KEENE VALLEY — For the first time in years, Keene town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson Jr. was out of town on Columbus Day weekend.

For the past several years, the town of Keene, which has a population of around 1,000 people, has seen a rush of hikers flocking to the High Peaks on long holiday weekends. The Columbus Day weekend is one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year. In the past, the rush of hikers has left state forest rangers, volunteers and local officials like Wilson scrambling to accommodate the influx of traffic, keep roads clear and attempt to educate as many hikers as possible about Leave No Trace principles before they venture into the wilderness.

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