NY Removes Registration Canisters From Adirondack Summits

NY Removes Registration Canisters From Adirondack Summits

roger
roger

June 28th, 2001, 9:24 pm #1

Here's a hot button highpointing issue that slipped in under the radar.

I'm not certain why.

The best newsgroup for hiking in the Northeast is "Views From the Top" and that group is all abuzz about this development. They are really pissed at the ADK leadership for not fighting this.
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard/index.html

Specific threads:

http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 12091.html
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 11936.html


[I edited this to correct the spelling of "canister"]
Last edited by dipper on July 2nd, 2001, 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John M
John M

June 28th, 2001, 9:53 pm #2

As a member of the Colorado Mountain Club's Peak Register Committee, I've heard much feedback and discussion as to whether peaks should have registers; and which peaks should have them (eg, just the Fourteeners?). At the next meeting, I may ask if there is any written policy or debate about this subject that I can share with this Forum.
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Heidi F.
Heidi F.

June 29th, 2001, 4:58 am #3

Here's a hot button highpointing issue that slipped in under the radar.

I'm not certain why.

The best newsgroup for hiking in the Northeast is "Views From the Top" and that group is all abuzz about this development. They are really pissed at the ADK leadership for not fighting this.
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard/index.html

Specific threads:

http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 12091.html
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 11936.html


[I edited this to correct the spelling of "canister"]
Personally, I like the registers on the top. I like the scan the lists to see if I know or know of any of the people who have signed it. I keep hoping one day I will run into a highpointer name that I recognize. It makes me feel a sort of connection to all the people who I know have also endured the same or similar pains to see the same view I too am admiring...

I think they should only be on the more strenuous or difficult climbs, but I dont know how you would go about defining "difficult" or "strenuous." It seems kind of pointless to me to put a register on something really easy, especially in regards to highpointing. Why? Too many other people have done the "climb." It's harder to maintain the register and I dont see how it really tells you anything... The registers make more sense on the tougher climbs. It's like a way of saying, "Hey, I made it up here too!"

I actually thought about this today while climbing down Mt. Spaulding (Colorado). I briefly wondered if they started putting registers on the tops of the mountains so that people wouldnt carve their initials in the rock or something equally as destructive like people do at the ledges near my house...
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desert rat
desert rat

June 29th, 2001, 5:25 am #4

Here's a hot button highpointing issue that slipped in under the radar.

I'm not certain why.

The best newsgroup for hiking in the Northeast is "Views From the Top" and that group is all abuzz about this development. They are really pissed at the ADK leadership for not fighting this.
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard/index.html

Specific threads:

http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 12091.html
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 11936.html


[I edited this to correct the spelling of "canister"]
by the way, what is 46Rs?...I live in the southwest, where we usually call them registers, not canisters...anyway, yeah, they may be an attempt to keep people from writing on the rocks, good point, but I think register boxes or tubes are just one more piece of trash up there...I never write my name in them, but they sometimes are fun to read...
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roger
roger

June 29th, 2001, 1:58 pm #5

The term "canister" (I misspelled it in my original post) refers to the PCP pipe that contains the summit register.

The 46'er refers to the 46 Adirondack summits above 4,000 feet. Four of the peaks are actually below 4,000 feet but they didn't know that when they established the Club and so the name stuck.

http://www.adk46r.org/listf.html

For what it's worth, there are two other peaks in New York State above 4,000 feet but they are in the Catskills and so don't qualify as Adirondack 46.

People are as passionate about the ADK 46 as we are with state highpoints. They have their own Club and patch rules.

http://www.adk46r.org

They also have an item on the canister issue:
http://www.adk46r.org/canisterarticle.html

Now as I get my hands around the issue, I think the registers to be removed are only the ones on "trailless peaks." I believe there are 19 of them. By this rule the Marcy register would not be removed.

In all the official on-line information on New York State's High Peaks Unit Management Plan, I didn't see any reference to removing the canisters and thus have not seen an "official" explanation.

However from what I can piece together.

This is logical extension of "Leave No Trace." There were concerns that the registers were attracting people up peaks that should be left pristine.

However, the process seems wrong headed.

The canisters are the least intrusive summit marker you could have (NY originally wanted to put rock cairns on the summits -- until it was pointed out that rocks would have to be carried to some of the summits). They have opted to replace the canisters with wooden signs (which I think are ripe for vandalism as they will tempt folk to either steal them or carve their initials since there's nothing else to register).

