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. John says

    In my view, the AMR is entitled to throttle parking on their property. However I believe it highly improper, and arguably illegal, to limit foot traffic on defined easements.
    It is ludicrous to expect someone who isn’t utilizing their personal vehicle to reserve a parking berth. With today’s ride hailing services, there are many legitimate methods to arrive to use public access.
    The AME doesn’t have a right to limit access by foot, nor does the DEC have the authority to legislate on-the-fly, subverting due process.

    • Caleb says

      I couldn’t of said it better myself. I understand the need to limit the amount of cars blocking the roads and parking lots, but it seems to me they should be encouraging people to get dropped off. The trail itself can handle thousands of hikers a day. I can’t imagine how angry I would be if I got dropped off and they were telling me I couldn’t hike after driving eight hours to get there. I have no idea how they expect to stop people from just cutting through the woods

    • David Nash says

      The link to easement is on this site. It doesn’t permit this. The state should enforce their rights on behalf of the people instead of partnering with the 1% to keep the rest of us out. Prohibitions on walk-ins make it clear that this is all about restricting access and parking or road safety. Personally the reservation system benefits me, but I’m more concerned with restrictions on larger community than my own self interest. This is another example of the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rule. Shame on the DEC.

      This land is your land and this land is my land, it was made for you and me.

  2. ADK BC Skier says

    The AMR can do whatever they want with their own lots, but keeping people off the public easement by falling back on one like from the original contract giving them the right to limit use to protect their own property is bogus. Its a *road*. Its not being “over used” by anyone except that diesel clunker of a club bus.

    Its also causing nearby trailheads to fill up faster because people are using them as carpool lots to access the state lands adjacent the AMR property easement by simply going around the gates.

    A smarter, better led AMR would ditch the permits and let anyone enter for a nominal fee and use that funding towards an expanded lot or better infrastructure. But, they share leadership with the ADK Council, and we all know they won’t lift a single finger towards trail work, supplying trailhead stewards, or anything else that doesn’t equate to limiting overall use in the HPW.

  3. S says

    When you drive by on a misty Saturday and see three cars in the parking lot, you realize it has nothing to do with safety along the Route 73 corridor, and everything to do with the members at AMR wanting to limit access to the easement that taxpayers are paying for. What’s more likely is that the AMR finally padded enough pockets at the DEC to get them to go along with this cockamamie plan. If safety was really paramount, the State Police and DEC Rangers would have ticketed or towed unsafe and illegally parked vehicles in the preceding years solving the issue once and for all while generating a boatload of revenue for Keene.

    • Tom says

      I have family and friends who are both Rangers and Troopers, and ticketing/towing is not what they were hired to do. They have much more important responsibilities than dealing with traffic congestion. You might not like the reservation system, but for anyone who lives in this area you can’t seriously say that traffic wasn’t an issue. In my opinion having to make a reservation is a small price to pay for being able to drive rt 73 safely.

  4. Eric says

    So no changes at all? Not even allocating some spots for same-day reservations only? Wasn’t that the number one complaint most people had? Probably could eliminate at least 80% of the Hate if they just allocated 20 or so spots for same-day first come first served.

    • Caleb says

      And also allow people to get dropped off without a parking pass. If the argument is too many cars than why are they restricting drop offs?

  5. Boreas says

    It is important to note the Canadian border was closed last year. The system has not really been tried with the border open. Results and problems may differ this season.

  6. Bill Keller says

    70 parking permits for up to 8 people each, 560 hikers from one lot. Not enough for the “high peakers” though.

  7. Katie says

    Absolutely ridiculous that they are not allowing shuttle/drop offs/walk ins. This is NOT a parking reservation, this is a “stay out” jab at the public which has a right to hike on that property. I’m a fan of having reserved parking spots, I LIKE not having to get up at 4am for a chance to go hiking there. But there absolutely needs to be other methods of accessing AMR hikes.

  8. Zephyr says

    So the DEC continues to support an exclusive private club artificially limiting public access to a public right of way based on zero research or science? Where is the traffic study? Where is the study of trail carrying capacity? Where is the study of its effect on the public? Wasn’t this proposed as a “trial,” meaning some sort of data was being collected and studied? Once again the DEC just does what it wants to to do regardless of what is best for the public and without any meaningful public input.

    • Boreas says

      As with other DEC policies/procedures, until someone files a suit or the winds shift in Albany, they do as they wish.

      But the way I see it, this IS the study – it just hasn’t had a normal season to evaluate. Effectiveness studies and results cannot be published until the study is done. It is also silly to perform a study with too many variables. AMR parking/usage should have been sorted out PRIOR to implementing shuttles. Shuttles and restrictions are tests going in two different directions at the same time. How will anyone ever make sense of the data?

  9. Zephyr says

    The only thing they are piloting in this so-called “pilot program” is how much bs the public will put up with. Out of one side of their mouths they call it a parking reservation system, then out of the other side of their mouths they call it a hiker reservation system. In practice it is both–you’re not allowed to hike without a parking permit unless you get dropped off or have a bus ticket, which is particularly silly because the buses don’t actually stop there. You have to buy a bus ticket to someplace nearby then get dropped off to hike.

  10. Greg says

    If I want to hike Giant, is it possible to get a permit at the Ausable Club Lot and hike it or do you need hike the AMR trails?

    • Gebby says

      Don’t need to park at Ausable club for Giant. Can park at Roaring Brook Falls or Chapel Pond or New Russia to get that onas

  11. Erik De Pol says

    Very frustrating to read the mission accomplished press release from Commissioner Seggos. The DEC could have, and should have, avoided much unneeded contentiousness by enlisting public comments ahead of time for an initiative of this impact, accurately describing the pilot as involving hiker restrictions, and being completely transparent regarding goals and metrics. If you have a data-driven, thoughtful proposal, you should be anxious to own it and defend it.

    One year in, I have never gotten a reply, nor heard any mention of the specific metrics being used for evaluating the very broad goal #3, ‘to preserve and protect both public and private lands’. Presumably what we need to ‘preserve and protect’ from is ‘misuse’, which points more to an issue of hiker behavior and suggests that greater education re: hiker etiquette (trash, noise, avoiding fragile vegetation etc.), might be much more effective than an arbitrarily established hiker headcount.

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