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Old 10-06-2017, 12:07 PM   #21
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New trail to Cascade Mountain cuts through private land​


Here's my approximation of the reroute crossing through Corwin and Steckler's properties.




When Pete Nelson published a proposal to relocate Cascade's trailhead to the Mount Van Hoevenberg Ski Center, I had mentioned the need to get easement rights from private landowners. Otherwise, to remain on state land, the new trail would have to traverse Mount Van Hoevenberg's western shoulder thereby adding significant ascent/descent to the route.

They chose to avoid the shoulder, and follow along existing XC trails crossing private land ... but announced it before securing easement permission from the landowners. Oops!

FWIW, the article indicates hikers can continue to use the existing trailhead on route 73 (on Columbus Day weekend), only they cannot park there. This implies drop-offs will be permitted.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:33 PM   #22
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And the circus continues...

Everything I see indicates that this re-route was not planned, but was instituted on an emergency basis via "orders from on high." EVERYONE who is in any way connected to Van Ho knows about the landowners' concerns on that section of trail. It's well known, common knowledge. It has been well known for over a year. For DEC to say: ďAs the announcement was made, DEC staff learned of landowner concerns..." is completely ridiculous and obviously a false statement.

I hope no one gets hurt this weekend.

>Forcing 100% of the Pitchoff hikers (families with small children) to cross the highway.

>Now apparently "allowing drop-offs" where the entire shoulder is filled with orange barrels (I drove by last night) and there is NO PLACE to safely drop anyone off.

>More than likely driving parking to the picnic area or the pullouts further east (these are still closer than Van Ho), resulting in crowds walking the highway.

These are recipes for increased risk of accidents. Fingers are crossed that we get through this mess OK.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:02 PM   #23
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I walked the route yesterday with a wheel and came out only 0.1 mi. longer than the posted 4.3 mi., so no problem there. As for TB's map, there is now a new piece of trail that has been cut just off of Steckler's property. The route chosen leaving the stadium has some extra climb and descent, but it minimizes the distance on Corwin property.

I agree with TCD that this was not well-planned, although the markings on the route are at least more than adequate, so no one should get lost this weekend. As of 11 AM this morning, there were about 20 cars at the Van Hoevenberg parking lot with plenty of signs plus two SCA interns and a 46-R volunteer to help explain the situation. However, once the first person realizes they can park on the highway within 1/4 mile of the trailhead, that will quickly become the preferred parking area.. Consequently, there will be many walking greater distances along the highway. As for the approach to Pitchoff, that is a 2.6 mile walk just to get to the usual trailhead, meaning the very dangerous Pitchoff East TH will be jammed this weekend. And that's not to mention all the additional pressure that will be put on the Giant, Hurricane, and AMR parking areas plus the Marcy Field shuttle.

I certainly get it that some action had to be taken to address hiker parking, but this effort has required a great deal of work by several different agencies - and all for a temporary three-day fix.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:12 PM   #24
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And the circus continues...

Everything I see indicates that this re-route was not planned, but was instituted on an emergency basis via "orders from on high." EVERYONE who is in any way connected to Van Ho knows about the landowners' concerns on that section of trail. It's well known, common knowledge. It has been well known for over a year. For DEC to say: “As the announcement was made, DEC staff learned of landowner concerns..." is completely ridiculous and obviously a false statement.

I hope no one gets hurt this weekend.

>Forcing 100% of the Pitchoff hikers (families with small children) to cross the highway.

>Now apparently "allowing drop-offs" where the entire shoulder is filled with orange barrels (I drove by last night) and there is NO PLACE to safely drop anyone off.

>More than likely driving parking to the picnic area or the pullouts further east (these are still closer than Van Ho), resulting in crowds walking the highway.

These are recipes for increased risk of accidents. Fingers are crossed that we get through this mess OK.
Hiker's traditionally using the Cascade/Pitchoff pullouts still cross the road for Pitchoff. Or are you saying that Pitchoff hikers usually park on the north shoulder?

EDIT: OK, I see now that the easternmost pullout is on the north side of the road.

Thread on the other forum demonstrated that the DEC Pitchoff reroute map shows hikers using cross country trails and reaching 73 at or east of the westernmost pullout.

So the plan described in the press release of using the private road and reaching 73 west of the westernmost pullout is likely inaccurate. This would have resulted in a longer and more dangerous road walk (and liability concerns I would imagine). A walk from a Cascade pullout behind a barrier, along and then across the road, seems to match what would traditionally be required of a Pitchoff hiker.

It's not clear whether allowing drop-offs is DEC policy or article speculation. If allowing drop-offs I think you would not block the main Cascade pullout with orange barrels. Forcing drop-offs to use the shoulder seems dangerous. There is a quote from DEC regarding the future possibility of shuttles so it seems that the author did communicate with them.

Agreed that the No Parking zone should extend to and include the area between the lakes.

Last edited by AvalanchePass; 10-06-2017 at 03:42 PM..
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:59 PM   #25
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I walked the route yesterday with a wheel ...
So cars travelling east on 73 arrive at the pullouts and find them blocked by orange barrels. Then they find signage directing them to Van Hoevenberg and need to turn around without the use of a pullout?

