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Old 08-18-2009, 06:12 PM   #21
paddlewheel
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I'm glad I sparked such an interesting conversation! My personal stressing out became a discussion of stress on Lows Lake. Since I haven't been to Lows yet, I can't comment directly but in my handful of backcountry camping experiences, we have almost always reserved a site ahead of time, paid a fee, and been required (willingly of course) to watch an orientation film or meet with a ranger. This system has the advantage of limiting the number of people that enter a wilderness area and increases the likelihood that they are invested in their trip, are prepared, and are good stewards of the environment. The down side is the human power needed to take reservations, issue permits and maintain the sites and for the camper, the lack of flexibility. The sheer vastness of the Adirondacks makes controlling the backcountry a daunting task.
If you have to make a reservation ahead of time & pay a fee....it ain't the backcountry.....not where I come from, anyhow....
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:49 PM   #22
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There are just too many of us! "More people-more scars upon the land" It is pretty much impossible to "leave no trace" when the use level continues to increase. The discussion though is great with some very interesting ideas and points of view. I think it is a complicated "fix". Maybe after this we can work on healthcare!
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:46 PM   #23
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It just amazes me that people want to experience the "wilderness", the tough but romantic life of old times, yet they expect that it be handed to them. Easy access by road, big parking lots, without getting feet wet drop in a plastic kayak to paddle (or motor) in no wind to a sandy beach campsite not too far away (and tell me, what are those GPS coordinates again?). That's not wilderness, it's not even wild. It's communal camping, one step removed from RV camping. Then they complain about the crowds. You can't have it both ways.

But take a few steps off the trail or away from the big water shores and a different world awaits you. New York State is just loaded with public land. Most of it is freely accessible. With few restrictions (for example, the 150 foot campsite rule) you can head into the backcountry anywhere you want and within a couple of minutes you can be totally secluded surrounded with beautiful lakes and mountains without even seeing evidence of another person for days. Sure it takes a little work along with some map and compass work and pre-trip preparation. You get what you pay for.

But (at least in this region) that's as close to true wilderness as you can get.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:58 PM   #24
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If you have to make a reservation ahead of time & pay a fee....it ain't the backcountry.....not where I come from, anyhow....
We had to make a reservation & pay a fee to hike the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska ... We had no issue with doing that because it limits the number of people on the trail, which reduces stress on the backcountry there. And the fee is split between the US National Park system and Parks Canada ... it helps pay for the rangers and park wardens, and the trail crews.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:13 PM   #25
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We had to make a reservation & pay a fee to hike the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska ... We had no issue with doing that because it limits the number of people on the trail, which reduces stress on the backcountry there. And the fee is split between the US National Park system and Parks Canada ... it helps pay for the rangers and park wardens, and the trail crews.
I hope it doesn't come to the point where access needs to be tightly controlled, such as in your example or like the quota system in Algonquin Prov.Pk., or worse, like in Maine's Baxter State Park. The ability to just pack and go is one of the great things about the Adirondacks, on most of the waterways, and on the trails as well. Also, any targeted fees collected by the DEC usually end up in the general fund (aka NYC).
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:13 PM   #26
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Crowds in season and wilderness out of season

In the early 1970's, living in rural Oregon, complained to my climbing mentor, a wise older Brit, that I was bummed out attempting to speed climb in my post Viet-Nam not afraid of dying way past hordes of big city tourists on Oregon peaks.

She laughed and suggested that I start technical rock climbing in the Great Basin in the winter and that also I start doing winter ascents of peaks in the Oregon and Washington Cascades - never was bothered by climbing crowds again.

Agree that popular paddling destinations in the Adirondack "wilderness" are being loved to death in the summer. Fortunately there are three more paddling seasons up here: early spring, late autumn and early winter - no crowds on the water for sure!

And then there are larger areas that might absorb crowds of summer paddlers better than the current places that are being loved to death, for example:

http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?1981

http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?2087

The paddling cognisotti may have their "secret" summer paddling haunts, and those places are nice in their way.

And I suggest that you might try paddling in the "off" seasons up here in the North Country - there are so many potential rewards.

See you in the off season, on the many Adirondack and other uncrowded waters.

