By Noelle Connors
Adirondack Hamlets to Huts postponed the test run of their first circuit loop from this fall to next summer. Adirondack Hamlets to Huts is a nonprofit which stems from the Adirondack Community-Based Trails and Lodging System Initiative. It is seeking to establish a network of huts and lodges in local communities connected by hiking trails to increase tourism.
The Adirondack Hamlets to Huts had planned this weekend, September 27-October 1, to test the first circuit from North Creek to Indian Lake. According to Joe Dadey, Executive Director of Adirondack Hamlets to Huts, the testing is intended to “give valuable feed-back to allow us to fine-tune the route.” The test is a four day and five night trip beginning in North Creek, hiking through Indian Lake, and ending with a guided rafting trip down the Hudson River. The test trip is led by Dadey and his colleague Jack Drury who founded Adirondack Hamlets to Huts so that they can get first-hand feedback about the trails and lodging. The trip is planned for 12 people, and costs $1,200 per person.
According to Dadey, the trip was postponed because they were unable to meet the minimum number of people to run the trip. By the time the logistics were finalized, they were unable to find enough people who were available for the five night trip. However, Dadey doesn’t believe that the postponement will have any effect on the future timeline for the project. The trial will happen May 9-14 of 2018. The goal is to open the North Creek Indian Lake Circuit next season, probably mid- to late-summer although the exact timing is flexible.
The hut-to-hut system is modeled after many successful hut-to-hut trail systems throughout the world, including in Maine and New Hampshire. This project was started in 2015 with funding from the New York Department of State. Plans have been developed plans for over 26 prioritized routes focused on first connecting the five towns of Long Lake, North Hudson, Newcomb, Indian Lake, and Minerva.
Once the circuits are open, the trips will be mostly self-guided, with the option of having guides. They are intended to make it easier for individuals and families to hike different trails and experience the small towns of the Adirondacks. The project will mostly utilize already existing trails and lodging, although some connecting trails and lodging sites will be constructed. According to Dadey, the largest benefits of this project are “contribution to and maximization of sustainable tourism economy of communities. It will provide access to trails and the ability for tourists to spend more time in communities. It will provide opportunities for people to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness.”