A parking reservation system that was tested in the Adirondacks last year will remain in place for 2022.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) recently announced that the pilot parking reservation system launched last spring to promote safe access to trails in the Route 73 corridor will resume May 1, following a successful inaugural year. More than 21,000 users registered at AMR’s website to make parking reservations that help protect public safety and improve visitors’ trip planning and preparation by ensuring guaranteed parking upon arrival.
From May 1 through October 31 this year, reservations will again be required to access the parking lot, trailheads, and trails located on the privately owned, 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the High Peaks region. The Reserve has a longstanding conservation easement with DEC that allows public access for hiking. Additional hiking opportunities and parking lots can be found throughout the 2.6 million acres of public lands within the Adirondack Forest Preserve on a first-come, first-served basis.
“DEC and the Adirondack Mountain Reserve are gearing up to launch the second year of our parking reservation partnership using the valuable input shared by hikers, local leaders, and other stakeholders committed to making the Adirondacks safer and more accessible,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Tens of thousands of hikers and visitors successfully used the system last year and we will continue to work with AMR and others to build upon the progress we’ve made to encourage the safe, sustainable use of our trails to benefit both the recreating public and our natural resources.”
“We are very pleased with the results of the first year of the reservation system which was able to meet and exceed the three primary goals of the pilot: (1) to improve the safety for all those who travel the Route 73 corridor, (2) to provide fair and equitable access to parking for all levels of the hiking community and (3) to preserve and protect both public and private lands for future generations,” said John Schuler, General Manager of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. “The mission of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, as stated in our Conservation Easement, is to preserve and protect the forests, lakes, mountain streams, and wildlife on our lands, and we believe that our partnership with the DEC on the pilot parking reservation system is supporting our efforts to continue to carry out our mission. We are confident the second year will be even more successful.”
In its first year, the pilot parking reservation system accepted registrations from 14,200 New Yorkers, 6,600 registrations from people residing out of state, and 138 people from other countries. One-hundred-and-thirteen Canadian users registered last year, a reflection of border crossing restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. This number is expected to increase as restrictions are lifted.
Advanced parking reservations at AMR are available at no-cost and must be obtained for single-day or overnight use, getting dropped off or picked up in the AMR lot by a vehicle, or arriving by bicycle. Seventy reservations, including overnight reservations, are available per day. Walk-in users without a reservation are not permitted unless these users can provide a Greyhound or Trailways bus ticket from within the past 24 hours. Reservations are also required for access to the Noonmark and Round Mountain trailheads located on AMR property.
Reservations can be made as far as two weeks in advance. New bookings for 2022 will open on April 17, and users will be able to make reservations 14 days out on a 24-hour rolling basis.
When compared to previous years, 2021’s reservation system resulted in visitor use at AMR more equally distributed throughout the week. This information is valuable in helping DEC and AMR determine if the pilot system is reducing the heavy use typically experienced on weekends or holidays, and if dispersing visitors will help both minimize natural resource impacts from crowded trails and provide visitors with a more natural experience. In addition to multi-agency efforts to reduce dangerous and illegal parking in the vicinity, the pilot reservation program also dramatically reduced traffic congestion and the number of pedestrians walking on or along Route 73, a public safety issue.
Since the program launched in April 2021, DEC and AMR made several updates to improve access and the user experience. AMR installed an automatic one-way gate to allow for late departures from the parking lot. AMR also implemented e-mail reservation reminders to help reduce the number of no-shows. Shortly after launch, the number of individuals permitted per reservation was increased to eight and the booking window was adjusted, allowing reservations to be made up to 12 hours in advance. AMR also moved the start time for the rolling two-week opening of future dates from midnight to noon.
DEC and AMR continue to work together to adaptively manage the pilot to improve public safety, ensure equitable access, and promote sustainable use of this popular hiking destination. Learn more about the Adirondack Mountain Reserve on DEC’s website. For a list of frequently asked questions and to register, visit AMR’s website. Reservations will open April 17, 2022.