Press Releases

"Leave No Trace" Education Campaign Will Return to Park

Surveys, Site Visits to Continue into 2020, Conclude with Recommendations for Action

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- After a successful week of education and outreach drawing attention to high use in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and other partners plan to bring the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics back to look at the entire Adirondack Park this fall.

“The recent Leave No Trace Hot Spot sessions were an excellent beginning to the discussions on how to solve the problems associated with overuse of the park’s trails,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “Next time, the Leave No Trace Center will shift their focus to conducting a survey of key stakeholders, and site visits to some of the most impacted areas, and will provide a set of recommendations for action.”

“A significant increase of recreational impacts such as widened and eroding trails and improper human waste disposal, prompted the recognition of the High Peaks Wilderness Area as a Leave No Trace Hot Spot,” said Neil Woodworth, Executive Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club. “Hot Spots include areas that are currently suffering from recreational impacts that can be mitigated with Leave No Trace solutions. We made real progress on High Peaks issues during the Hot Spot. We are looking forward to continuing the effort during the next visit from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.”

Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics have been broadly adopted nationally and are effective at reducing recreation-related impacts through education and research, said Janeway.  Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers spent eight days in the High Peaks as part of this event, convening stakeholder meetings, conducting education programs, and participating in a stewardship day.

The Adirondack Council has called upon state officials to address the challenges of high use through comprehensive planning, investments in front country infrastructure (such as visitor’s centers, interpretive displays and bathrooms), backcountry infrastructure (sustainable trails and campsites), increased education and outreach, staffing, and limits to use in some areas at some times.

Recent efforts by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and stakeholders show progress at addressing the complex challenges of high use, but more funding and work will be needed to protect the Adirondack Park, Woodworth and Janeway said.

As part of the scope of work, the Center will conduct surveys and a site visit to assess current recreation-related impacts and existing educational initiatives with respect to Leave No Trace practices. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people every year.

“We are excited to be in the Adirondacks and bringing critical Leave No Trace information to so many receptive people in one of America’s oldest and largest parks,” said Ben Lawhon, Education Director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. “We are pleased that we can help to keep the Adirondack Park healthy and wild for generations to come.”

After conducting surveys and a site visit, the Center will provide a suite of recommendations and resources, including elements for signage, training, and an integrated education and outreach program plan. Work will continue through the winter and spring 2020.

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