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Old 09-22-2015, 05:46 AM   #1
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Have The ADK's Become "Internet Trampled?"

I will make this short and sweet - In the early 90's when I discovered my Franklin County "spots" it was a ghost town. Now it's like Times Square. No matter how far I track in. This past weekend had me especially frustrated, as we are well north of Labor Day.

I guess I am part of the crowd though right? It is what it is, places are no longer a secret, I can see a single Kayak on Google Earth, look hard enough and Ican tell is it's a single or a tandem. I guess it is nice that everybody can explore the parks beauty and seclusion. But on the other hand there are traces of people everywhere, where there used to be.....nothing
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:28 AM   #2
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I have hunted state land my entire life. I remember when I was a teenager, the only other people we saw on the trails were other hunters. Today we we encounter all kinds of users (and dogs) throughout the entire season. We know they have just as much of a right to be there as we do, but we do miss the old days.

It's not solely the Internet, in my opinion. The outdoor industry has changed and has much more to offer consumers than 20 or 30 years ago. With those activities/products (kayaks, lightweight canoes, mt bikes, gps, snowshoes, etc...) comes people and the Adirondacks draw them just as they do hunters and fishermen.
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:55 AM   #3
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I think it also has to do with there being over a third of a billion people in the US with that number only rising. It would be interesting to see if the percentage comparative to the overall population is rising or if it's constant and just increasing alongside the population growth rate. There will only be more people recreating outdoors so it may be a wise choice to buy a huge land tract in the park where you can rest assured that you'll have it all to yourself. I've been shopping around for land for this very purpose.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:20 AM   #4
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Great topic and question. In my opinion the internet and digital technology age is having a profound impact on increasing the usage and participation levels in the Adirondack park. There are many blogs, forums and websites (such as this forum) where people give detailed accounts of their wilderness outings complete with pictures and story. Here in this hunting and fishing sub-forum (a valuable source of info and shared learning which I have benefited from countless times thanks to so many great contributors) hunting and fishing the beautiful wilderness is promoted in a way that nothing from the pre-digital era could ever do. For example even though there is a lot of emphasis placed on not mentioning specific pond names or pointing out the locations of favorite spots it does not prevent the flow of info (e.g. PM's, related websites, photo sharing sites, Facebook pages, etc, etc.) In the pre-digital era a sportsperson would go on a good hunting or fishing trip, develop their old fashioned traditional film photos and they would go into their photo albums to be viewed only by a close circle of family and friends. Now millions of people see these pictures and videos of big bucks and colorful brook trout instantly with a simple google search putting this beautiful resource at the fingertips of millions of people just chomping at the bit to experience and enjoy these same outdoor experiences.
Before the mid 1990's or so timeframe you had to really work much harder to develop skills and explore new locations by trial and error (many still give up after a hard outing or two). It was all part of the dues you would pay. Now neophytes come up the learning curve 100x faster. As an example beautiful brook trout and deer photos are everywhere (e.g. Adkforum and Adkhunter website) along with discussion of techniques, hints at locations and supporting links to related sources of information. In the past you had to do the intel work, call the DEC requesting info by mail to learn about pond stocking, reclamations, etc. Now all you have to do is network on the computer, hit a few computer keys and like magic you have it instantly.
So yes the digital information age is having a major impact on all of the Adirondack outdoor and recreational sports. Digital technology and related media is attracting huge numbers of people from all over the north east not just adjacent communities like the past. I see more out of state plates each season. So yes I do think the Adk's are becoming "internet trampled" and it is only increasing. This may be a good thing because people are connecting with nature and sharing the great outdoors and that is healthy for all as long as it is done with care.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:28 AM   #5
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Not sure about "trampled", but there's no doubt the internet has a huge effect on the Adirondack Park. Just a few decades ago people learned about interesting areas by discovering them for themselves, or through relatives, friends, books, magazines, or from other folks out enjoying the outdoors. Now a days when you ask someone how they found out about an area it's often through a page on facebook, someone's blog, a trip report, or simply by asking questions on a public forum. Myself included. I agree, it's just the way it is today, but thankfully there are still countless places in the Adirondacks where you can go and not see another soul for days on end.
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:05 PM   #6
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I would blame some of it on the resurgence of cottagers in some areas. One can just look at the historical increase in property values of lake front property to see how this played out. And this was far before internet. I'd say it started mid-80s to early 90s and might have already peaked.

