About Tim Rowland

Tim Rowland is a columnist, author and outdoors writer living in Jay.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lea Cullen Boyer says

    Hmmm…. kind of wondering if these comments are taken out of context to support a “pro-tourists take all” opinion. Quotes do point to reduction of noise, and crowding because of basic, low cost, parking regulations.

    The photo of folks parked all along the roadway points to the need for vigorous enforcement. With social media’s stellar speed and accuracy of communication, you only have to tow 1 car to make an impact.

    Having worked in the Westchester County Parks System for 21 years, we saw amazing success with basic enforcement. Of course there has to be a willingness among the administration to stand behind their commitment to steward the land. NYSDEC is charged with this task. On the back side of government it seems the culture is about creating more visitation, which leads to failure to steward land.

  2. Tom Lyng says

    This makes a lot of sense. I think he is correct. I also think that most local hikers cringe at the thought of permits and the current parking problems. And most don’t mind the extra people and some even like it. But it’s getting too difficult to enjoy what we used to enjoy so easily, solely due to the parking. Trail work is surely needed and it sounds like they are preparing to do that. The next piece of this puzzle is to simply build more parking lots. If they want to get cars off the roadways, how else can it be accomplished? Shuttles work, but more parking is still needed. Most people would rather park at the trailhead for free than take the extra time, money, and hassle to take a shuttle. The local hikers and those that do their homework know when and where to go if they want relative solitude.

  3. David Riihimaki says

    Refreshing perspective. People want to experience nature. North country communities want visitors. Sometimes more demand needs to be met with more resources—improved trails, education at trailheads, rangers for safety and more parking or transportation where parking can’t be improved.

  4. Paul Foley says

    I agree. Harden the select few trails for the crowds that they want to go to and leave the remaining relatively remote peaks and water features for the more adventurous. I have been to Zion and hiked the crowded trails because the experience is so spectacular but I have also been to the back side of Zion and experienced the solitude of other special canyons.

    I feel the tourist marketing should still be aimed at the more popular peaks and water features where there is less expectation of peaceful enjoyment. it seems like the effort to spread out the crowds keep pushing the crowds out to the smaller peaks and ponds that where a louder group can have a larger impact on the quieter users.

  5. Boreas says

    The term “Forever Wild” probably needs to be struck from Article XIV since people no longer seem to grasp its meaning. If an interstate highway here, a few ski centers there, and a network of snowmobile trails throughout are considered acceptable exceptions to Article XIV for the sake of commerce, then why should we place any restrictions on the HPW? Change its classification to Intensive Use and manage it as such. Exploit the peaks as if they were timber. Let some other state or nation attempt to create and preserve some wilderness and solitude. Why should we bother to preserve lands as Forever Wild here if the concept and definition of wildness is no longer understood and solitude no longer appreciated? Let’s face it – modern New Yorkers no longer seem to have the same conservation principles as the people who created the Forest Preserve. Things change, except mankind’s inability to see they are part of a natural world, not the masters of it.

  6. Dan Plumley says

    Your title was in fact much of my point that Professor Pete Pettengill failed to recognize or even address. Too bad Tim that your article was too short and shallow and did not convey the many valid points and concerns expressed by the public whereas the presenter did not offer much of value to the equation beyond the issue of shuttles and crowding. Front country solutions or actions alone will almost always fail both the wilderness resource and experience in the wild interior if wilderness management and necessary controls do not exist or are reviled by a timid NYS-DEC whose mission is, like it or not, to have “care, custody and control” over the “Forever Wild” Forest Preserve and apply wilderness management principles and have failed to do so for decades in the Eastern High Peaks and elsewhere. It’s mindless if not dangerous and certainly irresponsible to suggest that simply because – as is so often stated like fact these days – that “Millennials” or whomever the user public is don’t see a problem in summit or wilderness over-crowding, that allowing that should just become the new norm. No. Sorry. We have wilderness law, regulations and stake-holder developed regulations and requirements under the State Land Master Plan to preserve the wilderness in resource integrity and wilderness experience for solitude and sense of remoteness, etc., etc. – and that is exactly how the NYS-DEC is supposed to secure “care, custody and control” for the benefit of the wilderness and alpine wild land resource each and every day of the week. And sadly, they continue to fail their mission in doing so and they only profit in their weakness from parties that blindly suggest there is not a problem. We need the true Adirondack borne wilderness ethic restored and recognized as our true legacy and the media – including your valuable writing and wisdom – must play a leading role.

    • Jack Drury says

      I was at the presentation. My takeaways are:
      1. Transportation isn’t going to solve your problems if you don’t deal with visitor capacity. We have a legislative responsibility to maintain a wild/wilderness character. Managers’ jobs is not to worry about visitor satisfaction but to manage as Wilderness.
      2. Having good data is essential (Adirondack Park data is woefully inadequate-See Peter Bauer’s recent article on the Adirondack Almanack)
      3. We MUST educate regarding Wilderness ethics/values.
      4. There are some good opportunities to use technology and social media to help manage visitors

  7. John says

    Yes. I’ve had that “Zion experience” too. So the letter is:

    Show the crowds where you want them to go and how you want them to get there, and make it simple: Give them parking where it’s safe and out of the wild, provide shuttles to the selected trailhead(s), put a hardened trail in place. The shuttle provides a means of metering the flow. Put credit card readers at the parking, on the shuttle and at the trailhead and persistently suggest generous donations. (A few will freeload, but the average, I’ll bet, will be adequate.)

    For example, park hikers at the Frontier Town in North Hudson; run a shuttle fleet to Boreas Ponds, Santanoni and Goodnow. Suggest a $5 donation for parking and at each trailhead.

  8. Ron Miner says

    It might work for them but it sure doesn’t work for me. Solitude is better than crowds… but I understand both the problems of parking and the love of a hike.

  9. Bret Martin says

    I have said for years that part of the solution is to start charging people for use of state lands, just as we do for fishing, hunting and trapping. Do it like we do with fishing where 16 yoa and under are free, and then charge them $25 for a land use permit. You either have a land use permit, fishing, hunting or trapping license to use the state land. Look at all that funding you’d have to build these hardened trails (which of course violates Forever Wild), pay the Rangers, build the parking lots, etc. It could even offset the obscene costs that rescuing people entails. Seems entirely fair and common sense to me. I’m pretty sure the National Parks all have a usage fee and it seems acceptable there.

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