Peter Bauer’s recent article arguing that the State is facilitating unlimited access to the High Peaks raised some interesting points. Among those points was the idea that shuttle buses for hikers will result in potentially unprecedented usage levels of already popular hiking trails. This jibes with concerns I have heard from others that shuttles will lead to even greater activity in the High Peaks, when instead we should be limiting access to protect the Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Overuse’
It seems pretty clear at this point that the state agencies that manage the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and adjacent Wilderness areas, are not interested in limiting public use.
The state is investing in new parking areas, new hiking trails, and a new hiker transportation system that are all designed to facilitate ever-higher levels of public use in the High Peaks, not limit it.
Consider the change underway at Cascade Mountain.
Keene town officials and volunteers working on ways to better handle the expected overload of hikers this summer and fall are looking to learn from other popular destinations around the country.
On Monday, St. Lawrence University Professor Pete Pettingill, an expert on the subject, will present some case studies from National Parks in Keene. » Continue Reading.
While applauding large portions of Governor Cuomo’s proposed environmental budget, including support for the Governor’s Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, the nonprofit Adirondack Forest Preserve advocates Adirondack Wild submitted testimony to the State Legislature which calls for additional DEC Forest Rangers and trail crews and the testing of a pilot reservation system to reduce congestion and damage to the High Peaks Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
While the total number of visitors is still rising, the state’s initial actions to curb overuse of the Adirondack Park’s High Peaks Wilderness Area have started to show results, according to data collected by the Adirondack Council in 2017 and 2019.
The highest weekend peak visitor traffic numbers decreased across the top three destinations in the High Peaks by 3.5 percent. That is progress. We can celebrate that while recognizing that there is still much to do to ensure Wilderness and access are preserved. » Continue Reading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I recently visited the rest areas on Northway that have been hyped as information hubs for the Adirondack Park as a tourism destination and as locations that will guide the public about hiking in the Forest Preserve, especially the High Peaks. These facilities are newly built and function adequately as typical rest areas with bathrooms, vending machines, and places to stretch your legs.
Unfortunately, there is scant information about hiking in the High Peaks or the Forest Preserve. As they stand now, these centers, especially the Northway northbound “High Peaks Center” between exits 29 and 30, and the major new tourism information center on the Northway northbound lane between exits 17 and 18, are major missed opportunities. » Continue Reading.
An effort will be underway to promote proper planning and preparation through direct conversations with hikers at trailheads and on the trails in the High Peaks Wilderness, February 16-18, the upcoming Presidents’ Day Weekend.
The organizers hope to increase engagement between hikers and experienced backcountry users to reduce the number of search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks and help to ensure the public has an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience. » Continue Reading.
Anyone who regularly drives Route 73 between the Northway and Lake Placid knows there has been a tremendous spike in activity in the High Peaks over the last few years. Parking has exploded, with vehicles sometimes lining the road for a mile between Chapel Pond and St. Huberts, dangerously crowding the trailhead at Cascade Mountain and overwhelming lots at Adirondac Loj, the Garden, Ampersand and elsewhere.
Trail use has soared correspondingly. The Cascade trail regularly sees hundreds of people on summer weekends. Many other trails are badly eroded and even remote summits can be crowded. This increase is no anomaly: the trend lines show it is the new normal. » Continue Reading.