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Thread: Lafayette Place Parking and Shuttle

  1. #16
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyPuck View Post
    I drove through on Friday afternoon and the state was placing sand bags on the base of each ’cone’ to keep them stable.
    This is starting to defeat the purpose of having a shoulder. That's an awful lot of crap to drive through if you get a flat and need to pull over.

  2. #17
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    While safety is certainly the #1 priority, this system of posts and ropes and now sandbags is going to seriously impact the aesthetics of the very scenic view one gets driving through the notch.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  3. #18
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    While safety is certainly the #1 priority, this system of posts and ropes and now sandbags is going to seriously impact the aesthetics of the very scenic view one gets driving through the notch.
    As opposed to a thousand cars lining the highway? Those aesthetics? I don't care what they do, so long as they do something. Not many things bother me, but the assault on that ridge has been one of them. One of the things Social Media has produced is hikers with no idea how they impact the wilderness. To pull up to a trailhead and see that many cars and STILL think its a good idea to do the hike, is just pathetic. Trash, dog shit, unleashed dogs running amuck, people trampling tundra at will. I never thought Id say this, but they should permit that ridge. First come first serve, then send the rest on their merry way. Let them go to the Twins, hopefully a good runoff will carry a bunch away at the third crossing. Yes, I'm bitter.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Two things can be true at the same time. Cars lining the roadside in the notch is definitely not a pretty sight, but this solution is also undeniably ugly. The parking problem seems to be limited to weekends but if I understand it correctly, this jerry-rigged rope system will remain in place all the time. Is the cure worse than the disease? I agree with your general premise that the area is being overused and loved to death. I will do my part and hike less traveled trails on my visit.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  5. #20
    Senior Member kltilton's Avatar
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    I’m guessing these barriers are temporary, until the word gets out that no parking is allowed.

  6. #21
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    I don't think this is an optimal solution.

    I think the existing parking lot should be expanded (there is room on the northbound side), in conjunction with rebuilding the Old Bridle Path/upper Greenleaf/Falling Waters trails. Even if traffic is reduced, the trails are still in very bad shape due to unmitigated erosion, and need to be stabilized.

    I also think there should be consideration for opening the the old Old Man viewing lot to parking (last I knew, it's short term parking) and the original Greenleaf access restored. This would take a little stress off Lafayette Place.

    I also think the Mittersill-Cannon hiking trail should be formally reopened. This would take some stress off Hi-Cannon and Kinsman Ridge.

    These options would disperse crowds while still embracing Franconia Notch as a destination. Right now, we're putting on a horrible appearance for the visitors we spend so much money marketing to.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    As opposed to a thousand cars lining the highway? Those aesthetics? I don't care what they do, so long as they do something. Not many things bother me, but the assault on that ridge has been one of them. One of the things Social Media has produced is hikers with no idea how they impact the wilderness.
    Amen.

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    I don't think this is an optimal solution.

    I think the existing parking lot should be expanded (there is room on the northbound side), in conjunction with rebuilding the Old Bridle Path/upper Greenleaf/Falling Waters trails. Even if traffic is reduced, the trails are still in very bad shape due to unmitigated erosion, and need to be stabilized.

    I also think there should be consideration for opening the the old Old Man viewing lot to parking (last I knew, it's short term parking) and the original Greenleaf access restored. This would take a little stress off Lafayette Place.

    I also think the Mittersill-Cannon hiking trail should be formally reopened. This would take some stress off Hi-Cannon and Kinsman Ridge.

    These options would disperse crowds while still embracing Franconia Notch as a destination. Right now, we're putting on a horrible appearance for the visitors we spend so much money marketing to.
    ...and, agreed.

  8. #23
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kltilton View Post
    I’m guessing these barriers are temporary, until the word gets out that no parking is allowed.
    I would wager that the second the barriers come down you'll see cars there. When they first started with signs and ticketing you still had cars lining the road. A lot of these people I'm sure are not regular hikers and don't "get the word". They just read about the loop, drive up and have no idea about the parking situation. As soon as one car parks down the ramp to the lot and just barely gets to the road another car will park behind it, and so on, and so on......The only way to permanently address this if they are serious would be to put in permanent guard rails in that area (and by that I mean if they are going to block the road - expanded parking areas off the highway would be the ideal solution). And the unintended consequence of that move would be the issue of break downs as noted previously.
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  9. #24
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    While I donít disagree with the recent opinions, I do think there is a fundamental point being missed and that is the assumption that visitors will gleefully change their destination to something else. Franconia Ridge is the destination of choice for most of the casual, one or twice per year visitors. This is the problem that the AMC sought to fix by creating the list in the first place.