The numbers of hikers and campers seem to be on the rise though. Some are day hikers that stay in cottages, some are backcountry campers. I do agree that the internet has made it much easier to branch out to areas you may have previously not explored or cared to explore. Some of it is advertisement. I've known many people that were content to just go to the same area over and over when they visited the Adirondacks. The vast majority still do this I'd say... but with the advertisement via the internet a lot of people want to see what they see in the blogs in person.

Some of that is good... some areas are probably good because the use gets spreads out, but most likely a lot more users. I, personally, don't think it is too overcrowded. The issue is really abuse, and it seems to me the abuse comes from a very small, persistent type of users. Those who just don't give a flock. I think you'd know this type of person when you'd meet them on the street. Maybe some of it is ignorance, but most of the major sins seem fairly intentional from lack of caring or laziness. Maybe in time these people will move on, or the state come up with a better way of penalizing them. It's tough to say...

I also noticed this, which isn't related to the Adirondacks, but similar. The sleepy little town I grew up in had it's share of waterfalls and gorges. When I was in HS, pre-internet, they used to be fairly low use... only locals really. To my surprise I went to one of these spots not so long ago and it was absolutely rampant. No where to park, hoards of people, etc... it was really disheartening to see. I guess it's good people are getting outside, but really it becomes more like a carnival attraction than a hike at some point.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:09 PM   #7
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Great question. I actually made a comment in a trip report I just did from my stay on Lake Lila last week about the negative impact from what seems to be a noticeable increase in traffic in the region, especially over the last few years. Personally, I think the information available can be extremely valuable but like anything else only if the people who use it do so with respect. If everyone who came up to the ADKs and surrounding areas hiked and camped like I imagine most of the people who comment on here do Iíd think thereíd be minimal issues outside of maybe having a bit more human contact on trips where you had hoped to be secluded.

I think @montcalm really hit the nail on the head. Itís the abuse from what is probably a very small segment of the visitors who come into the area. And unfortunately it doesnít take much to see the signs of the abuse given how pristine the area. The million $$ question is how do you make people have respect for the area where they are camping, or for anything else for that matter?

As we were sitting around on Spruce Island my brother and I were trying to figure out ways that this could be slowed down but certainly every solution, whether they are realistic or not has its own downside to it. Do you put up signs as you enter a campsite to remind people to leave no trace, hoping that would make someone think twice before cutting down trees or leaving trash behind? Should more Rangers be out there to visit the area and check on sites to try to somehow penalize parties that donít follow the rules? Do you bring some timber rattlesnakes and copperheads up from Southern NY to hopefully scare some people off??? (just to be clear that last one is a joke; sarcasm does get lost in print...)

Not sure what the answer is but hopefully there's a solution to slow down the negative impact the few abusers are having on the area.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:28 PM   #8
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Good stuff guys. Thanks for weighing in. While driving around, I even came across some first come-first serve camp sights that had paper plates hung at their entrances with the word 'Reserved" written on them. I guess those folks couldn't find a link to reserve those sites..........

Like someone mentioned, it used to be trial, error, travel & trips that built up ones knowledge of these special places. Now, they are pre-fabricated. All you need is your dates and all it takes is you and your company to show up and fill in those dates. Yes, things have changed.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:29 PM   #9
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Imagine being someone who discovered their Franklin County secret "spots" in the 1890s and then seeing it in the 1990s when you discovered them...

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." - Thoreau
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fishcane View Post
Imagine being someone who discovered their Franklin County secret "spots" in the 1890s and then seeing it in the 1990s when you discovered them...
The increase from the 1990's to now is 5000x that hundred years.
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:55 PM   #11
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"Internet Trampled". That's a great catchy term although in the case of this thread I'm unsure that we can make a cause and effect case between the internet and the increase of people in the Adirondack woods.

The thing is, people are now using the internet for everything including finding out where to go and get some activity in the great outdoors. Just because we all use the net to do our research doesn't mean the net is causing us to go out there. It's aiding and abetting us but the desire to go for a hike, paddle or bike ride is probably coming from somewhere else.

For instance I just saw a guy run off a cliff wearing a flying squirrel suit and whip down a mountain just above the trees at incredible speed but that isn't going to make me run out and do it.

