About Gwendolyn Craig

Gwen is an award-winning journalist covering environmental policy for the Explorer since January 2020. She also takes photos and videos for the Explorer's magazine and website. She is a current member of the Legislative Correspondents Association of New York. Gwen has worked at various news outlets since 2015. Prior to moving to upstate New York, she worked for a D.C. Metro-area public relations firm, producing digital content for clients including the World Health Organization, the Low Income Investment Fund and Rights and Resources Initiative. She has a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She has bachelor's degrees in English and journalism, with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology, from the University of Connecticut. Gwen is also a part-time figure skating coach. Contact her at (518) 524-2902 or gwen@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Gwen’s newsletter here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Zephyr says

    “Residents of Keene and Keene Valley will retain the same local privileges as in years past. Please contact AMR directly for more information.” In other words, even though this is a State easement, obtained in exchange for the State bailing out the Ausable Club by purchasing 7,000 acres for $745,000 in 1978, local people get special privileges for accessing State land. The State also pays the town property tax on the purchased land. State taxpayers get to pay while the Club and the townees get to use it.

  2. Daniel Rosenblatt says

    I Don’t understand why the reservation system has to close 24 hours in advance – if there are spots, why can’t someone decide to do a hike at the last minute?

  3. Daniel Rosenblatt says

    Also, why the 70 slot limit? Can’t the system be flexible enough so that there are more slots if the parties are smaller than six?

  4. Zephyr says

    The entire point of the permit system is to make it as difficult as possible to limit the use as much as possible. As far as they are concerned, the more onerous the system the better.

  5. David Gibson says

    Thank you, Gwen Craig, and other reporters for following up with this Q&A from the public and private landowner. Online info. flow is very important at this pre-registration phase and especially so after April 15.

  6. Not a nycityit says

    Nothing like a golf course to manage your rights in state land! Why pay taxes then? For them? Should be able to fish lower and upper ausable lake also with permit at this point.

  7. Rick Hart says

    I’m unclear about the parking hours. It says the lot is only accessible from 5am to 7:00. I often time long day hikes to end around dark, plus or minus a bit. What happens if I get back to the car after 7:00? Is it still possible to leave or am I stuck for the night?

    • Trail crew says

      Rooster comb. There’s also small parking for lower wolf jaw right past the mossy cascade – giant trail on the side of 73. East to miss it but free parking.

  8. Vanessa says

    All of this info is helpful, thank you! But it leads to even more questions in some cases.

    First, if registration opens for the entire date range at once, what’s to stop people from completely booking months in advance for a hypothetical trip, and then forgetting to cancel? For example, Labor Day will book completely on 4/15 even though a quarter of those booked can’t confirm travel and maybe won’t remember to free up their space. I agree heartily with the posters who note that it’s annoying that the 70 slots are metered for 6 people each, because most groups are smaller. Further, it’s absolutely true that you’ll have no-shows, and last minute hikers really miss out.

    Also, it’s true per the above that it’s not reasonable for someone to book a 2pm slot for a hike to most of these peaks. But do you get around that by showing up at the lot at 4:45 in the morning and showing your ticket when you leave? The 1pm-5pm range is quite silly, and might even indirectly encourage SARs for people that don’t realize or aren’t prepared for the distances they’ll need to cover when it might be dark.

    If the slots are a straight “only 10 at 5am, only 10 at 6am, only 10 at 7am” – that’s gonna be a disaster. I really hope they think that idea through.

    Finally, perhaps I’m just not aware of how the following is done, but how is a Greyhound rider dropped off at Noonmark Diner gonna get the several miles down a busy highway without a shoulder to the trailhead? That also doesn’t really make sense.

    The reporting here is great but the info given doesn’t inspire confidence, unfortunately. 🙁

    • Trail Crew says

      The time slots mean nothing, it’s just a parking pass. You can show up any time after their gate opens on the day of your reservation even if it’s the 5pm slot.

  9. Zephyr says

    Expecting the general hiking public to understand this mess (if they even learn about it before showing up) is hopeless, no matter how much explaining you do. Look at all the experienced hikers trying to figure out how it is supposed to work. Hint: if you have to explain how an online signup system works it will not work. People will be trying to do this on smartphones at the last minute.

  10. Boreas says

    Seems pretty simple to me. Get your reservation, then adapt your hike to fit. If that doesn’t work, try another date. Requires advance planning – not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it will cut down on midnight rescues.

  11. Heather Alnutt says

    Does this AMR permit/reservation apply to Mount Marcy as well or just the mountains listed above?

  12. Girard Marcino says

    What happens if you get back after 7 pm? Is your car stuck in the parking lot over night? Does it get towed?

  13. Marcia Wentworth says

    Just another example of the unfriendly attitude of the Ausable Club and of government control of taxpayer access to things their tax dollars are subsidizing. Glad I am no longer able to go there to be mistreated by the privileged members of the club, but sad that many others will be denied access to this outstandingly beautiful area.

  14. Dave Doleman says

    I think this is the first step in AMR shutting down public access through its property altogether. Let’s face it, they don’t want lowly hikers passing through. There is alternate access to all of the major peaks without having to traverse their property, albeit more difficult. This is a shameful move by AMR, with DEC complicit for letting it happen. Assuming they receive a tax reduction for the current easement, it should be revoked immediately as they are reneging on the original deal made with NYS.

  15. Scott Anderson says

    ..And if everyone is so worried about speeding vehicles hitting hikers why not reduce the speed limit??? Designate parts of Rt73 as a “Recreational and Scenic Highway and reduce the speed to 40 (or less).

    Overall, I think the people doing this “Big Plan” aren’t so perceptive. They have only their narrow objects in mind.

  16. Meredith says

    “But mom, what if…..!”

    Lordy, what a bunch of whiners. Wait and see if AMR and DEC can fine tune the plans as needed.

    Where does this evident sense of self-entitlement come from?

    • Shanice L. says

      From paying taxes to administer these lands. WE(NYS taxpayers) purchased an easement to be able to access the high peaks summits across this property. They, AMR, have now rescinded that. It’s a violation of the easement agreement.

    • Shanice L. says

      They deliberately closed one of the large parking lots. Then they bitch about all the cars parking along the road for a few weekends a year. THEN, they say oh for gosh sakes all these cars are a hazard(even though no car/car accidents or car/pedestrian accidents.
      This is ALL manufactured to CONTROL PEOPLE- JUST LIKE THE PLANDEMIC !!!!!!

  17. Shanice L. says

    Interesting to note that as BIPOC peoples desire to explore the high peaks and ADK’s in general, suddenly it becomes necessary to “limit” the number of people and restrict access. Hmmm. How many people of color on these boards of trustees, and environmental groups. People of color are the ones most egregiously affected. Thanks AMR

    • hiker says

      In the text of the easement document, it states that the easement remains in perpetuity, meaning forever, except in times of natural disaster like floods or fire. In order for them to restrict access, BOTH parties (the State of New York and the AMR) must agree on the restrictions. This did not happen people! The State of New York is not just a few reps from the DEC, it is all of the people of the state, meaning there must be referendum prior to any restrictions. There has been NO REFERENDUM, therefore this hiker reservation system should cease and desist immediately.

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