And the biggest argument of all to keep the canisters is the safety issue as it might make it easier for S&R teams to find a lost party if there is some record of them having made a destination. Afterall, you're more likely to get lost climbing a "trailless" peak.

It's something to keep an eye as these trends can quickly spread.



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roger
roger

June 29th, 2001, 2:27 pm #6

The official site on the plan is:
http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dlf/ ... a/ump.html

There is a 3 meg .pdf file of the 343 page Plan.
http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dlf/ ... pw_ump.pdf

Below is the excerpt extracted from the file about the trailless peaks and canisters.


As a means of background, I think we are seeing a trend where there will be fewer and fewer physical signs in the backcountry in an effort to promote the wilderness feel.
-----------------
TRAILLESS PEAKS

Current Situation and Assumptions:

The High Peaks Wilderness has 16 trailless peaks with elevations of 4,000 feet or more. None of these peaks have a DEC designated marked trail to their summit nor do they receive any scheduled maintenance. The peaks have special significance to the Adirondack 46'ers, an association of climbers who have ascended all Adirondack Peaks above 4,000 feet. The 46'ers have placed canisters with sign-in registration forms on top of many summits to verify ascents. These are illegal under DEC Rules and Regulations, Part 190.8, and non- conforming to the APSLMP. Heightened recreation use and the popularity of being an aspiring Adirondack 46'er is increasing visitations which has led to a proliferation of "herd paths" up, down, and across these summits. The term “trailless” peak is a misnomer due to today's heavy use and impact. A pilot program, begun in 1997, in cooperation with the 46'ers and the Adirondack Mountain Club to reduce undesired trails on the aforementioned summits was very successful. The most environmentally sound route up Tabletop Mountain was selected, minimally marked with rock cairns, and all extraneous routes were closed and brushed-in. The latter also helped reduce impacts at nearby Indian Falls which was traditionally the point of departure from the Van Hoevenberg Trail to Tabletop. Similar efforts were undertaken on Street and Nye Mountains in 1998.

Objective:

! Continue to provide for a unique recreational experience distinctive to the back country of the High Peaks, yet keeps physical and visual trail and resource impacts to a minimum.

Management Policies and Actions:

! Maintain the cooperative effort with the Adirondack 46'ers to designate the most environmentally durable route up each peak and close all others to public use.

! Designated routes will be assigned Class II status, a marked foot path, with intermittent marking and due consideration given to appropriate layout based on drainage, and occasional blowdown removal to define the route. Remedial maintenance will be employed as required to stem erosion and vegetation loss.

! Closed routes will be barred with brush to obliterate unwanted paths and erosion control devices will be put in place where necessary.

! Collect better use data and monitor site conditions on so-called “trailless peaks”.

Signs are provided to mark trails, minimize impacts, and provide safety information. Signing is kept to a minimum to avoid interfering with wilderness values and guidelines. A sign inventory is maintained for the HPWC; it is updated annually. Currently, Lands and Forests, Operations, and Fish and Wildlife all use signs in the unit. Entrance signs identifying major access points exist at the Adirondak Loj Road, Johns Brook, Upper Works, and Corey's Roads; however, less developed trailheads and much of the wilderness boundary is not well identified. Trailhead signing includes bulletin boards at Adirondak Loj, South Meadows, Long Lake, and The Garden (Keene Valley). The bulletin boards portray topographic maps detailing trail systems, use regulations, minimum

impact suggestions, and other pertinent visitor information. Efforts are underway to coordinate trailhead bulletin board signing to be consistent and relevant to resource and user needs. Less developed entrances have register boxes which provide minimal information. Interior signing is limited to trail junctions and special information and regulatory signs.

Progress is being made to reduce overall signing and to use smaller sign boards (6"x 16"). Sign theft and vandalism is a major problem near wilderness boundaries.

Objectives:

! Provide for the minimal use of signs necessary to manage and protect the wilderness resource.

! Bring current signing into compliance with wilderness standards.

