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  • The "Secret" Meeting

    https://www.adirondackdailyenterpris...form=hootsuite


    So, DEC held a private meeting to discuss High Peaks parking. They tried to keep it secret so that the press wouldn't show up.

    Curious if anyone here attended and how was the experience?

    In my opinion, this isn't about "overcrowding" but rather NYS trying to figure out a way to dig deeper into your pockets.

    The article claims that most were in favor of a permit program. Considering there's no gate around the park, I think permits would be tough to enforce and if they come at a price - they're elitist. Also, hiking in the ADK has had booms and periods where hiking isn't as popular... Will we really need permits in the "down periods?"

  • #2
    I knew about this meeting in advance, as a member of one of the "stakeholder" organizations, although I did not get an invite to attend.

    The meeting structure was pathetic. The agenda was sprung on the attendees at the last minute. The outcomes were pre-programmed, and therefore are stupid and add no value. I think the entire thing was designed not to take money (NY already does enough of that as the highest tax state in the nation), but to provide political cover for the incredibly botched program in the High Peaks.

    My input to the 5 agenda items was as follows:

    ">Assessing Use Providing for Safety in the Interior - Hire more Rangers, for God's sake. And let them be in the Interior, not doing parking enforcement.

    >Transit Study & Shuttle - Never going to happen - this is just pablum for public appeasement. Instead, build more safe parking.

    >Permits - Never going to happen - there is no will to hire the resources needed to enforce this. Instead, manage the resource with parking, Educational Stewards, trail improvement, and Rangers.

    >Education and Outreach - Hire full time, paid Trailhead Stewards for the major trailheads. Stop wasting time and money on kiosks with signs no one looks at.

    >Sustainable Trail Construction and Maintenance - restore the funding for the State trail maintenance crews, which has been withered away for decades. Stop wasting time and money building a brand new 3X longer trail to Cascade."



    I will add, all this has been obvious for years. Everything the state is doing is fabulously wrong-headed; exactly the opposite of what needs to be done in every case. And I sincerely doubt that my input was listened to. But as I have pointed out in another thread, if you keep "Cuomo 2024" in mind, and look at how this ignorant mismanagement might be sold in other parts of the country as a "green success" you can figure out why this is happening.

    Comment


    • Learning The Trails
      Editing a comment
      I agree with your five points & get that it's cover for botching pretty much everything but I still think NYS is trying to dig deeper in our pockets. Especially when they've heard people say "charge em" in regards to hikers.

      Did you get to say those things or did you have to write them down?
      Was the poll a strict multiple choice (article makes it sound that way).

    • tcd
      tcd commented
      Editing a comment
      No, I was not at the meeting. I did convey these thought to people that attended, and I have conveyed these thoughts to my elected reps.

      Don't think anyone in Albany is listening. Honestly, I don't think anyone in Albany including my reps gives a rats ass about any of this. So it will go as it goes.

      Thankfully I'm done with list hiking; most of my hikes are bushwhacks, I live here and I am retired. So this ridiculous circus that Albany is creating has no effect on me personally. But I feel bad for the community and its tourist economy, and for our guests who are finding that after all the promotion, they are not welcome in the Adirondacks.

  • #3
    I was invited to a similar stakeholder meeting regarding overuse while I was doing project 100. I replied that I was too busy overusing the HP's to attend.
    Haha! Not true but I at least sent them a message detailing what I indicated was an infrastructural deficiency problem, not an overuse problem. I assume that my missive was entered into the round file.

    Comment


    • Learning The Trails
      Editing a comment
      Exactly! Saying words like "overuse" & "overcrowded" is placing blame on hikers.
      - Hikers weren't the ones who chose to put in minimal resources into the High Peaks... NYS & DEC made that choice.
      - Hikers weren't the ones who chose to keep 21 High Peaks "un-trailed."... NYS & DEC made that choice.

      -Hikers were the ones who chose to take on the task of doing trail work, maintaining the "un-maintained trails", establishing stewardship programs among other things.

      The High Peaks aren't "overused." They've been mismanaged, neglected & virtually ignored by NYS & DEC. So, it's rather disappointing that NYS DEC is holding private meeting & aren't interested in input from hikers.

  • #4
    New article... https://www.adirondackdailyenterpris...-73-conundrum/


    Comment


    • #5
      “There was a clear consensus for taking a comprehensive approach, for dedicating new funds and for testing a permit system, even though support was not unanimous,” said Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council.

