Harriman Park Winter Road and Trails Access Update

Date: 
02/10/2014
Source: 
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Harriman workshop attendeesFebruary 10, 2014:  On Saturday, February 8, a workshop on Harriman Trails Access issues was held as part of the annual Winter Members meeting at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. A primary focus for those in attendance (9 members representing the committee, staff, and board) was reviewing the inventory of current and past parking areas. It was noted that written comments had been received from a number of people. All comments are being collected for review by the Harriman Trails Access Committee. A deadline for submitting comments was set for Monday, Feb. 24 (extended deadline).

Members of the committee are: John Mack (Trails Chair), Bob Fuller (Appalachian Mountain Club), Pete Tilgner (ADK-Ramapo North Jersey), David Hogenauer (Union County Hiking Club), and Sona Mason, West Hudson Program Chair. The committee goal is to assess current trail access, identify possible improvements, and recommend and advocate for them to park managers.

The committee welcomes additional input via email or telephone. Please contact staff member Sona Mason at [email protected] or 201-512-9348, ext. 16. 


 

February 1, 2014: A committee of Trail Conference volunteers and staff is reviewing hiker concerns, questions, and suggestions for solving trail access issues at Harriman State Park. Input is welcome. Please reserve your seat  (space is limited) for a morning workshop session on the topic scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8 at our Winter Meeting or send your comments to Sona Mason, [email protected].

Rt 106 signJanuary 29, 2014: Following the recent winter closure of Route 106 and subsequent public concerns, the NY-NJ Trail Conference has discussed several park road questions and winter trail access issues with the PIPC management. 

  • Winter Access:
    • We are told by park managers that their staff will post updates on road conditions on the park's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harriman-State-Park/316240675169741).  The page will be used primarily to give vital information to patrons regarding road, trail and parking closures, as well as event and other information.  You may also call the Tiorati office (845) 351-2568 (8am-4pm) or call the Bear Mountain Administration office (845-786-2701).  Recognize that park staff, having numerous other duties, may not always be available to answer calls.
    • We suggest that hikers utilize the parking areas marked on the Trail Conference Trail Maps along with the parking advisories detailed below to plan your visits to Harriman Park in advance.
    • The park has indicated it will consider Trail Conference suggestions for improving access to trails in the park, which could include new or expanded parking areas and/or new trailheads.  We plan to work with our member clubs to develop a prioritized list of recommendations for the park’s consideration. A committee that includes our West Hudson Trails Chair John Mack, representatives of several member clubs, and staff members is leading this effort. 

The following is what we learned about specific park road situations in Harriman that we hope to be useful to park users.

  • Route 106 closure:
    • Orange County closed Route 106 in the Spring of 2008 when it determined that two culverts associated with Lake Kanawauke were unsafe to carry vehicular traffic. After discussions with the Park Commission, the County agreed to repair the culverts as well as make other required improvements to the road on the condition that the Commission take possession of the road upon completion of said improvements. The agreement also made clear that the Commission would only accept the road as a park road and retain the authority to close it seasonally consistent with other park roads.
    • Since accepting the road on 1/1/2014, hazardous icing conditions on Route 106 have created a safety concern that requires frequent treatment, which they are unable to provide.  There has already been an accident on this road. 
    • The road will remain closed for the duration of this winter season. The park will investigate the failure of the drainage system when conditions permit. 
    • The road barrier at Kanawauke is just west of the Kanawauke Lake parking lot entrance.  This provides public access to the lot, which the park intends to keep open.  The Park has changed the sign at the Kanawauke circle to from "Road Closed” to “Road Closed Ahead."
    • There are no marked trails at the Kanawauke Lake parking lot.  From the parking lot it is about a 1.4 mile walk westward on the closed road to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail crossing, not an unpleasant walk along the road when closed.
    • 106 is also barricaded at the west end.  The full barricade is just east of the overpass of the NYS Thruway.    
  • Other Park roads:
    • Park roads include 7 Lakes Drive, Tiorati Brook Road, Arden Valley Road, Lake Welch Drive, St. Johns Road and the Orange County portion of CR 106.  In general, plowing only occurs during official park employee hours, which may delay road and parking lot access.  Roads and parking lots are cleared according to a priority level.
    • Some public confusion seems to result from observing that closed roads are sometimes cleared to some extent.  This may be done, typically not to public safety standards, to provide emergency or residential access, and is not an indication that the road is open to the public.
  • Parking Rules:
    • The park rules, posted at various locations along park roads, are clear that parking is not allowed along park roads other than at specific locations (including parking marked on Trail Conference maps).  Any cars parked outside of designated parking lots and defined pull-offs at trail heads or trail crossings, are subject to summons. Officers occasionally exercise discretion at limited, highly popular areas with limited parking such as Reeves Meadow but, even there, a particular cause for summons would be impeding of traffic.
    • Lake Sebago boat launch parking is currently closed for maintenance.  Parking along its access road is also prohibited.
    • Parking areas that the park intends to keep open year round are: Reeves Meadow,  Lake Sebago Boat Launch-once the maintenance work is completed, Lake Kanawauke, Lake Skannatati, Lake Tiorati, Silvermine Lake, Anthony Wayne Recreation Area north lot, and the Elk Pen.
    • At this writing (Jan. 30), we await official word on the status of parking along Rt. 9W, a state road.