! Minimize regulatory signs at interior locations in favor of signs posted at trailheads or access points and published, where feasible, in brochures and maps or otherwise made available to users prior to entry into the unit.
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Roger Williams
Roger Williams

June 29th, 2001, 4:06 pm #7

Personally, I like the registers on the top. I like the scan the lists to see if I know or know of any of the people who have signed it. I keep hoping one day I will run into a highpointer name that I recognize. It makes me feel a sort of connection to all the people who I know have also endured the same or similar pains to see the same view I too am admiring...

I think they should only be on the more strenuous or difficult climbs, but I dont know how you would go about defining "difficult" or "strenuous." It seems kind of pointless to me to put a register on something really easy, especially in regards to highpointing. Why? Too many other people have done the "climb." It's harder to maintain the register and I dont see how it really tells you anything... The registers make more sense on the tougher climbs. It's like a way of saying, "Hey, I made it up here too!"

I actually thought about this today while climbing down Mt. Spaulding (Colorado). I briefly wondered if they started putting registers on the tops of the mountains so that people wouldnt carve their initials in the rock or something equally as destructive like people do at the ledges near my house...
Where's Mt. Spaulding? I like peak registers, scanning them (hard to get past all the "Oh Wow!s" in the popular ones) & adding my John Hancock; but many have disappeared from the Colo. mountains. I got a kick out of adding to the ones on remote peaks like Tileston & Bighorn (in the Mummy Mts., N. end of RMNP) that get only a few names a year. Brits were puzzled at the whole idea of registers; they don't seem to have them though popular summits like Scafell Pike are overrun, the trails dusty and eroded (like too many of ours).
What I dislike most is the annoying red tape that obstructs too many ranges: permits, countries with tiresome entry requirements like sponsors or onward tickets, and even land, public or private, blocked by private landowners w/nasty signs, a real headache sometimes in this country. I've been blocked from Elk Mt., Coal Creek Peak, Two Buttes and Inyan Kara Mt. by these turkeys.
BTW it's "canister" not "cannister". Roger Williams, Boulder, Colo.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 2nd, 2001, 4:23 pm #8

Here's a hot button highpointing issue that slipped in under the radar.

I'm not certain why.

The best newsgroup for hiking in the Northeast is "Views From the Top" and that group is all abuzz about this development. They are really pissed at the ADK leadership for not fighting this.
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard/index.html

Specific threads:

http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 12091.html
http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 11936.html


[I edited this to correct the spelling of "canister"]
I posted an item to the County Highpointers Email Group

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cohp

Here are comments (most recent first):

-------------

> My personal stand is that I like reading some of the registers.
> I like signing in.
>
> I have heard these additional reasons for registers:
> 1. Search and Rescue checks them.

This is sort of ironic as, in the Catskills last month, a ranger who was
(and is) fanatically opposed to canisters in wilderness areas wound up
checking the one on Friday Mountain as part of a search for a solo hiker who
was eventually found dead at the foot of a nearby cliff. This from the same
woman who once wrote in a memo that the only value she could see in a
canister in such a mission was if the missing person was found underneath it
... otherwise it was just an "attractive nuisance."


> 2. The USFS keeps a tally to figure usage.
> . which may lead to good policy or bad policy towards us.

That's what we got DEC to start doing in the Catskills. In the Adirondacks
it was getting beyond the point to do so as the peaks were getting a lot of
use.

> It will now be interesting to observe:
> I bet that people will start leaving notebooks in glass
> jars up on those peaks. It will be interesting to note
> that. It will be interesting to note the activists
> complaining about "cleaning up" and trucking down those
> grassroots registers.

The hope is that the signs will deter that. I don't doubt that people will
carve their names in adjacent trees for a while, but the fact is that the
days when the peaks were trailless are long gone.

What I would expect to see as a longer term thing in the High Peaks is
bootleg canisters being placed on mountains just below 4,000' that presently
see little use, particularly Green Mountain (3,980', just north of the 46er
Giant).

And it might not be bad if more people went up Lost Pond Peak and saw the
feature in question.

> It could be sad to see the DEC
> start prosecuting people who place or sign such registers
> for "littering".

A lot of things have been changed as part of the new High Peaks regs. A lot
of users will have to give up well-established practices. Dogs will have to
be kept on leashes. Camping above 4,000' is now prohibited all year round.
Open fires are no longer permitted anywhere in the Eastern High Peaks. And
so forth. Violations can result in a fine of up to $250.

They're draconian perhaps, but they have been made necessary by years of
heavy, sometimes irresponsible and destructive use of one of New York's
wildest and most beautiful regions.

