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Old 04-28-2008, 12:42 PM   #1
hikerdad
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Day Hike Group size limit regs

I've been trying to get a definitive answer for what is the group size limit for a day hike in the High peaks Wilderness Area. (and is it different for the eastern and western zones?)...the ADK web site says 10 people but what I've been able to find in the DEC regs on their web site seems to say 16. Somebody else recently told me 15....if you do know where did you get the info. Thanks,
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikerdad View Post
I've been trying to get a definitive answer for what is the group size limit for a day hike in the High peaks Wilderness Area. (and is it different for the eastern and western zones?)...the ADK web site says 10 people but what I've been able to find in the DEC regs on their web site seems to say 16. Somebody else recently told me 15....if you do know where did you get the info. Thanks,
For day hikes 15 is the limit.

From the Regulation Part 190: Use Of State Lands:

c. Group size restrictions.

1. In the Eastern High Peaks Zone or Western High Peaks Zone, no person shall

i. be part of a day use group containing sixteen or more people
;

ii. on or after July 1, 2001, camp as part of a group including nine or more people; or

iii. be a member of an affiliated day use or camping group which exceeds the numerical limitations established in items (i) or (ii) above, unless such group has separated into smaller groups which do not exceed such limitations and such smaller groups maintain a separation distance from each other of at least one mile at all times.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:03 PM   #3
Bill I.
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The DEC has posted all state land use regulations here.

The "new" regulations for the High Peaks Wilderness are listed on page 2.

As for the day use group size, this is what you'll find:

Quote:
190.13 Wilderness Areas in the Adirondack Park

c. Group size restrictions.

1. In the Eastern High Peaks Zone or Western High Peaks Zone, no person shall

i. be part of a day use group containing sixteen or more people;
iii. be a member of an affiliated day use or camping group which exceeds the numerical limitations established in items (i) or (ii) above, unless such group has separated into smaller groups which do not exceed such limitations and such smaller groups maintain a separation distance from each other of at least one mile at all times.
Translated, this means that 15 is the limit for day use groups. If have a larger group and you want to break up into smaller groups, then each of these groups must keep 1 mile apart at all times. Groups that start at different trailheads but converge on the same summit, for instance, and are "affiliated" with each other, are considered one group for the purposes of this regulation.

Note that while this regulation is CURRENTLY specific only to the High Peaks Wilderness, the state intends to eventually extend it to all Wilderness Areas in the park. It's not just a matter of the state picking on the High Peaks.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildriver View Post
Translated, this means that 15 is the limit for day use groups. If have a larger group and you want to break up into smaller groups, then each of these groups must keep 1 mile apart at all times. Groups that start at different trailheads but converge on the same summit, for instance, and are "affiliated" with each other, are considered one group for the purposes of this regulation.s.
In anticipation of next type of question that has recently been asked on the forum... yes there is a fine that gets enforced. I personally know of two groups (boy scouts in fact) that were fined, but not before they were warned on two separate occasions during the day to split up. On the third encounter the ranger found them camping within a mile of each other, resulting in each group's trek leader being issued a ticket for $100.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
On the third encounter the ranger found them camping within a mile of each other, resulting in each group's trek leader being issued a ticket for $100.
Not that I'm insinuating that Hikerdad is a bad person and is trying to avoid the rules... I'm just noting this as an observation.

The way the regulation is written...

Quote:
i. be part of a day use group containing sixteen or more people;

ii. on or after July 1, 2001, camp as part of a group including nine or more people; or

iii. be a member of an affiliated day use or camping group which exceeds the numerical limitations established in items (i) or (ii) above, unless such group has separated into smaller groups which do not exceed such limitations and such smaller groups maintain a separation distance from each other of at least one mile at all times.
...each individual member of a group in violation could theoretically be slapped with a ticket, not just the leader.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:58 PM   #6
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I'm not protesting the rule, but just wondering how can it be enforced?

Let's say you get a group with 30 people, and they split up into two 15-person groups. They have no insignia, et. al. identifying them as a club, organization, association, et. al. If Ranger Rick spots both subgroups less than a mile apart on the trail, and both subgroups deny affiliation with the other, then he has no case.

Or let's say two unrelated groups show up at the same time at the same trailhead. Can Ranger Rick hold both groups hostage until they somehow proved they are not related?
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lute Hawkins View Post
If Ranger Rick spots both subgroups less than a mile apart on the trail, and both subgroups deny affiliation with the other, then he has no case.

Or let's say two unrelated groups show up at the same time at the same trailhead. Can Ranger Rick hold both groups hostage until they somehow proved they are not related?
It's about observation. The rangers I know are all reasonable people if you work with them. I don't think your scenario would result in a ticket unless it became obvious the group was trying to game the rules. In the case I cited, both groups were observed, and subsequently warned, twice on the trail before the ranger noted they were camped way too close together (much less than a mile). Putting that third observation together with the first two warnings led to the tickets. In reality these two boy scout groups were warned 3 times before the ticket, because I know for a fact that the leaders clearly knew of the rule before the trip. In this case the regulation was enforced.

And it's about LNT. The whole idea here is that one combined group of hikers twice the size of another will do far more twice the damage. Think about what happens when gathering around a common area of trail together ("hey, everybody come here and look at this"), or everyone collected on a summit with a limited amount of hard surface, or trying to stuff into a "too small" campsite. The DEC figures that keeping them one mile apart will reduce the temptation to have a mass gathering.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:07 PM   #8
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The rangers aren't dumb and in the end of it all, they are our friends.

Plus they just read forums like this and then wait for the people stupid enough to post their intentions.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:31 PM   #9
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I think they look to see if the two groups have built similar looking twig furniture. You know the same way an anthropologist can tell if pottery and flint tools are from the same group of peoples.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:12 AM   #10
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Thanks for the responses....I found the same regs (but wasn't "lawyerly" enough to realize that "16 or more" really means a max of 15). I am curious why the ADK has a max of 10 on their web site (under "regulations")....just wondering if they are trying to limit impact more than the DEC or they have "outdated" info....

Thanks,
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikerdad View Post
Thanks for the responses....I found the same regs (but wasn't "lawyerly" enough to realize that "16 or more" really means a max of 15). I am curious why the ADK has a max of 10 on their web site (under "regulations")....just wondering if they are trying to limit impact more than the DEC or they have "outdated" info....

Thanks,
The Adirondack Mtn. Club website indicates a max of 8 for camping in the High Peaks, and 15 for day hikes, as mentioned by other posters.
http://www.adk.org/trails/High_Peaks...spx#Group_size

If the info is different elsewhere on the site, please let me know.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:45 PM   #12
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Holy thread resurrection, batman!

In the Eastern High Peaks, day groups are limited to 15 people.

Many areas part from the Eastern High Peaks don't have an "official" day group size limit, per say... but there is a regulation that limits "organized events" on state land to a maximum of 20 people without a permit. This rule is often applied to hiking groups, when necessary.

Many organizations have official and/or unofficial agreements with the DEC to limit their groups to even smaller numbers for sponsored day hikes, which probably explains why the ADK lists "10" as a limit on their website.

The limitation of 9 people for overnight hikes is statewide, however, and applies to all state land. This includes wilderness areas and wild forests within the Adirondacks and the Catskills, and state forests outside the Adirondack and Catskills. The Eastern High Peaks have a special limit of 8 people.

It used to be that you could get a permit for larger overnight groups on State Land, but as of 2009, the DEC has stopped giving out these permits for trips into Wilderness Areas. You can still get permits for larger overnight groups for trips into Wild Forest Areas.

The ADK High Peaks Map (and I think the Guidebook) erroneously applies the same limitations of the Eastern High Peaks to the rest of the High Peaks Wilderness Area, as well as the Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain Wilderness Areas. According to the Environmental Conservation Laws listed on the DEC's website, however, these limitations apply only to the Eastern High Peaks.

The UMPs for the Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain areas, however, call for the same camping and day use restrictions to be applied to them as well (which explains why the ADK included this information on its map), but there is no indication on the DEC's website that they have as of yet been adopted and are being enforced. I do know that there are plans to apply a regulation limiting overnight groups to 8 people to all Wilderness Areas within the Adirondacks (the limit for Wild Forest Areas will still be 9).

The group that will suffer most from these more restrictive camping limitations, of course, are the Summer Camps. The DEC is trying to encourage these camps to use Wild Forest areas (where groups up to 15 are still allowed with a permit) rather than Wilderness areas for overnight trips , where the impacts of these large groups (primarily social but also ecological) will be reduced.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:50 PM   #13
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wow

Funny, this thread must have been the top of whatever category it's in, because I didn't look for it, it was just there. If I had noticed the date, I would have let it rest in peace.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:49 AM   #14
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Rangers I have spoken with say that, in a loop trip situation, they will accept a group of more than 15 that splits up and passes in the middle. The key work is "passes" so that both groups don't sit down and have lunch together on some constricted summit or elsewhere.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:16 PM   #15
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Be aware that if you're rock/ice climbing in the Giant/Dix Wilderness, the limit is 10, not 15.
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