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  • ADK Article

    This is probably old news by meow, but there were a few interesting things that caught my eye. First and foremost, Mr. Slattery's comment seems to hit the nail on the head in terms of one of the root issues the region is facing. Why is it necessary to share every positive (and negative) experience? Anywho, I'm curious to see what other folks think, especially some of our more senior members who have witness the changes in conditions and guests first hand.

    https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/s...m_medium=email
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

  • #2
    I read that article and it was the last line that struck me as being odd:

    Sean Slattery of New Jersey, who was hiking with a half-dozen friends, said the crowds did not diminish his wilderness experience. “When you hike something it’s great to share it with other people,” he said. “What’s the point of doing something if no one else can hear about it or you can’t share it with someone else?





    Looking for Views!

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    • #3
      I read it too. I liked the common sense input from Joe Pete; and I liked the common sense input from the hikers at the end of the article.

      “It’s nice to meet other people from other places, and you bond with them over something that you love so much.”

      “Everybody up there was so friendly."

      “When you hike something it’s great to share it with other people.”

      I think MOST hikers feel this way. And I find this heartwarmingly refreshing. It's much nicer to hear this, than to hear embittered people complain about seeing another person, and how it "ruined their wilderness experience."

      As has been discussed at length on this forum, if you do not want to see people on a particular day, it's easy to go places where you will not see people. As I have pointed out many times, when you choose to trail hike a high peak, you are deliberately going to the most popular place and following a skinny thread on .001% of the land area, where 99% of the hikers travel. To do this, and then complain about seeing other people, is prima facie absurd.

      The article juxtaposes two interesting perspectives. The end of the article is common sense from actual users. But the earlier part of the article is a bunch of folks saying what a terrible problem it is that more people are hiking here. Their quotes are littered with "code words" such as "overuse", "control use" and "environmental damage." It's obvious that these folks have already made up their minds that hikers need to be chased away, before the discussion even starts. And I think they are projecting their bias onto others. These folks might be surprised if they interviewed the hikers quoted later, to find out how the majority of users actually feel.


      Comment


      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for this. I fall into the category of people who doesn't like crowds but also do not believe in limiting public access to public lands, so I hike in the evening when the the trails are more or less empty. This way I never experience crowds, just all the sh*t and trash they leave behind.

        Interestingly though, you honed in on “When you hike something it’s great to share it with other people,” while what caught my attention in that last paragraph was "“What’s the point of doing something if no one else can hear about it." I'm guessing that many of us hike solo pretty frequently and do not feel the urge to post a TR or share it on social media every single time. When I read that line my knee jerk reaction was 'Actually, the point of doing anything fun should be personal gratification; not so other people can hear about it.' Maybe this makes me a curmudgeon or a weird hippie who does things for my own reasons. I'm cool with that.

      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        Well color me curmudgeon because the point of doing something is not dependent on it being shared. There are still people who gain satisfaction from the experience itself and don't need to have it validated by others (in the moment or online).

      • autochromatica
        autochromatica commented
        Editing a comment
        We're social animals. That doesn't mean that those of us who are introverts can't enjoy some really nice solitude, but the point of our existence is a social one. Even if that just means being a great hike leader for your niece and nephew when they come up to hike. I suppose the point is that our existence isn't meant to be strictly held in isolation. It's an 'Into The Wild' statement, I guess.

    • #4
      Great post Mr. Dubois.

      Back in the pre-Ketch days I wonder how many hikers there were compared to today. A small fraction? And yet, I hear that the area was a mess, much worse than today.With education and improvements in infrastructure along with new regs the carrying capacity increased exponentially. However, the song remains the same. Overuse, damage etc. I agree that more parking would reduce the danger at the Cascade TH. It would help if there was a sign telling folks to park perpendicular to the road and not parallel. I also think the TH steward concept is an excellent initiative. Ditto all the privies.
      1111111111

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      • #5
        The concept of "carrying capacity" intrigues me. It must be tied to some kind of goal to make any sense. For example, if you say the carrying capacity of a highway is umpteen cars per hour, that's based on some goal of ensuring the free flow of traffic or how many years of use at that level before the road wears out. Exceed umpteen cars per hour and you get traffic jams and/or a prematurely worn out road.

