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Adirondack trails eroding; let’s avoid imploding

To the editor:

I was surprised to see a lack of coverage on the issues facing the Adirondack Park. In the lasting spirit of Earth Day, it’s a good sign that New York has seen an exponential increase in the popularity of hiking, but the Adirondack Park is currently experiencing detrimental impacts to the wilderness resource via high use of trails that are in serious need of repair. As a resident of upstate New York, I encourage the public to not only stay informed about healthy trails but to also contact the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to fund trail reconstruction efforts.

In the Adirondack Park, DEC and community NGOs have documented that 56% of trails are too steep and have begun to erode. As these trails deteriorate, so does the wildlife and watershed around them. Soil slips from the mountain and runs into our lakes and rivers, negatively impacting endemic amphibians and fish within the waterways. Popular High Peaks Wilderness complex hiking destinations such as the Cascade and Giant Mountain trails, and the many trails which spawn from the Adirondak Loj, have especially seen elevated numbers of hikers and increased levels of erosion, not to mention deterioration of the wilderness experience.

Local NGO the Adirondack Council asserts that we must redesign, reconstruct and increase annual maintenance of trails within the park. Further, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Summit Steward program has also been successful in hiker education and preservation of vegetation. As such, I write that we not only support enhanced education for the public, including avoiding trails that are too heavily used, but to call on the governor to fully fund DEC trail maintenance programs.

Sincerely,

William Schoenhuber

(Skidmore student)

Saratoga Springs

Helpful resource: https://tinyurl.com/22zef8p7

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