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For Release: Monday, March 29, 2021

DEC and Adirondack Mountain Reserve to Pilot New Reservation System in 2021

Parking Reservation System Will Increase Public Safety at Crowded Corner on Route 73, Support Safer Access to Trailheads

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) today announced the launch of a pilot reservation system that was developed in partnership to provide reliable access and address public safety at a particularly crowded corner on Route 73 in the town of Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks region. The reservation system, operated by AMR, will facilitate safer public access to trailheads through the AMR gate and for Noonmark and Round mountains and improve visitors' trip planning and preparation by ensuring they have guaranteed parking upon arrival.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "With the increasing number of visitors to trailheads accessed through AMR, exacerbated in 2020 by New Yorkers looking for a nature break as a respite from COVID-19, DEC and AMR are working together to promote sustainable recreation and protect public safety. To address concerns at this particular location, we are excited to announce this unique pilot reservation system, which will help protect visitors and our natural resources, while also ensuring equitable access and educating visitors about sustainable use."

Roland Morris, current President for the AMR, said, "The Adirondack Mountain Reserve is pleased to partner with DEC and the Town of Keene in continued efforts to protect and preserve public access to AMR and the High Peaks wilderness. The reservation pilot is a groundbreaking private/public partnership intended to improve hiker safety and the wilderness experience, while also protecting the natural resource for generations to come. For 137 years the AMR has protected the reserve and this important action in partnership with the DEC continues that tradition."

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "The Adirondacks are one of the great wonders of New York State and offer some of the world's most stunning scenic vistas. The Department of Transportation is pleased to partner on this important initiative, which will enhance safety for all, and make it easier for residents and visitors alike to experience the natural beauty of this portion of the High Peaks region."

"The Town of Keene supports the pilot reservation system for access through the AMR easement. This reservation system helps to address public safety and protection of the environment, which are important issues addressed in the HPAG Report. The reservation system is also an effective strategy for a private landowner to manage the high levels of use their easement attracts," said Joe Pete Wilson, Supervisor, Town of Keene.

The pilot reservation system complements state and local efforts already underway to reduce dangerous and illegal parking in the vicinity of the AMR property, including variable electronic message boards and additional signage, bolstered social media outreach and education, and increased law enforcement presence and parking enforcement. In recent years pedestrian traffic, illegal parking, and roadside stopping along Route 73 have created a dangerous environment for hikers and motorists alike.

Beginning May 1, and through Oct. 31, 2021, DEC and AMR will require reservations for the 70 available parking spots at the AMR parking lot for daily access to trails on AMR property, as well as the Round Mountain and Noonmark Mountain trailheads accessed through AMR lands. Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted. Those arriving to Keene Valley via Greyhound or Trailways bus lines may access with a valid bus ticket from within 24 hours of arrival. Those arriving by bus must check in at the AMR hiker parking lot. The AMR parking lot is only accessible between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, with the exception of overnight parking.

Advance reservations are required and can be made two weeks in advance. Visitors can make reservations for day or overnight use, including overnight parking. It is not necessary to have a vehicle to make a reservation to hike. Those being dropped off and those arriving by bicycle must check in at the AMR hiker parking Lot and produce a valid reservation. All bicycles must be left at the hiker parking lot where a bike rack will be provided and portable restrooms will be available at the parking lot for visitor use. Visitors can begin registering at the new Hiker Reservation web portal, hikeamr.org, which will go live on April 15, with reservations beginning May 1.

In an effort to keep the area safe, clean, and enjoyable for all users, parking is limited at other popular trailheads along the Route 73 corridor. Visitors should come prepared with back-up plans in case trailhead parking lots are full:

  • Roadside parking on Route 73 in the vicinity of AMR is dangerous and illegal. Visitors should park only in designated lots and adhere to posted parking restrictions. Illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed and potentially towed at the owner's expense; and
  • Hikers should follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace™, and carry out what they carry in, including all gear, garbage, and food scraps. In addition, hikers should use designated toilets when available and always dispose of waste properly.

Other restrictions for recreation on the AMR Conservation Easement continue to apply. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Bicycles are not allowed past the parking area;
  • Hikers must stay on marked hiking trails;
  • Dogs are not allowed on the property;
  • Hunting, trapping, and fishing are prohibited;
  • The public is not allowed to enter on the shores, swim, or boat on any and all lakes, streams, or rivers, or cross the frozen lakes in winter;
  • Entering buildings is prohibited; and
  • Visit the Adirondack Mountain Reserve Conservation Easement Tract page on DEC's website for a full list of rules and regulations.

The pilot reservation system supports DEC's comprehensive and ongoing efforts to sustainably manage increased visitation to the High Peaks region and will provide important information to guide future land management decisions. The reservation system also complements recommendations included in the High Peaks Advisory Group's (HPAG) final report on promoting sustainable recreation in the Adirondack Park. Comprised of stakeholders with expertise in local government, recreation, natural resource protection, business, and tourism, in 2019 the HPAG was tasked with providing DEC with recommendations on how to address critical issues associated with increased public use of High Peaks resources in order to protect these areas in the short and long term, as well as for future generations. Visit the DEC website to read the report.

DEC reminds visitors that AMR is home to several popular hikes, but there are many alternative hiking opportunities in the region. Visit DEC's website for more information.

While enjoying outdoor spaces, DEC encourages visitors to continue to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL and follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/Department of Health guidelines for the preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19.

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