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Adirondack Nature Conservancy Protects Fragile Alpine Vegetation

As the number of eager hikers scrambling up the High Peaks grows dramatically, the fragile alpine zone is in danger of shrinking.
Photos © Jeffrey Gavaletz
Courtesy of Adirondack
Nature Conservancy &
Adirondack Land Trust


For over a decade the Adirondack Nature Conservancy has been protecting Adirondack alpine vegetation through education and careful observation. But that may not be enough, and the group's started a new technique for conservation—carrying heavy rocks up to the summits to stabilize the delicate plants that grow there.

 




Photo © Jeffrey Gavaletz
Courtesy of Adirondack
Nature Conservancy &
Adirondack Land Trust

Recently I went with a group of stone-carrying volunteers up Mount Colden. It sounds crazy—lugging boulders up 2000 feet and six miles of trail. But when we met the trip's guide, the Nature Conservancy's Kathy Regan (above left), at the trailhead by the Adirondack Loj, she assured us it wouldn't be so bad. Listen (Real 7:26)

Photo © Jeffrey Gavaletz. Courtesy of Adirondack
Nature Conservancy & Adirondack Land Trust


Of the 6 million acres in the Adirondack Park, only 85 acres are considered alpine habitat. The Nature Conservancy's Kathy Regan talks about the alpine vegetation.
Listen (Real 1:13)


Volunteers are carrying rocks up to the High Peaks summits to protect the delicate alpine vegetation. Kathy Regan explains why.
Listen (Real 1:13)

Photo © Jeffrey Gavaletz
Courtesy of Adirondack
Nature Conservancy &
Adirondack Land Trust

 



The higher the altitude, the more delicate the forest vegetation. Kathy Regan talks about preventing trail erosion in the Spruce and Fir zone.
Listen (Real 1:16)


This fissure may look like useless gravel, but Kathy Regan says if left undisturbed, rare alpine plants would grow here.
Listen (Real 0.31)


Kathy Regan explains the rocks volunteers haul up Mt. Colden will be placed as scree walls to dissuade hikers.
Listen (Real 0.31)

Photo © Jeffrey Gavaletz
Courtesy of Adirondack
Nature Conservancy &
Adirondack Land Trust

If you would like more information on Alpine conservancy, visit the Adirondack Nature Conservancy Summit Steward Program.

Brian Mann talked with Kathy Regan and Summit Stewards on Algonquin in 1999. Listen (Real 5:48)