It seems the Adirondacks has finally joined the cycling world; with Iowa’s RAGBRAI ([Des Moines] Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), Colorado’s Ride the Rockies, and the self-explanatory Cycle Oregon all having been around for the last few decades, the country’s largest protected park was a little late to jump on the bandwagon.
A Tour Is Born
Cycle Adirondacks was created in 2015 as way to raise money for the Wildlife Conservation Society. The week-long tour combines some of the best roads and view for bikers with community interaction: by spending two nights each in Schroon Lake, Keene Valley, and Saranac Lake, riders have an opportunity to visit and support local communities, and can choose between biking, hiking, or resting on their non-travel day. The tour itself is relatively all-inclusive — gear is transported from site to site so riders can bike unencumbered by baggage, and locally sourced food is provided. Depending on what experience you want (and how much you’re willing to pay), you can register as a “Comfy Camper” and have your tent and mattress fully prepared for your arrival after a hard day’s ride.
More than just a beautiful ride, Cycle Adirondacks offers cyclists an opportunity to help the communities that are generous enough to offer their town land as campsites. Some of the money fund-raised for the trip goes towards these towns as a thank you.
- Schroon Lake made enough to build a chicken coop for the local school
- Keene Valley received a “Beaver Deceiver,” which gives humans the ability to control the water level in the nearby beaver ponds
- Saranac Lake was given a grant for their youth center to help buy bicycles for the local children
The Green That Keeps On Giving
The Adirondacks has become so popular that conservation groups have rallied to find new ways of supporting the incoming traffic. With trails and mountaintops becoming overcrowded due to a booming interest in our nation’s largest protected park, conservationists have started to push for better parking systems. The Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway emphasized the need for an effective system that will protect the environment as much as their people who adore it: “More is needed to protect water quality and wildlife from being loved to death. Some of the most popular hiking and camping destinations are located in the park’s most fragile and sensitive landscapes.”
Janeway stated that the Adirondack Park Agency’s (APA) current amendments “fall short of what is needed to safeguard people, protect natural resources and preserve the wild character of the High Peaks Wilderness.”
As of right now, hikers are vying amongst themselves for the coveted spots as availability is entirely first come, first serve. An online system has been suggested so people who know which trails they want to explore ahead of time can ensure a space will be waiting for them. Either way, something further needs to be implemented to safeguard this beautiful park.
Cycle Adirondacks is a wonderful example of how people can work together to support each other and their environment. With Americans going on approximately 11 billion outdoor outings every single year (several hundred of them on their Cycle Adirondacks adventure), it can be absolutely delightful to know that something positive is being done for the natural world.