Lafayette Place Parking Enforcement

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peakbagger

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While up on Eagle Cliff this past Saturday we could look down on the parkway and see plenty of cars parked on the northbound side both before and after the exit but none on the south bound side. One of folks hiking with us saw a uniformed Lincoln PD officer walking along the road with what looked to be ticket book in hand after the hike when he headed south. I have not seen any reports of towing or tickets but expect this may be a hint of things to come. I expect all the Lincoln PD resources will be elsewhere with the Highland games this weekend but wouldn't be surprised if enforcement is going to be kicking in.

Plenty of room at the Greenleaf and Skook lots ;)
 

peakbagger

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Good to get independent verification. I expect many will just throw them away. Its not until a hiker comes back from a day of hiking and the car is gone that all heck breaks loose.
 

JoshandBaron

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Good to get independent verification. I expect many will just throw them away. Its not until a hiker comes back from a day of hiking and the car is gone that all heck breaks loose.

They'll have some trouble renewing their license if they choose to ignore it.
 

NH2112

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Last year I hiked Little Haystack on Labor Day weekend and by the time I got to the Falling Waters lot it was filled to capacity. I ended up having to go 0.4 miles up the road to find a spot. Both sides of the road were the same way, in both directions. Obviously there’ll never be lots THAT big, but when you pull into a lot and see 3 cars taking up the same space as 6 cars will fit in there’s a problem. How about the cops pull in and ticket THOSE people as well? Do they add the $5 NH State Park fee to the ticket?

As far as parking on the road is concerned, what options do you have besides doing that, trying another mountain that’ll probably be the same way, or turning around and going home?
 

JoshandBaron

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Last year I hiked Little Haystack on Labor Day weekend and by the time I got to the Falling Waters lot it was filled to capacity. I ended up having to go 0.4 miles up the road to find a spot. Both sides of the road were the same way, in both directions. Obviously there’ll never be lots THAT big, but when you pull into a lot and see 3 cars taking up the same space as 6 cars will fit in there’s a problem. How about the cops pull in and ticket THOSE people as well? Do they add the $5 NH State Park fee to the ticket?

As far as parking on the road is concerned, what options do you have besides doing that, trying another mountain that’ll probably be the same way, or turning around and going home?

Yes, try another mountain. Or go up the road to Skook. Or use the shuttles provided. There are hundreds of miles of trails to use and multiple ways to do every peak. If you're set on doing a 4k via the social media routes then this is what you've signed up for. I hike nearly every weekend and never deal with these crowds or parking issues. Get creative.
 

peakbagger

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Last year I hiked Little Haystack on Labor Day weekend and by the time I got to the Falling Waters lot it was filled to capacity. I ended up having to go 0.4 miles up the road to find a spot. Both sides of the road were the same way, in both directions. Obviously there’ll never be lots THAT big, but when you pull into a lot and see 3 cars taking up the same space as 6 cars will fit in there’s a problem. How about the cops pull in and ticket THOSE people as well? Do they add the $5 NH State Park fee to the ticket?

As far as parking on the road is concerned, what options do you have besides doing that, trying another mountain that’ll probably be the same way, or turning around and going home?

Pretty simple, drive up the road to exit 34C and park in the dirt lot and hop on the new shuttle bus after paying $5. At the end of the day, hop back on the shuttle to go back to the lot.
Alternatively park at the new Greenleaf lot, hop on the bike path and do the loop and then walk back. This may cut back on the number of casual weekend warriors that actually make it to the trailhead.

Realistically until there is enforcement on a busy weekend so that the shuttle is giving a fair chance I dont think anyone can really guess how well the shuttle will work in the long term.
 
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NH2112

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That would have worked if there was signage at the Falling Waters trailhead informing people of that option. If those hundreds of cars parked on the sides of I93 had gone to other mountains or trails, the non-crowded trails you mention wouldn’t have been that way. And what about hiker condition? Someone who can handle a moderate short route like Falling Waters might not be able to handle one of the other routes or another mountain. Skook to FRT is a lot longer than FWT. This kind of elitism will keep a lot of people away, and like it or not these social media hikers supply most of the funding via parking & access fees. People who hike regularly often buy the annual passes, and when I bought mine last October NH was losing money on me by the end of November.

What I’d like to see to thin out the crowds is the USFS rangers turning you away if you don’t have the minimum gear required to most likely survive a night on the mountain in the forecasted conditions.
 

peakbagger

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There are flashing highway signs on either side informing folks of overflow parking at 34C.

Its a work in progress, the shuttle may not be the final solution but give it a try then work out the wrinkles.
 
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Grey J

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If those hundreds of cars parked on the sides of I93 had gone to other mountains or trails, the non-crowded trails you mention wouldn’t have been that way.

Probably not true because those hikers would be disbursed among a lot of other places. I have extolled the virtues of NH's 3K peaks in another post. Some like Chocorua will be just as crowded as Franconia Ridge on a weekend but others like the Percys or Shelburne Moriah will see a lot less traffic. There's a reason Franconia Ridge is so popular. Its stunningly beautiful with miles above treeline and with multiple ways to make it a loop. But if I ever return there, it will be early on weekday morning.
 

