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Old 06-12-2019, 09:40 AM   #1
tgoodwin
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Rt. 73/Ausable Club parking

This weekend (6/15-16) will be the first weekend that there will be state police enforcement of the parking on Rt. 73 between the Rooster Comb trailhead and Chapel Pond. Last weekend, rangers ticketed over 40 cars parked illegally on Ausable Rd. That effort will be continued this weekend.

While we all wish that there were a better solution to the parking problem for High Peaks trailheads, that is the current situation in Keene. Please either plan to arrive very early, and in any event have another destination in mind in case the legal parking is full.

Perhaps this current situation will ultimately lead to a convenient shuttle system - either public or private - but for now a bicycle or Uber are likely the only options for this summer and fall.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:18 PM   #2
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Newspaper article

https://www.adirondackdailyenterpris...g-ticket-duty/
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:19 AM   #3
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This is too bad, but a long time coming. My experience has been that arriving by 6 is needed for spots in Ausable Club/Roaring Brook lots. Anyone have update on that? Looking to do a couple of hikes in AMR this summer, but might have to wait until after summer.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:29 PM   #4
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It's terrifying seeing hikers fill the parking lot at the Beer Walls (can't even park the cars perpendicular to the road to save room for others) and then hike down the steep, windy, shoulder-less road all the way to RBF.

The main problem is the amount of hikers all trying the same peaks via the same trail-heads, it's a serious impact on the trails. Maybe a permit/quota system needs to be created for these popular peaks like is seen in other sensitive over-use areas.

What's going to happen when climbers can't access the whole Chapel Pond area and Pitchoff Chimney cliff?

A parking near highway 87 near Underwood with a shuttle going all the way to Marcy field could be a mitigating factor.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:37 PM   #5
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wasn't on rt 73, but spent a few days in high peaks area last week
overcrowding was on my mind but didn't see much
I did notice couple trail heads overflowed with cars parked along road, yet there were completely empty lots less than 1/4 mile away in both directions
people will hike for miles yet 1/4 mile to next lot is too far?
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Luc-514 View Post
It's terrifying seeing hikers fill the parking lot at the Beer Walls (can't even park the cars perpendicular to the road to save room for others) and then hike down the steep, windy, shoulder-less road all the way to RBF.

The main problem is the amount of hikers all trying the same peaks via the same trail-heads, it's a serious impact on the trails. Maybe a permit/quota system needs to be created for these popular peaks like is seen in other sensitive over-use areas.

What's going to happen when climbers can't access the whole Chapel Pond area and Pitchoff Chimney cliff?

A parking near highway 87 near Underwood with a shuttle going all the way to Marcy field could be a mitigating factor.

disagree with quota/permit system, one of the things I like about NY is freedom to go about on a hike without having to register for a quota/permit
when I hike I don't plan when/where I just go, if 1 place is crowded I go elsewhere,
instead of quota/permit they should just enforce lot limits and ticket road side parkers, that would reward early hikers with spots and force others to go to other lots which will disperse the crowds
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Old 07-02-2019, 03:35 PM   #7
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wasn't on rt 73, but spent a few days in high peaks area last week
overcrowding was on my mind but didn't see much
I did notice couple trail heads overflowed with cars parked along road, yet there were completely empty lots less than 1/4 mile away in both directions
people will hike for miles yet 1/4 mile to next lot is too far?
I'd be afraid to walk from the Pitchoff Chimney parking lot to the Cascade Trail-head or the Beer Walls parking lot to Roaring Brook Trail-head, both of those have obscured corners, little to no shoulders and 55mph speed limits.
Feels like a Death Race/Carmageddon scenario.

But yes, enforced parking limits like what is happening on the 73 will eventually have an effect, too bad the State forest rangers are stuck having to give tickets when they're needed elsewhere.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:11 PM   #8
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Stunning mismanagement by Albany. Longer thread here:

https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...e-club-parking
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:47 AM   #9
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Maybe the State (that separate entity that OWNS all the land and is responsible for curing all your ills? I thought the state was just a representative of the people of the state, all of us residents) should ticket the way the game cops in Ontario do. If I get caught illegally fishing in NYS, I'm likely to get hit with a 50 dollar fine. In Ontario, they confiscate all tackle up to and including a car or boat used in the act. Come back to an illegally parked car and find it gone, you are much less likely to park illegally again, and think of the Tow truck business this will support, so great for the economy!

