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AMR limits parking; Mountain Club extends closure

An Adirondack Mountain Reserve parking lot near the Roaring Brook trailhead in St. Huberts is full of cars on Oct. 5, 2019. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

ST. HUBERTS — The Adirondack Mountain Reserve announced on Wednesday that its trailhead parking lot capacity will be reduced amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Adirondack Mountain Club announced it will extend the closure of its properties through May 14.

Despite requests from Essex County lawmakers that visitors stay home, and guidance from the state Department of Environmental Conservation encouraging hikers to choose lesser-trodden trails and continue to social distance even in the wilderness, trailheads in the Adirondack High Peaks continue to see streams of nature-seekers.

The capacity of the AMR parking lot, located across from the Roaring Brook trailhead on the south end of Ausable Road in the hamlet of St. Huberts, will be reduced to a maximum of 28 cars until the state lifts Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York on PAUSE executive order. The AMR parking lot has the capacity to hold more than 100 cars, according to a 2017 survey from the Adirondack Council, an Elizabethtown-based green group.

“This action is being taken by AMR to protect visitors, staff, and the greater community from COVID-19,” the organization wrote in a news release Wednesday.

The Adirondack Mountain Club oversees a complex it owns at Heart Lake near Lake Placid, which includes arguably the state’s most popular trailhead, a large parking area, the High Peaks Information Center, and overnight facilities including the Adirondak Loj, Heart Lake Cabins and Wilderness Campground. The club announced on Wednesday that it would extend the closure of these facilities — except for the parking lot and restrooms — as well as its Johns Brook Lodge, Grace Camp, Camp Peggy O’Brien and Johns Brook Lean-tos in the High Peaks Wilderness and Keene Valley area, plus its member service center in Lake George. The closure of those properties is now in effect through May 14.

“If you live locally, hiker parking at the Heart Lake Program Center remains open to the public, as do the restrooms on the back porch of the High Peaks Information Center,” a news release from the club reads. “Please be aware that bear canister, snowshoe, and microspike rentals are not available. Parking fees are required to park at our facility. We encourage visitors to park at least six feet apart in order to strengthen social distancing measures at our property.”

Out-of-town hikers are encouraged to hike near their homes and on their own.

The Mountain Club is still accepting lodging, camping and education program reservations for after May 14.

“As we near May 14, we will determine whether to extend closures any further,” the club said. “We will send out another notice announcing either the continuation of this closure, or the reopening of our properties. In the meantime, we encourage you to follow key preventative measures as outlined by the New York State Department of Health.”

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