Upstate Hikers Furious! This Town Strands Families In the Woods?
Between the Capital Region, Adirondacks, and Catskills, there are so many amazing destinations for hikers to explore. But as summer heats up across Upstate, one relaxing trail an hour away from Albany has become a nightmare for many visitors.
At this trail, vehicles are towed so regularly that a local man near the trailhead was giving families, some with small children, rides to the town impound lot in the back of a U-Haul over Memorial Day weekend.
As reported by the Times Union, numerous visitors from the Capital Region have returned from a hike at the Huckleberry Point Trailhead in Hunter to find their cars gone. The Greene County town leaves them alone on the road with no water, food, or direction.
Hunter vs. Man vs. Wild
There’s a small parking lot near the trailhead, but no room for weekend overflow – especially with the nearby Codfish Pointe Trailhead. Many trails across the Region will let people park along the sides of the road, but park on Platte Clove Road and you’ll have a long hike than you thought plus a $600 bill at the end. Those towed say their cars were fully off the roadway, with no “no-parking” signs in sight.
The verbiage on the town website hints of a town fed up with its visitors. A spokesperson responded to a complaint email from a strandee saying Hunter unashamedly stands by its towing policy, regardless of location. Very recently, Hunter heavily invested in their towing initiative. On May 11, the Town Board unanimously voted to have a security firm guard their impound lot.
The Parking Situation
The argument is that Platte Cove Road, a seasonal highway, is a major artery for Hunter, and there needs to be room for locals and emergency vehicles. Hunter says it has asked the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to expand the lots around their trails, but the town’s failure to place barriers or even obvious signage in easily visible locations is leaving some to question whether there is a vindictive spirit behind the actions.
With a $415 towing charge plus additional parking violation fines ranging from $175 to $200, this is undoubtedly a lucrative endeavor for the town and its towing partner. As visitors feel the pinch, some Hunter residents praise the newer aggressive enforcement:
But visitors say leaving them with no resources or clue as to where their vehicles are, in an area with poor cell service, combined with heat conditions like this past weekend is dangerous, and it’s only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.