Of course after looking at n pictures of cats and some of the arguments on web forums who wouldn't want to take a hike or jump off a cliff?
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:07 PM   #12
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More information is available, accessible, and usable but the Google responses one finds are typically very broad strokes. If I wanted to check out an area I could find blogs, videos of someone hiking a trail, maps, pics galore, and editorials on how things have changed. All this information is too broad and unfocused.
Just get off the trail, travel a trail that has overgrown. Whether you are in the Adirondacks, Appalachia, or the Rockies, peace and solitude can be found and undocumented. You just have to look.
Backpacking: An extended form of hiking in which people carry double the amount of gear they need for half the distance they planned to go in twice the time it should take. ~Author Unknown
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:25 PM   #13
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I was born in 1950 , the US population then was just over 150 million people, today the population is well over 300 million. It would be expected to see twice as many people on the trails today. That and there probably is a greater interest in outdoor recreation as a % of population today. It is easier to get the Adirondacks from farther away with the Interstate system etc., etc.

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Old 09-24-2015, 10:11 PM   #14
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IMHO I don't think the number of people in the Addacks is what matters as long as two principles remain constant. 1. They aren't there when I come through the area. 2. They leave it as pristine as they found it. Even with well worn paths which show lots of wear the joy of seeing nature is still there as long as I don't have to clean up after selfish, careless two legged creatures. The littered kind of setting and destruction of the flora,fauna goes a long way to ruining my day.
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:21 PM   #15
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Just got back from central region today (about 3 hours ago). We stayed at a remote-ish cottage in the central region (mile off the road, no tv, internet or cell service, pond water plumbing). On our way out, we were talking about how there seems to be more people in the park. We came up with two reasons- the economy tanking made camping/cottaging more attractive as it is cheaper and easier than Disney. Also, there are all kinds of property changing hands, which could mean more people in the park as well. I think this is in part also due to the economy as property prices flux, money is there to be made.
ALSO, for the record, we spend about 5-10 hours a month researching the park, what we saw on our last trip and what/where we are going next.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:00 PM   #16
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At Bog River Flow area right now. Friday AM there were 41 cars at put in.
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:23 AM   #17
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Interesting conversation. On a wilderness canoe trip this spring, we saw one other person in 3 days.
On LTL a few weeks ago, we saw 4 other paddlers.

Back in the '90's, we used to car camp with the kids at Horseshoe Lake and day trip to Lows and Hitchins, we would see a few cars in the small lower dam parking lot. Then, one year, we returned in mid September for a wilderness trip and the parking lot was overflowed and cars were strung out all along the access road, with many, many out of state plates. I happened to look inside one of the cars, and on the front seat was the newest issue of Backpacker (or Outside or whatever) magazine, still folded back to the big article about a premium paddling/camping destination...Lows Lake!!! This was around the time of the birth of the internet.

No doubt the internet has contributed to greater visitation in the ADK's, but, as mentioned upthread, the population has grown substantially.
Look back through time, my story of that magazine article exposing a destination to thousands of people is not unique.
There was some backlash when the McMartin series of guidebooks came of age, giving away secrets, making it all too easy.
I'm sure G W Sears and E R Wallace were scorned by the locals for exposing "their" private domains.
I've stood along shores that I have revisited 50 years apart, not much changes.
Same for complaints about overexposure, not much changes.
There are still plenty of places in the ADK's to find solitude, although now we have to spend a few more calories to get to them.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:46 PM   #18
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On Thursday I took a trip in to a public easement area for a project I am working on. I hiked a few miles on and off tail, paddled around two pristine lakes, all now open to the public, for the entire day. Saw no one. It was wonderful.

But today (Saturday) i was in Long Lake for a canoe race. On the trip home every trailhead was absolutely overflowing with cars. Rte 28 was slow going. Each town, LL, BML, Inlet, and Old Forge were choked with cars and pedestrians. Some limited color to the trees, but the leaf peepers are just a few days too early.
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:03 PM   #19
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That's really odd about the crowds.

I take a leaf peeping trip every year, and I rarely see anyone. I'm not going to say when I do go, but it wasn't this weekend.

I'm not doing day trip type stuff or in the towns though, so maybe that's why I don't notice many people. Usually I'm running into bear hunters. Maybe that gives away my date a little more...
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