For the past few years, state and local officials have recognized that parking at busy trailheads on Route 73 has become a safety hazard. When the trailhead lots fill up, people park their cars along both sides of the two-lane highway and walk along the shoulders to get to the trail.
It’s not uncommon to see dozens of cars parked along the road at the Cascade Mountain trailhead, Giant Mountain’s Ridge trailhead, and Giant’s Roaring Brook trailhead.
As we reported earlier, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing changes in the High Peaks Wilderness unit management plan (UMP) to alleviate the problem.
One big change is that DEC wants to close the Cascade trailhead. Hikers would park at the Mount Van Hoevenberg cross-country-ski center and take a new (and longer) trail to the popular summit.
DEC also is proposing to build two new parking lots near the Giant Ridge trailhead and close the roadside pull-offs where hikers now park.
The UMP proposals, however, are silent on the Roaring Brook trailhead. I took the attached video while driving past the trailhead this past Saturday (June 2, 2018). Not all of the hikers were heading up Giant. Some were heading for trails that begin on Ausable Club lands. The public parking area for the Ausable Club is located just across the road, and it too often fills up on weekends.
If parking is banned along the road shoulders, where will all the hikers go? Look for a story on the Route 73 corridor in the July/August issue of the Explorer.
The Adirondack Park Agency may approve DEC’s proposals as early as July. The department and the agency are accepting public comments through June 27. DEC has held two public hearings. A third will be held at the Lake Placid Conference Center on June 21, starting at 6 p.m.
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LeRoy Hogan says
Drive by with a 5th wheeler while car doors pop open in your path. Campers going to KOA and North Pole Resorts use 73.
Paul S Fekete says
Why not close down route 73 on busy hiking weekends and bus people in from Keene Valley or Exit 30? Why have a busy highway through one of the most beautiful places in a our country? If you temporarily closed this portion of the road it only adds 11 miles for people to travel around through Elizabethtown to and from Lake Placid via 9N. Route 9N is much wider and better for handling traffic on busy weekends. I know this idea is big swing, but more and more people will continue to come to this part of the Adirondacks. Adding a few parking lots will not solve the problem as they will fill up and people will park on the road once again.
An immediate short term solution is lower the speed limit on Route 73 at the Giant corridor and the Cascade corridor. This would make it safer during the long term planning process.