The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the members of the newly launched High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group are encouraging New Yorkers to share their input on the State’s efforts to help promote sustainable use in the High Peaks.
In addition, Advisory Group meeting summaries will be posted online for public review. » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State speech included two big pieces of good news for the Adirondack Park.
The first major highlight was his proposal for a $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act that will support a variety of pressing environmental and climate change challenges across New York. This proposal is the first listed in the 2020 State of the State book that accompanied the speech.
It was June and I was ensconced in the Adirondack Museum library, fortuitously avoiding an unusually muggy early summer afternoon. I had gone there to do a little research for a work of historical fiction that I thought I might write. By then my interest in Adirondack history was in full thrall, which made holding the document I had been presented by librarian Jerry Pepper something close to a religious experience.
It was an original letter, written in 1826, well preserved though the paper was a bit brittle and slightly darkened with age. The script was beautiful; fluid and robust but not embellished or overly fussy. The writing was sincere, filled with a youthful wonder and spirit of adventure but at the same time composed with a powerful energy and purpose. Its tone was mellifluous, phrased but unforced, the work of a superb natural writer. All in all it was – and is – a remarkable document, a singular account of a journey from the early written history of the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
In 2018, ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) and the Adirondack 46ers (46ers) entered a three-year joint commitment to promote stewardship and conservation throughout the High Peaks Wilderness.
The 46ers committed $71,000 in funding to protect trails and summits with ADK in 2018, $34,000 in 2019, and will provide an additional $41,000 in 2020 towards those efforts an announcement sent to the press says. Last year, their funding supported trail projects in Avalanche Pass and on Mt. Colden.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced a new strategic planning initiative, with a goal of sustainably managing public use in the Adirondack High Peaks.
The High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group, comprised of what a DEC press announcement called “key stakeholders with expertise in local government, recreation, natural resource protection, business, tourism, and other priority areas” are expected to collaboratively provide advice on how to balance issues associated with the increased public use of the High Peaks, » Continue Reading.
DEC is advising the public to avoid backcountry trails and summits throughout the Adirondack region for the duration of the weekend. Heavy rain and high winds have caused major flooding in the region, which has closed many major roadways throughout the Adirondacks. You can read about that here. » Continue Reading.
Another peak hiking season has come and gone and with it another year of concern about overuse in the High Peaks. A variety of steps have been taken by the State, Essex County, The Town of Keene, environmental groups and volunteers to deal with this use, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Now it seems that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is poised to try out a permit system in an attempt to address overuse by selectively limiting access. » Continue Reading.
By the metric of public use the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and nearby Giant, Hurricane and Sentinel Range Wilderness areas, are major successes. The crowds hiking in the High Peaks are at an all-time high. The current dismal state of many of the hiking trails does not seem to be a major deterrent to the throngs of people eager to hike one of the High Peaks.
For many people hiking a mountain like a High Peak is no sure thing and is, and should be, a challenge. There are plenty of highly used and popular smaller mountains throughout the Adirondacks that provide stunning views, but the allure of hiking a High Peak is immense.
The Adirondack Council on October 4th sent a letter to Adirondack Park Agency Deputy Director for Planning Richard Weber urging that the proposed Sentinel Range Wilderness Area Unit Management Plan be incorporated into a larger landscape-scale plan for all public and private lands around the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
The Council also urged the APA to improve its monitoring of impacts of recreation on the ecology and wild character of the Forest Preserve, especially in wilderness areas. As it does with other unit management plans, the APA must decide whether it complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. » Continue Reading.
Credit goes to the Department of Environmental Conservation and its Region 5 facilitators for including a “break-out” session on Permits at its late July High Peaks-Route 73 stakeholder meeting at the Keene Central School. After all, the very word “permit” has been an electrified “third rail” (hazardous, indeed) topic for years.
That was not always the case, however. In 1978, the first draft of a High Peaks Unit Management Plan included a section on “individual user controls” with eight alternatives along a spectrum ranging from mandatory registration and reservation permit systems, to no controls at all. Alternative C, reservation or permit systems, stated that “through past experience the U.S. Forest Service has found that a permit system is one of the best ways of gathering user information concerning an individual management area.”
The 1978 draft UMP went on to recommend that a “free permit system should be initiated in the eastern High Peaks with no effort to limit numbers of people using the area for at least three years. Data will be analyzed. If at some time in the future it is determined that numbers of people using the area will have to be controlled, even just for certain high use weekends, the mechanism will already be in place to do so.” » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has partnered with Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company, to fund the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) volunteer host program.
Located at one of the most popular trailheads in the Adirondack High Peaks, the HPIC is a major thoroughfare for hikers to get on the trail and begin their trek. In 2017, from the beginning of July through the end of August, there were 27, 251 registered hikers at the Heart Lake Property trailheads located at the HPIC and Adirondack Loj. ADK reports that each year around 35% of these visitors are new to the area. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Council’s 2019-20 State of the Park report is subtitled “Challenged by Success,” noting that the success of state tourism campaigns is straining the park’s lands and waters, as record numbers of hikers climb the state’s tallest mountains and as recreational boating and off-road vehicles gain popularity.
The challenge is especially noticeable in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, but can be seen in popular locations throughout the park, the report notes. State of the Park is the organization’s annual comprehensive assessment of the actions of local, state and federal government officials. This 38th edition rates 106 separate government actions. » Continue Reading.
Autumn is one of the busiest times of year in the Adirondack Mountains. Families and guests visit the region from throughout the Northeast and around the world to enjoy the fall foliage.
In anticipation of what is expected to be an unprecedented visitor-ship to the Adirondack High Peaks now through Columbus Day, a new free shuttle service is offering to take hikers to six nearby family-friendly hiking trails. » Continue Reading.
This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled each Thursday afternoon and updated on Friday.
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Learn and practice the seven Leave No Trace principles. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other items at lean-tos and campsites. Do not litter. Take the free online Leave No Trace course here.
BE PREPARED! Start slow, gain experience. Carry proper safety equipment and weather protection and bring plenty of water and lights, and a map. When on the trail, stay together, monitor the time, and be prepared to turn back. Accidents happen to the most experienced people. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods in cold temperatures. Always carry food, a space blanket, emergency whistle, first aid kit, fire making tools, extra clothing layers and socks, a map and compass, and the knowledge to use them. Inform someone of your itinerary and before entering the backcountry or launching a boat check the National Weather Service watches, warnings, and advisories here. Follow Adirondack weather forecasts at Burlington and Albany and consult the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.
In recent years, public lands throughout the Adirondack Park and across the country are seeing dramatic increases in the number of people coming to recreate.
Increasing numbers of people has led to an increase in human impacts to our public lands, including damage to trails related to increased use during sensitive times such as mud season, more trash on trails, including human waste and toilet paper, damage to sensitive mountain plants, animals such as bears becoming habituated to human food, and a loss of a wilderness experience. » Continue Reading.