The New York Times reports that a Rochester Scout Troop received two of only 10 group size tickets issued this year in the Adirondack High Peaks.
State restrictions in the High Peaks limit hiking groups to 15 (the Scouts had 16) and camping groups of eight.
The article was entitled “Can’t See the Forest for the Hikers? Big Groups Face Limits.”
The Scouts were evicted from the park. They had been warned earlier.
“I feel bad for the kids when that happens,” said Peter L. Price, an assistant forest ranger, adding, “I must have spoken to them four times, warning them to split up.”The Times notes that since the state began enforcing the rules High Peaks visitors dropped from 140,000 in the 1990′s to 94,000 this year — which some say is still higher than the 85,000 optimum.
Big groups widen the trails. They tend to leave behind more garbage, creating a potential for encounters with bears, and they trample flora on the mountaintops. They also have a harder time keeping track of their members, state officials said.
According to a survey in April released by the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, hiking is the main draw for 37 percent of visitors – more than the Olympic sites that provide a showcase for Lake Placid’s sporting history. Each visitor is estimated to spend about $243 a day. Some business owners fear continued decreases in annual hiking could cause a significant loss of revenue.
The article interviews Ludger Lebel, the manager of DÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©Tour Nature, a tour business in Montreal that used to to send buses to the High Peaks.
“If I don’t go with my bus, people are taking their cars. I don’t know which is better for the environment, one bus or 25 cars.”