Thursday, July 26, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 26)

This weekly Adirondack conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes weekly a Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** SUMMER CONDITIONS
Recent rains have generally raised the levels of water and reduced the threat of wild fires, afternoon thunderstorms are forescast throughout the region this weekend. The Park’s busiest areas, such as the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness will be crowded on fair weather weekends through Labor Day so plan accordingly. Remember that conditions can change suddenly with weather so be prepared and carry a flashlight, first aid kit, food, water and extra clothing. Conditions on summits are always more extreme; avoid lightening and make sure campfires are completely out.

** LIGHTENING SAFETY REMINDER
The possibility of encountering thunderstorms is raised this weekend. There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms. Hundreds of people are killed or permanently injured each year by being struck by lightening. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance so seek safe shelter immediately. If you are caught outdoors away from the safety of cars or buildings, then avoid open fields, hill-tops, and isolated trees, and stay away from water. You should never be above treeline or on water when there is lightning.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** HIGH FIRE DANGER
Recent rains were localized and still not enough to counter the many weeks of dry weather. The Adirondacks and the surrounding region remain at High Fire Danger Levels, a condition that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly with devastating effects. There have been nearly 20 wildfires in the Adirondacks since July 1st that have burned some 30 acres. Half of the Adirondack wildfires this July were started by campfires that were not put out completely. The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and a moderate drought in the Southwestern Adirondacks. Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. More about the region’s high fire danger can be found here.

** DROUGHT CONDITIONS
Despite this additional storms this week, Thursday the US Drought Monitor is reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and moderate drought conditions in the Southwestern Adirondacks.

** 90-DAY BURN BAN IN EFFECT
The governor’s office has issued a 90-day burn ban after wildfires swept through the Adirondacks. The ban is in effect until October 10. Wildfires can start easily from many types of causes and can spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Take extra caution and do the following: Refrain from starting any type of outdoor fire and in cases where a fire must be started, take extreme caution; Be watchful and keep a close eye when grilling outdoors; For those who smoke, make sure a lit cigarette is completely extinguished; When camping, use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small; Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10 foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading; Never leave a campfire unattended; Drown the fire with water (make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again); and use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.

BEAR ENCOUNTERS ON THE RISE
Bear sightings and encounters have been occurring more frequently than usual this summer leading to a a spike in bear-related calls to DEC this month. Wildlife biologists say the increased encounters may be the result of dry conditions that have reduced natural food sources such as skunk cabbage and berries. Higher reports of encounters with bears have been coming from the High Peaks. Black bears will take advantage of readily available food sources, including bird feeders and garbage. To prevent encounters with bears, you should never intentionally feed them, and you should discourage them from seeking food from sources near your home or camp. The use of bear canisters is required by campers in the Eastern High Peaks from April 1 to November 30 and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Pack all food, toiletries and garbage in canisters. DEC has issued a Guidance to Discourage Black Bear Encounters.

** WATERS RUNNING AT GENERALLY NORMAL LEVELS
The levels of rivers and streams throughout the region have mostly returned to normal with the exception of the Oswegatchie and Raquette rivers in the north west Adirondack region. Water levels on lakes and ponds are also generally returned to normal. Consult the latest streamgage data if you are venturing onto the region’s waters.

** ADIRONDACK WATER TEMPERATURES
Ausable River (West Branch in Wilmington) water temperature is in the mid-60s.
Mirror Lake water temperature is in the mid-70s.
Lake Champlain (at Burlington) water temperature has fallen to 71 degrees.
Lake George (at Warner Bay) water temperature remains in the lower-80s.

** RAQUETTE RIVER AWARENESS WEEK
This year the Raquette River Blueway Corridor’s Advisory Committee will be hosting several events throughout the corridor during Raquette River Awareness Week begins Saturday, July 28th and runs through Saturday, August 4th. Designed to highlight the assets the Raquette River has to offer, a variety of events held in communities all along the river will feature the grand opening celebration of a canoe access trail to the Raquette River near Moody Falls in Sevey Corners in Colton. The Raquette River is the second longest river in New York State at 174 miles, from its source at Blue Mountain Lake in the middle of the Adirondacks to the St. Lawrence River at Akwesasne. [Read More]

** NEW STATEWIDE INVASIVE SPECIES LAW
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the Invasive Species Prevention Act, legislation designed to help prevent the spread of destructive invasive plants and animals by making it illegal to sell and transport invasive species in the state. [Read More]

** WATERMILFOIL MANAGEMENT SUMMIT AUGUST 16TH
“Eurasian Watermilfoil Management Summit: Lessons Learned from the Adirondack Region,” a free event at Horicon Town Hall in Brant Lake (9-5, Thursday, August 16th), will feature presentations on the status of the Eurasian watermilfoil invasion and its management in the Adirondack region, control options, planning considerations, case studies from various lakes, permitting, financing, lake-friendly land-use recommendations and spread prevention. Speakers will include state agency staff, elected officials, not-for-profit representatives, shoreowners and lake managers. Eurasian watermilfoil is one of the most widespread aquatic invasive plants across the country and has invaded over 50 lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks so far. RSVP by Thursday, August 2nd to Allie Smith at acsmit09@stlawu.edu with “EWM Summit” in the subject heading – include the number of participants attending, names, and organization or association, or call 518-668-5773. More information about the Summit, including a preliminary program, is online.

NEW MARCY DAM BRIDGE BUILT
The footbridge over Marcy Dam, washed away during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, has been rebuilt about 75 yards below the dam, upstream from the low water crossing. Trails on the east side of Marcy Brook are now easily accessible.

** ALL ROCK CLIMBING ROUTES HAVE REOPENED
All climbing routes have reopened. DEC has tallied 32 chicks were produced at 18 nest locations with successful fledging of falcons at all areas that had rock climbing route closures. If you observe a peregrine falcon exhibiting defensive or distressed behavior while climbing, please descend immediately and report your observations to the DEC Region 5 Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291.

DEC DRAFTING ST. LAWRENCE FLATLANDS MANAGEMENT PLAN
DEC Region 6 is preparing a unit management plan (UMP) for ten state forests and seven detached forest preserve parcels in northern St. Lawrence and Franklin counties. This plan for the new St. Lawrence Flatlands management unit is a continuation of the former Brasher UMP which began several years ago. The state forests total 30,810 acres and are located in the Franklin County towns of Bombay and Moira, and the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Madrid, Norfolk and Stockholm. The unit also includes seven widely scattered parcels of detached forest preserve lands located in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena, Oswegatchie and Waddington in St. Lawrence County. Comments on the future management of this unit should be addressed to Senior Forester Aaron Graves at NYSDEC, 6739 US Highway 11, Potsdam, NY, 13676, e-mail r6ump@gw.dec.state.ny.us, or call call (315) 265-3090. The deadline for this round of public comments is August 31, 2012.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

BUG SEASON
It’s “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Black Flies, Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. Wear light colored clothing, long sleeves and long pants; rap a rubber band around sleeves at the wrist; tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks; pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick and use an insect repellant.

DISCOURAGE BLACK BEAR ENCOUNTERS
Black bears will take advantage of readily available food sources, including bird feeders and garbage. To prevent encounters with bears, you should never intentionally feed them, and you should discourage them from seeking food from sources near your home or camp. The use of bear canisters is required by campers in the Eastern High Peaks from April 1 to November 30 and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Pack all food, toiletries and garbage in canisters. DEC has issued a Guidance to Discourage Black Bear Encounters.

KEEP DOGS LEASHED
Dog owners are reminded that dogs must be leashed in the Eastern High Peaks when on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, everywhere above 4,000 feet, or at other areas where the public congregates. It is recommended dogs be kept leased in most areas for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and as a courtesy to fellow hikers.

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BE PREPARED
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

PRACTICE ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats. White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. Give bats an opportunity to recover and voluntarily avoid Adirondack caves.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville-PLacid Trail Conditions are provided by the Adirondack Mountain Club’s NPT Chapter. You can learn more about the trail, get specific conditions, and volunteer to help maintain this historic trail online.

Blowdown Report: Blowdown has been removed from the Northville-Placid Trail this spring in most areas with the exception of some of the more remote sections such as West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general is clear.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away in the spring of 2011. The 45 foot span bridge is being replaced by the ADK Professional Trail Crew, under contract with the DEC, between July 13th and July 31st. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing, especially during high water events that may be intimidating to some hikers.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations but may require a bushwhack in high water events. This bridge is scheduled for replacement by a Student Conservation Association trail crew this summer.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** With the exception of the Oswagatchie and Raquette Rivers, water levels have returned to normal levels and water temperatures are in the mid and upper-70s (see water levels and temperature reports above).