      So it was a clear consensus but not unanimous; interesting phrasing. Mr. Janeway, can you please make any attempt at all to hide your own agenda? He really likes for people to not realize how he’s as much a part of the “overuse” problem as anyone else, and due to his ability to access the area locally via private property, would most likely never be subject to to any proposed permit system.

      I apologize if calling him out by name breaks any Forum rules or goes against other social constructs. After several interactions with his staff in which they intentionally failed to address any real concerns over the state’s mishandling of this public land area or how they cherry pick “evidence of overcrowding” by publishing pictures from one trail head on a holiday weekend and sections of unmaintained herd paths that follow drainages, I cannot stifle my contempt for that organization anymore. They’ll sell out faster than gender neutral avocado toast and positive energy spirit crystals at a Sarah McLachlan concert if it means obtaining tax payer funding via the governor’s office for any cause that they deem worthy of bragging about on their website. IIRC they touted the revitalization grant issued to Saranac Lake as a huge success for themselves on social media. The purpose of that grant? Boosting tourism. Anyone seen the condition of some of that area’s more popular trails? Not good.

      Here’s part of their mission statement: “Embracing responsibility for partnering, securing diverse state-wide support for a well-managed, protected Adirondacks, helping to inform the press and the public about Adirondack issues, and holding government agencies accountable will preserve the environment in harmony with resilient human communities for generations to come.”

      Strangely enough, they have not once publicly called out or “held accountable” NYS for its push to get tourism into the area or is failure to fund conservation efforts by increasing stewardship, Ranger staffing, or trail infrastructure. In fact, in a recent Tweet they more or less told tourists to go somewhere else. Meanwhile they continue to push their virtually meaningless “donate to help us fight acid rain” campaign (which is a long standing federal issue) while doing nothing about the immediate and local issue of road salt... which BTW is just about the only thing that’s actually being “over used” in the High Peaks.
      My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

      Comment


      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Makwa You’re right.

        In science classes we were always warned about testing multiple variable and how it mucks up the results. It sounds like that’s what is is happening now. So there are some new no parking zones as of last year and this year. It appears to be a done deal; no take backsies. There’s also new regs taking place in 2020 to limit environmental impact and negative wildlife encounters. OK then. Let’s see what the outcome is before adding new restrictive layers. The one thing I really hope NY can accomplish sooner than later is increasing Ranger staffing. They’ve been quite literally begging for the help, so hopefully they get it.

      • Fat Man Hiking
        Fat Man Hiking commented
        Editing a comment
        There are plenty of examples out there of doing something now for the sake of doing something that ended up being a really bad idea. Every time something bad happens in the news there's seemingly always an all too quick reaction to infringe on an innocent someone's rights to "fix" the problem. At the same time I can empathize with your frustration. Who wants to bet that the fad of hiking in the woods and tagging summits will be over and things return to pre tourist boom normal about five minutes after the "right thing" has been done? I can guarantee that a permit system will keep at least one person off the trails. And probably some of my friends too.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        I totally get what you're saying. I'm not asking for a knee jerk reaction to a sudden development. "Fixing" something that doesn't need to be fixed to placate people after a unforeseeable one-off situation has temporarily upset the status quo is usually a bad idea. You don't make new rules after the one exception occurs one time. But this situation has been developing for decades and nobody has done anything. I'm just demanding that somebody does their job and gets to fixing it. You don't get to drag your feet for twenty years and then throw your hands up in the air and declare a problem unsolvable after you've made it worse with the short-term solutions you've implemented. It's beyond belief.

        And yes... a permit system will be a disaster and will keep people off the trails. Not a huge disaster or a huge percentage of folks, but a small one where 2 or 3 or 5% of the people will never come back. But that's enough to cripple local economies.

    • #6
      I say sell the advertising rights to each peak and use the money to fix the trails to that peak! Like "Mount Marcy brought to you by Walmart!" The lean-tos could be supported by Home Depot! The Privies by American Standard! The advertising rights parking lots could be sold off too!
      Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
      ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

      Comment


      • Charlene 2.0
        Charlene 2.0 commented
        Editing a comment
        Don't give them any ideas...

    • #7
      Allen Mountain trail brought to you by Advil!
      Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
      ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

      Comment


      • #8
        The Adirondack Almanack ran a story on this yesterday and included the results of the poll conducted at the meeting. "Expanding parking" is tied for 2nd place and seems like a more practical solution than a "permit pilot program" or the development of a "comprehensive plan".

