The High Peaks are crowded, so the DEC would like to promote "sustainable tourism" in the Adirondacks

high peaks Mt. Marcy summit credit Casey Normile

The summit of Mt. Marcy. / photo: Casey Normile

The Adirondacks -- the High Peaks especially -- have been a very popular spot for hikers over the last decade or so. And that's resulted in all sorts of related issues, from crowding to trash to parking problems.

This week the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced it's taking up "a multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism, and address public safety in the Adirondacks." Press release blurbage (emphasis added):

Popular destinations on DEC lands within the Adirondack Park such as the High Peaks, Dix, Giant and Hurricane Wildernesses, Baxter Mountain, and the Saranac Lake 6'er peaks, are attracting an unprecedented number of users.
To improve public safety and reduce impacts to natural resources in the area, DEC held four focus group meetings this past winter to generate ideas and information to support recommendations, particularly to address overuse challenges in the High Peaks region and the Route 73 corridor between Exit 30 of the Northway and Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. The meetings were held in partnership with the towns of Keene and North Elba and involved a wide range of stakeholders. With input from DEC land managers, the meetings helped the agency identify specific strategies and actions to be taken in 2018 and 2019.
Actions along the Route 73 corridor are scheduled to start during the July 4th holiday week and are being implemented with state agency partners and municipalities. The first phase of actions include:
+ Striping parking spots in designated parking lots;
+ Increasing the number of portable bathrooms along the corridor;
+ Installing kiosks along the corridor that provide information on nearby, under-utilized alternate hiking opportunities;
+ Installing electronic variable messaging boards along the corridor directing hikers to the kiosks:
+ King Phillips Spring Pull-off (Northway Exit 30)
+ Marcy Field in Keene
+ Olympic Regional Development Authority's (ORDA) Mt. VanHoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex
+ Installing displays which provide information on nearby underutilized alternate hiking opportunities at two other locations:
+ Northbound High Peaks Rest Area
+ Lake Placid Visitor Information Center
By the end of July, roadside parking will be prohibited in areas around parking spots and along the roadside in certain areas adjacent to roadside parking lots when necessary to improve line of sight for drivers.

That press release also details plans for new trailheads and traffic management.

In recent years the DEC has, at times, recommended that people not hike the High Peaks because of overcrowding. As a gear store owner in Keene told Syracuse.com last year of the High Peaks: "We're being loved to death."

Related: The 7 principles of Leave No Trace

Earlier:
+ Instead of the High Peaks this autumn...
+ A handful of Adirondack fall hiking suggestions that are not the High Peaks
+ How to hike the High Peaks and not be That Guy

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