April 24th, 2019

In 2018, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released an amendment to the Unit Management Plan (pdf link) for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex. This document, which addresses a broad range of topics from biodiversity to recreation regulations, represents a series of actions that the DEC will take to continue preserving the High Peaks region. Among these topics is a planned shift in zoning and regulations in response to new lands that were acquired by the state over the past few years. These changes will take place effective 2020. Here is what you need to know:

New Zones, New Names

  • The Eastern High Peaks will become the Central High Peaks Zone
  • The Western High Peaks and most of the new land acquisitions, including the former Dix Mountain Wilderness and Boreas Ponds tract, will become the Outer High Peaks Zone

See the graphic on the right for a visual representation of these new zones (click to expand).

Regulations Changing, Expanding Boundaries

  • Bear canisters are now required in both zones from May 1 to October 31 (was April 1 to November 30)
  • Group size restrictions, which limit day hike groups to 15 people and overnight campers to 8 people, are now required in both zones
  • Skis and snowshoes are now required when there is 12 inches or more of off-trail snow in the Eastern/Central High Peaks (was 8 inches)
  • Camping is allowed at designated sites only in the Eastern/Central High Peaks

For a more visual example of these changes, take a look at this poster that we put together (pdf link). 2019 is considered a transition period for these regulations. Rangers will be notifying visitors of the changes in order to prepare them for the official shift in 2020. Our new High Peaks map, which will be available later in the spring, reflects these changes already and has further details to help you out in the backcountry.

For more information, contact our High Peaks Information Center at 518-523-3441 ext. 21, or contact the DEC at 518-473-9518.