The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is taking public comments on new management guidance for backcountry ski trails in the nations largest state park, The Adirondacks.
The Adirondacks have a rich history of skiing. Early ski trail development in the region started in the late 1920s and continued well into the 1930s. These trails were cut or improved by the Conservation Department and provided a spectrum of skiing opportunities including down-mountain skiing. With the rise of lift-serve ski centers, such as Whiteface and Gore Mountain, backcountry skiing became less popular and many backcountry ski trails disappeared. The Marcy Ski Trail, constructed in 1936, is one of the few remaining backcountry ski trails from this era.
Today, skiing on trails in less developed areas has seen a renaissance. Interest in skiing outside of ski resorts has greatly increased as the result of several influences, including: a greater variety of equipment, lighter equipment, different ski techniques and desires for a backcountry experience.
Existing trails within the Adirondack Forest Preserve provide over 1,000 miles of skiing opportunities. Some trails are more popular than others. Trails such as the Whiteface Landing Trail or the Marcy Trail will have ski tracks from the first snowfall to the last fleeting cold temperatures of spring. Looking to encourage use and provide a pleasurable trail experience, land managers should consider how trail design and layout impact use levels.
Skiing is allowed on all trails within the Forest Preserve whether they are designed and managed specifically for skiing, or not. The goal of these guidelines is to provide specifications for cross country ski trail maintenance and construction that afford visitors a more desirable experience, facilitate an increase in use, and create sustainable trails.
You can read the guidelines here.