Another summer, another season of trail work in the Adirondack Park. After working through a pandemic-limited season in 2020, we are excited to bring on a full professional trail crew this year. Here are three projects that we are looking forward to heading into the 2021 season.

1. Protecting Alpine Vegetation on Iroquois

Alpine plants are easily killed by trampling, so it is crucial that hikers have a clear and obvious trail to follow when hiking above treeline. This summer, our professional trail crew will be working to achieve this along the herd path to Iroquois, one of the 46 high peaks. Crew members will spend three weeks crafting rock walls, cairns, and other alpine-protecting trail features. This includes installing a ladder near the summit to keep hikers on the main herd path and off of surrounding alpine vegetation.

2. A Return to Avalanche Pass

A man hitting a rock with a hammerLast year, ADK’s professional trail crew started rerouting the trail that connects Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake, which has suffered from persistent flooding over the last decade. To amend this, they identified a new corridor that runs above the flood plain and began defining the trail using sustainable trail design techniques. This year, crew members will spend five weeks building turnpiking—an erosion-resistant feature common to sustainable trails—in order to create a drier and safer path for hikers.

3. A New Long Trail on Mt Jo

Hikers on an eroded trailFew mountains in the Adirondacks are as iconic as Mt Jo. Featuring sweeping views of the High Peaks Wilderness beyond and picturesque Heart Lake below, it’s easy to understand why this little mountain draws over 15,000 hikers a year. Of the two trails to the summit—the Short and Long Trails—the Long Trail is in dire need of reconstruction, which will start this summer through a procession of professional and volunteer-led projects. The end result will be a sustainable trail from base to summit that will serve as a model for how other trails in the High Peaks region can be restructured to last for generations to come.

A special thanks to The Waterman Fund, the Adirondack 46ers, the North Country Trail Association, and ADK’s members and donors for supporting this year’s projects. Your support allows us to continue bringing better trail to the Adirondack Park. You can support our trail crew by donating today.

If you are interested in learning more about sustainable trail design, head over to our YouTube channel and watch our Building Better Trails series.