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New Cascade Trail Status, 24 July 2019

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  • #16
    Individuals wondering about "a shorter trail to Allen" did not dream this up on their own. There was much talk of this from the State and in the press in 2015 when these lands were first purchased.

    From Cuomo's press release: "The acquisition of the MacIntyre East property, which abuts the High Peaks Wilderness Area and working forest conservation easements, will improve southern access to the High Peaks, one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in New York...In addition, the State will explore the potential to develop new trails to Allen Mountain and other High Peaks."

    From the Press-Republican: "DEC is beginning to explore the addition of new trails on the property, according to Cuomo’s news release. The trails would likely lead to Allen Mountain, the 26th-highest peak in the state and part of the Great Range. It is known among hikers as the most difficult of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, with a long hike in and back taking 18 hours with an overnight camp."

    From the Adirondack Almanac: "The road penetrates deep into the MacIntyre East tract. If it were kept open, hikers could enjoy easier access to Allen Mountain, one of remotest of the High Peaks. Typically, people going to the 4,340-foot summit start near Upper Works and endure an eighteen-mile round trip. The end of the dirt road (as shown on maps) comes within two miles of Allen’s summit. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will look into building new trails to Allen and other High Peaks."


    This initial publicity was the fuel for the speculation that has continued.





    Comment


    • #17
      I should add, however, that the route could be significantly improved by making plainer a series of roads that lead from the Opalescent bridge to the gravel lumber road system on the south side of Dudley Brook. The gravel roads end at a crossing of Dudley Brook above its confluence with Skylight Brook. After crossing Dudley Brook, there is an older road that parallels Skylight Brook to a junction with the current herd path route. Those of a "certain age" will remember this as the pre-1975 route before the leaseholders and Finch Pruyn decreed that hikers were no longer welcome to use this approach over private land. I used this route two years ago, so it's not just theoretical.

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      • #18
        Sorry that this thread has been hijacked to a discussion of Allen access, so perhaps I shouldn't even respond. However, the qualifiers "explore" and "potential" should have indicated that, at that time, there was no official plan.

        Comment


        • #19
          New Cascade Trail -- Lack of Progress Report

          No work on the new Cascade trail has been done in 2020. The 0.8 mile finished section along the southern boundary of the ski area, which I saw last October, has not been extended. The temporary route from the Biathlon parking area through the ski area is now better marked and easier to follow with yellow hiking trail disks.

          On the left side of the map, shown in red, is the first new Mount Van Hoevenberg trail which was opened with great publicity and fanfare in the fall of 2018. The part of it north of the hairpin turn is closed due to construction. The section west (above) the hairpin (where the Cascade trail starts) is being mostly replaced by a second new trail with lower slope contouring around the mountain (not shown). Building this section has involved a large amount of rock work and massive rock in places. The section to the summit has not been completed but it appears to approach the summit from the west side, unlike the first new trail which approaches from the east side. Hikers are currently directed by flagging on the first new trail.

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          • Hear the Footsteps
            Hear the Footsteps commented
            Editing a comment
            JoeCedar, I suppose this means we have an old new trail in the Santanonis and now a new old trail on Mt Van, though perhaps short lived.

          • tcd
            tcd commented
            Editing a comment
            Joe, thanks for the update.

            This situation was laughably predictable, sadly. From my post in the other thread:

            "I never expected the new trail to Cascade to be completed. I stated in the earlier thread that that plan was just for show, to satisfy a certain constituency, and that there was no intent to actually complete it. I expect that is even more the case now."

        • #20
          Originally posted by tgoodwin View Post
          I should add, however, that the route could be significantly improved by making plainer a series of roads that lead from the Opalescent bridge to the gravel lumber road system on the south side of Dudley Brook. The gravel roads end at a crossing of Dudley Brook above its confluence with Skylight Brook. After crossing Dudley Brook, there is an older road that parallels Skylight Brook to a junction with the current herd path route. Those of a "certain age" will remember this as the pre-1975 route before the leaseholders and Finch Pruyn decreed that hikers were no longer welcome to use this approach over private land. I used this route two years ago, so it's not just theoretical.
          Update on the spur road South of Dudley Brook

          I'd hiked Allen a couple weeks ago and the found the gravel lumber road on south side of Dudley Brook was being Re-Naturalized. Re-naturalized is the term used by the people that just happened to be working there the day I passed through.

