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DEC commissioner: Upgrade Adirondack trails to handle growing traffic

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  • DEC commissioner: Upgrade Adirondack trails to handle growing traffic

    At least they are finally admitting and acknowledging that a huge amount of work needs to be done. Whether it's ever funded, started, and someday completed is anybody's guess. Sounds somewhat encouraging though.

    https://www.northcountrypublicradio....rowing-traffic


  • #2
    About time

    Comment


    • #3
      Overuse. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

      Good on Brian Mann for bringing up the fact that with or without an uptick in tourism growth, there needs to be work done to make the trail system sustainable.

      I'm interested in what this all means. Simply throwing money at an issue isn't necessarily going to fix it. We've seen this with the Cascade re-route; the funding is there but the actual implementation appears to be moving at a glacial pace for reasons that are probably completely valid. Hopefully there's some sort of triage plan in place so that the worst areas can be targeted for updating, not just the places that more people will see and confirm that work has been done on.
      My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'll be interesting to see what's included in this year's budget. Too bad the reporter hadn't planned the interview for after Jan 21 he could have asked that question.

        And for sure I think the very first job is to address the mud wallow in the picture that accompanies the article .

        Don

        Comment


        • #5
          Just nice to hear him say something other than "overuse"!

          Comment


          • #6
            They could refer to it as an infrastructural famine.

            Comment


            • #7
              This was interesting to read. This happened faster than I expected. Below I have cross-posted from ADKForum what I wrote there about the new shuttle bus program. I expected that the shuttle bus program would create additional use, and that the ongoing abandonment of trail maintenance by the state would become the new sore point, the new squeaky wheel, and that something might finally get done in this are in, say, 2021. It's interesting to see this happening sooner. Maybe enough people have been advocating for better management that voices are finally being heard in the Albany bubble? Or maybe the ongoing failures have been so obvious, and there has been so much open ridicule of the story coming from Albany that embarrassment is driving action? I don't know. But if it's working, I say let's keep the pressure on.

              From ADKForum, regarding the shuttle bus program:


              "As I said over on ADKHighPeaks, I think this is a very encouraging development. Sure, it's piecemeal; and sure, the state continues to do absolutely no comprehensive planning. But it's "something," and that's an improvement over decades of "nothing."

              I have been advocating for at least two years for a comprehensive plan for this area. It would include: adequate safe parking and real bathrooms (buildings, not portopotties); real trailhead education (educators, not signage); restoring the Forest Ranger staff (Rangers per acre of State Land); and restoring the (largely abandoned) state trail maintenance function. I think the price tag to do this whole program right is about $100 Million.

              So this $2.4 Million is a tiny down payment, but a positive step.

              Because there is no comprehensive planning, this isolated positive step is forcing other parts of the system to scramble to get ready. How many parking spaces do we need? Where are the drivers? Do we have adequate bathrooms? These are some of the immediate issues that are being actively worked on. A lot of folks are committed to making this shuttle successful.

              Again because there is no comprehensive planning, other parts of the system will have to scramble. As DS rightly points out, this may put additional traffic on parts of the trail system. Will this require additional trail work? Will this create additional "lost hiker" rescue scenarios?

              In the perfect world, there would be a comprehensive plan, so when one piece of the system was upgraded, the other parts of the system would be prepared to work with it. But the way this is going is that one piece gets upgraded, and it creates a crisis in other parts if the system. If the crisis gets bad enough to become a "squeaky wheel," then another piece of the system may suddenly get the attention it has long needed.

              So I guess we have to live with that process. It's certainly a painful way to get things done, but oh well. I hope this positive upgrade of the shuttles becomes an ongoing program, and maybe it will gradually drive improvements to the rest of the system."

              Comment


              • CatskillKev
                CatskillKev commented
                Editing a comment
                The Essex County buses will run late enough so as not to leave hikers stranded. Well, there really is no such thing. Its not the same as having your car there waiting for you, and the buses could encourage some fancy traverses that will really have hikers running for the bus.

              • tcd
                tcd commented
                Editing a comment
                Sure, that's certainly true. Shuttles are an improvement, but not the be-all and end-all of the parking issue. I have had to remind folks several times of this. When a shuttle bus system is discussed, there are always a few folks who think: "Great, now we don't have to do anything to improve the archaic little trailhead parking areas." For any number of good reasons, a certain proportion of our visitors will want their own car to be at the trailhead. I can't know the proportion, but a shuttle does not work for 100% of the people, certainly, and we still need improved, safe, off road parking. But it's still a good step forward.

            • #8
              This might be good News. NYSDEC is looking for public input.

              https://content.govdelivery.com/acco...letins/277d157


              Comment


              • #9
                That's sort of laughable. Many people have been freely giving DEC input for several years, and DEC has been working as hard as it can to do the opposite of what the people recommend.

                Certainly, I have provided my input repeatedly, to DEC, to the new Advisory Committee, and to my elected representatives. And I urge everyone to do the same.

                But I will judge DEC's performance based on actions, not based on press releases.

                I'm hoping that if enough people push, things will move in the right direction. But I am cynical. I will wait to see it actually happen.

                Comment


                • Makwa
                  Makwa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The difference is that in the past the input was largely unsolicited. Now they are actually asking. It might not amount to anything. In all fairness, a lot of the suggestions they will get will be total crap. The balance of the ideas will be good but probably not much different than what the Advisory Group has already brainstormed. Maybe, just maybe, somebody submits a gem of an idea that nobody else has thought of. I wouldn't expect too much from the process. It'll be someplace for people to feel they have been heard and perhaps a great idea comes out of it that can be used.

                  It seems to me that over the past several months the DEC has changed a little bit and have been trying to be more collaborative. Seems genuine at this point but like you said I will wait to see if anything happens before giving them a final grade.

                • tcd
                  tcd commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I agree to some extent that there seems to be some kind of change taking place.

                  But I'm not ready to make any excuses for DEC, or give DEC an easy way out. Each UMP action solicits public input, as part of the process. And there was lots of public input to the most recent High Peaks UMP amendment, from people with opinions across the entire spectrum. Many of the opinions were well supported. But DEC steamrolled all that input via an "expedited approval process" and basically totally ignored it.

                  So my speculation is that the only reason anything is changing is because many people have been screaming as loudly as possible about the unbelievable level of mismanagement and the ridiculous false statements, and the screaming is finally loud enough to penetrate the Albany bubble.

                  So while I am a believer in measured, well written input, Albany is showing us that the only way to get an ear, is to scream.

                  To every stakeholder: Keep screaming; we are finally getting some attention.

                • Makwa
                  Makwa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don't disagree with you at all. Time will tell if this is all lip service or a real change. Hopefully the latter.

                  "So my speculation is that the only reason anything is changing is because many people have been screaming as loudly as possible about the unbelievable level of mismanagement and the ridiculous false statements, and the screaming is finally loud enough to penetrate the Albany bubble."

                  Or maybe they read the forum.
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