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Old 01-30-2011, 11:01 AM   #1
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ADKhighpeaks Foundation 2011 Grant Award Announcement

Adkhighpeaks Foundation 2011 Grand Award Announcement

The ADKhighpeaks Foundation is proud to announce that the recipient of its 2011 Wilderness Grant will be the High Peaks Summit Steward Program. This program is a partnership between the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The $5040.00 grant will be specifically used to fund a full-time Summit Steward on the summit of Cascade Mountain for the summer of 2011. This year’s Summit Steward program will run from June 1 to September 7, 2011 on Cascade Mt.

The Summit Steward program is designed to help protect the Adirondack alpine ecosystem by educating visitors about alpine plant life found on several of the High Peaks summits. In addition, Summit Stewards work on a variety of conservation projects designed to prevent erosion. These include research assistance and help in delineating alpine trails with rocks and blazes. Currently, the program provides coverage of the state’s highest peaks (Algonquin Mt., Mt. Marcy, Mt. Colden, and Wright Peak) where fragile alpine zones exist.

Although there is no alpine ecosystem on Cascade Mountain, it does have an open rock summit with a commanding view. Its relative ease and accessibility make it by far the most climbed of the Adirondack high peaks. Cascade sees over 20,000 visitors annually, many of whom have little or no background in backcountry etiquette or preservation. Cascade is the first major peak for many hikers, who often go on to attempt larger Adirondack summits that do have fragile alpine zones. This effort will allow stewards to educate many newer hikers before they enter the fragile zones.

In a 2009 pilot program, a steward on Cascade made over 2000 contacts during a 17-day period. The new funding will expand that coverage to 91 days, and could potentially increase hiker contacts on Cascade to 11,000. In 2010, the entire Summit Steward Program made 16,447 contacts (without coverage on Cascade), so the increase would represent a 68% increase in contacts program-wide.

Now in its third year of existence, the ADKhighpeaks Foundation is a not-for-profit organization of over 200 members, and is dedicated to providing funding for a variety of projects that benefit the New York State Forest Preserve. For more information on the Foundation and its activities, please visit the Foundation website:
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