Mike

Last edited by MikeT; 08-18-2009 at 10:03 PM.. Reason: Had a complete post that got deleted by site software
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:15 PM   #27
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In the early 1970's once complained to my climbing mentor, a wise Brit, that I was bummed out attempting to speed climb
I don't understand that comment...
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:57 PM   #28
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Bob, the site software keeps deleting my entire post;

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I don't understand that comment...
OR the other possibility is that you can't follow my convoluted thinking.

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Old 08-19-2009, 01:13 AM   #29
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What about the next generation of environmentalists? How do we raise kids from a young age to love and protect wilderness if the only places to go and experience it are not practically possible to reach with them [Wldrns]? Not to mention the expense of lightweight boats and gear to get there.... We too generally avoid summer time aside from day trips, but it would be nice to be able to take the kid/s and have a trip that isn't a circus and not have to yank them out of school to do it. My personal opinion - Algonquin Prov. Park is not a terrible model - it doesn't price people out, it isn't too specific in terms of geography....
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:38 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by ALGonquin Bob
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Also, any targeted fees collected by the DEC usually end up in the general fund (aka NYC).
I don't understand that comment

Originally Posted by ALGonquin Bob
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I don't know why anyone would camp within an hour of launching unless it is just to drink beer, so that's a great reason to camp farther out, eh?
I don't understand that comment

What's wrong with having a few beers as long as you leave no trace or as we do, take out other people's litter left behind. Everyone can get whatever they're looking for as long as proper etiquette is practiced. Wilderness means different things to different people. Live and let live.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:33 AM   #31
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We had to make a reservation & pay a fee to hike the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska ... We had no issue with doing that because it limits the number of people on the trail, which reduces stress on the backcountry there. And the fee is split between the US National Park system and Parks Canada ... it helps pay for the rangers and park wardens, and the trail crews.
To me a "controlled wilderness" is not a true wilderness even if it appears to be in that setting. When there is too much regulation it just becomes a giant amusement park for tourists and it takes something away...that feeling of freedom. That's the beauty of the ADK's compared to all the rest of the country...That freedom of movement thing without having someone in a uniform & hat tellling you where to go, what to do and taking your money. There's enough state park campgrounds in the Adk's for that.

Look at Indian Lake Islands Campground...that's a beautiful place..but making reservations 6 months in advance to do a weekend camping trip doesn't make a lot of sense to me...when as, Wldrns expained there is so many places to go off the beaten path and all I gotta do is pack my pack shoulder my boat and go for it. Maybe that's not for everybody....you do what you're capable of and follow your heart. There's something for everybody there. Some people don't mind paying to have some kind of outdoor experience. That's not for me.

Yeah..maybe The Bog River - Lake area will eventually see that control thing. It's fairly close to that now with the numbered campsites. My experience over my many years of doing these things if you can drive to the put in it's going to get popular..always good places to avoid on weekends and at the height of vacation season. In the meantime I'm glad for the more remote places and I sincerely hope that the ADK's never see the control factor come to light that all the National Parks out west and in other areas have.
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:16 PM   #32
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stop whining about the "crowd" ...

i don't understand the elitist attitudes of some people have on this board. the park is public, so people will come. lows lake has easy access so you complain about the crowd that it attracts. were you not one of the "crowd"? did you not take advantage of the easy access? you enjoy the experience to commune with nature yet you complain about others who do the same.

i have seen many people here whine about others spoiling their solitude in the park but, imo, to expect total solitude in a public park is foolish. and in case you forget: if you can see them, they can see you, thus you are part of the "crowd" to them and spoiling THEIR enjoyment of the wilderness.

the same can be said of the parking situation. you are sore because other people made it inconvenient for you to get your gear to the water, just like anyone that comes after you. they'll be cursing about your car contributing to a full lot, inconveniencing the start of their trip.

