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Old 10-11-2017, 05:36 AM   #41
gebbyfish
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Handing out free maps worries me that they'll be found on the trail as trash, as someone else alluded to earlier in the thread. One thing they have us offer to hikers are plastic "Leave No Trace" cards and it pains me to hand them out for the same reason, that they'll appear as trash on the trail.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:46 AM   #42
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So any "boots on the ground" reports?

Significantly less hikers on Cascade? Were drop-offs permitted? How did hikers react? Were alternative hikes suggested at the trailhead? How was the morale of officials and volunteers? Any feel for whether this solution might be utilized again on busy weekends?

Did the southern portion of the Pitchoff reroute utilize the cross country trails rather than the private road? Did it exit to the westernmost pullout? Pitchoff from the west saw dramatically reduced traffic? Did this result in an increase in Pitchoff east traffic?

Sounds like people were safer than they would have been without this action ...
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:51 AM   #43
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So any "boots on the ground" reports?

Significantly less hikers on Cascade? Were drop-offs permitted? How did hikers react? Were alternative hikes suggested at the trailhead? How was the morale of officials and volunteers? Any feel for whether this solution might be utilized again on busy weekends?

Did the southern portion of the Pitchoff reroute utilize the cross country trails rather than the private road? Did it exit to the westernmost pullout? Pitchoff from the west saw dramatically reduced traffic? Did this result in an increase in Pitchoff east traffic?

Sounds like people were safer than they would have been without this action ...
I think Ron Konowitz was there the whole weekend, including Friday and posted on several of the Facebook groups. I think Saturday was a pretty busy day with hikers numbering around 550 or so. It tailed off significantly, only 34 on Monday as the weather wasn't great. Many people chose to go to Mt Van Hoevenberg when presented with the additional distance from what I recall him posting. Don't have any answers on the Pitchoff questions. He had lots of positive things to report.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:50 AM   #44
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Answering some of AP's specific questions:

The Pitchoff approach did use ski trails rather than the road as had been stated in the original DEC press release. Apparently the DEC learned that, even though it is on state land, the state can't use it as it is the access to the private inholding. They are also having trouble with the two land owners used by the ski trails between the main area and the Porter Mountain Loops - hence the section of new trail just off the eastern landowner's property but within sight of the existing ski trail.

No, despite the report on the local papers, drop-offs were not allowed. The line of barrels insured that no one could stop except directly in the travel lane. On Friday morning I spoke with an Uber driver from Saranac Lake who thought he could do a good business that weekend. He said he hadn't seen the arrangement at the trailhead. I strongly suggested that he check it out before accepting any riders. He left and never returned. That said, a shuttle system should be easy to arrange should the parking be restricted again.

Ron Kon might have more detailed statistics on how many climbed Mt. Van Hoevenberg instead, but I climbed it late Sunday afternoon after helping at that day's ski jumping competition. Starting a little after 3 PM, I counted 82 hikers descending the mountain. For many of them, it appeared that Van Hoevenberg had been a good choice.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:22 PM   #45
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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.
I'm glad things went well this weekend, and that the seldom visited Mt. Van got a little love as a result of the layout.

TB, I know we've discussed this before on some other threads. I think there is a need to look a little deeper into the data to really understand what goes on. For example, many "distressed" hikers are distressed because they are tired (bit off more than they could chew), lost (separated from their party, not sure where they are), or scared (in an unfamiliar environment). Those all get classed under "injured." I think a real look at all the individual case reports would show that not as many of the hikers are really "injured" as it would appear from the cursory top level data summary. And many of those "distressed" cases could be avoided with the help of a simple map. (Of course for various reasons, none of us here have access to all the full reports, so we will have to rely on the state to do that analysis, eventually, maybe.)

Regarding the map, I am not suggesting teaching compass skills, or handing out the High Peaks topo map. That's a terrific map, for those who know how to use it. But very few of these folks can read that map at all. The type of map I am talking about would be like the one in this example:

http://shawneehillsoutdoors.com/wp-c...rilliumTrl.jpg

It's got to be a simple map, that "non-map-reading" people can read. Of course someone would have to make that map, and print a bunch of copies on biodegradable paper ($).
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:25 PM   #46
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If the DEC is throwing 'distressed' incidents into the 'lost hiker' category, that must be something new. Back in 2015 I reviewed 190 incidents (JAN-NOV) and discovered 38 categories.
  1. Camper Stricken
  2. Distress Paddler
  3. Distressed Camper
  4. Distressed Hiker
  5. Distressed Rock Climber
  6. Distressed Swimmer
  7. Hiker in the Dark
  8. Hiker Rescue
  9. Injured Camper
  10. Injured Climber
  11. Injured Cyclist
  12. Injured Emergency Responder
  13. Injured Fisherman
  14. Injured Hiker
  15. Injured Skier
  16. Injured Snowmobiler
  17. Lost Biker
  18. Lost Hiker
  19. Lost Hunter
  20. Lost Individual
  21. Lost Kayaker
  22. Lost Minor
  23. Lost Motorist
  24. Lost Paddler
  25. Lost Runner
  26. Lost Skier
  27. Lost Snowshoer
  28. Lost Youth
  29. Missing Child
  30. Missing Hiker
  31. Missing Individual
  32. Missing Person
  33. Missing Youth
  34. Overdue Hiker
  35. Overdue Hunter
  36. Rock Climbing Rescue
  37. Stranded Climber
  38. Stranded Hiker

They certainly weren't using 'lost hiker' as a catch-all back then! They distinguished between lost, distressed, injured, overdue, and stranded.

BTW, in that same thread, MtnManJohn argues that some of the 'distressed' victims qualified as medical injuries and could've been categorized as 'injured' ... so that only increases the 'injured' slice of the pie chart.

Stats for the High Peaks area for Jan-Nov 2015:

Injured Hiker, 61% (33/54)
Distressed Hiker, 55% (16/29)
Lost Hiker, 19% (9/48)
Overdue, 75% (6/8)

You may notice that of the 48 lost hiker incidents reported for the entire ADK Park, only 9 were in the High Peaks. Conversely, the majority of injured/distressed incidents occurred in the High Peaks.
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Last edited by Trail Boss; 10-11-2017 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:32 PM   #47
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So any "boots on the ground" reports?

Significantly less hikers on Cascade? Were drop-offs permitted? How did hikers react? Were alternative hikes suggested at the trailhead? How was the morale of officials and volunteers? Any feel for whether this solution might be utilized again on busy weekends?

Did the southern portion of the Pitchoff reroute utilize the cross country trails rather than the private road? Did it exit to the westernmost pullout? Pitchoff from the west saw dramatically reduced traffic? Did this result in an increase in Pitchoff east traffic?

Sounds like people were safer than they would have been without this action ...
I was up there on Saturday and hiked to Van Ho, from the Ski Center...the lot certainly looked less full than Columbus Day/Thanksgivings in the past, and this was for Cascade, Pitchoff and Van Ho. Interesting trail to VH from there...saw about a couple dozen other people. I'm not sure if the new lot simply dissuaded people from hiking Cascade/Porter, or if they came in from Marcy Field instead, or what...
I thought the group of volunteers in the lot were very helpful and accommodating and made a point of trying to talk to every car that pulled in.
Best part of the whole thing was not having to navigate Rt73 with cars hanging into the road and people walking in the roadway...in past years this has been pretty dangerous, and I've always felt it was sheer luck that someone wasn't hit by a passing motorist.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:37 PM   #48
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Do people get lost on Cascade? I guess maybe miss the spur and continue over (unmarked) Porter?

I recall rescues for injuries on Cascade but not for someone lost. With 1,000+ hikers some weekends I imagine it has happened. But handing out 1,000's of maps to mitigate the possibility? I don't know ...

As the "gateway to the High Peaks" I think the trail head steward program is a phenomenal initiative. Many thanks to all of you that volunteer.

How to poop in the woods. LNT. Carry water. Necessity of treating water.

Obviously carrying a map on Cascade is a good idea. But it becomes more important on subsequent hikes. Have the 46ers considered selling High Peaks maps at the trail head? Water? Toilet paper? Merchandise?

Tourists love to buy something as part of their excursions. I think maps, water, toilet paper would all be great ideas. I suppose merchandise gets tacky and feels like the mountain is being commercialized.

Commercializing mountains reminds me of a cute story. On our first trip to the Adirondacks my youngest son was 8 and we climbed Mount Adams. I told him we would get the patch after we climbed the mountain.

On the way up he asked if he could get a drink at the top. No problem, we have lots of water left. He clarified that he wanted a sugary drink. Sorry, I didn't bring any.

Turns out he thought the store at the top selling patches would also be selling drinks ...

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Old 10-11-2017, 02:52 PM   #49
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Turns out he thought the store at the top selling patches would also be selling drinks ...
That is adorable!

Apparently, there are limitations to what we are allowed to do, placed upon the steward program by the DEC.

For example, with any of the hikers who were working on their 46, we tried to promote the Correspondent Program with the 46ers.

Most did not know about it.

I suggested we make business cards with the web site address of the program on it and was told that the DEC would probably not allow that!

It's a great way to promote stewardship and assess hikers while they're home on their couch and give them advice that may prevent injury or rescue.

So I think selling things is probably out of the question.

On the weekend I did the Steward thing, I had my High Peaks map out on the table and we encouraged people to photograph the pertinent section and many took us up on that and strongly encouraged a stop at the Mountaineer or in Lake Placid to purchase a map if they didn't have one.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:41 PM   #50
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I thank all of you for your volunteer service as trailhead stewards! I think that's a terrific program, and the ONLY thing that will help us address some of the problems. People DO NOT read signs. But they do listen when another person comes to talk with them face-to-face. Thank you!

My only worry with the volunteer work supporting the trailhead steward program is that this is just another opportunity for the State to shirk its responsibility for putting FULL TIME, PAID stewards at every major trailhead. The State has used volunteer trail work as a rationale to hollow out the paid trail crews for a couple decades now. This is at risk of being more of the same.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:28 PM   #51
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I will first of all weigh in with my opposition to handing out maps at trailheads. One there is the perception that such maps area available, any incentive to plan ahead will disappear.

I do like the idea of selling ADK High Peaks maps at trailheads. Since I can claim that I, personally, no longer receive any payment or royalties from these sales, all of he proceeds go to the non-profit ADK.

In the end, I commend the 46-rs and their volunteers for stepping up to create the Trail Steward program. There are, however, limits on how much volunteers can be expected to do over the long run. The DEC should definitely seek additional state funding for paid trail stewards. The DEC can no longer take the "Blanche DuBois attitude" toward backcountry stewardship and simply rely on the "kindness of non-profit volunteers".
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