Posts Tagged ‘Overuse’

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pete Nelson: To Address Overuse, Focus on Parking

This Columbus Day weekend I decided to put the issue of overuse in the High Peaks region to a little test.  I visited three of the most crowded trail heads in the area and hiked from two of them.  I also investigated the State’s grand relocation of the Cascade trail and parking.

What I saw confirmed a working theory I have been informally discussing with both private folks and local and state government employees.  The theory isn’t mine, indeed a number of people have the idea.  It’s a simple concept, really: back country overuse can be mitigated in large part simply by addressing parking issues.  In other words, we can manage recreation capacity by more effectively managing transportation capacity. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 9, 2017

A Day On Cascade Mountain: Some Data

On September 16th I hiked Cascade Mountain and wrote about the experience. On that day over 500 people hiked Cascade. I returned the next weekend (on Saturday September 23rd), with a friend and survey sheets and clipboards to ask hikers a series of questions. The interviews took about two minutes and many people graciously answered questions. At busy points, we were both talking with groups as others walked by us. This was a rough survey, undertaken as much to learn about what is necessary for conducting this kind of survey as it was for getting some basic data from the hikers on Cascade Mountain. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Adirondack Research Will Study Protected Area Visitation

paddlers and loonsThe Wildlife Conservation Society  (WCS) has announced that it is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2017 Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program award. WCS will receive about $500,000 in funding for its project, “Experimental Investigation of the Dynamic Human-Environmental Interactions Resulting from Protected Area Visitation.”

Work on the 4-year project will be managed by the WCS Adirondack Program office in Saranac Lake with research expected to begin in 2018.

The project is expected to test the common assumption that expanding access to protected lands will inspire a broader conservation ethic among park visitors. It’s hoped the study results will ultimately inform state and federal policies to increase participation in outdoor recreation and manage public access. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Crowded Peaks: Hiking Cascade With 500 Other People

I hiked Cascade Mountain from the Route 73 trailhead on Saturday September 16th. I went to see the crowds, the condition of the trail, and the general scene of what is believed to be the most popular High Peaks hiking trail. In 2015, over 33,000 people signed in at the trailhead register. In 2016, over 42,000 people are believed to have hiked the summit. Near the top there is now an electronic counter.

My whole trip took about five hours in the middle of the day. Many passed me by on the hike up and many others were hiking down the mountain during my ascent. I stayed on the summit about 90 minutes, which was gloriously sunny with the lightest of breezes. On the summit I counted people twice, with each count topping 100. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Ausable River Porta-John Program Hits Goal

New ADA-approved Porta-John and regular one at Cascade trailheadGreat 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.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Adirondack High Peaks Management Plan Unmet, Outdated

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.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tyler Socash: Social Media and the Adirondack Backcountry

social media in the high peaksWhile navigating the spellbinding terrain along the Pacific Crest Trail, I found it difficult to resist the temptation to take photos.

Each endless vista around each corner was more jaw-dropping than the last! As I hiked onward, smartphone in hand, impermanence was weighed against the magnitude of the moment. “After all, you may never see these places again,” reminded my sage hiking partner. I had to contemplate whether looking at the staggering scenery through an electronic screen was detaching me from the present experience. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NYS Forest Ranger Ranks Stagnant While Workload Rises

Forest Ranger Rob Praczkajlo covers the district just east of the High Peaks Wilderness, namely the towns of Jay, Elizabethtown, and part of North Hudson. Due to the high rate of search and rescue operations in the adjacent High Peaks, he is just as likely to be found there as he is patrolling his own district.

The High Peaks district had more than 100 emergency incidents in 2015 and they do not occur in a vacuum. They are not handled exclusively by the half dozen rangers stationed there. Rangers from all parts of the Adirondacks, and the Forest Preserve they protect, are affected by the drain from so many incidents. The following chronicles one week in July for Ranger Praczkajlo. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Efforts Underway To Address Crowds In The High Peaks

hikers on Big Slide Mt on a prime autumn dayhikers on Big Slide Mt on a prime autumn day 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.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Two Weeks In The Adirondacks: 3 Dead; 15 Search and Rescues; 1 Remains Missing

DEC Forest RangerNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers 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.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Potsdam Man Becomes 10,000th Adirondack 46er

In late June, when Justin Todd hiked Cascade and Porter mountains, he had no intention of becoming an Adirondack Forty-Sixer, let alone the ten thousandth. But less than four months later, that’s exactly what happened when he climbed Whiteface Mountain on October 15.

Todd found out in January that he had the honor of becoming the ten thousandth person to hike all the High Peaks and register with the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Alpine Plants on High Peaks Summits in Jeopardy

alpine floraThe growing number of hikers in the High Peaks in recent years has heightened concern for the fragile alpine vegetation found on many of the summits.

If the number continues to increase, summit stewards charged with educating hikers may find themselves overwhelmed, said Julia Goren, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s education director.

“I don’t think we’ve lost ground yet,” said Goren, who heads the summit-steward program. “But I do think it’s not hyperbolic that we’re kind of at a tipping point where there’s not much more we can take before there’s going to be some kind of loss. One summit steward can’t talk to six hundred people in a day and make sure that people are respecting every patch of alpine vegetation.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Adirondack Hiking Trails Show Their Age

the-state-pays-the-adirondack-mountain-club-and-other-groups-to-maintain-trails When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled).

The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to cause maintenance problems. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

High Peaks Crowds and Adirondack Park Management Decisions

Noonmark and the Range from Round MtnIn the recent news and comments about ongoing crowding in the High Peaks there are few references to the document which ostensibly is guiding the state’s management actions there: the 1999 Highs Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan, or UMP. That management plan is downloadable from the DEC website.

It has a lot of important things to say about applying wilderness management and carrying capacity concepts to the very practical problems of managing the widely varying human use pressures over the great distances and very different environments of the High Peaks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Adirondack Wild Calls For DEC To Address High Peaks Issues

Cascade

An Adirondack Park advocacy group wants the state Department of Environmental Conservation to re-establish a High Peaks Citizen’s Advisory Committee to address increasing usage and resulting impacts to the High Peaks Wilderness.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve sent a letter to DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann today, asking for the department to address the surging number of hikers in the High Peaks with a comprehensive approach that includes possible updates to the High Peaks unit management plan. » Continue Reading.


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