RAY BROOK - Thousands of people have hiked the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks.
Now Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau wants them to conquer the Saranac Lake 6.
Rabideau unveiled his latest tourism initiative - dubbed "the Saranac Lake 6er" program - during a Community Spotlight presentation to the state Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners Thursday.
"There are six great peaks around Saranac Lake," Rabideau said, naming Ampersand, Baker, St. Regis, Scarface, McKenzie and Haystack mountains. "These are the Saranac Lake 6ers ... and if you climb those six mountains, you will get an official patch and bumper sticker from the mayor and a number."
The Saranac Lake 6er program kicks off this Memorial Day weekend, Rabideau said. Interested hikers must register at the Harrietstown Town Hall beginning at 10 a.m. May 23. The first registrant to hike all six mountains over the weekend and return to the town hall will be "Saranac Lake 6er #1," and those who follow will receive their sequential numbers (2, 3, 4 and so on). All other 6ers will get their numbers based on the order of their mail-in application to the program, which must list the dates they climbed the peaks, the people they hiked with and other information.
Rabideau told commissioners Thursday that the initiative could help to reduce some of the foot traffic in the High Peaks, which draws thousands of hikers each year, by encouraging those people to hike in the Saranac Lake area.
"We're going to make it a special event and a prestigious event. When you get that patch and the official letter, sticker and your official number, it's going to be special. And it's something the whole family can do."
Rabideau said the hiking program is part of a new trail marking and mapping marketing initiative undertaken in partnership with the APA. He said a pair of APA employees, Mark Rooks and Jon Barge, helped develop a map of local trails that will be distributed to hotels, motels and businesses around the community. The village is also working to put smartphone-scannable barcodes on trail registers in the Saranac Lake area that will provide trail information.
Rabideau invited APA board members to become Saranac Lake 6ers.
"There's no way in my lifetime that I will ever catch up with our counsel (Jim Townsend) and be a 46er," said APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich, "but I might be a 6er. I might be able to do that."
The hiking program was one of several village initiatives Rabideau highlighted during his presentation. The Saranac Lake biotech cluster, the proposed annexation of the American Management Association campus and the village's plan to partner with the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism on tourism marketing were also mentioned.
Contact Chris Knight at 89-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.