AROUND THE REGION NEWS BRIEFS
ADK Prepared for High Peaks Hiking Season
LAKE GEORGE – Adirondack Mountain Club is prepared to educate and assist in the stewardship of the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness this hiking season. The Canadian Victoria Day holiday weekend, May 19-21, marks the start of the busy hiking season. The High Peaks has received a significant increase in recreational use over the past seven years, something that ADK has been monitoring and experiencing for many years. A recently released study (adirondackcouncil.org, see News, Press Releases) shows the need for management efforts to help address the high use of the High Peaks Wilderness.
“For 90 years we have been a steward of NY’s wild lands and waters by doing trail maintenance, monitoring lakes and forests for invasive pests, educating recreationists in Leave No Trace skills and ethics, and advocating for public land protections,” says Wes Lampman, ADK’s chief operating officer.
The club owns and operates property adjacent to one of the busiest trailheads in the High Peaks – the main access point for Algonquin and Mt. Marcy, where 200 parking spaces fill to capacity almost every weekend. ADK’s High Peaks Summit Stewards have seen a 65% increase in the number of people they have been interacting with over the past five years. The club is continuing its efforts to alleviate pressures and is trying new strategies to instill an outdoor ethic within a new wave of visitors. “We have a great opportunity to educate and inspire them to be stewards and advocates for public lands here and where they live,” says Julia Goren, ADK’s education director.
Over the winter, ADK staff participated in NYS DEC focus groups on managing the High Peaks and the influx in use. They advocated for better educational tools and resources for trail maintenance. “DEC took protective measures in the 1998 High Peaks UMP by adopting group size limits and a ban on fires. Addressing this increase in recreational use 20 years later will take new measures,” said Neil Woodworth, ADK’s executive director. The club continues to advocate for more funding for DEC Forest Rangers, along with increasing NY’s Environmental Protection Fund for stewardship and land protection.
Last year, ADK hired an additional full-time educator to increase Leave No Trace skills and ethics by reaching 137,000 people, an increase from 47,000 people the year before. Programs for public, camp and college groups continue in the summer and fall to help users recreate responsibly. This spring, the Professional Trail Crew is spending four weeks working on trails in the Eastern High Peaks. Their work will be focused on Big Slide Mountain to protect the natural resources in heavily used corridors. They will patrol 50 miles of trails by clearing down tree debris and cleaning trail water drainage structures.
The club is completing its multiyear $1 million infrastructure work on its Heart Lake Program Center this year to better serve hikers. Renovations to the High Peaks Information Center include: improved visitor education, new washhouse and septic system, new campground loop, and new yurt village for educational programs. The club piloted a HPIC host program last August, where volunteers helped staff educate hikers in the parking lot before they set out. With forty Adirondack 46er Cascade Trailhead volunteers recently trained, the program will continue this year. A new volunteer stewardship program was initiated this spring that uses social media to inspire outdoor enthusiasts to recreate responsibly. ADK has 30,000 members in 27 chapters. For more info, visit adk.org.
Fleet Feet Sports Summer Programs
ALBANY & MALTA – Registration is now open for Fleet Feet’s summer training programs in the Albany and Saratoga areas. Programs for 5K through marathon distances are coached by local experts. For details and to register, go to fleetfeetalbany.com or contact Patty Clark at email@example.com.
Firecracker 4 practice runs, sponsored by Fleet Feet, will be held on Tuesdays from May 29 to June 26 at 6pm. Training runs are free, open to the public, and held at The Barrelhouse, except for 6/26 at Farmer’s Hardware – both in Saratoga Springs. A complimentary post-run beverage will be available. If questions, contact the Malta store at 518-400-1213.
Fleet Feet will celebrate Global Running Day on Wednesday, June 6 at 5:45pm at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Join Fleet Feet, NYS Legislature, New York Road Runners, and New Balance to celebrate the joy of running. Free Global Running Day shirts are guaranteed to the first 100 runners. A post-run happy hour will be at the Public House 42, compliments of NYRR. Register at facebook.com/fleetfeetsportsalbany/events.
Pickleball Summerfest Clinics on June 1-3
GLENS FALLS – Pickleball is a refreshing break from conventional sports, combining elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton. The Summerfest is on Friday-Sunday, June 1-3, at Glens Falls Recreation Ice Center and Ridge/Jenkinsville Park, Queensbury. The fest will give players and newbies a chance to play games, hone or learn skills, make friends, and raise funds for younger players. It will feature open play, play with the pros and training clinics – and all are welcome.
Pickleball is played with a solid, wooden or composite paddle. The ball is made of perforated polymer and resembles a whiffle ball, which is struck or driven over a net. The court dimensions are 30’x60’, about half the size of a tennis court, with the net lowered to 34” in the center. “The Pickleball Summerfest is ideal for all ages and abilities to take lessons and clinics from pro players,” said Robin Vernava of All About Pickleball, Adk Juniors Pickleball and USAPA. For more info, visit pbsummerfest.com.