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Old 08-16-2016, 09:29 AM   #1
MTVhike
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Biking to Great Camp Santanoni

I just heard a report on North Country Public Radio (NCPR.ORG) by Brian Mann on his bike trip from Newcomb to the restored Great Camp Santanoni. I didn't know that that was allowed there. Are there any similar old roads accessible to bikes (but not to motor vehicles)? It appears that DEC management regulation don't have that catagory. Another road which might qualify is the road to Boreas Pond, where biking is not allowed right now. None of the proposals seem to include biking without motor vehicles.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:49 AM   #2
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Fish pond truck trail

If I'm not mistaken. Personally, I wish it was legal to bike any pre-existing logging road/fire road. My rationale being, the road is already there, my 20 lb bike cannot possibly have any additional environmental impact. And a bike silently going by can't really hurt someone else's wilderness experience.

Both a canoe/kayak and a bike are self propelled. Not sure how one form of people-powered movement is "mechanized" and another isn't.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:54 AM   #3
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I believe some of the interior roads of the Essex Chain Complex are open to bicycle use but not open to motorized vehicles.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_for...pessexbike.pdf

Some of the old roads in the HRSMA come to mind also. Maps & descriptions can be found in This Guidebook.

Last edited by Justin; 08-16-2016 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:25 AM   #4
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I just heard a report on North Country Public Radio (NCPR.ORG) by Brian Mann on his bike trip from Newcomb to the restored Great Camp Santanoni. I didn't know that that was allowed there. Are there any similar old roads accessible to bikes (but not to motor vehicles)? It appears that DEC management regulation don't have that catagory. Another road which might qualify is the road to Boreas Pond, where biking is not allowed right now. None of the proposals seem to include biking without motor vehicles.
It's only about 5 miles to the camp, so not much of a bike trip, really.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
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Fish Pond Truck Trail in SRCA.

It'd be a good one to bike camp too.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:39 AM   #6
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mtn biking guide

check this out
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:34 PM   #7
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Unfortunately, mountain biking in the Adirondacks is not regulated using common sense. And this is getting worse, not better.

As Gary points out in his guide, it would make sense to regulate biking based on the suitability of each trail. Unfortunately, that takes resources that the state does not have. So years ago, the state defaulted to the "No in Wilderness, Yes in Wild Forest" system. The result is that bikes are allowed on many trails where it is virtually impossible or dangerous to ride, but bikes are banned on many "trails" that are solid gravel roads and very suitable to riding.

Added to this, there is a constituency that absolutely HATES bikes on trails, and they clearly have some influence with the state. As a result, we are seeing a "creeping ban" on bikes. This thread is about Camp Santanoni. Of course bikes are appropriate there, and they were allowed years ago when the regulation of that area was set up, and no one even questioned it; it's obviously appropriate. Fast forward a few years to the Essex Chain: These roads are equally suitable for bikes. But bikes were allowed only on some of them, grudgingly, and after a battle. Fast forward again to Boreas Ponds road, also equally suitable for bikes, and you see that bikes are already summarily totally banned, before the land is even classified.

So get your rides in now, folks; I wouldn't be surprised to see bikes totally banned on all trails park wide in 10 years if this continues.
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Old 08-16-2016, 01:10 PM   #8
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TCD is absolutely, 100% correct. Moreover, he is making sense.

There is no rhyme or reason to bike access. It's absolutely crazy. It's been this way since the advent of the mountain bike. At first no one cared. Then someone didn't like it. Then someone started a lot of scare tactics to group bikes in with motorized users with no regard to what is sustainable and what is not.

Bikes can ruin trails, no doubt. Hikers can ruin trails too. Bikers and hikers on shared use trails can be a bad thing, but it's been proven that they can easily share singletrack trails in many areas. To let them share double tracks would not really be much of an issue for the trail or the users. That one seems to be a no-brainer.

I'd guess the issue is the fear that bikes won't constrain themselves to trails they are allowed on, and stay the ones they aren't. But again NYS seems to have baffled me with this in the SRCA. You'll clearly see signs at trail junctions that say "No Bikes." To the best of my knowledge people ride the trails where bikes are allowed (I have and know people who have) and haven't ventured onto the off limits territory, or if they have, don't know that there has been any evidence or any complaints.

So if it can work in SRCA, which is essentially a wilderness area that allows bikes on truck roads, why can't it work in our other primitive or wilderness areas that have appropriate trails?

The answer doesn't seem clear to me, and seems to be some political nonsense which isn't based on any actual usage data.
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Old 08-16-2016, 01:29 PM   #9
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I'll add another quick comment on shared use.