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Bear Encounters Probable, Canisters Required: There has been a significant amount of nuisance bear activity in the Eastern High Peaks. The use of bear resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Last summer Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc in the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness creating many new slides and damaging trails and other infrastructure. While considerable efforts have been made to repair the trail system, hikers should be attentive as trails may not look the same as they did when they were last hiked or as described in guidebooks and maps. Some bridges are missing and trails have been rerouted. Low water crossings have been created near the location of missing bridges. Trails may be hard to recognize and drainages may be mistaken for trails. The ability to navigate by map and compass is essential. Two trails remain closed. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

New Marcy Dam Bridge Complete: The footbridge over Marcy Dam, washed away during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, has been rebuilt about 75 yards below the dam, upstream from the low water crossing. Trails on the east side of Marcy Brook are now easily accessible.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve / Bridge to W.A. White Trail: The bridge over the Ausable River that provides access to the W.A. White Trail has been rebuilt by the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS). This is the first (northernmost) cross-over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail.

** Sawteeth Trail: The trail from Lower Ausable Lake to Sawteeth – the Scenic Trail – is open for public use.

Upper Ausable / Colvin Range Trail Improvements: The Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) has replaced the bridge over the Inlet on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail, cleared the route to Colvin from the Carry Trail at Upper AuSable Lake in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, cleared from Blake Peak to Pinnacle beyond Colvin, and also cleared Bartlett Ridge on the way to Marcy from the Wardens Camp on Upper Ausable. Still closed are Deer Brook Flume, but the bridge to the W.A. White Trail has reopened.

Avalanche Pass Trail: Heavy cobbles, debris or mud can be found at various locations between Marcy Dam and Avalanche Lake is quite deep in spots. Hikers may need to leave the trail to avoid problem areas.

Giant Mountain Slides: The approach to Eagle Slide (and others in the area) was significantly affected by Hurricane Irene, the herd path approach between the Bottle Slide and Eagle Slide drainages is no longer recommended. Instead, follow Roaring Brook to the base of the Eagle Slide. There are some trees downed in the brook. [Hat Tip: Adirondack Rock]

Colden Trap Dyke: The Trap Dyke was changed considerably during Hurricane Irene. Fixed ropes, harnesses and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to the age, weatherizing and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used.

Jay Mountain Road: Jay Mountain Road is open but the bridge on the Carlott Road, one of the roads to access the Jay Mountain Road from the southeast, is closed.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing are encouraged to park at the paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Corey’s Road: Corey’s Road is open. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Deer Brook Flume – Snow Mountain: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on the Deer Brook Trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion.

Duck Hole: The Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole is out. One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered. The bridge over the dam had been previously removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water. Note: This affects the Bradley Pond Trail and not the Northville Placid Trail.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The opening of this trail is still being evaluated. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes. Lean2Rescue has restored and relocated the Howard lean-to in the Johns Brook Valley.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed. The opening of this trail is being evaluated.

Elk Lake-Marcy Trail: The bridge has been replaced in Marcy Swamp Inlet on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. Also there is light blowdown between Marcy Swamp and Panther Gorge Lean-to.

Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.

Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.

Calkins Creek Horse Trail: The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail has been cleared as has the Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to. See also, the Giant Mountain Slides notice above.

Western High Peaks: Lean2Rescue restored the Ward Brook bridge near the Blueberry lean-to in the Western High peaks.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

Beaver River: Lean2Rescue has erected a new 55 ft bridge to replace a historical bridge over the Beaver River near Beaver River Station.

Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening.

Eagle Cave in Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

Bear Lake Trail (Herkimer County): Lean2Rescue has erected three bridges on the Bear Lake trail in Herkimer County; and assisted in the clearing of the Little Porter Mt trail and from Little Porter Junction to Marcy Field.

Moose River Plains: The Otter Brook Road is open over the South Branch of the Moose River to the Indian Lake Road and the Indian Lake Road is open to the new Squaw Lake/Indian Lake Trailhead. The Town of Inlet Highway department has installed a new rock barrier on the Indian Lake Road about 0.3 miles before the Squaw Lake Trail in accordance with the management plan for Moose River Plains Complex. Parking for the trailhead is located at a pre-existing pull-off just before the new barrier. The new parking area is signed and can hold 5 to 6 vehicles. The Limekiln Gate and the Cedar River Gate are now open and the main Moose River Plains Road is open to motor vehicles.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: All designated public motor vehicle roads are open. DEC Operations staff have finished maintenance work on the 31+ miles of designated public motor vehicle roads. Access to destinations like Spruce Lake, Pillsbury Mountain, and Cisco Brook trailheads are once again available.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

Silver Lake Wilderness: There is heavy blowdown on the Northville Placid Trail between Benson and Silver Lake.

