KEENE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) announced on Monday a new pilot reservation system. The new system was developed to provide reliable access and address public safety at a particularly crowded corner on Route 73 in the Town of Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks region.
“With the increasing number of visitors to trailheads accessed through AMR, exacerbated in 2020 by New Yorkers looking for a nature break as a respite from COVID-19, DEC and AMR are working together to promote sustainable recreation and protect public safety,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “To address concerns at this particular location, we are excited to announce this unique pilot reservation system, which will help protect visitors and our natural resources, while also ensuring equitable access and educating visitors about sustainable use.”
Seggos adds that the pilot reservation system complements state and local efforts already underway to reduce dangerous and illegal parking in the vicinity of the AMR property. The DEC says that in recent years pedestrian traffic, illegal parking, and roadside stopping along Route 73 have created a dangerous environment for hikers and motorists alike.
Visitors can begin registering at the new Hiker Reservation web portal, which will go live on April 15, with reservations available for May 1 through Oct. 31. DEC and AMR will require reservations for the 70 available parking spots at the AMR parking lot for daily access to trails as well as the Round Mountain and Noonmark Mountain trailheads. Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted.
Those arriving to Keene Valley from either Greyhound or Trailways bus lines may access with a valid bus ticket within 24 hours of arrival. Those arriving by bus must check in at the AMR hiker parking lot.
The AMR parking lot is only accessible between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, with the exception of overnight parking.
It is not necessary to have a vehicle to make a reservation to hike. Those being dropped off and those arriving by bicycle must check-in at the AMR hiker parking lot and create a reservation. All bicycles must be left at the hiker parking lot where a bike rack will be provided and portable restrooms will be available at the parking lot for visitor use.
The Adirondack Council praised the new online reservation system.
“This is a big leap forward for fair access to the High Peaks for everyone,” said Adirondack Council Communications Director John F. Sheehan. “Until now, people with homes inside the park and people with access to cars had a huge advantage over the rest of the state when it came to finding a parking space or camp site in the High Peaks. A system like this really levels the playing field. It doesn’t cost anything, but it gives everyone an equal shot to get your own spot, even on a holiday weekend. All you have to do is reserve a parking spot and go.”