ADKHighpeaks Foundation History
In April, 2008, Neil Luckhurst and Tim Dubois made a decision that came after many months of soul searching. They both wanted to find a way to give back to the Adirondacks and the Forest Preserve lands that have given them so much. They decided that the best way was to use the educational and informational power of the forums to create a charitable foundation to enhance the wilderness community for its users. Either through monetary fundraising, or even volunteer efforts to help facilitate wilderness projects that need assistance. After securing legal representation, they started the process of becoming a recognized federal 501(c)(3) Not-for-profit entity. Shortly thereafter, they added longtime forum friends Dick Hihn, Jack Coleman and Alan Via to the team and planning was started in earnest.
In September of 2008, the first fundraising effort began, with the goal of raising money for the Keene Valley Fire Department SAR team. They were in need of equipment upgrades and the foundation saw an opportunity to be able to assist them in their efforts. In November 2008, the forums transferred from private ownership to the ADKHighpeaks Foundation. From humble beginnings……. we’ve come a long way.
For more information about causes supported by the foundation, see “Our Work”.
The history of ADKHighPeaks.com is tied very closely with Tim Dubois’ hiking history. Tim started hiking later in life, when he and his family began hiking together in 1997. Tim and his wife were 30 when they started hiking with their children, who were only 7 and 4 years old. Given that their kids were so small, they were limited to smaller peaks, until they hiked their first high peak – Cascade in August of 1999. They continued hiking whenever they were vacationing in Lake Placid, but their hiking really did not take off until they entered the new millennium, and the kids were a little older and able to hike farther and longer.
The seeds of this website began in late 2001 and it started with just a few pages of text and pictures about the Adirondacks on a small space on Tim’s local ISP provided server. It was primarily just a way for their family and friends to keep track of their hikes. By the spring of 2002, the family had decided to hike all 46 high peaks (at the time they had done 3). Tim expanded the little website to include a few trip reports. It was still primarily a way to keep non-hiking family and friends in touch with their progress, and to document their travels. It received almost no traffic. Tim posted his first trip report (Giant-Rocky Peak Ridge) in June of 2002.
Over the next year, Tim continued to tinker and play around with the site. Living 275 miles from the mountains, it became Tim’s surrogate that would help make the long stretch between hikes bearable. Tim had also been participating in another internet forum. Views From The Top (VFTT), during this period and that would later contribute to the further development of this site. At the time it still only had about 100 visits a month.
ADKHighPeaks.com was born in May of 2003, as a enhanced version of its former self. In reality, the only thing that changed was the address. The site only consisted of primarily trip reports and pictures. Traffic continued to be minimal. Steadily though, over the next 13 months or so, traffic began to increase and Tim received more and more encouragement by strangers via e-mail. Tim also began to meet (and hike with) some of the friends that he had met through the site and through VFTT, forming a core group of hiking friends. Late summer of 2014 held some important milestones in the history of this site. In September, Tim’s family completed the 46 high peaks on Whiteface Mt. In October of that year Tim started the ADKHighPeaks.com forums.
Those initial forums closed in January 2005, after some technical difficulties, and reopened again in April 2005. The forum grew steadily for the next several years. In June of 2003 (the first month of the new site), we saw 725 total visits, from 209 unique visitors. In 2008, we regularly averaged 900+ visits per day (27,000 – 29,000 a month), from upwards of 7000+ unique visitors a month.
Adding a Partner
In late 2005, as the site grew, Tim needed help with moderation duties and he asked one of the regular members, Neil Luckhurst, to help out. Tim had met Neil on the trails and they had gotten along well, so it seemed like a natural fit. Neil, with his hard work and diligence, has weaved his way into the very fabric of this site. As a reward for his hard work, in June of 2007, Tim transferred half-ownership rights to this site to Neil.
Largely on the convincing of another “forum friend”, Alan Via, a Catskill hiking area of the site was added in the fall of 2005, despite the fact that neither Neil or Tim had spent any time hiking there. It was obviously something that was needed as the section exploded in growth. With this addition, the forum would cover the two largest areas of the NYS Forest Preserve.
Adding Another Forum
In June of 2007, Dick Hihn, who was the co-owner of another large Adirondack based forum (ADKForum.com), asked if Tim and Neil wanted to take over ownership of that forum. ADKForum predates ADKHighPeaks forum by a year or so and has a slightly different feel, but a similar Adirondack recreation base. ADKForum covers the whole park as well as many more activities, than the narrower focus of hiking in the High Peaks.