. Man has radically changed the landscape by logging all but 5 percent, starting fires destroying thousands of acres, and now loving the mountains to death. This lecture will explore these stories as well as the lives of guides, hurricanes and more about the High Peaks. » Continue Reading.
There has been detailed documentation in the Adirondack Almanack about ongoing recreational pressures and resulting damage to parts of the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the largest Wilderness unit in the NYS Forest Preserve (and in most of the country).
Severe impacts have resulted to some adjacent trailheads, highways, roads, and parking areas, and certain areas of the interior. NYS DEC personnel, Summit Stewards, and town governments, indeed all of us, feel the pressure from large numbers of us enjoying the Eastern High Peaks, and in some cases requiring search and rescue. What to do about it all has been debated in this space by various stakeholders, including DEC Forest Rangers, with much good information exchanged and good comments and suggestions.
However, current comments and conditions feel like déjà vu all over again. I refer to the 17 year-old document that very specifically guides our public land manager, the NYS DEC, in addressing recreational user pressure on the High Peaks and how to keep the High Peaks as wilderness.
The 1999 High Peaks Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan (UMP) is that guiding document. I propose that we spend more time addressing this plan, its management recommendations and actions to date, and how the UMP might be updated to reflect the era, conditions and user pressures we are now encountering. » Continue Reading.
Regular Almanack readers are used to hearing me stress the importance of perspectives from outside the Adirondack Park. Today I’ve got one from way outside the Adirondack Park, specifically Norway, where my wife Amy and I are traveling for two weeks. While here I have enjoyed the geologic kinship Norway shares with the Adirondacks. I have also enjoyed the fact that my experiences so far have reinforced the sentiments I expressed in my last Almanack column, namely that we should not overreact to busy trails in the High Peaks. If you think we have a problem in the Adirondacks, you should see the hiking traffic here. And if you think that pervasive cultural experiences of pristine, wild places can’t place their fragile value at the heart of an entire society, you should see this country.
Yesterday Amy and I climbed Preikestolen, one of Norway’s most popular hiking destinations and a national icon. In some ways Preikestolen is Norway’s answer to Indian Head: a massive, open rock slab with a spectacular view, positioned far above a narrow body of water that is set between mountain ridges. However the scale is far greater: Priekestolen’s height above the water is three times that of Indian Head and the body of water is a sizeable fjord, not a small lake. For the purposes of this article, a better comparison is our own infamous Cascade Mountain. Cascade’s trail involves several hundred feet more vertical ascent than Preikestolen, but both routes are 2.4 miles and, more important, both trails are crammed with people who want an accessible but authentic regional mountain experience. Like Cascade, Preikestolen is a challenge that a neophyte hiker or ambitious family might take, an intimidating but doable workout with major parking problems down below and a show-stopper payoff on top. The difference, once again, is scale: Preikestolen’s foot traffic makes Cascade look like Allen Mountain. » 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.
Overuse in portions of the High Peaks is a real and growing problem, exacerbated by trends in social media and the expanding desire to count-off summits. It has been documented extensively here in the Almanack. But in the last few weeks these discussions have reached a rolling boil with a bit too much hyperbole for me. A range of ideas has been raised, a number of them falling under the general concept of limiting access to the High Peaks, including permit systems, licensing schemes, daily caps and so on. Some of these limiting suggestions have been accompanied by exclusionary rhetoric with which I strongly disagree, along the lines of “Why are we trying to get more people here?” or “I like my (town, street, access) the way it is, without all the visitors.” I agree that increasing use in parts of the High Peaks is a real issue, and I have written about various aspects of the problem for several years. But the exclusionary sentiments I’m starting to hear are where I draw the line. » Continue Reading.
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