        ​How does this translate to foot trails?
        • A 'traffic jam' on a trail is conceivable but I've never experienced it or heard reports of it in the Adirondacks. The trail to Cascade can get very busy but not to the point where you can't pass slower traffic. ADK trails aren't reaching that "carrying capacity".
        • ​Wear and tear? Once you strip away the soil and get to rocks and bedrock, the trail won't get any deeper. A hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand hikers can cross that slab and it won't be any worse for wear (hello Ridge Trail). However, all bets are off when you start walking on the edges. Now you're needlessly widening the trail. It's not really a capacity issue as much as a lack of education (i.e. garden-variety ignorance). People are walking where they shouldn't (equivalent to driving on grassy medians and gravel shoulders).
        Imagine everyone littered. There's so much trash that some people conclude the trails have reached their "carrying capacity". We need to reduce the number of hikers. Umm, no. We need to educate the hikers to stop littering.


        ​I can understand the concept of carrying capacity on a summit. There's only so much room on a peak before it looks like a penguin rookery. Most peaks have no "overflow parking" and you don't want hikers to "make some". The photo of Big Slide's summit (see article) is darn close to the rookery level. Not to my liking but I can understand how others may enjoy the camaraderie. I also wouldn't go to a popular peak like Big Slide and then carp it was too busy. Duh.


        ​Big Slide also has one of the largest open-air toilets. The woods west of its ledge are littered with feces and TP. Is that an issue of "carrying capacity" or old-fashioned ignorance?


        ​Can you tell I'm a fan of the trail steward program? Someone needs to explain the local rules and customs at the trailhead ​(before people set foot on the trail). Welcome to the Temple of the Adirondacks! Here we don't walk on the trail's edges, eat meat on Fridays, or fly drones on the summits. We do the rock-walk, handle food with our right hand, and bury our poop. Everyone thanks you for your cooperation.
        Looking for Views!

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        • #6
          I've been guilty of using the term "overuse" but not so much because I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. Its more because my sometimes lazy mind doesn't stop to consider the term and think of a better one. Maybe "misuse"? This would seem more appropriate given the total volume of people walking on the trails isn't so much the issue, its the shenanigans that people are up to while using said trails. As many have stated, the more people who walk in a single track, the closer it gets towards eroding to its rock base. The more people who walk around the muddy sections and create alternative paths, the worse the trails get.


          Hopefully the trail steward approach helps make some positive gains towards people adhering to LNT principles. The only place I've seen anyone at trailheads in an official capacity so far, other than the rangers who will occasionally chat with people at the Loj VHTH regarding winter conditions, is at the Garden. There's a young woman who counts hikers coming and going, but to the best of my knowledge doesn't actually say anything to educate hikers.

          Also, somebody please correct me if I'm trying to reach a solution to a non-problem, but there definitely seems to be a strong correlation between the folks who view becoming a 46'r as completing a one-and-done "challenge" and the people who are abusing the park out of ignorance and/or laziness. If more people knew about the roots of the program and what it means to the ADK, would people care more about how the peaks are treated? Would they ignore this particular list altogether and maybe not even dedicate themselves to hiking NY's 4Ks? Discouraging folks from hiking doesn't seem like a good thing at all, but perhaps finding a way to convey the ethics behind the list's goal would help with the "misuse."

          One other point of grievance I have is the correspondent program, since the article addressed it. After a close friend told me that his emails had gone completely unanswered since the start of the program, I created an account and asked a few questions of my own. Just cordial stuff; "how do you do?... advice on trails?" etc. My messages have also been completely ignored, although I was reassigned to a new correspondent at least once that I'm aware of.
          My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

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          • #7
            I suspect that determining carrying capacity is a "soft science". Any equations used to determine it will have a constant k, where k is highly variable.
            1111111111

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            • #8
              Last year I climbed Algonquin late in the day, as everyone else was descending. There is one spot where there was a 15-person line waiting to descend. I asked if this was the 'Hillary Step'. No one laughed.

