Report pushes for investments into education, stewardship programs

Lake Placid, NY – March 5, 2020 – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a list of recommendations compiled by the High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group (HPAG) for managing high recreational use in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Park. This plan was created as part of a year-long deliberation process between local and state representatives, including ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club), with additional input from the public.

ADK commends the strong emphasis on education and stewardship found throughout the advisory group’s recommendations, including its support for investments in Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics education and already existing stewardship programs in the Adirondack Park.

“Stewardship programs like the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program have shown that educational messaging mitigates impacts in sensitive ecological environments,” said Michael Barrett, ADK Executive Director. “ADK is excited to see that the advisory group recognizes the importance and impact of stewardship programs and is advocating for more investment into them.”

The recommendations also include a strong focus on collecting user data in order to inform land management decisions. “ADK was founded on the premise of improving backcountry access while encouraging responsible recreation,” said Cathy Pedler, Director of Advocacy. “Especially in a time when accessibility and equity are such pressing issues, management decisions need to be data driven and involve investments into impact-reducing infrastructure.”

Now that the report has been finalized, it is up to state and local stakeholders to continue working together to ensure that the goals outlined in the plan are met. “ADK was excited to be involved in the advisory group and will continue to advocate for investments into educational and stewardship efforts as we move forward,” said Seth Jones, ADK Education Director, who represented ADK in the advisory group meetings. “Thank you to all who were involved, and for the DEC’s leadership throughout this important process.”