About Gwendolyn Craig

Gwen is an award-winning journalist covering environmental policy for the Explorer since January 2020. She also takes photos and videos for the Explorer's magazine and website. She is a current member of the Legislative Correspondents Association of New York. Gwen has worked at various news outlets since 2015. Prior to moving to upstate New York, she worked for a D.C. Metro-area public relations firm, producing digital content for clients including the World Health Organization, the Low Income Investment Fund and Rights and Resources Initiative. She has a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She has bachelor's degrees in English and journalism, with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology, from the University of Connecticut. Gwen is also a part-time figure skating coach. Contact her at (518) 524-2902 or gwen@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Gwen’s newsletter here.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Connie Young says

    I would take the shuttle but in the summer, sometimes I want to be at the trailhead by 5 a.m. Then, I may not be back until evening. So, the shuttles availability is why I do not take it.

  2. G says

    It’s time to let this bus die (town shuttle is fine). The massive costs put into this comes out to hundreds of dollars per individual rider! This is much better utilized doing trail maintenance and building proper trailhead parking lots.

    It is okay if some parking lots fill up on the busiest of fall weekends…no need to bus people in. Build the right-sized lots for the other 355 days per year and call it good.

  3. Luke says

    Maybe if the shuttle bus dropped off and picked up at the AMR trailhead to provide an alternative when their “parking reservation system” (that is assuredly not a permit system to restrict access) is full.

  4. Adk Camper says

    Maybe build some better parking lots and also stop kowtowing to the AMR?

    Why don’t any “authors” ask these questions?

  5. Tony Goodwin says

    The main problem with the Rt. 73 shuttle is that it only services one parking lot (Roaring Brook) that actually frequently fills up. And Giant can also be accessed from the Ridge Trail parking that can, in reality, expand along the highway as much as is needed. The Rooster Comb parking occasionally fills up, but then there is parking in towards town. For most hikers, even a half-mile roadside walk is preferable to being tied to the schedule of a shuttle. And the Rt. 73 shuttle is not very fast, given that it must go all the way to the Rt. 9 junction, turn down toward Elizabethtown another half-mile or so, and then finally return to drop off hikers at the Ridge and Roaring Brook trailheads.

    So, unless, a) DOT can be persuaded to post Rt. 73 for parking well past the Round Pond trailhead parking (and actually be able to enforce that ban), and b) the Town of Keene figures out how to ban all-day parking along the highway in the Hamlet of Keene Valley (and actually enforce this ban without hurting local businesses), then this shuttle has no practical use.

    Increased parking at certain trailheads would probably be the best solution. Yes, shuttles have worked in Franconia Notch in New Hampshire, but the geography for those shuttles is much different than here, i.e. many popular trailheads within a few miles of good parking = short shuttles and frequent service.

  6. Katie Gibson says

    I think a bigger draw would be for the hiking shuttle to make more stops than it does now. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t choose the shuttle this year – it just wasn’t going to where I was.

  7. Boreas says

    The shuttle experiment, although reasonable, is again attempting to put a band-aid on major underlying systemic disease. The root of the problem isn’t parking lot sizes, easements, or even increased usage of HPW trails. The problem is a trail INFRASTRUCTURE that is totally incompatible with modern trail routing and hardening to allow sustainable, increasing future usage. There was virtually no planning or design involved with the majority of HPW trails, and it shows.

    Many trailheads were located at what was little more than an old stagecoach road pull-out, allowing short but steep approaches to peaks. Parking was not an issue, mostly requiring a place to tie your horses. Guides cut the trails to provide relatively short, easy hiking along with some nice views. Sustainability was not a buzzword back then. But those old guides got a lot wrong. They didn’t have much access to engineers.

    So many, if not most of the parking areas are but one symptom of this underlying infirmity. Take a slow drive someday up these old stagecoach roads. The roads themselves are poorly located due to the extreme terrain they need to negotiate. River gorges or lakes on one side with steep slopes on the other are not conducive to large parking areas. “Just make them bigger” simply isn’t an option at many trailheads approaching 200 years old – while these small trailheads continue to service old, unsustainable trails. Hardening problem areas on some trails is another band-aid that encourages more feet using these poorly-routed trails.

    DEC, APA, legislators, hikers, localities, and other stakeholders need to take a step back and determine if we are throwing good money after bad. Is there ANY talk of redesigning the entire HPW trail system to afford better access and sustainable trail routing and construction? Politicians get votes from large building projects, not band-aid maintenance projects. Where do our elected representatives stand on this matter? Are they even AWARE of it?? Are they working with DEC/APA to come up with at least the start of a Grand Plan to upgrade the trail and parking infrastructure in the HPW? All I hear are crickets. Instead, it seems to be the old corollary of “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. No one seems to have any ability to envision, develop, and implement large-scale and long-scale planning any more. Perhaps it IS impossible for people to work together anymore, but in my opinion it is at least worth a try. But shuttling more hikers to poorly-designed trail systems to enable even more foot traffic over those sick trails does not seem to me like a prudent approach – since at its core, it is ignoring the underlying disease. We need to be electing and appointing visionaries, not band-aid dispensers.

  8. Stuart Alan says

    Hello? Covid19? Remember? I was infected on a shuttle bus WITH WINDOWS THAT DO NOT OPEN ! Do these busses have openable windows ? Does the marketing campaign specify that the busses have clean air inside ? How On Earth is this not obvious ?

  9. Dave says

    I agree totally Stuart ! Also, the main reason ridership is down is that during the pandemic everyone was looking for an outdoor activity to have something to do since we were all cooped up, and many businesses closed up. There are just a lot fewer people coming now that their lives have returned to normal.

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