ADK gets grant to fund trail work planned for Mount Jo
By Mike Lynch
A popular trail in the High Peaks region is getting a major upgrade.
The Adirondack Mountain Club is rerouting a section of the Mount Jo Trail, which is located on its Heart Lake property at the end of Adirondack Loj Road south of Lake Placid.
Adirondack Mountain Club Communications Director Ben Brosseau said the work is being done “to handle not only increased foot traffic but also increased weather events” due to climate change.
“Heavy rains have been a big reason why some of these trails are starting to fall apart so quickly,” he said. “They weren’t designed right in the first place; and now that use and weather are contributing more to their degradation, they are really starting to show it.”
The 2,876-foot-tall mountain, which offers sweeping views of the High Peaks, draws about 15,000 visits annually.
Crews started work this summer and plan to finish in the fall of 2023. Field work is currently on hold for the winter.
Mt. Jo has two summit routes that start at a fork four-tenths of a mile from the trailhead, located near the shore of Heart Lake. This project is upgrading the Mt. Jo Long Trail that continues .9 mile to the summit from the intersection. The other approach is .2 mile shorter and has had substantial work done to it already.
The estimated cost of the project is $120,000, Brosseau said. In November, North Elba’s Local Enhancement & Advancement Fund (LEAF) awarded ADK $50,000 for the project because the upgrade is intended to increase accessibility to the mountain. The fund is derived from Essex County’s two percent occupancy tax that was implemented in June 2020.
Donations will pay for most of the remaining $70,000, Brosseau said.
ADK is hoping that Mt. Jo will be added to the list of High Peaks Region trails built with sustainability in mind. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has rebuilt a trail from the Olympic Sporting Complex to the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg using sustainable trail design features and is continuing to work on one up Cascade Mountain.
“There’s more and more conversations globally and in the Adirondack Park about how (to) approach trail work,” he said. “We want to create an example of what that might look like here in the High Peaks.”
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