By MIKE LYNCH
Hikers will get more education on backcountry ethics this summer in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, as the area has been designated a Leave No Trace “Hot Spot” for 2019.
It means that Aug. 7-14 the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, Colo., will partner with the Adirondack Mountain Club, state Department of Environmental Conservation and other organizations to host community programs and educational activities regarding recreational use of the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness. For instance, hikers can expect to see Leave No Trace educators at High Peaks trailheads, including those located on the Adirondack Mountain Club property.
The Hot Spot program is designed to support locations that experience high levels of recreational use. In recent years, the number of hikers using High Peaks trails has risen dramatically. As a result, hiking groups and the DEC worked to manage the situation, including building new trails, closing parking areas and increasing education outreach efforts.
Leave No Trace is a nationally known outdoor educational program. It focuses on preparedness, and on reducing impacts to natural resources.
ADK nominated the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness as a Hot Spot for 2019, and it was chosen as one of 19 finalists, out of a pool of over 100 applicant locations.
The program focuses on issues such as damage to alpine plants, trail erosion, human waste and negative human-wildlife interactions. It will target areas including the Van Hoevenberg Trailhead and Heart Lake Program Center.
“A lot of the issues we’re seeing in this area could be resolved by education and messaging, and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Education is the perfect organization to do that,” said Seth Jones, ADK education director.
Specific programs will be announced at a later date.