The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released the High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group’s (HPAG) Immediate Action Recommendations Report, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. The report includes proposed actions that DEC and its State and local partners could undertake, pending available funding and continued partnership, to promote sustainable use of the Adirondacks High Peaks and protect this resource.
HPAG determined early in the process of developing recommendations for managing increased use in High Peaks region of the Adirondacks that it was necessary to develop recommendations for immediate actions for DEC and its State and local partners to undertake this summer. This became of greater importance with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The HPAG’s Interim Report is available at DEC’s website.
Interim Report recommendations include the following:
- Parking Enforcement
- Human Waste Management at Trailheads
- Education and Messaging
- Shuttle and Electric Powered-Shuttles (e-shuttles)
- Leave No Trace Measures
- Trail Assessments, Maintenance, and Funding
- Data Collection and Visitor Information
- Limits on Use
DEC and its State and local partners are already acting on many of the recommendations to improve public safety and sustainably manage use of some of the High Peaks’ busiest trailheads during the summer months. Proposed actions include:
- Establishing an independent visitor information group to provide relevant data and analysis to the State and stakeholders;
- Strictly enforcing parking regulations with an increased presence of New York State Police and DEC Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers on State Route 73 and other roads;
- Educating hikers on social distancing and the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Forest Rangers, Assistant Forest Rangers, and Trailhead Stewards are taking the lead on these efforts;
- Reducing the parking capacity at AMR lots at Roaring Brook Falls to 28 vehicles and the Rooster Comb Parking Lot by 50 percent;
- Advising motorists about limited trailhead parking and closures using electronic variable messaging boards and additional signage on I-87 and Route 73, social media, and additional outreach;
- Working with area municipalities to coordinate human waste management; and
- Using social media and other platforms to educate hikers about the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) while hiking.
The interim report and summaries of HPAG meetings are available on the DEC High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group webpage.
The public is encouraged to assist in this effort by submitting comments to Info.R5@dec.ny.gov.