I ride legal singletrack in the ADKs, much like that which is outlined in Gary's guide.

In terms of other users i.e. hikers, or on the rare occasion, another cyclist, I've had very few meetings that weren't pleasant.

My typical course of action is to slow down and prepare to dismount from my bike, then if people acknowledge me, and allow me to pass, do so. This, I believe is the correct course of action.

I have, however, startled people coming up from behind. It happens and usually about when I'm preparing to make my presence known by my voice. I'm not one to yell 50 yards ahead in the woods to let everyone know I'm coming - to me that is not proper etiquette.

More often than not, the people that have been disgruntled with my startling them seemed to not be, in my opinion, not making the best judgements in the first place. Listening to headphones is a common issue. Should we ban headphones from the woods? No. But don't get upset if someone sneaks up on you... you were kind of asking for it

The other issue I had, and this was strange, was I came up behind a woman who yelled at me for startling her who had music playing on her iPhone quite loudly. I brushed it off but inquired why she had music playing loudly while hiking through the woods. "To keep away bears!" Of course...

You'll meet all sorts out there. Courtesy goes a long way, but for some, they are just out of their element.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:00 PM   #10
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It's only about 5 miles to the camp, so not much of a bike trip, really.
Yeah it's a pretty quick ride.
I did a bike/backpack combo trip to Newcomb Lake a few years ago, and it took me only about 40 minutes to reach the outlet bridge.
I then stashed & locked the bike in the woods, and set off on foot around the lake to camp out. Super fun trip that I've been wanting to do again sometime.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:09 PM   #11
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Yeah it's a pretty quick ride.
I did a bike/backpack combo trip to Newcomb Lake a few years ago, and it took me only about 40 minutes to reach the outlet bridge.
I then stashed & locked the bike in the woods, and set off on foot around the lake to camp out. Super fun trip that I've been wanting to do again sometime.
Let's roll.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:21 PM   #12
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I'm trying to imagine the implications of allowing bikes on suitable, existing roads in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
  1. Bike to Marcy Dam from South Meadows via the Marcy Dam Truck Trail.
  2. Bike to Shattuck Clearing via the Calkins Brook Truck Trail.
  3. Bike to Moose Pond via the Ward Brook Truck Trail.

Shattuck Clearing and Moose Pond are remote places and could probably handle the extra traffic.

On the other hand, Marcy Dam is a busy place. I can picture dozens of bicycles chained to the dam's railing while its owners are off hiking the High Peaks. I can't say I'm enjoying the image. I'm not even imagining the family-sized coolers, wall-tents, and propane lanterns hauled in on bike trailers. Oh nuts, I just did!

It may not be motorized but it is mechanized and that does change the nature of what one currently sees/experiences in Wilderness areas (basically other people on foot/snowshoes/skis).

Thought Experiment:
Imagine "hoverboards" (as depicted in Back to the Future Part 2) existed. Silent devices that cause no erosion because they make no contact with the terrain. Would everyone accept them in Wilderness areas with open arms? Countless numbers of people hovering over trails, ponds, meadows, and summits. I know I wouldn't. I go to Wilderness areas to leave behind the trappings of daily life. I'm thankful for the restrictions governing Wilderness areas.

Last edited by Trail Boss; 08-16-2016 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:32 PM   #13
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Yeah... I'm not sure HPW would be the ideal wilderness area to introduce bikes. The sheer volume of users may prohibit that idea.

I'm also not sure many people would attempt carrying heavy gear in with bike trailers, but at Marcy dam, anything could happen!

Let's just say, I haven't seen this behavior in other areas where bikes are allowed.

I have however seen canoes full of coolers, wall tents, and propane lanterns on carts on the Fish Pond TT. So I won't completely dismiss the possibility
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:34 PM   #14
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It may not be motorized but it is mechanized and that does change the nature of what one currently sees/experiences in Wilderness areas (basically other people on foot/snowshoes/skis).
Yep. In 30 years of hiking and camping in the Adirondacks, I've never seen a place get cleaner as a result of easier access. I can see someone with their generator and propane grill on a hoverboard being pulled behind them.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:48 PM   #15
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Let's roll.
Maybe this fall sometime, I'll shoot you a message.
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:28 PM   #16
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I'm trying to imagine the implications of allowing bikes on suitable, existing roads in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
  1. Bike to Marcy Dam from South Meadows via the Marcy Dam Truck Trail.
  2. Bike to Shattuck Clearing via the Calkins Brook Truck Trail.
  3. Bike to Moose Pond via the Ward Brook Truck Trail.

