By MIKE LYNCH
Leave No Trace traveling trainers will be in the High Peaks for about a week to educate hikers about minimizing their impacts on the environment and protecting themselves while visiting the backcountry.
The trainers are in town because the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, based in Boulder, Colorado, chose the High Peaks Wilderness to be a Hot Spot from Aug. 7-14. Leave No Trace chooses Hot Spots, through an application process, when areas are experiencing high levels of recreational impacts. The center also evaluates whether there will be enough partners to work with at the designated area. The Adirondack Mountain Club, a longtime Leave No Trace partner, nominated the central High Peaks for the designation.
LNT’s Mitch Warnick, who oversees the Hot Spot program, said there’s a strong support system locally for recreation. Warnick was speaking at a kickoff event held Thursday morning at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, Adirondack Council and ADK were present.
“We really just saw a lot of potential to be able to help this unique ecosystem,” Warnick said.
For the next week, Leave No Trace trainers will be hosting workshops and other events, in addition to working directly with local groups to develop a long-term plan for sharing the Leave No Trace principles in the High Peaks. Leave No Trace has seven principles, ranging from protecting oneself to respecting wildlife to minimizing campfire impacts. All events are free.
“The Hot Spot in general is kind of mixture of working with the public directly as well as the (groups) who continue to reach the people because our travelling trainers are only at a Hot Spot for eight days, so we don’t want to consider it to be a flash in the pan,” Warnick said.
He said the travelling trainers will develop a report based on their experience here and stakeholder input. The report should be finished in the fall, he said.
“Education and outreach are considered one of the most effective and efficient means of protecting the resources,” said state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann. “We have a lot of people who come up here and they fall in love with it but they don’t have the knowledge to take care of it.”
ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth talked about the importance of reaching the increasing numbers of hikers visiting the High Peaks. He said education is key to minimizing hiker impacts in the future.
“If we’re not careful about how we manage people and educate people, we can accelerate trail damage,” he said. “We can harm very fragile alpine vegetation. We can pollute our streams through human and pet waste.”
Leave No Trace Hot Spot Schedule
Leave No Trace Information Tables
Stop by the High Peaks Information Center everyday between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. to learn more about Leave No Trace.
Leave No Trace Public Hike to Mt. Jo
Join a one-way guided hike up Mt. Jo. Along the way you will learn about Leave No Trace principles and how following them can positively impact the places you are visiting. Mt. Jo is a 2.2-mile hike with about 700 feet of elevation gain. Proper footwear and water required. No registration required; just meet a staff member by the Info Kiosk in front of the Adirondak Loj. 9 a.m., Adirondak Loj Information Kiosk.
Heart Lake Nature Museum
The Heart Lake Nature Museum makes a great introduction to the natural world of the Adirondack High Peaks, for kids and adults alike. This year’s nature museum theme is “Your Stewardship Forms a Protective Relationship with the High Peaks.” Learn how to protect the wild lands that you love. An ADK naturalist is always on hand to answer questions and foster your curiosity. 9 a.m. -5 p.m., Heart Lake Program Center.
August 8: Community Service Day
Volunteers will help with the continuing effort to build two new trails in the High Peaks Wilderness: the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail and the Cascade Mountain Trail. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is working to develop sustainably built trails to the summits of both mountains. Projects will include various aspects of trail construction, including: trail grubbing, foundation rock work, quarrying materials, surfacing, rehabilitation, soil stabilization, signage installation and other components of trail work. Volunteers will be working along sections of the trail up to 1.5 miles from the trailhead in various groups. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex. Register Now
August 8: Live Q & A with Traveling Trainers
Do you have questions about Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics? Do you want to know more about how to protect your public lands? This is an opportunity for you to ask questions of the Subaru/ Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers who travel the country doing public education and outreach. 7-9p.m., Adirondack Backcountry Hikers Facebook Group. View Here
August 9: Social Media Rendezvous
Are you a social media influencer? Would you like to know how to promote protecting public lands online? This social event is designed to bring social medial influencers together to help preserve the quality of our shared natural resources. By combining Leave No Trace skills and ethics with supportive online messaging and constructive imagery, you can learn how to imbue every post featuring wildlands and waters with an informative purpose! Two Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will be at this gathering to talk about Leave No Trace social media guidelines.: 3-9 p.m., Meet at ADK Education Yurt Village. Lake Placid Brewery will be offering complimentary drinks. A discounted dinner will be provided at the Hungry Hiker. Evening hike up Mt. Jo. Optional free lodging accommodations in Education Yurt Village. Register Now
August 10: What Would Bigfoot Do?
An ADK Educator will offer a one-hour program on how you can minimize your impacts while recreating outside. Bigfoot has been doing it for years. This program will take place at the Adirondak Loj amphitheater (Education Yurt Village if raining). 8 p.m., Adirondak Loj amphitheater.
August 12: Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop
Two Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will co-instruct a six-hour Awareness Workshop to teach participants more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace and techniques for sharing these low-impact skills. Awareness Workshops are designed for anyone who enjoys recreating outside. 9a.m. – 3 p.m., ADK Education Yurt Village. Register Now
August 13: Leave No Trace Backyard Session
Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will be at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery. Come socialize with the team and learn how you can help protect your public lands.5-9 p.m., Lake Placid Pub and Brewery.