DayTrip

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That would have worked if there was signage at the Falling Waters trailhead informing people of that option. If those hundreds of cars parked on the sides of I93 had gone to other mountains or trails, the non-crowded trails you mention wouldn’t have been that way. And what about hiker condition? Someone who can handle a moderate short route like Falling Waters might not be able to handle one of the other routes or another mountain. Skook to FRT is a lot longer than FWT. This kind of elitism will keep a lot of people away, and like it or not these social media hikers supply most of the funding via parking & access fees. People who hike regularly often buy the annual passes, and when I bought mine last October NH was losing money on me by the end of November.

What I’d like to see to thin out the crowds is the USFS rangers turning you away if you don’t have the minimum gear required to most likely survive a night on the mountain in the forecasted conditions.

> Falling Waters is not exactly a beginner route, particularly if you go all the way up to the ridge. It has rough footing and numerous accidents happen on it each year. If you're capable of doing this trail you can probably easily handle 90% of the trails in NH so going elsewhere is not going to be an issue for just about anyone. Skook might be longer but it is much easier (and quite enjoyable I might add - I prefer this route to others). Straight mileage is not the best indicator of difficulty.
> I'm pretty sure that most of the people who park out on the highway are not taking the time to fill out a parking pass and pay $5 after walking a half mile to the lot from their cars. In fact, more than a few people park on the street at some other trail heads to avoid paying the parking fee, even if there are spaces in the official lot.
> If you are at Falling Waters trail head and that is the only trail in the universe you are familiar with that's your fault. We don't need to put up signs everywhere informing everyone about every possible option available to them all the time. Do some research, buy a guide book or a map and rely on your own wits to amuse yourself.
 

JoshandBaron

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Parking is free at Lafayette place and NH doesn't see a dime of your USFS parking pass.

If you show up to Fenway Park and it's sold out, do you go in anyway or find something else to do?
 

DayTrip

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Parking is free at Lafayette place and NH doesn't see a dime of your USFS parking pass.

Is that a free lot? Been so long since I have actually parked there. I thought it was a pay lot. I usually have an annual pass so I don't pay much attention to that anymore. Good to know.
 

peakbagger

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Yes its a free lot as its on land owned by the state of NH. I have wondered in the past if it has to be free as condition of the parkway settlement.
 

peakbagger

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There are actually very few fee lots these days. The closest to Franconia Notch is most likely Lincoln Woods and the Gale River Trail lot. The FS has dropped the number of fee lots substantially due to a combination of lack of personnel to enforce and mandated requirements for services offered at each site. I believe all of the Franconia lots are on state land and therefore no parking pass.
 

TCD

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... I hike nearly every weekend and never deal with these crowds or parking issues. Get creative.

I do too. But we are the exception; we do not represent the bulk of the population of visitors. The reality is that most of these folks are in fact there to "do a 4K via a social media route."

If so-called "Resource Managers" base their policy decisions on the fantasy that folks like us are the bulk of the population, then they are dreamers, not managers. Responsible, competent managers (in any field) base their decisions on reality.
 

JoshandBaron

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I do too. But we are the exception; we do not represent the bulk of the population of visitors. The reality is that most of these folks are in fact there to "do a 4K via a social media route."

If so-called "Resource Managers" base their policy decisions on the fantasy that folks like us are the bulk of the population, then they are dreamers, not managers. Responsible, competent managers (in any field) base their decisions on reality.

Part of that management needs to be encouraging people to hike elsewhere as these trails are paying the price. Increasing parking capacity beyond what the trail can handle doesn't seem like a solution either.
 

Billy

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There are actually very few fee lots these days. The closest to Franconia Notch is most likely Lincoln Woods and the Gale River Trail lot. The FS has dropped the number of fee lots substantially due to a combination of lack of personnel to enforce and mandated requirements for services offered at each site. I believe all of the Franconia lots are on state land and therefore no parking pass.

I parked at Gale River Trail lot this past Saturday and did not pay. I walked around the lot and the info kiosk, and I couldn't find any pay tube or pay signs or envelopes. Then again, I'm not too bright, I miss a lot of stuff.

p.s. On the drive back through the notch at 4:30pm, both sides of the road were packed as usual with overflow cars.

p.s.s. What's up with all the dead squirrels on I93? It was a massacre. Maybe their lots are full too.
 

peakbagger

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I parked at Gale River Trail lot this past Saturday and did not pay. I walked around the lot and the info kiosk, and I couldn't find any pay tube or pay signs or envelopes. Then again, I'm not too bright, I miss a lot of stuff.

They must have pulled the fee area sign. I haven't been there for few years

p.s. On the drive back through the notch at 4:30pm, both sides of the road were packed as usual with overflow cars. My friend came through a bit later. Interesting that the southbound lane filled up as when we were hiking there were no cars visible from a distance.

p.s.s. What's up with all the dead squirrels on I93? It was a massacre. Maybe their lots are full too.

Last years acorn crop caused a population explosion of gray squirrels. The acorn crop is reportedly far less than last year so they are roaming for food. Farmers are very unhappy as they are attacking crops including apples. Many squirrels will starve this winter and the population will reset itself. Far less oak trees up north (the northern most limit for oaks is approximately RT2) so gray squirrels are less abundant and the massacre is not noticeable.
 
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