Or is there signage as you pass Van Hoevenberg? Not that cars on their way to Cascade would be paying attention as they pass Van Hoevenberg ...
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:26 PM   #26
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@AvalanchePass

You bring up an interesting point. Eastbound drivers who pass the Ski Center will have a significant detour to complete before they can swing around for a second pass.

Eastbound drivers won't get a practical chance to turn around until they get to the parking pull-off for Pitchoff Chimney Cliff (eastern end of the pass).

I added "practical" because there's also the road to the picnic area between the lakes. However, that one flashes by in a blink of an eye; you have to know of its existence, and slow to a safe speed, to get any chance of safely negotiating the entrance.

Maybe the showery weather will discourage Cascade-bound hikers.
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:37 PM   #27
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Would it be possible to build a parking lot in the area around the current sign-in booth?
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:26 PM   #28
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The parcel of land lying immediately west of the Cascade trail-head is owned by the state and zoned Intensive Use (dark green in map below). The westernmost Cascade parking area lies on the northern border of this property.

My guess is the state could construct a parking area there. However, I can see how that might not sit well with everyone given that there's plenty of existing parking at the Ski Center (and other facilities like toilets). Nevertheless, it would provide access to both trailheads, avoid all private land, and the added walking distance would be negligible. However, hikers bound for Pitchoff would be obliged to cross the highway (although that's the same situation for Ampersand Mountain).


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Old 10-06-2017, 03:56 PM   #29
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However, I can see how that might not sit well with everyone given that there's plenty of existing parking at the Ski Center (and other facilities like toilets).
Similar to what I said in the other forum.

Presumably replacing the Cascade Loop with a parking lot needs buy in from the Olympic Regional Development Authority. I assume ORDA wants hikers closer to their paid attractions as they attempt to monetize their facility over the summer.

Difficult to make the case for a parking lot when everything you need is less than 2 miles away ...

So is the current plan and new 0.4 mile trail intended to deal with a couple of weekends a year? Or is it the precursor to a permanent solution? My gut says the latter.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:00 PM   #30
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Like Tony did, I went there today to see how things are going. (Plus, I had to run to the supermarket in LP so I had another reason to drive through.) Observations:

>The signage on the highway is pretty good in both directions. Each direction has three of those large programmable lighted signs sending people to the new parking. So most people (not all) will figure it out without having to turn around.

>The state is investing huge dollars to make this work. There is extensive full time Police and Ranger presence. While the presence is good, just this weekend we are probably spending a good chunk of the $ needed to fix the problem with a real parking lot at the existing trailhead.

>Volunteers are working hard to support this at Van Ho. They are currently encouraging people to explore Mt. Van Hoevenberg as a shorter alternative to Cascade or Pitchoff. But that may be hard to sell when the weekend peakbagging crowds show up.

Today was a drizzly weekday. We will see how things hold up over the weekend.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:17 PM   #31
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Seems like they could have done it more simply by just doing what they did at the Loj area that one time - only allowing people to park in legal parking spots and having a presence there to prevent additional parking.

That, with a couple of the signs to let people know as they approach, certainly wouldn't have been any more costly (probably less) and done basically the same thing (keeping the people safely parked and not walking in traffic along cars improperly parked).

Obviously that would still be a temporary fix (since they couldn't do that every day) but this appears to be temporary as well, so comparing temporary to temporary...
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:57 PM   #32
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If this is a temporary solution, one wonders why the state cannot pony up for a shuttle bus, rather than 2.6 extra miles through non-descript woods...
Sounds expensive.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:18 PM   #33
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Drove past the Cascade trailhead on Saturday afternoon. All as per TCD's description plus state police and sheriff's vehicles parked at two pull-offs. I saw no cars parked along the highway and (from what I could see) the Cascade picnic area did not seem too busy. I did not visit the Ski Center.

The ADK Loj road was its usual busy self on a holiday weekend. Cars parked along the east side from the Loj north to Meadows Lane and a bit beyond. Strong turn-out despite the rainy weather.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:31 PM   #34
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Sounds expensive.
Yes. Doing things right, rather than last minute on a shoe string, is, in fact, expensive in the short term. But it saves money and problems in the long term to have a solid plan that makes sense, an adequate budget and schedule, and then execute it properly. That was my point here:

http://www.adkforum.com/showpost.php...1&postcount=10

I hope something like that eventually happens.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:05 PM   #35
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Yes. Doing things right, rather than last minute on a shoe string, is, in fact, expensive in the short term. But it saves money and problems in the long term to have a solid plan that makes sense, an adequate budget and schedule, and then execute it properly. That was my point here:

http://www.adkforum.com/showpost.php...1&postcount=10

I hope something like that eventually happens.

I'm not meaning to be disagreeable just brainstorming.

>A paved, striped parking lot for 200 cars, adjacent to Route 73, in the large relatively flat area just west of the Cascade trail.