Shattuck Clearing and Moose Pond are remote places and could probably handle the extra traffic.

On the other hand, Marcy Dam is a busy place. I can picture dozens of bicycles chained to the dam's railing while its owners are off hiking the High Peaks. I can't say I'm enjoying the image. I'm not even imagining the family-sized coolers, wall-tents, and propane lanterns hauled in on bike trailers. Oh nuts, I just did!

It may not be motorized but it is mechanized and that does change the nature of what one currently sees/experiences in Wilderness areas (basically other people on foot/snowshoes/skis).

Thought Experiment:
Imagine "hoverboards" (as depicted in Back to the Future Part 2) existed. Silent devices that cause no erosion because they make no contact with the terrain. Would everyone accept them in Wilderness areas with open arms? Countless numbers of people hovering over trails, ponds, meadows, and summits. I know I wouldn't. I go to Wilderness areas to leave behind the trappings of daily life. I'm thankful for the restrictions governing Wilderness areas.
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Yep. In 30 years of hiking and camping in the Adirondacks, I've never seen a place get cleaner as a result of easier access. I can see someone with their generator and propane grill on a hoverboard being pulled behind them.
Here's the thing that urks me a bit. You both are making up hypothetical situations with assumptions and not looking at actual data.

Why has no one provided a response as to why this kind of thing doesn't happen in the SRCA with bicycles even though it is completely legal to do so, but I have documented evidence of the exact gripes being done with canoes and canoe carts.

People don't make decision based on data. It's 100% emotion. They then look for data (even data that doesn't exist) to back up their feelings.

Nothing personal about either of you, I'm just picking on you because we all do it. That's why this law exists. It has nothing to do with what is sustainable, a good use of resources, what people actually do with bicycles, or anything else tangible. It's all based on some ideal which when bypassed in certain areas, doesn't even present an issue.

I'll also point out if this is a matter of tradition and keeping out new-fangled things like hoverboards, that bicycles were ridden on dirt since their beginning. It just didn't happen to be called mountain biking.

Last edited by montcalm; 08-16-2016 at 05:42 PM..
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:16 PM   #17
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@Montcalm

What did I say that irked you?

It can't be the bikes chained to Marcy Dam's railing. The state truck road ends there so it's a likely parking spot, especially since the dam no longer serves as a trail.

It can't be the coolers, family-sized tents, or lanterns. That already happens; it's only 2.2 easy miles from Loj to Dam. I've seen (and heard of) people loaded down with all manner of junk, in unwieldy arrangements, shuffling along to Marcy Dam.

The distance from South Meadows is a touch longer but along the even easier truck trail. Not much of a challenge for a bike plus a trailer.

This is me hauling out the poles of a family-sized Coleman tent we found abandoned at Lake Arnold. That's a significantly longer haul from the Loj than Marcy Dam. Where there's a will, there's a way. Especially if you make the "way" even easier.


Packing out the discarded tent poles.

I'd argue towing a bike trailer isn't all that much different that towing a sled in winter. It's just a means of transporting more gear than you're able (or care to) carry on your back. However, in this hypothetical situation, it would happen in summer as well via bike trailers.

... and if hoverboards were a thing, JohnnyVirgil nailed it; people would haul whatever could fit on their hover-trailer. Make it easier to haul more gear and people will do it.
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:26 PM   #18
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Devil's Advocate :

So shall we eliminate hiking trails; and pack brush into all the canoe carries; and perhaps drop some trees across the most popular canoe routes?

Sure, I agree that easier access usually results in more trash. But it's where to draw the line that becomes a matter of convenience...
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:32 PM   #19
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Leave me out of this one, Satan! I didn't say anything about more trash, just that there may be more of moar. More stuff brought in that may require new regulations, like "Mr. Fusion is not permitted."
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:23 PM   #20
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So...

Now I ask?

Who is the problem?

The people? Or the equipment they carry and discard? Or their means of transportation?

Everywhere people are allowed, there is junk of some sort another. It only takes one or two...

So really the answer is to ban people from the wilderness. It's not hikers, or canoeists, or cyclists as a specific group. It's everyone.

And I'd be perfectly fine with a "no-trailer" rule if you thought that would solve the problem of "moar". It won't.

The Eastern High Peaks don't need anymore of anything. Especially people. I'm not advocating that every area that has a truck trail allow bikes on it. But I am an advocate of what TCD said. And I believe there is evidence to prove it. Why it is ignored? No clue...
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