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ADK’s Visitor Centers Provide Critical Services

ADK’s Visitor Centers Provide Critical Services

February 7, 2024 — Lake Placid, NY — Data from two Adirondack Park visitor centers operated by ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) show the major impact that they have on supporting visitors and New York State. Located in the High Peaks region, Cascade Welcome Center and the High Peaks Information Center provided critical services for over 100,000 visitors in 2023. Other key impacts from ADK’s visitor centers included:

  • Managing parking for 36,300 vehicles visiting state lands in 2023
  • Educating every group passing through the busiest trailhead in the Adirondack Park
  • Dispersing recreational use to less-visited state lands and community trail networks
  • A seven times increase in visitation for Cascade Welcome Center
  • ADK’s public trailhead restrooms prevented the disposal of over 5,000 gallons of human waste on public lands

“Visitor centers are critical to creating safe and responsible tourism economies in New York’s Forest Preserve Parks,” said Michael Barrett, ADK Executive Director. “Last year, our visitor centers did just that by helping many thousands of people make safe and responsible decisions that minimized their impacts on public lands.”

Located along major travel corridors, both visitor centers provide services that reduce backcountry impacts and rescues, including trip planning and gear rentals. The High Peaks Information Center also often supports New York State rangers as they conduct search and rescue operations. Recognizing these benefits, New York State added a $100,000 budget line in its 2023/24 state budget to support the operation of the High Peaks Information Center last spring.

“Our visitor centers are providing a clear benefit to New York State by reducing backcountry impacts and rescues,” said Barrett. “Last year, that benefit was recognized in the state budget. However, this year the High Peaks Information Center was notably left out of the governor’s proposed 2024/25 executive budget. We will be working with the legislature to ensure that funding is restored in the final budget.”

Legislators are hearing testimony from ADK and other environmental organizations today in Albany about visitor centers, dedicated stewardship funding and other important issues in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

Learn more about ADK’s visitor centers at ADK.org.

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