Lake Placid, NY – November 16, 2020 – After another busy year in the High Peaks Wilderness, the Adirondack 46ers have doubled down on their dedication to supporting critical stewardship programs in the High Peaks Wilderness. Last week they announced a $41,000 commitment to ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew. This comes shortly after another major pledge by the 46ers of $75,000 over the next three years for the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program, which ADK manages in partnership with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Since 2001, the Adirondack 46ers have made increasing contributions to stewardship programs in the High Peaks Wilderness. What started as a $3550 donation to ADK’s trails program in 2001 has since expanded to annual donations between $30,000-46,000; a sign of just how invested the 46ers are in protecting the high peaks. All in all, the Adirondack 46ers have donated nearly $350,000 over the last 20 years to ADK’s trails program, of which $289,000 has come in just the last eight years when visitor use has been the highest. “As visitor use has increased in the High Peaks Wilderness, so has the 46ers’ investment into stewardship programming,” said Andrew Hamlin, ADK Trails Coordinator. “This support has been crucial to the success of a number of trail projects over the years.”
The Adirondack 46ers aren’t just invested in trail work; over $100,000 has gone to supporting the Summit Stewardship Program during the same period. Operating for the last 31 years, the program has played an important role in the recovery and protection of alpine vegetation in the High Peaks. “Despite increases in visitor use, we have not recorded a decline in alpine vegetation on summits with a stewarding presence,” said Kayla White, Summit Steward Coordinator. “The 46ers have been tremendously supportive of the program and its mission since its inception, and their backing has helped us achieve this result.”
“As an all-volunteer organization made up of thousands of members who love and respect our beloved Adirondacks, the 46ers take great pride in contributing to meaningful projects that directly benefit conservation and education efforts and help to preserve our wilderness experience for generations to come,” said Siobhan Carney-Nesbitt, President of the Adirondack 46ers.
Looking ahead to 2021, ADK’s stewardship programs will again play a key role in addressing high use issues in the High Peaks Wilderness. Thanks to the 46ers, the professional trail crew will be able to continue developing a reroute of the Avalanche Lake-Lake Colden Connector Trail, which they started this past summer, and begin work on a severely damaged section of the Phelps Trail between Bushnell Falls and Mount Haystack. The funding will also support the professional trail crew’s annual spring training. Summit stewards will return to the high peaks starting Victoria Day Weekend, where they will continue their work to protect and study New York’s fragile alpine vegetation.
“As we continue to reconcile promoting responsible outdoor recreation with the challenges presented by high use, this ongoing partnership between ADK and the 46ers is one reason to be optimistic,” said Michael Barrett, ADK Executive Director.