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‘Frontcountry stewards’ will greet hikers on Rt. 73 in Keene

Adirondack 46ers trailhead stewards Ron Konowitz, center, Joe Ryan and Brian Hoody, talk with some hikers at the Cascade Mountain trailhead outside of Lake Placid in June 2017. The trio of stewards saw nearly 500 hikers pass by their tent during an eight-hour shift. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

KEENE — The town of Keene, the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute and the Paul Smith’s College adventure guides are providing information and education to hikers through a new “Frontcountry steward” program.

These stewards will be positioned at popular trailheads along state Route 73 in the town of Keene, a press release from the organizations announced Saturday.

Stewards provided by the town of Keene are already in place at the Marcy Field parking lot on the corner of Airport Road and Route 73 in Keene Valley, Wednesday through Sunday and on holidays. The town runs buses from Marcy Field to the Garden trailhead, an access point to the High Peaks Wilderness Area that is popular among mountain hikers.

Stewards provided by Paul Smith’s College will soon be working in the Roaring Brook, Giant and Chapel Pond areas Friday through Sunday in the summer and weekends through Columbus Day, with extended hours during busy weekends. Zoe Smith, deputy director of the AWI at Paul Smith’s, said the college has three or four stewards who will probably start work this weekend.

Frontcountry stewards will be available to educate hikers about Leave No Trace principles such as hiking preparedness and minimizing impacts to natural resources. Additionally, stewards will inform hikers about the new no-parking regulations on the shoulders of Route 73 and the temporary closure of the Garden parking lot for bridge construction.

The new program is supported by a grant from the Adirondack 46ers and modeled in part after the 46ers Trailhead Steward Program at the Cascade Mountain trailhead.

“Partners in this effort recognize the need for face-to-face interactions to help hikers enjoy their outdoor experience and understand wilderness regulations and ethics,” the press release said.

“Outdoor recreation is the foundation of Keene’s healthy economy, and educating hikers is a key component of protecting the natural resources that are the basis for outdoor recreation in the region.”

The AWI operates more than 60 of boat launch inspection and decontamination stations around the region to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Paul Smith’s College adventure guides provides guide services to the general public and real-world experiences for students.

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