Selected Projects and Grants
Each year the Foundation accepts a project or two that fit within our mission to provide funding, and volunteer efforts for. In general, the projects will be selected by the membership body of the Foundation. This gives our members a voice in how funds are disseminated. Below is a list, by year, of the organizations and projects we've become involved, or are working on now.
Cascade Mountain Summit Steward Program - ADK ($5460).
The Cascade Mountain Summit Program will be continued for a 3rd year.
SARNAK provides volunteer assistance to the DEC and other agencies in search and rescue, as well as providing educational clinics directed at aiding hikers to travel safely in the backcountry. The grant will help offset the cost of training, gear, radio upgrades, and insurance.
Cascade Mountain Summit Steward Program - ADK ($5460).
In the first year of the Cascade Summit Steward Program, over 5000 hiker contacts were made and the board of directors felt that the FAR-REACHING effects of the program were worth extending for a 2nd straight year.
Cascade Mountain Summit Steward Program - ADK ($5040).
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) approached the ADKHighpeaks Foundation to expand the existing Summit Steward program to Cascade Mountain. The Summit Steward program places an educated mountain steward on several popular Adirondack Summits to educate hiker on the fragile alpine summit ecosystems that exist on highest mountains. In general, only the highest summits of Marcy, Algonquin and Colden were covered by the existing program. We were approached to provide funding to provide a summit steward on the Summit of Cascade Mountain. While not actually having an alpine summit ecosystem, ADK had judged that Cascade Mountain, due to its relative ease in climbing was considered a "gateway mountain" to other higher peaks and a summit steward on this peak would have a far reaching effect on future hikers.
Mt. Adams Firetower restoration ($3500).
The Mt. Adams fire tower, as are all fire towers, is a unique and special part of the Adirondack history and lore. Mt. Adams is particularly special as one of the only that remains in a designated wilderness area. In the early 2000's, the land around the fire tower was purchased by the Open Space Institute and in a way to ensure that the tower would remain forever, it donated all the land, with the exception of the 1/2 acre footprint that the tower stands on, to the state to be included in the High Peaks Wilderness area.
This tower itself was in disrepair and minimal effort has been made over the years to get it opened to the public. I was briefly opened in 2006, but powerful windstorms in January, 2008 forced the DEC to close is again for safety reasons. Working with the DEC, we have committed to a major renovation project to restore this historic treasure to its original condition, including a roof (which it lacked last time). We are also committing to it's long-term adoption to make sure that we do everything we can to keep it open for good.
Without the fire tower, there is no view from this remote and isolated island peak in the middle of many 4000 peaks that tower around it. With the tower, this short and relatively easy climbs rewards one with one of the finest views in all of the Adirondacks for the effort involved.
Mt. Adams Firetower restoration ($1500).
This project is ongoing and we added $1500 to the overall account. The Fire tower and the trail leading to it was officially adopted by the foundation through the New York State Adopt a Natural Resource (AANR) program for a period of 5 years. The $5000 will cover the entire adoption period and provide funds to cover the life of the adoption for restoration and repair of the tower and the trail.
Jackrabbit Ski Trail Easement. ($5000).
This project will ensure trail continuity for the 4-season Jackrabbit Ski Trail from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake and allow for western trail access to the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area and McKenzie and Moose mountains. That access is currently covered only by a revocable easement.
At the time, the trailhead on McKenzie Pond Road in Saranac Lake was the only trail access to the west side of the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area for the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. Currently, the trailhead and first ½ mile is privately owned. Permission has been granted by the owner for the purchase of 400 ft of easement and a re-routing of the trail on safer, ski-friendly terrain. The project will also create significantly better parking – especially for winter users. Currently, the parking at the existing trailhead is an unsafe situation and the Town of N. Elba has placed signs prohibiting parking on the roadway - effectively blocking winter access to the current trail start. The Council and the Town of N. Elba have partnered to construct a Snowplow turnout at the new trailhead that will ensure safe parking along McKenzie Pond Road. Upon completion of the project the Jackrabbit ski trail will have year-round public trail continuity from Lake Placid all the way to Saranac Lake as well as a safer parking situation Along McKenzie Pond Road.
We fundraised and donated $5000 that was used to partially fund (1/3 funding) the purchase of the easement, construction costs and associated fees (specific breakdown is available). They are receiving other funding to make up the total amount of the project ($15,000).
Keene Valley Fire Department Wilderness Rescue Team ($5000).
In our inaugural year/effort, we raised and donated $5000 to the Keene Valley Fire Department Wilderness Rescue Team for the purchase of new wilderness rescue equipment. Keene Valley Wilderness Rescue Team is one of the few teams trained in Wilderness Rescue and operates out of the very popular (and busy) High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, and Dix Mountain Wilderness areas. Up-to-date working equipment is a must for them and we were able to give them the money to update much of their outdated equipment.
If you have any thoughts or projects that you think might benefit from our grant project, I encourage you to contact us at: