Hot Spot

Eastern High Peaks Wilderness 2019

Lake Placid, NY

The High Peaks Wilderness Area is the most heavily used area within the Adirondack Forest Preserve. At the busiest trailhead, at the Heart Lake Program Center, there were over 73,000 visitors in 2017 (both novice and experienced users). With only 173 acres across 21 summits near the Heart Lake Program Center, the alpine zone in the Adirondacks contains some of the most critically endangered plants in the northeast. As recreation impacts increase, DEC Forest Rangers and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Summit Stewards at the most visited sites have been reporting traffic congestion along Route 73, illegal parking at trailheads, litter, human waste and toilet paper on the trail, and trail widening and erosion due to visitors avoiding the rough, muddy, or rocky terrain of the trail. Managers and stakeholders involved in the Hot Spot also reported the spread of invasive aquatic species, dog waste left at trailheads in bags, illegal camping and campfires, strain on local DEC rangers for search and rescue, rock stacking, cairn tampering, and graffiti in alpine areas.


  • 4,000 People Educated
  • 150 Volunteer Hours Facilitated
  • Helped Construct 2 Miles of New Sustainable Trail

The Hot Spot activation programs throughout the week were successful and well received by participants and the public. In particular, we found the Social Media Rendezvous, public awareness and communication workshops, the trail building service project and the final action planning meeting to be valuable both for advancing communication and education efforts, as well as gaining a better understanding of impacts and current impact mitigation efforts. Through the efforts of ADK Education Director Seth Jones, the Hot Spot week was a holistic affair with ADK staff operating tables and booths at popular trailheads and the High Peaks Information Center each day of the week, Leave No Trace themed evening campfire programs, plus guided Leave No Trace tours up Mt Jo each day of the Hot Spot. There is an understanding that there is a lot of work to be done in the future, but the focus on strategic planning and furthering educational outreach during the Hot Spot was a critical step.


Public Programs

Community Service Day (+ Press Event)

When: Thursday, August 8 @ 9:00 am-3:00 pm

Who: Volunteers

Where: Mt. Van Hoevenberg Biathlon Complex, 220 Bobsled Run Ln, Lake Placid, NY 12946

Contact: Seth Jones, 518-523-3480,  [email protected]

Additional Details: BYO Lunch


Live Social Media Event 

When: Thursday, August 8 @ 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Who:  ADK and Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers

Where: ADK Facebook & Instagram, Adirondack Backcountry Hikers page


Leave No Trace Public Outreach on Summit of Algonquin Mt. by Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers

Time: Saturday, August 10 @ 10:00 am to 3:00pm

Who: Hikers

Where: Summit of Algonquin


Leave No Trace Public Outreach Cascade Trailhead by Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers 

Time: Sunday, August 10 @ 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

Who: Hikers

Where: Cascade Mt. Trailhead


Leave No Trace Outreach at Lake Placid Pub and Brewery

Time: 5:00 pm-9:00 pm

Who: General Public

Where: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, 813 Mirror Lake Dr. Lake Placid, NY 12946


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