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For Release: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DEC Announces New Conceptual Plan and Information Pages to Improve Outdoor Recreation and Promote Tourism in the Adirondacks

'Hut-to-Hut' Destination-based Trail System Plan Developed

Adirondack Backcountry Information Web Pages Revamped to Include Detailed Western Adirondacks Trail Information

New York State has partnered with the Five Towns of the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub to develop tourist destinations that rely on the extensive trail network of the Adirondack Park and existing and potential lodging opportunities, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. The resulting 'Concept Plan for a Hut-to-Hut Destination-based Trail System for the Five Towns of Long Lake, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Minerva, and North Hudson' represents 26 trail or "traverse" opportunities for visitors to the Five Towns region of the Adirondack Park that involve overnight stays and multi-day hikes. In addition, DEC's Adirondack Trail Information web pages have been reorganized, reformatted and now include information for the western Adirondacks.

"Governor Cuomo has demonstrated time and again his commitment to making the Adirondacks a destination for visitors and tourists from around the world," said DEC Acting Commissioner Seggos. "The Plan unveiled today will lead to improved public access to the Forest Preserve coupled with lodging, for the benefit of tourists, sportsmen and women, outdoor enthusiasts of all types and the people and communities of the Five Towns region of the Adirondack Park. The new trail information page launched today will also further promote the region, while keeping visitors apprised on a weekly basis of all the trail updates across the Adirondacks."

Traverses are hikes that begin in communities, go into the "back country" and end in another community. The concept is to link communities and amenities through the state's extensive land holdings and identify gaps that can be filled by new amenities on private lands or temporary "huts" on State Forest Preserve lands.

The Five Towns surround the 65,000 acres of the former Finch lands that have been added to the state Forest Preserve. The Hub area encompasses a total of 1,293 square miles, including 485,000 acres of state forest preserve lands and 341,000 acres of private land. It contains 154 linear miles of wild, scenic and recreational rivers, including 36 linear miles of the magnificent Hudson River, 305 linear miles of foot trails including 47 miles of the Northville Placid Trail; mountain ranges, the Santanoni Great Camp, the historic McIntyre Works at Tahawus, 62 lean-tos, 195 primitive campsites and many other amenities.

Hut-to-Hut Concept Plan Details
The new proposed multi-use Hut-to-Hut trail system will draw visitors that seek a destination-based experience to visit for more than one day at a time, providing access to lodging and amenities along the way. This new recreational opportunity will provide another economic boost to the Adirondack communities by creating incentives for the expansion of local lodging and amenities for visitors.

The system will utilize existing lodging whenever possible to create a spectrum of lodging from platform tents to yurts to eco-lodges, to existing bed & breakfasts, rental cabins and five-star hotels. It will range from low-cost, hostel-type lodging to expensive, amenity-rich, upscale lodging. Some lodgings will be self-service, where visitors prepare their own meals, while other lodgings will be full service accommodations and provide meals.

An Adirondack Hut system will be designed to accommodate visitors year round. The winter season frequently is cited as the season with the biggest tourism growth potential in the Adirondacks. Lodging that provides a warm, comfortable place to stay and accommodates skiers and snowshoers will attract people from around the world.

The Concept Plan was requested by the Five Towns, and includes:

  • Talking with dozens of stakeholders, including lodging owners/managers, private landowners, DEC field personnel, local and regional government officials, representatives of environmental organizations, and others, to gain their knowledge and perspectives;
  • Conducting approximately twenty reconnaissance trips, some with DEC staff, private landowners, and other interested parties;
  • Creating a GIS inventory of existing lodging by utilizing information available on town websites, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism's (ROOST) database, and other sources;
  • Identifying, based on research, twenty-six conceptual routes that connect communities, and over thirty strategic locations for lodging along those routes.

A lodging and trails system that improves and diversifies the outdoor recreation experience of park visitors by implementing regional networks throughout the park, eventually linked together in a parkwide system, will:

  • Create regional tourism destinations and more sustainable communities by expanding the tourist-based economy and increasing multiple overnight stays;
    -Provide physical fitness and other wellness opportunities for tourists and residents alike;
  • Promote conservation by broadening the demographic constituency for protecting the Adirondacks, focusing backcountry camper impact and modeling green building practices;
  • Increase international awareness of the Adirondack Park; and
  • Utilize existing and new lodging about 8-12 miles apart that is connected by trails.

DEC engaged Leading E.D.G.E., LLC to develop this plan. Leading E.D.G.E. worked cooperatively with DEC, the Adirondack Park Agency, the Department of State and the local towns on their ongoing efforts to expand outdoor recreational opportunities in the Adirondack Park.

In recent years New York State, with the full cooperation of local municipalities, is embarking on a number of plans to knit the state-managed lands with communities and private holdings that complement one another. Stakeholders such as the towns, the Common Ground Alliance, conservation organizations, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the Adirondack Park Agency are working on a number of planning activities to accomplish the integration of state lands with private and municipal holdings for the economic benefit of the region and the environmental protection of the Adirondack Park.

To view a copy of the Hut-to-Hut Trail Plan, visit DEC's website.

New Adirondack Trail Information Web Pages
The newly formatted web pages, now named the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages provide current information regarding access, recreational infrastructure and specific conditions on Adirondack Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands. Users are encouraged to link to the main page, read the seasonal notices, check the new, interactive map for area desired to visit and then go to the web page for the specific notices.

The number of web pages pertaining to the various areas of the Adirondacks have increased from six to 10 with the addition of western Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands. General notices have been removed from the individual pages and all trail information is now linked to the main DEC web page. All seasonal notices with Adirondack-wide significance have been moved to the main pages.

The popular DEC Adirondack Trail (Backcountry) Information web pages received nearly 100,000 unique visits in 2015. The content of the web pages is shared on the websites of numerous Adirondack organizations, blogs and news media.

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