          What is Re-naturalizing. It meant that a front loader was driven in and used to dig holes in the road leaving a dugout and a pile of rock and soil. I was calling them divots, or maybe sand traps, since I used to golf lots that name made sense to me. The holes go all the way across and beyond the road bed. The spacing of the holes is pretty short; 20-30 yards gap. The only place not touched was the large grassy opening close to the Opalescent. The workers were putting debris in the holes, such as leaves, long pieces of tree trunks of dead trees pulled out of the woods. Many places a small tall tree adjacent was felled into the holes. I called the walk a pain in the neck. The work had been going fast as on the way in not much debris had been placed but on the way out they were more than 1/2 done.

          They had driven the loader up the (Adirondack Park) road north from the huge clearing where a building once stood. I saw wheel depressions of the wide track loader there. It had partly filled in a small culvert that had washed out (washout awhile ago). They couldn't go far up the road because the next culvert was nearby. Flooding (pretty sure this <1 year old, perhaps the Halloween Flooding) had totally scoured this culvert washing out a 3' corrugated steel pipe moving it downstream and leaving a trench 6 foot deep trench.

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          • #21
            Thanks for the update on the road south of Dudley Brook. With all of the other unmet maintenance on trails, I am dismayed that this was a priority project for the DEC.

            Comment


            • tcd
              tcd commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree, terribly misplaced priorities. Not sure why, but "follow the money" is probably a good starting point.

          • #22
            Click image for larger version  Name:	VanHoevenberg.jpg Views:	0 Size:	25.1 KB ID:	507699
            When I came down from Van Hoevenberg in October of 2019, the trail was still under construction (I think that was near the hairpin). There were signs, I think near Hi Notch, warning about explosives. This is the purple track on this GAIA map. (The orange/red track is an XC ski trip I had made earlier). It's a little difficult to compare with Joe's map, but I think my route followed his black trail from the hairpin to the biathlon parking area.
            Regarding my map image, I pasted it as "fullsize", which is 2797 x 1662 pixels, why was it reduced so much?
            Attached Files
            Last edited by MTVhike; 07-22-2020, 08:21 AM. Reason: Added last paragraph
            Mike

            ADK 46r #8003; 6W
            2nd round: 16
            SL6r #596
            Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

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            • Learning The Trails
              Learning The Trails commented
              Editing a comment
              I've noticed a major drop in photo upload quality on this site as well.

          • #23
            Will it be paved? I'd hate to get my Sunday go to meeting shoes dirty.

            Comment


            • tcd
              tcd commented
              Editing a comment
              No, the state used up all the pavement paving the trail at the exit 29 campground, that is totally deserted.

              And regarding paved trails - sometimes it's the right thing to do, to protect the resource. In 1999, we were with a friend at Paradise, on Mount Rainier. Paradise is the big parking area and park service building where most people start whatever journey they are doing on Mount Rainier.

              We had no big plans, but we hiked a ways up the trail towards Muir, up to snow line so we could see the scenery and play around practicing self-arrest.

              I was surprised to see that the trail on Mount Rainier is, in fact, fully paved. (I'm not talking gravel or crushed stone, but good, solid blacktop that you could drive on.)

              Coming from my twisted-up Northeastern "oh my God, isn't this the 'wilderness'" viewpoint, I challenged my friend on this. He explained that being near a big population center, there are three choices:

              >GREATLY limit use, which would disenfranchise thousands of people who are legitimate "owners" of this resource;

              >Leave the trail as is, and let it become a waist deep mud rut;

              >Or pave it.

              So they paved it, and everyone can enjoy it. (Now if you are an ardent "wilderness advocate" you can sit home angry, knowing that that trail is paved. But that decision worked the best for the most people.)

              It took a while, but we have reached the point of needing to make simple, hard decisions like this in the Adirondack High Peaks. And our decision makers are doing an absolutely lousy job of it.

            • Old Hunter
              Old Hunter commented
              Editing a comment
              TCD-I never saw your post until tonight. I do find it interesting. Thanks.

          • #24
            Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
            New Cascade Trail -- Lack of Progress Report

            The section west [To Mt Van Hoevenberg] (above) the hairpin (where the Cascade trail starts) is being mostly replaced by a second new trail with lower slope contouring around the mountain (not shown). Building this section has involved a large amount of rock work and massive rock in places. The section to the summit has not been completed but it appears to approach the summit from the west side, unlike the first new trail which approaches from the east side. Hikers are currently directed by flagging on the first new trail.
            Hi Joe,
            Was at Mt Van today. You had said large and massive but hadn't mentioned the detail involved with the rock work. I climbed 110 new steps and figure there might be as many and 200 when done. The crew making the steps are quarrying the rock and using rock drills to break the rock at right angles. The steps are pretty uniform. Two crews were working. On on the steps and another on the first big ledge spreading the rock that had been lifted in supersacks. The new trail intersected the trail from the bob run a bit lower elevation that before. Some flagging suggested the new trail might continue and get to the first big ledge either from the North or possibly the West as you suggested in your note.

