The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued about 140 parking tickets since last October to Adirondack hikers parking their vehicles illegally alongside the road on a four-mile stretch of Route 73 in Essex County.
It behooves hikers to know this – particularly with crowds for the Fourth of July and this coming weekend. Fines are determined by the court and typically range from 0 to $150, plus the state surcharge.
“DEC continues to work with State agencies, municipalities, landowners, recreation and environmental organizations, and others to identify and develop additional means to manage the Adirondack Forest Preserve in a sustainable manner,” according to a written statement from the DEC.
“Parking is prohibited on the shoulders of State Route 73 between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead. Parking is allowed at designated pull offs and informal roadside parking areas at the Mossy Cascade/Hopkins Mountain Trailhead and the Deer Brook/ Snowy Mountain Trailhead,” the statement said.
DEC started the crackdown for public safety reasons, primarily because pedestrians, mainly hikers, and bicyclists were forced to walk or ride in vehicle lanes when parked vehicles occupied the shoulder of the road.
New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) crews have put up “No Parking” signs along the additional sections of the road. DEC Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers, State Police, and Essex County Sheriff’s Office Deputies will increase patrols in the area and enforce the parking prohibition.
The popular trailhead parking lots that will be patrolled to make sure no one is parking illegally nearby include:
*Round Mountain Trailhead – access from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve parking lot off Ausable Road
*Noonmark Mountain Trailhead – access from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve parking lot off Ausable Road
*Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead – access from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve parking lot off Ausable Road
*Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead – trailhead parking lot
*Mossy Cascade Trailhead Giant Mountain via Hopkins – pull off along Route 73 road where parking is allowed.
*Deer Brook Trailhead – pull off along Route 73 road where parking is allowed.
*Ranney Trailhead – access from Rooster Comb Trailhead parking lot
Other parking considerations if you go hiking in the area:
Hikers and other motorists should be aware that the town of Keene is also prohibiting roadside parking on the following roads and streets:
*Au Sable Road;
·*St Huberts Road;
* Market Street;
* Adirondack Street; and
* Mason Young Lane in Keene Valley.
In regard to the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail, which opened last fall:
“Hikers will be re-routed around the construction underway to make significant improvements to Olympic Sports Complex facilities. Hikers can park at the Biathlon Facility parking area in the Complex and use a marked 2.9-mile detour bypassing the construction zone using roads, ski trails, and a temporary trail to reach the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail approximately 1.0 mile below the summit.
Also. “expect to encounter trail workers along the trail to the summit of the mountain as they complete the final touches on the sustainably designed and recently opened trail. Hikers may also reach the summit using the traditional route – the 2.2-mile Mt. Van Hoevenberg West Trail which begins at the trailhead on Meadows Lane.”
For those wishing to avoid parking hassles, the DEC has two websites to help ease the traffic on the more popular trails.
One lists alternative hikes outside of the High Peaks area. The other lists hikes to the summit of mountains less than 2,500 feet.
Finally, with the recent warm weather and the melting of snow, the DEC lifted its “muddy trail advisory” for the High Peaks area.
However, some trails are still muddy. The DEC recommends that hikers stay on the trails and walk through any mud, avoiding walking off the paths and damaging vegetation.