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Essex County to run free High Peaks trail buses this summer

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  • #16
    "Free" isn't the right term. "At no further cost to passengers" is a better one. The $1.2M start-up cost to the state (aka, most of us on this forum) is a very positive usage of funding. Still, given all that's needed in the area, $1.2M is a drop in the bucket when one considers the $14M the state is giving to Whiteface to rebuild the Midstation snack bar, another $10M for the new drone training arena, the $9.7M for Saranac Lake for their laundry list of community upgrades, and ~$20M to open that f- campsite/rest area/theme park.

    "Hey, relax man, this is great news! No need to sound bitter." Ok, it's good news. Its also chump change for a state that over-taxes everyone so they can use those funds for meaningless BS like putting blue tourism signs all over the place to the tune of $8M. This deal with the buses could have been done years ago for what little its costing and may have helped to prevent a substantial portion, if not the majority of the drama we're seeing between the greens/lobbyists, DEC, Rangers, social media, AMR, and anyone else with an internet connection and/or a voice. Unpopular opinion: from where I'm standing this appears to be disingenuous pacification.

    Hey, you know what? Its a step in the right direction. It helps solve the parking issue that NYS allowed to happen and maybe now it gives WJ a centralized location, Marcy Field, to creepily video families prepping their gear to go enjoy nature so he can publicly shame them later on Twitter.

    "Hallelujah, holy sh-, where's the Tylenol."

    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


    • #17
      Important News;

      Last edited by Dave Bourque; 01-13-2020, 08:47 AM.


      • Dave Bourque
        Dave Bourque commented
        Editing a comment
        From Adirondack Explorer;

        Hiker shuttle buses will serve popular High Peaks trailheads this summer under an agreement between the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and Essex County.

        As planned, the state will pay $1.2 million for four 24-passenger buses and their operation, including at least eight drivers. The buses will be folded into the county’s existing transit system, said Shaun Gillilland, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors. The supervisors unanimously approved the plan on Monday.

        Gillilland said the shuttles would operate 16 hours a day and pass every Route 73 trailhead once every half hour. The county wanted to provide frequent service, he said, and late enough that “we won’t be leaving hikers in the woods.”

        “If it says ‘Essex County’ on the side of those buses,” he said, “it’s going to be robust.”

        Under the current plan, ridership would be free. “The DEC wants to make this work, so based on how it is now, this will be a non-paying system,” he said.

        The routes will begin at Marcy Field, where the Town of Keene already operates a shuttle to The Garden trailhead, one of the three busiest entry points into the High Peaks. Keene will continue to run its town shuttle independent of the new county routes, Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson said.

        County buses will circulate southeast to the vicinity of the intersection of Routes 73 and 9 — popularly if uncharitably known as Malfunction Junction. The other route will go west to the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic sports complex. Hikers will have access to roadside trailheads heading to the High Peaks of Cascade, Porter, Giant and Dix, as well as St. Huberts, where a wealth of trails from the Ausable Club lead into the High Peaks interior. It will also pass lesser mountains with popular trails, such as Pitchoff, Hopkins and Rooster Comb.

        Wilson said the plan is for the shuttles to run most days from the end of school in June through Labor Day, and then on weekends and holidays in the fall. The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and the Adirondack Mountain Club will publicize the network, he said.

        “We’re glad to have the state jumping in with some substantial support,” he said, adding that the shuttles will dovetail nicely with the town’s front-country steward program, which was also the recipient of a state grant late last year.

        Front-country stewards are stationed in parking lots and offer route suggestions, as well as ensuring hikers are adequately prepared for the trip they have in mind. “They’re a captive audience while they’re waiting for the shuttle,” Wilson said.

        Wilson said he does not expect shuttles will necessarily alleviate crowded conditions on the trails, but he believes it will make Keene Valley significantly “safer and more user-friendly” by reducing the number of hikers walking a mile or two along the highway to get to their cars.

      • Dave Bourque
        Dave Bourque commented
        Editing a comment
        I now see that this was already posted. Sorry

    • #18
      This is great news. Just think, even on a summer weekend you will be able to access any of your favorite trailheads without worrying about parking. No worries about having to get a very early start or getting out of the woods late. Even if it ends up not being free I'd be glad to pay for this service. At each trailhead a couple of existing parking spots can be designated for bus parking only. Tony's idea of also utilizing the Mt. Van Hoevenberg parking makes a lot of sense. As far as parking capacity at Marcy Field, this area was once used for parking during the Olympics. It shouldn't be hard to add more spaces.


      • #19
        Now if they'd add even once a day (or week, one northbound Friday afternoon and one southbound Sunday) service to Westport Amtrak, or another transit connection out of the high peaks region
        ADK 46*/46 CATS 5/35 FT 4/28 Saranac 0/6 Bristol 6/6


        • MTVhike
          MTVhike commented
          Editing a comment
          Great idea, Bill. I do have a friend who is an Uber driver in Elizabethtown who could help.