------------------------------

> New York has removed the summit registration cannisters from its
> Adirondack peaks because they are considered a "non conforming" use
> of a natural area. Wood signs and rock piles are o.k.

Read "is removing."

It's not quite the state doing it ... it's the 46ers, as per a directive in
the long-awaited Unit Management Plan for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex.

> I'm not 100% if this is all cannisters or ones just on peaks with no
> trails as there is a reference in the discussion to "tailless"
> summits which I assume is a typo for trailless.
>

Yes, it's the trailless 46ers only. This will affect us as COHPers in that
one is/was on Mt. Seward, the Franklin County HP (and second-highest in the
state).

They will be replaced by standard DEC gold-on-brown signs saying something
like "Summit of Allen Mountain, 4,300' (or whatever). What the Hell
Possessed You To Come All The Way Up Here? I Bet You Trespassed On The Finch
Pruyn Property To Get Here Because of All That Blowdown From Floyd. Get
Going Back Now ... It's a Long Way Back To Elk Lake Or the Old Lean-To
Site."

> Here's some discussion
> http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 12091.html
>
> http://www.lexicomm.com/whites/wwwboard ... 11936.html
>
> Folks in the Adirondack Mountain Club and the 46er's are furious.
> However, the ADK Board of Directors went along without protest.

Well, they weren't their canisters to remove. It was the 46ers, some of
whose membership is furious because the club's executive board took the
decision without informing its members, on the grounds that people might
remove them ahead of time as souvenirs. Some people did ... a few of the
Dixes' canisters were missing already.

On four peaks where the summit is both open and rather obvious, there will
be no sign.

>
> There's a furious debate going on over peak bagging.
>
> I'm curious where you guys stand on this.
>
> The summit registration was always a fun reward for climbing. They
> seemed minimally intrusive and low cost to maintain. There also
> seemed to be a safety aspect.
>
> I am amazed that anybody would even think it was necessary to remove
> them.

The UMP said as much, on the grounds that they were incompatible with
maintaining the area as wilderness. The 46ers executive board considered
requesting a variance from the UMP from the Adirondack Park Agency, but felt
they were unlikely to get the issue even considered without filing a
lawsuit, a lawsuit they didn't think they'd have much chance of winning.

And to a certain extent, they had a point. Of the 20 46ers not served by
official trails, all had evolved top-to-bottom herd paths and could not
truly be considered trailless peaks anymore (consider it a tragedy of the
commons). The 46ers dropped the requirement that anyone hiking a trailless
peak include the names of the last three visitors in their written trip
reports a long time ago, and very few people were really doing much more
than signing their name.

In short, the trailless experience of old was largely gone.

The plan is to let the herd paths become established as trails and then
start officially marking and maintaining them.

You can, of course, bring the canisters back if you can persuade two
successive sessions of the New York State Legislature to pass some amendment
to Article 14 of the state constitution saying something like
"Notwithstanding the provisions of the foregoing, the state may permit the
placement of small summit canisters on all peaks over four thousand feet of
height in the Adirondack Park that are not served by official trails, and
Blake, Nye, Couchsachraga and Cliff mountains." And then get the general
electorate to agree to it next time around.

Or you can hike in the Catskills, where we've been allowed to keep our
canisters as long as we paint them gray and take the names off them, since
the woods are generally more open and the long sort of herd paths haven't
formed.


---------------

My personal stand is that I like reading some of the registers.
I like signing in.

I have heard these additional reasons for registers:
1. Search and Rescue checks them.
2. The USFS keeps a tally to figure usage.
. . which may lead to good policy or bad policy towards us.
3. People have used them to connect with other people.
3a. At least one person in this group found out about the
Highpointers Club from a register.
3b. Bob Martin met co-author Mike Garratt through registers.

Many people oppose registers, peakbaggers, ...
You can go to forums and read their verbalized reasons
opposing registers, peakbaggers, ...
I can't help thinking that they have some additional
subconscious unacknowledged reasons.

It will now be interesting to observe:
I bet that people will start leaving notebooks in glass
jars up on those peaks. It will be interesting to note
that. It will be interesting to note the activists
complaining about "cleaning up" and trucking down those
grassroots registers. It could be sad to see the DEC
start prosecuting people who place or sign such registers
for "littering".