        Edit: the graph doesn't show well, so here's the link to the article: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2...y-permits.html
        Click image for larger version  Name:	high-peaks-overuse-graphics.png Views:	0 Size:	45.9 KB ID:	499971

        Comment


        • #9
          Useful link. Thanks!

          This is the first time I have seen the actual poll design and the actual data, as opposed to everyone's "spin" on the results.

          I know something about polls and about collecting and analyzing data. This poll and its results are mostly meaningless.

          >Polling across this many (22!) categories basically yields a flat line. There is no "clear consensus" - that's just BS.

          >By including 4 subcategories in some topics and 5 in others, you get the "market basket effect" which make the data impossible to compare.

          >Many of the categories duplicate each other and therefore are subject to the "split vote" effect.

          I would say the only useful result from analyzing this poll can be found when comparing to the actual "management actions" that are taking place, that this poll result is supposed to help guide. The poll features a huge storm of potential actions that Albany is never actually going to do. Poll results regarding all those "proposed actions" with no details, where people cannot see what the actions would look like in the real world, don't really mean anything more than a poorly thought-out wish list.

          But in the real world, the ONLY action Albany IS doing, right now, is reducing parking, very aggressively. So if you use the poll to judge the focus group's beliefs regarding real, actual "management actions" that they can see on the ground, the results are clear: Albany is racing to implement exactly the opposite of what the group says. I think everyone who attended this "meeting" with a good heart, truly hoping to improve things, was betrayed. Again.

          Comment


          • Makwa
            Makwa commented
            Editing a comment
            Only 9 more "busy" weekends left this peak season then Columbus Day on Monday, October 14. Obviously nothing will get done this year. Then attention will turn away from this issue and nobody will work on anything all winter and into next spring. Then all of sudden hikers will start showing up again and more meetings will be held and nothing will get done in 2020 either. If the end result of all of this is a crummy permit program it's a major fail at every level in NYS.

            Why not work backward from how much money NYS is willing to burn to "fix" the supposed issue then come up with ideas on how to work within that budget. All the talk, pie-in-the-sky ideas, and wish lists are just silly if NYS won't pony up the cash.

          • gebby
            gebby commented
            Editing a comment
            Good points tcd . Even with manipulating the poll as you've pointed out, they barely came out with the desired result(permits), above what the common man is clamoring for(more parking).

        • #10
          Originally posted by tcd View Post
          There is no "clear consensus" - that's just BS.
          And if a consensus, a consensus of who? Even a high level breakdown of groups/representatives is omitted from every news article.

          Comment


          • tcd
            tcd commented
            Editing a comment
            You're right, certainly.

            As I've said before, Albany is going to do what they've decided to do. The direction for this comes from the very top (think "Cuomo Campaign 2024" and it becomes clearer). This meeting's only purpose was to try to provide political cover for the actions that are being taken anyway, regardless of "public" input.

          • Hear the Footsteps
            Hear the Footsteps commented
            Editing a comment
            You've certainly nailed the Governors MO.

        • #11
          Tourism is about money. Serious hikers are not tourists. Tourism values tourists over hikers. Maybe that explains the disconnect. Maybe some of the Cuomo stuff is a smoke screen to confuse us, which I think tcd just alluded to, also.
          I might be kidding...

          Comment


          • #12
            I have to assume I’m not alone in saying this, but those charts are maddening.

            If you’re going to address an issue, one must first start with a question, is there an issue? If there is, one must ID said issue. In this case the High Peaks region has a few issues. Trail erosion, which is primarily focused on herd paths, and isolated to other areas as a results of misuse. Parking, not every agreed that this was an issue before it was declared an issue and action was taken. Increasing visitors, OK. Is this a bad thing? Need for more Rangers, yes. Need for more stewardship, yes. Need for more trail maintenance, yes. This all comes down to state funding and local allocation and implementation.

            Why then, was this data automatically released with the title “Addressing Overuse…” Where did this “overuse” hypothesis stem from, and why wasn’t it tested before the non-representative powers to be started speaking for everyone else? Raise your hand if you elected anyone who attended that meeting to speak for you. Not many hands…

            There must be a clear and present problem before testing solutions, and those solutions must be observed before introducing more solutions; see my response above about variables.

            The fact that outdoor recreationists were simply told that there is a problem and then given the murky Cliff's Notes to a secret meeting to discuss a bunch of solutions that very few people asked for, well, this is basically how certain regimes have caused some notoriously bad situations around the world previously.