No response for parking overflow. Need "Meter Maid" style staff just to write parking tickets.

>An unlimited supply of simplified paper maps and small penlights for the trailhead stewards to hand out as needed.

How about the litter component. Maybe put a map online.

>a large overflow parking lot in Keene Valley to support the Garden (challenging due to the need for a full time, updated shuttle service)

Somehow I think this works as is. Remember the days before a presence at the lot and no guard rails? But then, I'm not a resident of Keene Valley; so, I may be way off base about the working part.

>The AMR trailheads (challenging due to private land)

No challenge. Perfect setup. Go BSP. Establish a daily limit and hire staff to enforce it. Warden is never there in the afternoon - need to add staff in afternoons. In time people will adapt as they do for the Garden Parking.


>The Giant trailheads (challenging due to lack of flat land, and wetlands)
Establish parking area along the road and enforce it.


>Elk Lake (challenging due to private land)
Self regulating if parking along the road outside the lot is enforced. Make people walk the 2 extra miles. The added distance will limit people.

New one: Replace the no parking signs on east side of ADK Loj Road between South Meadows and ADK HPIC.

Another new one: Set up parking areas allow reservations and bar coded entry passes. I hear on the radio there are smart phone reservation platforms for parking garages in NYC. Why not go 21st century about this.

Don

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Old 10-09-2017, 10:06 PM   #36
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Good ideas, Don. Thanks! Nice to have a lively discussion.

I think there will be very little to no overflow at 200 spaces at Cascade. While the total number of hikers for the day has reached over 500, I have never counted more than about 150 cars there at any one point in time.

I also worry about the litter from paper maps. But people litter now. And thanks to the "anti cell phone tower" crowd, many people have no service at the trailhead, so an online map will not help a large number of hikers. Remember, these people are not thinking about this until they get to the trailhead and are reminded by a steward.

I do live in Keene. Inadequate Garden parking is a disaster; we have already had a full town meeting on it; many residents are extremely unhappy and the Town Supervisor has his hands full trying to deal with it. This is a problem created by the state and then foisted on the local small towns to try to fix.

AMR - sure, that would actually work. It is a private trailhead after all.

Giant - yes, much more shoulder could by paved and striped, and it would really help. (Same is true at Hurricane, where there are maybe 6 parking spaces and commonly about 30 cars on a summer Saturday.)

Elk Lake: Not sure I like the idea. The hike is pretty long as it is. 30 years ago, I hiked with a young guy who had just finished his 46. *Now that he was done*, he was rabid to make all the walks longer and exclude everyone else. I told myself that I never wanted to think like that.

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:35 PM   #37
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Is there some reason we shouldn't expect people to maybe have a map, perhaps printed from the internet before they tackle a 46er? I do not agree that we should be handing out maps to hikers. If you're dumb enough to try one without a map, have at it! I am a trailhead steward and we had our own maps to review and we let people take pictures of the Cascade trail, but it boggles my mind that people did not even have a clue where to buy a map, even though they probably had driven right by the Mountaineer. It is not our responsibility to make up for the research that they do not do before their hike.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:00 PM   #38
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Is there some reason we shouldn't expect people to maybe have a map.....
...It is not our responsibility to make up for the research that they do not do before their hike.
I agree but the flip side would (hopefully) be less SAR callouts in general by demonstrating to new hikers the value of having a map by giving them one. That is, if they decide to go buy one after their Cascade experience. Not that you need to ever look at one doing Cascade. Just follow the stream of hikers.

I would be against giving them microspikes, down sweaters, hats, gloves, food, water....
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:45 PM   #39
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Thanks, Neil. I agree. There is a crying need to use root cause analysis to identify and address the real causes of problems.

Tony made a good start on this with his article in ADK a year or so ago. Keep it short; keep it simple; provide people with what data shows they need to avoid becoming part of the problem.

Simplified maps, lights, and instructions on going to the bathroom in the woods are a good start. Similarly, instructions to keep an eye on the time, dress properly, and keep their group together will help.

Sorry Gebby, but it's reality that many of these people do not have a clue. Expecting them to "buck up and bring their own map" will only result in more SAR calls. I have met several of these folks already this summer, who were in the High Peaks with no idea where they were or where they should go. It was sobering.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:27 AM   #40
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The majority of SAR calls are for *injured* hikers. A free map won't shrink that big slice of the pie chart.

Lost hikers represent a much smaller proportion of the incidents but consumes a lot more SAR time so there's a financial incentive to reduce its incidence. Nevertheless, one would need to study lost hiker cases over several years and determine if a lack of map was the root cause.

I can think of a few incidents where having or not having a map had nothing to with becoming lost. In other cases, a map and compass would've helped but that's a learned skill you can't hand out at trailheads.

Fact is many neophyte hikers navigate by signposts and not maps. However, no matter how mapless/clueless they may be, the vast majority exit without need for SAR.

Many recent lost hiker incidents occurred above treeline in poor visibility. A map alone would've made little difference. The most recent incident (Stevens) is another example where a map alone is not a panacea.
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