During my hikes with my kids, I’ve urged them to look around and enjoy nature. We identify trees and admire bark patterns and observe how moss grows. We leave only footprints, take only pictures.
As New York becomes more diverse, as languages other than English are spoken in every New York county, the Adirondack wilderness needs a constituency of everyone.
Many if not most of the hikers arriving in Keene Valley are simply on their own, and that’s led to what officials are calling a crisis of parking and a concentration of too many hikers on too few trails.
“I can’t go through another day like this past Saturday,” Keene Town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson said in October. “It’s beyond the capacity of a town of 1,100 to deal with. It’s just beyond our capacity.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation and about 60 stakeholders met to talk about the problems of high traffic that have plagued the high peaks region for the past several years.
The plan is to help disperse High Peaks crowds and preserve trails and natural resources by providing an alternative entry to the popular mountains, OSI president and CEO Kim Elliman said.
The state created the new regulations due to congested shoulders creating safety hazards for bicyclists and pedestrians forced into vehicle lanes. In past hiking seasons, hundreds of cars lined the shoulders of Route 73.
The High Peaks Wilderness has grown to 274,000 acres, absorbing the Dix Mountain Wilderness, Boreas Ponds, and other adjacent lands. A new map reflects those additions.
Along with parking restrictions, which the state began enforcing last year in the Chapel Pond area, DEC wants to rate hikes for their degree of difficulty and get this information into the hotels so tourists will be less likely to attempt climbs that are beyond their capabilities.
The Garden parking lot in Keene Valley will be closed to motor vehicles because Johns Brook Bridge is slated to be replaced. Work on the bridge will begin this spring and continue until late summer.