While I have seen quite a few NYS travel ads promoting the 'daks, I've never see one that specifically targeted the Route 73 area, and there are large expanses of the high peaks wilderness even that are not seeing these problems of overcrowding. And a huge part of the problem is the destruction of the trails by overuse, so just letting everyone park and inconveniencing the local residents and other travelers by allowing unsafe parking and lowering the speed does nothing for the overuse issues. High cost resident and non resident licensing, that's what they use in Quebec for keeping the streams uncrowded. We could even require non-residents to hire guides, that would also help the local economy!
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:23 AM   #10
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Lucky, while I actually agree with your remedies generally, introducing a use tax, which is what they would end up being seen as, is never popular. Also, the refrain of "like they do in Canada" queues the death knell of any proposal, particularly upstate.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:21 AM   #11
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There is a belief that cars parked along the side of the road equates to overcrowding which causes trail destruction. However, this doesn't stands up to a bit of scrutiny. It's very easy for say, the Adirondack Council to brandish the catchy term: "overuse" and juxtapose it with an artful photograph of a busy Cascade summit. Possibly shot on a bluebird summer Saturday. Toss in the results of a heavily biased on-line survey and you've got a campaign.

The Cascade trail however is in excellent shape and handles the steady flow of hikers very well. Those trails that are muddy are like that due to a combination of poor (ie. none) design and the ADK organic soil that when you add water undergoes transmutation instantly into boot sucking mud.

There is a potential problem with hikers wearing sneakers (more and more now) who go around the mud puddles and widen both the trail and the puddle.
Folks such as Tony Goodwin who have been around the High Peaks since the 60's repeat that the trails are in much better shape today and with considerably less litter. But, there are vastly more hikers. Education and investing in infra-structure (trail maintenance) might play a role here.

I agree that doing anything "like in Canada" will receive a knee-jerk rejection due to the S word.

What I find galling is that after heavily promoting the Adirondacks (and like it or not, the High Peaks are a very big draw) a rather sudden policy change has been implemented. Ie. one that makes some of the most popular hiking locations much less accessible with no compensatory remedy put in place.

There is "talk" of large parking areas at dysfunction junction, Marcy Field and perhaps Rooster Comb with shuttle service but why they didn't implement both the restrictions AND a shuttle system at the same time is difficult to understand.

And, indeed, once you get away from the most popular 6-7 peaks and their "trade routes" and once you are able to hike on non-weekend days you might ask the question: where's the beef? For real solitude and a real feeling of wilderness all you have to do is hike like the first hikers did. Ie. with no trail at all. In such a case you will be all alone on July 1st or 4th no matter where you hike as long as you avoid the popular summits.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:43 AM   #12
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I am glad to see the implementation of the trailhead stewards to educate the masses about LNT principles. I also like the privies and I know they were put there at private expense, as were the thunder boxes near some popular summits. I hope as more people get the message about how to poop in the woods, in addition to the parking and mud and trash issues, this, too can improve.

Promoting the less-visited parts of the park will help. Create a "Litttle Great Range" trail over Snowy and its neighbors south to Pillsbury, for instance (a personal pet idea), show off the wonderful things to do around Old Forge and other places, and maybe some of the heat will die off. The allure of the 46 is great, and will not go away, but properly managed, things can be better.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:14 PM   #13
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Sorry, but I just can't agree. I do appreciate the tiny positive steps that are being made. But to listen to the Council and other voices shrieking, it's the end of the world in the High Peaks. So tiny steps are not enough.

How can it be that a state with a 177 Billion dollar budget cannot accomplish any improvements here?

Bathrooms: In poor South Dakota, Custer State Park has excellent, solid concrete bathrooms, built in the forest service style. Clean, frequently maintained and pumped out. In NY, port-a-johns? Really? And even then, paid for by tiny local businesses and governments, not the state?

Yes, it's "better than nothing." But it's also pathetic. Is "better than nothing" the best that "The Empire State" can do?

Trail Stewards: The story is exactly the same here. Once again, a very few trail heads are supported by this program, and only for a small portion of the time. And again, this is being paid for by tiny, underfunded volunteer organizations, not the state.

Yes, it's "better than nothing." But it's also pathetic. Is "better than nothing" the best that "The Empire State" can do?

Finally, while I like hiking in areas other than the high peaks, we have to look at the "non-results" here. Decades of promotion of other areas by ADK and many others has done absolutely nothing to reduce the traffic in the High Peaks. In fact, I would warrant that these promotions have introduced many more people to hiking, who visit these other areas and then eagerly "graduate" to the High Peaks.

So while I think it's great to promote, and to hike in other areas, it does not reduce High Peaks traffic. You have to look at facts: It doesn't work.

So the baby steps and side-shows are interesting, but they will NOT solve the issue. All they do right now is provide political cover for a state administration that refuses to responsibly manage the situation, despite having virtually unlimited resources.

I do agree with you that things can be better if properly managed. But "proper management" is a long way off, and sadly it's getting further away as the state is doing almost everything wrong.

The solutions for the state are simple:

Decision tree level 1: Decide, and be of one mind as to whether you will promote this area for recreation, or try to make it "wilderness."