              I could honestly just do without everyone peeing everywhere. You know you're close to a junction or summit when it starts smelling like urine. Gross.
              ADK 46/46W, Grid 232/552
              Photos & Stuff

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              • #9
                I wouldn't necessarily correlate 'one and done' with 'abusers'. Practically speaking, it's hard for me to get to the Dacks, so now that I've finished the 46 I'm going to focus on some NH and ME peaks. I like to think that I'm not an abuser, but realistically, I might not hit most of the HP ever again.
                46er #9404
                Pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/145945713@N02/
                http://www.athikerpictures.org/syste...jpg
                https://smokebeard.wordpress.com/

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by All Downhill From Here View Post
                  I wouldn't necessarily correlate 'one and done' with 'abusers'. Practically speaking, it's hard for me to get to the Dacks, so now that I've finished the 46 I'm going to focus on some NH and ME peaks. I like to think that I'm not an abuser, but realistically, I might not hit most of the HP ever again.
                  I agree about not generalizing, which is so easy to do. Neil Woodworth recently pointed a finger at Gridders (all 10 of them!) , then shortly thereafter he took aim at millenials. IMO all that achieves is making people mad.
                  1111111111

                  Comment


                  • autochromatica
                    autochromatica commented
                    Editing a comment
                    There are about 15 grid finishers now, right? There are probably about that many trying I would guess, you have to be stupid enough to want to.

                  • Neil
                    Neil commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I would be very surprised if more than 15 people are currently working on the grid. No way would there be a hundred.

                  • CatskillKev
                    CatskillKev commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Or, maybe I exaggerated. Best news I've heard all day.

                • #11
                  While most similar discussions focus on DEC-sponsored solutions (parking lots, permits, ranger-led education and enforcement), it occurs to me that the ADK 46ers organization may have it in their power to have an even greater impact on reducing misuse of trails by High Peak hikers, and with modest effort.

                  Assuming that the largest part of the misuse comes from ignorance of LNT practices and ignorance of the impact of not following them; and that it is those new to High Peak hiking that are most ignorant of these concepts; and that it is the allure of the "46er challenge", highly publicized on social media, that attracts most of the crowds to the High Peaks...

                  Then why not make LNT education and awareness a requirement of earning official 46er status?
                  The first step of your journey via the 46er correspondence webpages, before you are allowed to log your first peak - even past peaks - should be taking and passing an on-line 46-question test. The source material should be available on the website (LNT principals, DEC rules, safety, etc.), take the test as many times as you need to pass, earn a virtual "Aspiring 46er patch" upon completion (heck, they could even sell real "Aspiring" patches and decals to test-passers - I bet they would sell!)

                  At least new HP hikers would start out with the knowledge to do the right thing.

                  Further goals could be added to the web-logging process along the way. An advanced or refresher test after the first 4 peaks are logged; earn extra "virtual patches" for picking up others' trash during a hike; etc.

                  (And really, why not add a requirement for 46 hours of volunteer work to earning an official 46er number? The club was formed not just to recognize the peak-climbing achievement, but as a gathering of people interested in protecting the High Peaks.)
                  -Joe

                  Comment


                  • Neil
                    Neil commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The idea is excellent but I suspect that the 46 have gone so viral that they have pretty much gone beyond the sphere of influence the 46ers organization.

                • #12
                  Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
                  ... There is one spot where there was a 15-person line waiting to descend. I asked if this was the 'Hillary Step'. No one laughed.
                  They probably didn't know what the hell you were talking about. I meet so many people in the woods who are just not aware.

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                  • #13
                    Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
                    Last year I climbed Algonquin late in the day, as everyone else was descending. There is one spot where there was a 15-person line waiting to descend. I asked if this was the 'Hillary Step'. No one laughed..
                    Maybe it was "too soon"
                    American Climbers Confirm the Hillary Step Is Gone
                    -Joe

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                    • autochromatica
                      autochromatica commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Wow! I had no idea! Thanks for the read.

                      (I made the joke in 2016 though, before anyone knew.)

                  • #14
                    Maybe they thought it was some kind of political joke.
                    I might be kidding...

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                    • autochromatica
                      autochromatica commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Ha! I didn't think about that! But since Sir Hillary summited Everest after the candidate was born, there's no connection.

                  • #15
                    I hiked Gothics, Armstrong and Upper WJ today. We really did not see any signs or symptoms of this disease called overuse. No TP, no litter, no feces. Trail in excellent shape with very little mud, which was a nice change from Cliff 10 days ago. There were 15-20 people on Gothics including a group of 13 young'uns from Treetops camp. They looked like they were having a great time so I went over and informed them that they were ruining my wilderness experience. :-) From Upper (about 15 people on the summit) to the gate we encountered zero people. It was a beautiful Mid-July weather day.
                    1111111111

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