About Tracy Ormsbee

Tracy Ormsbee is publisher of the Adirondack Explorer. When she’s not working – and it’s not black fly season – you can find her outdoors hiking, running, paddle boarding or reading a book on an Adirondack chair somewhere.

Reader Interactions


  1. Aaron says

    Hard to take seriously an article that doesn’t once mention the very obvious need to employ modern building techniques to improve our most popular trails which will do far more to reduce erosion than hiker education or a permit system.

    Concerning the “three main options” listed above, I’m skeptical any of them genuinely address the increased popularity of the HPW. Take #3 first, “encourage tourists to visit other parts of the Adirondacks”. Many visitors to our area, and even locals, don’t go to other areas of the Park because…THEY AREN’T INTERESTED IN THEM. The biggest mountains are here and that’s what the vast majority of hikers want to challenge themselves with, climbing big mountains. They want to peak bag, not hill bag, lake bag, or pond bag.

    The first “option” is not only ineffectual as a financial tool, it fundamentally runs afoul of the spirit of democratic open access to ALL who wish to hike here regardless of economic status. To believe that implementing such a “solution” without first investing in infrastructure, resources, and amenities would succeed is fanciful at best. The reason why other areas can justify fees is because they front-loaded on improving the visitor experience. Can we really say the same for the HPW? No.

    Option 2 is a decent one but seems to be assuming the worst about visitors. The reality is that the Park has never been cleaner and most visitors are both sufficiently educated and reverant when observing good backwoods etiquette. This appears to be the classic effort to reign in those relatively few free-riders who always manage to spoil the experience for others through their inconsiderate and boorish behavior. Worth a shot, but I would rather see more funds directed toward hiring a more rangers.

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