just remember, there'll always be people who are more extreme and intolerant than you, and in whose eyes you are part of the problem.
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:28 PM   #33
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What's with the attitude "swoopsie"?....people are just expressing some opinions...didn't see anybody start to nasty 'til you threw your two cents in the kitty
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:03 PM   #34
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What's with the attitude "swoopsie"?....people are just expressing some opinions...didn't see anybody start to nasty 'til you threw your two cents in the kitty
Agreed - I thought the thread had been a very cordial discussion of various opinions... until now.
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:23 PM   #35
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After quickly looking over the previous posts, I don't see any mention of "solitude", much less "total solitude", but I'll throw in a few. There has been discussion of feeling stressed, as in worrying about being able to get a camp site. There has also been much cordial discussion about some areas being stressed by heavy usage. Nobody said he/she expects solitude anywhere. I am satisfied merely with having no other campers or barking dogs within hearing range of my camp site. Other than that, I don't care how many other paddlers are around me. An even higher level of "solitude" can easily be obtained by avoiding the easy places, as mentioned previously, and by going to less popular areas or avoiding the peak summer season. In mid-November 2007, I camped on Middle Saranac and broke ice on the way out. I had solitude.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:22 PM   #36
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:57 PM   #37
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Here's an idea: limit camping in the Whitney Wilderness/Lows area to 1 night at any given campsite. Even if using Low's (or LT or Lila) as a base for hiking or other day trips, you would have to change campsites every day. For those of us experienced backcountry adventurers who travel light, breaking and setting up camp is a quick process. The recreation-minded vacationers who come in overloaded boats with their coolers, picnic canopies, etc. would either learn the more appropriate methods of wilderness camping or decide that there are any number of nice state parks in the Adirondacks where one can set up a fancy camp for weeks on end. By forcing everyone to change campsites every night, no-one would be able to sit on prime real estate for days and everyone would have a fair chance at a good site for at least some of their visit.

Another idea: More concerted effort to educate campers about low-impact camping techniques before they set out. Better signage/brochures at the parking area on important topics like how to go to the bathroom in the woods, why glass containers are a poor choice on paddling trips and what to do with the parts of the fish you don't intend to eat. Could some of us dedicated wilderness lovers serve as volunteer educators/monitors at the put-ins on summer weekends? Maybe the ADK club could adopt such a project? Get the outfitters behind it too - have them hand out the brochures with their rental agreements. It's in their interest to keep their clients' experience on these lakes a positive one.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:57 PM   #38
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I guess I was one of the truly lucky ones. I belonged to the Grassy Pond Club before the State purchased it. 14 members with their families and seldom seen anyone except durring the hunting season. Truly was a great place to escape.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:25 PM   #39
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It's not about low impact camping. It's not even about how quickly one can setup/breakdown camp or what amazingly lightweight gear and equipment you have. It's about the wilderness experience not becoming a campground experience. Period. It's simply population and too many people means your childhood experiences are not your children's experiences. And it's almost ironic to talk about population being the problem in the context of raising environmentally aware kids - I realize - however the next stewards and lawmakers will be our children and increasingly they could care less about the woods, much less wilderness. I pack a hammock and about 15 lbs when I go solo...
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:05 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Camp MacFox
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For those of us experienced backcountry adventurers who travel light, breaking and setting up camp is a quick process. The recreation-minded vacationers who come in overloaded boats with their coolers, picnic canopies, etc. would either learn the more appropriate methods of wilderness camping or decide that there are any number of nice state parks in the Adirondacks where one can set up a fancy camp for weeks on end.
Dude,
Couldn't recreation-minded vacationers also be experienced backcountry adventurers or vice-versa?

We were on Low's Lake recently for 5 nights. We stayed at one site for 3 nights and then moved on to another site for 2 more nights. BTW, the maximum stay at any site without a permit is 3 nights. We could've probably stayed put and no one would've noticed. But instead we chose to move in order to give others a chance at that site. Fair is fair. We were also making a point to our kids that everyone deserves a chance to stay where we were and not break rules. So we packed up our coolers and other gear and moved on. We didn't have to look too hard for a new site. We made it out to site 32 on Grassy Pond and had a great time.

I think everyone is blowing this out of proportion. We didn't experience this "stress" that everyone is talking about. Sure, there were a bunch of people at the lower dam and the parking area was full, and the weather was great and on and on. But so what, everyone I noticed was cordial and happy to be out in sun and on the water. In the end, isn't that what it's all about?
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