    Tim

  10. #25
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    Barring legal agreements in place to prevent it, the parking capacity at Lafayette place could be doubled. Add in a revenue stream like a parking pass and expect NH would build it. Unfortunately I think a parking pass may be excluded due to the federal funds used to build the parkway which generally precludes charging fees although since this is on state land there may be some flexibility. So cut a few trees expand the parking lot and take a few picture of politicians cutting the ribbon and the parking problem is solved.

    Unfortunately that means even more people on the loop and much of the loop is on chronically underfunded national forest land. OBP was maintained by a volunteer group for years but their numbers have reduced as usage has surged. AMC has the same number of beds at the two huts as they did pre parkway so to expect them to harden both trails is not reasonable as they are now a minority use. Even if it was hardened like Tucks trail is it reasonable to have a steady conga line of hikers along the ridge line every nice day from April to October?. I don't think anyone buys that solution and thus it comes down to the much publicized taskforce by all organizations (WMNF AMC DRED) to come up with the solution. This was publicized as the ultimate solution when it was announced in summer/fall of 2017. DRED (or whatever the current name is) announced last fall when the shuttle was announced that was not a task force project it was just an attempt by DRED to do something. At the time it was announced it was represented as short term and subject to funding. I do not know if it breaks even or is subsidized by the state park. The taskforce was supposed to deal with overcrowding at all the major 4 K trailheads but to date I have heard no recommendations. The USFS parking pass/fee does not seem to have helped at Lincoln Woods and most of the other major trailheads with overcrowding do not have the pass/fee in place.

    There was at one time a limit to the number of hikers in the Great Gulf managed by a permit system. it was reportedly enforced for one to two seasons and then abandoned as usage had dropped and reportedly administration was costly to the USFS and the actual system in place had many gaps that locals could take advantage of. Lincoln Woods actively managed group access by enforcing the outfitter guide regulations for a couple of years but enforcement of that program for other than commercial firms and AMC seems to have gone by the wayside due to lack of USFS staff.

    IMHO, a fairly enforced limited backcountry permit system is the only solution that reduces impact on the backcountry, sadly even if the FS could allow one to be created I don't see them having the staff to enforce it. Its likely it would go the way of the parking pass where the infrastructure was built in the worst locations and in subsequent years the revenue was offset by budget cuts in the overall budget so enforcement was reduced to only the most profitable lots
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-28-2019 at 09:39 AM.

  11. #26
    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyPuck View Post
    ... I always hit the trails early and am usually halfway up a mountain at 8am when the shuttle starts running. Personally, I’d like a better solution.
    The logic here escapes me. The reason the shuttles start at 8:30am is that this is when the on-site lots fill up on those 1000-person Saturdays. The halfway-up-the-mountain-at-8 crowd can park in the prime spots just as they always have.

  12. #27
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    I was at Lafayette place last summer at 7:30 on a weekend last summer and the lot was just about full. Various groups have wised up and have shifted their start times earlier so the start of the conga line on the ridge just shifts earlier.

  13. #28
    Senior Member jrbren's Avatar
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    Overcrowding is not limited to Franconia Ridge, what is the latest news on ticketing for other WM trailheads ? I recall having to park on the road at Ferncroft TH for Whiteface/Passaconnaway as well as for the Twins a couple of years ago. Chocorua was a total circus as well (I think that was also near or at Ferncroft, I forget, I climbed it from the SW). From what I read in Adirondack Explorer, I think overcrowding on existing hiking paths is pervasive the last several years.

  14. #29
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    While I donít disagree with the recent opinions, I do think there is a fundamental point being missed and that is the assumption that visitors will gleefully change their destination to something else. Franconia Ridge is the destination of choice for most of the casual, one or twice per year visitors. This is the problem that the AMC sought to fix by creating the list in the first place.

    Tim
    The state's argument for doing this is that it's illegal (which is true) and that it's unsafe (debatable, rising to contentious). They won't provide evidence for it being unsafe, so it's argument-by-conclusion (aka begging the question). So, until the deciders change their minds (or get different jobs), this appears to be the new normal, so let's embrace it.

    Perhaps the shuttle program will be expanded to run all over the Notch (Cannon, Lafayette, Basin, Flume) and have bike racks to become a way for people to really explore the Notch all day. They will only have to worry about parking once, then they go all over, hike, bike, etc. and catch a shuttle back to their car at the end of the day.

    I would rather see them charge for parking then charge per person on the shuttle. $5/person each way is pretty steep for a family on a budget. If parking is the limited resource, then adjust incentives accordingly. Otherwise, 10 people taking 10 cars costs the same as 10 people in 2 cars.
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  15. #30
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I was at Lafayette place last summer at 7:30 on a weekend last summer and the lot was just about full. Various groups have wised up and have shifted their start times earlier so the start of the conga line on the ridge just shifts earlier.
    Perhaps local residents will start packing there on Friday and Saturday nights, then move their cars for someone for a small donation to a local charity in the morning?

    Also, what are the ethics on taking up two spots while waiting for a friend to arrive?
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