Level 2:

>If you are going to make it "wilderness", establish strict limits on the number of people, create a permit system, and spend the money to enforce it (so it's not a laughing-stock like previous attempts).

>If you are going to promote the area for recreation, then spend the money on the resources to keep it nice: Adequate safe parking, bathrooms, trail head stewards, Rangers, trail redesign and maintenance.

This is not difficult for a professional manager. I mean, come on, this isn't rocket science. But I don't think that whatever professional managers there are surviving in state government have any chance of doing their jobs in the current political organization.
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:23 AM   #14
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There is "talk" of large parking areas at dysfunction junction, Marcy Field and perhaps Rooster Comb with shuttle service but why they didn't implement both the restrictions AND a shuttle system at the same time is difficult to understand.
Most likely simply that putting in the parking rules (posting some signs and using people you already have working for you) is pretty simple (and inexpensive) to do, while the rest (creating the lots and finding vehicles and drivers) is much harder (as has already been seen with trying to offer extra shuttles this year with the one small road closure).

Of course to some degree people could do the rest themselves - like when several people are meeting to hike and coming in separate vehicles, they could all park at the larger spots (like Marcy) and then use only one car to get to the roadside trail head, leaving more spots there for others.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:07 PM   #15
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Yup, I've asked many times to see where partners coming from various locations could park their cars to carpool into the park, the only ones I've been told about are way too small for the incoming masses. Is there any available land near highways that could be used as future carpool lots in areas surrounding the park?
These lots could bring financial help to shrinking communities on the outskirts of the tourist areas.
Maybe Scroon Lake, Elizabeth Town, Keeseville, Ausable Forks have any available lots?

I'm also thinking having a shuttle could be money better placed than having rangers issue parking tickets.
I've payed for the garden shuttle and wouldn't mind paying for a shuttle that covers a larger area.
Though I'm now mostly a climber hiking into the cliffs in Keene Valley.
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Last edited by Luc-514; 07-08-2019 at 01:11 PM.. Reason: added last section
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:19 AM   #16
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My thoughts almost exactly mirror Neil's above. Many of the popular trails are in pretty darn good shape, and I'm always surprised how tight and overgrown some of the secondary ones are (still talking within the 46) are when people constantly complain of overcrowding. Most of the popular trails are in better shape now than they have been in the past. Most of the muddy ones could benefit from a little more volunteer work, no need for massive overcrowding reduction campaign. I really look forward to when my schedule gets less busy and perhaps do some more volunteer work, I'd really like to see the trail to Cliff improved for starters. But some of the busiest trails are in fine shape. On a busy fall weekend near the tail end of leaf season I parked at the Loj, paid the fee, and hiked up through Marcy dam, Indian Falls, Table Top and back. Steady stream of people the whole way. Trail was in great shape. Now I am one that loves the solitude, but I knew what I was getting into on a popular weekend and living out of state with a full time job I only have a few opportunities to hike so beggers can't be choosers. Not everyone seeks solitude, and there are more options for those that do. And even I had a great time on this busy day, though the one guy playing load music on his phone set to speaker was a bit much, but I didn't complain. Last year I hiked Sawteeth on a beautiful blue sky hot summer day, and there were only 2 other cars parked at the ausable club lots when we arrived a little after 8am. Pretty much every high peak I've done this decade I've had the summit to myself, with the exception of Marcy. Even Skylight I had to myself, at least for 10 minutes or so. All of the Dix, Great Range, etc. its been a great decade for solitude on the high peaks in summer, and the couple of weekend trips in the crowds were fine too, I had no expectations of solitude then. I know this is just my experience, but have not seen anything that needs drastic action, just more of the same work that's going on in education and continued & expanded volunteer work. I know there are safety concerns that need addressed about parking and walking on the roads, luckily its easy to avoid most of that problem by arriving early. I wonder just how many of the latecomers parking and walking haphazardly are experienced hikers vs newer. I know sometimes you can't get there early if you live far away, but usually if I show up late I plan on doing other things besides parking a mile up the road... like visiting shops & restaurants in Lake Placid. Usually I'd stay at a DEC campground and then get an early start the next day. But still this needs addressed for public safety (maybe the current solution is good enough, idk).

I just hope they don't overreact and make too drastic changes that effect everyone from issues that are just 2 days week for 3 months of the year from mostly inexperienced hikers. And I am very grateful for all the volunteer work being done and efforts made to educate.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:11 PM   #17
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I just hope they don't overreact and make too drastic changes that effect everyone from issues that are just 2 days week for 3 months of the year from mostly inexperienced hikers. And I am very grateful for all the volunteer work being done and efforts made to educate.
there are lots of people out there looking to drastically change adk trail system
eventually will be less of backcountry hiking and more like a stroll in the park,


https://www.adirondackcouncil.org/pa...ards-1219.html
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