June 1, 2019
The past few weeks marked the beginning of another summer of stewarding for the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program. But this isn’t just any season: it’s the 30th anniversary of the program, marking three decades of successful public education and alpine stewardship. Here’s what you need to know about summit stewards and how you can help protect the beautiful, but fragile, alpine plants found on twenty-one Adirondack summits.
Hikers that frequent the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness in the summer have likely encountered a summit steward before. Stationed on many of the busiest summits of the region—namely Marcy, Algonquin, Wright, Cascade, and Colden—these mountain stalwarts are tasked with protecting fragile arctic plants through low-key informal interpretation with the public. When you reach one of these summits, you will likely be greeted by a summit steward and asked if you have ever visited an alpine zone before. Their goal is to ensure that everyone understands how sensitive alpine vegetation is—just a handful of steps can kill it—and to encourage hikers to stay on durable bare rock and off of vegetation, soil, and gravel surfaces. Feel free to ask them questions as well; they are experts in their field, and will gladly share more.
A Storied Program