The Adirondack Council is backing an effort to tackle overuse of the park’s popular high peaks hiking trails through new planning projects, better funding and a pilot program for permits.

The ideas were discussed at a forum held by the Department of Environmental Conservation amid concerns about the use of the hiking trails in the Adirondacks, including the central portion of the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

“Clear consensus emerged on the need for a comprehensive plan, the money to carry out the plan and a pilot program for permits,” said Julia Goren, Adirondack Vision Project Director for the Adirondack Council.

“A comprehensive plan is needed to address each of the challenges, goals, and strategies in a holistic manner. Planning was identified as a vital need in every topic discussed. Planning takes money, which was also at the top of stakeholder requests. Money has been in short supply for trail improvements or even basic maintenance. By far, the most popular single tool identified by the participants was a pilot program for permits.”

The state in recent years has sought to bring more tourists and travel to the Adirondack Park, promoting upstate attractions like the mountains in an advertising campaign. But the influx of hikers and tourists to the region have also led to overuse of the trails.

It’s a balance, however, for a region that is among the poorest and oldest in the state, and depends heavily on tourism, as well as the use of natural resources.

The Adirondack Council most recently found 130 miles of high peak trails that are in need of maintenance and reconstruction.