(Roger Rowlett)
There's a furious debate going on over peak bagging.

(Dave Olson)
[imagine a meeting of the Peakbaggers Anonymous Support Group]
I am a peak bagger.
I am not proud of it. I just am a peakbagger. It is
something I can not change, but (with medication )
I can control it and it does not control my life.
I am not obsessive/compulsive about it.

When I meet someone while hiking I will tell them that
I enjoy my hiking. I see interesting things. I also
feel obliged to say to them that, considering the way
the wilderness is being "loved to death" and how people
feel about that, that if YOU would really rather be
in the city listening to the symphony or watching the
ballgame, then that's what YOU should do, rather than
be here hiking.

I wonder what makes Norman Clyde (name? great Sierra
Club member) more entitled to climb peaks, more peaks,
than me, an ordinary self-acknowledged peakbagger?

Is it because they can feel it more spiritually than
ordinary joe, and are better able to express that
one-ness with nature?

Why should that be a more compelling justification?
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Gary Swing
Gary Swing

July 2nd, 2001, 5:29 pm #9

Where's Mt. Spaulding? I like peak registers, scanning them (hard to get past all the "Oh Wow!s" in the popular ones) & adding my John Hancock; but many have disappeared from the Colo. mountains. I got a kick out of adding to the ones on remote peaks like Tileston & Bighorn (in the Mummy Mts., N. end of RMNP) that get only a few names a year. Brits were puzzled at the whole idea of registers; they don't seem to have them though popular summits like Scafell Pike are overrun, the trails dusty and eroded (like too many of ours).
What I dislike most is the annoying red tape that obstructs too many ranges: permits, countries with tiresome entry requirements like sponsors or onward tickets, and even land, public or private, blocked by private landowners w/nasty signs, a real headache sometimes in this country. I've been blocked from Elk Mt., Coal Creek Peak, Two Buttes and Inyan Kara Mt. by these turkeys.
BTW it's "canister" not "cannister". Roger Williams, Boulder, Colo.
Mt. Spaulding is an unranked sub-peak of the Colorado fourteener Mt. Evans.

Gary
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Daniel Case
Daniel Case

July 2nd, 2001, 5:40 pm #10

The term "canister" (I misspelled it in my original post) refers to the PCP pipe that contains the summit register.

The 46'er refers to the 46 Adirondack summits above 4,000 feet. Four of the peaks are actually below 4,000 feet but they didn't know that when they established the Club and so the name stuck.

http://www.adk46r.org/listf.html

For what it's worth, there are two other peaks in New York State above 4,000 feet but they are in the Catskills and so don't qualify as Adirondack 46.

People are as passionate about the ADK 46 as we are with state highpoints. They have their own Club and patch rules.

http://www.adk46r.org

They also have an item on the canister issue:
http://www.adk46r.org/canisterarticle.html

Now as I get my hands around the issue, I think the registers to be removed are only the ones on "trailless peaks." I believe there are 19 of them. By this rule the Marcy register would not be removed.

In all the official on-line information on New York State's High Peaks Unit Management Plan, I didn't see any reference to removing the canisters and thus have not seen an "official" explanation.

However from what I can piece together.

This is logical extension of "Leave No Trace." There were concerns that the registers were attracting people up peaks that should be left pristine.

However, the process seems wrong headed.

The canisters are the least intrusive summit marker you could have (NY originally wanted to put rock cairns on the summits -- until it was pointed out that rocks would have to be carried to some of the summits). They have opted to replace the canisters with wooden signs (which I think are ripe for vandalism as they will tempt folk to either steal them or carve their initials since there's nothing else to register).

And the biggest argument of all to keep the canisters is the safety issue as it might make it easier for S&R teams to find a lost party if there is some record of them having made a destination. Afterall, you're more likely to get lost climbing a "trailless" peak.

It's something to keep an eye as these trends can quickly spread.


Canister removal wasn't a big media story when the High Peaks UMP came out, so it wasn't in the short-form stuff (unlike things like closing South Meadow Road) but it's in the UMP itself ... look it up.

There was plenty of discussion about it at the time it came out a couple of years ago ... where were all those people at the time, when they could have made a difference? (Compare with our successful effort to keep them in the Catskills when the Slide Mt. Wilderness UMP made the same recommendation ... DEC got way more letters and emails on that than anything else)
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