            Here's one problem that I've identified: People who identify themselves as a 46'r on their public organizational bio (not referring to Forum members) or basically advertising for the organization by sporting their merch, and are actively advocating to make it harder for other people to do the same by proposing ideas like permits to restrict public land access. When I pull into the HPIC parking lot and see the same familiar faces standing behind their cars with the sticker on them, wearing hats or tees with the logo on them, or wearing packs with the patch on them, and are shaking their heads and complaining over "all these crowds of people showing up," it makes me furious. Who do they think is really attracting "all these crowds"? This behavior doesn't seem like they're upholding the 46'r's mission statement involving stewardship. It looks more like they're being elitist and wishing the door had slammed shut behind them.
            My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

            Comment


            • FoulHooked
              FoulHooked commented
              Editing a comment
              "When I pull into the HPIC parking lot and see the same familiar faces standing behind their cars with the sticker on them, wearing hats or tees with the logo on them, or wearing packs with the patch on them, and are shaking their heads and complaining over "all these crowds of people showing up," it makes me furious. Who do they think is really attracting "all these crowds"?"

              kinda reminds me of the old adage..."you're not stuck IN traffic, you ARE traffic"

            • gebby
              gebby commented
              Editing a comment
              Well FlyFishingandBeer if you've seen me in the parking lot with a 46er patch or hat, I'm not shaking my head wondering where crowds of people are coming from. I totally get why people want to be out there in nature. It's why I wanted to be there and I begrudge no one the experience I had the opportunity to have. I've brought it up on several 46er forums and in discussions with other 46ers that traffic is driven to the High Peaks because of the patch and thus the 46ers are responsible for some of this increased traffic. I think if the 46er organization is for restricted parking to reduce numbers of people then they could do their part to cut down on annual finishing numbers by requiring 46 hours of volunteering on trail work or trail head steward before you get your patch. I know that would change it from just a hiking achievement, but that is what it is supposed to be. It's just that in these social media influenced times, it seems the sole focus of the majority of new 46ers is the attainment of the patch and then it is on to the next patch. I know I have heard it from one trail master that he would not want to be out there supervising people who are not there willingly, so there is that. But I am not in charge, so......

            • tcd
              tcd commented
              Editing a comment
              Agree with you guys.

              People are out here mostly to have fun, and that's a good thing, unless you're one of those miserable malcontents who cannot stand to see other people have fun, and there are more of those folks than you can believe.

              And the "I got mine, screw the late comer" mentality is strong. Decades ago, I hiked with a young kid who had just completed his 46 (including illegally biking the Op road for Allen). He was rabid, now that he was done, to shut the place down for everyone else: "Close the Lake Road! Close the Loj!" etc...

              Sadly, that mentality is still alive and well, in people old enough to know better...

          • #13
            Originally posted by CatskillKev View Post
            Serious hikers are not tourists.
            Disagree. I'd consider myself both, or would, if I considered hiking to be a "serious" thing.
            I come from 220 km away and don't always day trip. I hike, climb slides, bushwhack (does that constitute "serious" hiking?), do a bit of trailwork, and when I'm done doing that, I sleep in the hotel beds, skate on the lake, drink in the bars and eat in the restaurants. And sometimes shop. Even if I day trip, I might, and usually do, drop money on a tank of gas, or food at Stewarts, and once or twice, the local car repair shop.
            Just sayin'.

            Comment


            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              Likewise. Unless I'm pressed for time or are out on a sunset/night hike, you can usually find me at the Pickled Pig or Cascade Ski Center after a day of hiking. One way or another, my money ends up being spent at the same local businesses used by other hikers, climbers, shoppers, athletes, media representatives, lobbyists, and anyone else who swipes a card, uses a gift cert., or hands over cash in the LP/Keene/KV area.

            • Charlene 2.0
              Charlene 2.0 commented
              Editing a comment
              And let's not forget those charity jars at the cash registers. I've contributed to the local animal shelter and some kid with cancer needing treatment, among others...

            • CatskillKev
              CatskillKev commented
              Editing a comment
              Just throwin' it out there. I don't claim to understand tourists.

          • #14
            Originally posted by CatskillKev View Post
            Tourism is about money. Serious hikers are not tourists.
            According to my estimates I have spent around $4K on ADK lodging.
            Do these $4K count as money?

            Comment


            • CatskillKev
              CatskillKev commented
              Editing a comment
              I do know there is a lot of consumerism that goes into Adirondack hiking, if you don't live even as close as Albany, so yeah, you're a tourist. Congratulations.

          • #15
            This link to a video popped up on my Facebook yesterday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ8oMniYzx8&t=142s

            Comment

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