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For Release: Monday, September 16, 2019

DEC Announces Plans to Ensure Public Safety and Manage Use During Busy Columbus Day Holiday Weekend in Adirondack High Peaks

Actions Complement Ongoing Efforts to Promote Sustainable Use and Include Temporary Lower Advisory Speeds, Parking Restrictions, and Hiker Shuttles to Alternative Hikes

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that DEC and its partners will be undertaking additional efforts as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of motorists and hikers while managing use around some of the busiest trailheads this Columbus Day holiday weekend.

"Working closely with our on-the-ground local partners and key stakeholders in the Adirondacks, DEC continues to protect public safety and manage use during one of the busiest hiking and traffic periods of the year," said Commissioner Seggos. "By implementing these new actions as part of DEC's ongoing efforts to promote sustainable use of the Adirondack Park, and encouraging New Yorkers to hike the park's hidden gems rather than the High Peaks, we are helping to keep visitors safe while protecting the park's environmental treasures."

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Safety is always a top priority of the New York State Department of Transportation. We are proud to be a partner in this effort to help New Yorkers take advantage of the state's wonderful hiking opportunities and have an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend."

DEC, with the assistance of the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), is posting a temporary, 45 mile per hour advisory speed on the following roads:

  • State Route 73 on either side of the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead in the town of Keene, Essex County;
  • State Route 73 on either side of the Cascade Mountain and Pitchoff Mountain Trailheads in the towns of North Elba and Keene, Essex County; and
  • State Route 3 on either side of the Ampersand Mountain Trailhead in the town of Harrietstown in Franklin County.

In addition, electronic variable messaging boards and other signs will warn motorists of the temporary lower advisory speeds and alert of hikers walking along and across state highways. DEC Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), assisted by the New York State Police and the Essex County Sheriff's Office, will have an increased presence during the holiday weekend and enforce speed limits, parking restrictions, and other traffic laws. Additional Forest Rangers will be positioned at trailheads and other locations during the busy holiday weekend.

DEC is also encouraging hikers to seek out nearby alternative hikes, that provide an experience similar to a High Peaks hike, including great scenic views, but with fewer people. Alternative hikes include:

DEC reminds hikers that parking lots at the Adirondak Loj Trailhead will fill early each day during the holiday weekend. Parking is prohibited along a portion of the road north of entrance to the Adirondack Mountain Club's facility. A variable messaging board at the beginning of the Adirondak Loj Road will inform hikers when parking is no longer available.

While construction activity at the Olympic Regional Development Authority's Olympic Sports Complex prevented the public from utilizing the facility's trails and parking lots as they had in past years, the new trail to the summit of Mt. Van Hoevenberg will be accessible to visitors throughout the holiday weekend. The additional mile of roundtrip hiking resulting from the detour around construction is mostly on flat or gently sloping ground. This is still one of the easiest hikes for a view of High Peaks that is comparable to or exceeds the view from the summit of Cascade Mountain and other mountains in the area.

DEC encourages hikers to use Essex County's free Lake Placid to Whiteface Hiker Shuttle during the holiday weekend. The shuttle transports hikers between Lake Placid to four shuttle stops accessing six family-friendly hiking opportunities along State Route 86 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find more information on the Roost Adirondack website.

Hikers may also use the town of Keene's Garden Hikers Shuttle between the Marcy Field Parking Lot and The Garden Trailhead during the holiday weekend. This shuttle operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and costs $10 roundtrip ($13 Canadian). Visit the Town of Keene, NY, website for more information about this shuttle.

DEC encourages hikers to Hike Smart NY and follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) while hiking.

DEC recognizes the need to protect the Adirondack and Catskill Parks and promote sustainable use and is working with local partners and other stakeholders to implement several actions, including long- and short-term improvements to promote sustainable use, particularly in the High Peaks. Examples include delineating parking on Route 73, working with DOT, State Police and the towns, reducing congestion in these areas around the High Peaks, highlighting the great, and underused, opportunities elsewhere in the park and trying to reveal the hidden gems, and promoting sustainable use with partners through Leave No Trace to help visitors understand how their actions affect the resource and learn how they can protect it.

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