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Saturday, May 5, 2018

DEC proposes parking area for Chapel Pond Slab

Chapel Pond Slab

The view from high on Chapel Pond Slab, with Route 73 in background. Photo by Phil Brown

Chapel Pond Slab is one of the most popular rock-climbing venues in the Adirondacks, in part for its long, moderate routes, in part for its easy access. However, parking can be a problem. Most climbers park just off the shoulder of the often-busy Route 73.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation aims to fix things. In a draft  amendment to the High Peaks Wilderness management plan, DEC  proposes to build two twenty-car parking areas along Route 73 and expand the Round Pond parking area located just down the road (to twenty-five cars).

DEC says climbers will be able to use the lots to access Chapel Pond Slab and other cliffs in the vicinity. To facilitate access, the department plans to build a 1.2-mile trail connecting the Round Pond lot to Chapel Pond.

The parking areas and the trail also would be used by hikers. DEC’s plan is to reroute the popular Ridge Trail, which climbs Giant Mountain, so that it starts near one of the new parking areas.

The changes are meant to alleviate the public-safety risk caused by hikers and climbers parking along Route 73 in the vicinity of Chapel Pond and the current Ridge Trail trailhead. Once the Ridge Trail is rerouted to meet the new parking area, “DEC will work with DOT, policing agencies, local government, stakeholders and partners to close roadside parking on Route 73,” according to the draft amendment.

These are but a few proposals contained in the draft amendment, which will be discussed this Thursday at the Adirondack Park Agency board meeting.

The APA board also will be discussing a draft amendment to the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest management plan. It, too, has something in it for rock climbers. DEC is proposing to build a hiking trail up Ragged Mountain, with a parking area for eight cars. Climbers could use the trail to access Ragged’s cliffs. There will be a kiosk at the parking area with climbing-specific information.

Ragged Mountain is in the southeast corner of Boreas Ponds Tract, which the state acquired in 2016 as part of the massive Finch, Pruyn deal. The parking area will be located on Gulf Brook Road, a former logging road used to access Boreas Ponds.

In both documents, DEC says it intends to meet with climbers and environmental groups to develop a policy on the use of bolts and other fixed anchors in the Forest Preserve.

Click here to read my earlier story on the draft amendments.

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Phil Brown

Phil Brown has been editing the Adirondack Explorer since 1999. When he isn't at his desk, he's usually out hiking, paddling, skiing, or doing something else important. You can follow his adventures and his musings on the Adirondacks in the Explorer and on this blog.

One Response

  1. Lorian Bartle says:

    Rock access is a tricky thing to manage. I’m glad they’re wiling to open up access to an increasingly popular hobby.

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