By MIKE LYNCH
Hikers will have to take a shuttle to one of the main trailheads in the eastern High Peaks Wilderness this spring and summer due to construction on a nearby bridge.
The Garden parking lot in Keene Valley will close to motor vehicles because Johns Brook Bridge is slated to be replaced, which will require the road to be close. Work on the bridge will begin this spring and continue until late summer.
The current bridge is in such poor shape that plow trucks, fire trucks and ambulances cannot use it, according to the town of Keene.
Hikers use the Garden parking lot to access trails to several popular mountains, including The Brothers and Big Slide Mountain. One trail goes to Johns Brook Valley, where the Adirondack Mountain Club has a lodge for hikers.
Hikers will need to park at Marcy Field on state Route 73 and take the town shuttle to the parking lot and trailhead. The bus will use an alternative route through private land, said Keene supervisor Joe Pete Wilson.
The shuttle, which runs every summer, will be the only method for accessing the Garden trailhead during the construction period. Hikers won’t be able to walk to the parking lot.
To prevent people from walking to the trailhead, “No Parking” signs will be posted along Adirondack Street, Market Street and Johns Brook Road. Illegally parked cars will be towed, according to the town.
Wilson said hikers should visit the town’s website for updated shuttle information. He expressed concern about finding enough bus drivers to keep the shuttle going seven days a week.
“Hiring bus drivers is very difficult,” he said.
Right now, the town still needs drivers on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
The town plans to run the shuttle 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. The cost is $10 round-trip per person.