            Don

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            • #25
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ID:	508553 Don's description of the work being done on the new Van Hoevenberg trail is accurate, but you need a few photos to really appreciate it. These were taken last week. Because of State contract provisions, the workers on this project have to be paid the "prevailing wage" for the area. There not being any category for "trail workers", they are being paid the prevailing wage for highway construction work, which works out to over $40/hour.

              There is no work being done this year on the new Cascade trail, but these crews may come close to finishing this trail to Mt. Van Hoevenberg this season. While i continue to be skeptical of this whole project, this seems like a reasonable decision to at least finish this "easier" trail.

              Last fall, I was on a Northeast Alpine Summit Stewardship conference field trip that was a tour of what had so far been completed on the Cascade trail. The attendees from New Hampshire repeatedly asked what the costs had been, but the DEC forester leading the tour just said, "...we haven't had a chance to add it all up yet...." So who knows what this effort is costing to produce one trail to a standard that can not likely ever be repeated.

              Comment


              • gebby
                gebby commented
                Editing a comment
                $40/hour? Get ready for those permits and restriction to access! There is no way the state is ever going to have the money to bring all the trails in the High Peaks up to Cascade/Van Ho standard.

              • tcd
                tcd commented
                Editing a comment
                This goes to the point I made in the "Sad State" thread. The state could have upgraded the existing Cascade trail to handle the use level with a FAR smaller investment. Even with the high labor rates, that would have been affordable.

                VERY bad decision making going on regarding where to spend resources:

                >The Cascade debacle;
                >Wasting millions at exit 29 while doing nothing where work is actually needed;
                >Wasting resources digging holes along Dudley Brook.

                I do not know how these decisions are being made. I used to think decision makers sitting in Albany offices were detached from the reality in the woods; or were simply stupid. But these decisions are so strikingly stupid that I can't believe anyone could be that detached, or dumb.

                I think there's a money trail. We'll probably never find out, but there's got to be money flows involving contracting companies, unions, big donors and politicians. This level of bad decision making just cannot happen by accident.

              • Hear the Footsteps
                Hear the Footsteps commented
                Editing a comment
                SeaLevel. The ORDA projects were previously announced as the upgrades to host the 2023 World University Games. The existing buildings date from the 1980 Olympics. The Bob/Luge track is a more recent update.

            • #26
              A couple of other things that have made "diverting" people to Hurricane work out ok is the Friends of Hurricane Fire Tower. This group maintains the trails. No matter how well engineered a trail is, things change in the forest. Trees fall, heavy downpours happen, leaves fall, ice and snow happens. Friends of Hurricane address these issues immediately. The work this group does on keeping up with the maintenance is a big reason why the trail there is keeping up with the increased traffic. Additionally, they provide education in the form of a fire tower steward in the months with heavy traffic. This steward is sometimes paid and is sometimes a volunteer. But their presence shows in how visitors conduct themselves on this trail and others. And finally, there is a privy near tree line at Hurricane, assisting with the management of human waste. When you put this all together, visitors conduct themselves very differently and the affect on the trail and the summit environment is limited. If our high peak trails had the same kind of maintenance, stewardship, and privies they too would handle the visitor traffic better.

              Comment


              • tcd
                tcd commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes! Proud member! It's my "local mountain." I enjoy helping keep the trail in good shape.

                If we do get any attention from the state, I think the first thing we need is Front Country Stewards. The Summit / Tower Steward position is worthwhile, but the reality is that by the time hikers encounter a steward at the top of the mountain, any damage they are going to do is already done. Where we really need the education is at the roadside, immediately before people go into the woods.

            • #27
              I'd like to see anyone not familiar with said privy find it these days!
              Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

              Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
              Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
              Past President Catskill 3500 Club
              CEO Views And Brews!

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              • #28
                Originally posted by TFR View Post
                I'd like to see anyone not familiar with said privy find it these days!
                Yeah, the sign was stolen about two years ago and not replaced.


                Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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