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For the love of Baker

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Thursday’s article “Will Baker be nixed from the 6?”

Stripping Baker’s designation as a Saranac Lake 6er is an ineffective way to address the root problem of traffic congestion at the trailhead. In my many trips up and down Baker, I have found that 6er seekers make up a small percentage of those frequenting the mountain. Here are a few alternate ideas for alleviating the parking issues, while still encouraging access to this local gem.

First off, locals and tourists alike should be encouraged to access the trail via foot and bicycle. Incorporating a stroll through the village into the official route would showcase Baker’s proximity to downtown Saranac Lake and inspire hikers to indulge in post-hike food and drink. Installing a bike rack at the trailhead (perhaps a Dack Bike docking station?) would further alleviate pressure on the limited parking available.

Another potential solution is to convert Forest Hills Avenue to a one-way vehicular loop.

This would eliminate the issue of it being “impossible for two vehicles in opposing lanes to be traveling safely.” This would also open up the other lane for safe, scenic pedestrian and bicycle use, further facilitating non-car access to the trail.

As someone who revels in the splendor of Baker Mountain multiple times a week, I hope that the traffic issues are addressed in a way that enhances access to this amazing local resource, rather than the proposed attempt to hide it away from the public.

Kristen Starheim

Saranac Lake

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