West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephens Pond to Lake Durant.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin next spring.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Calls to Close Champlain Canal
Late last week, the Hudson River Feeder Canal and the Champlain Canal above Lock 11 were reported to be infested with spiny water flea plankton. Spiny water flea is a particular concern for anglers as it can foul down-riggers and other fishing gear. It’s believed to have arrived in Lake Huron in 1984 in ship ballast water, and since spread to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Great Sacandaga Lake, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir. More 60 scientists and officials and groups from Vermont have sent a letter to the New York State Canal Corporation this week asking that the Champlain Canal be closed immediately to prevent the spread of the invasive plankton into Lake Champlain. A rapid response team has moved into action, but according to reports by WAMC radio, the Canal Corporation is indicating it is unwilling to close the canal early.

Lake George Wild Forest – Black Mountain: The Black Mountain gate on Pike Brook Road has been opened and the one mile road is accessible by motor vehicles.

New Cheney Mountain Trail: A new trail 1.5-mile-long has been built on town property up 1,161-foot-high Cheney Mountain in Moriah. The trailhead is located about a mile off Route 9N/22 on Pelfershire Road. Views from the summit include Vermont’s Green Mountains, the High Peaks, and the Moriah tailings pile, a historic reminder of the town’s iron mining past. Volunteers from Moriah, Port Henry, Mineville, Crown Point, Westport, Wadhams and Essex cut the trail with the support of Champlain Area Trails (CATS); no taxpayer money was spent. The trail has been in the planning stages since 2004. CATS has built about 20 miles of new trails since the organization was formed in 2010. The Cheney Mountain TRail is included as hike No. 22 in a new CATS trail map.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Big Pond Trail has been cleared of blowdown. The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

Lake George Wild Forest Roads: Repairs have been completed on the Bear Slide Access Route, the trail is open for usage. The Darling Ford Road and the Buttermilk Road Extension in Hudson River Recreation Area, Lake George Wild Forest remain close due to erosion and washouts. They will be open sometime in the future when maintenance work is completed. Gay Pond Road is open to motor vehicle traffic, though the road is rough. It is recommended that high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles be used when driving on the road. The Northern Hudson River Special Management Area Map and the Hudson River Special Management Area Map 3 both incorrectly depict Gay Pond Road as being closed. These maps will be updated in the near future.

Tongue Mountain: Rattlesnakes are out and moving about on Tongue Mountain, leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Always check for snakes before sitting on the ground. There is no water on Toungue Mountain, be sure to carry enough water for the round trip of your hike. On hot, humid days assess your abilities and the dangers of heat exhaustion and dehydration before hiking; both can come on quickly.

Shelving Rock Falls: A new parking area has been constructed along Shelving Rock Road near at the trailhead to Shelving Rock Falls. The parking area includes an accessible privy and space for 25 vehicles.

Shelving Rock Day Use Area: Users of the Shelving Rock Day Use Area must park in designated parking areas and not on the side of Shelving Rock Road. Vehicles parked along the road block block traffic including emergency vehicles. Vehicles parked along the road will be ticketed.

Crane Mountain: The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain Road is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. The bridge over the Berrymill Brook on the Hammond Pond Trail is out. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Lean-tos: Pharaoh Lake #6 lean-to has been rebuilt. Pharaoh Lake #5 “Watch Rock” lean-to has no roof at this time, it will be replaced within a few weeks. Pharaoh Lake #2 lean-to will be re-roofed later this summer. Anyone interested in assisting on this project can contact Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter) and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Blowdown has been cleared from the Puffer Pond Trail between Chimney Mountain and Puffer Pond. A reroute has been constructed around the original beaver flooded trail segment of the West Puffer Pond Trail which travels around the south side of Chimney Mountain and continues past the John Pond Crossover Trail. The trails from the Old Farm Trailhead to Hour Pond Cut-off Trail and back to the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead has been cleared of blowdown.

Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

Boreas River – Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: Three campsites along the Northwoods Club Road near the bridge over the Boreas River have been reopened. Numerous dead and hazardous trees have been removed the sites were rehabilitated.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** New Boat Access for Raquette River at Moody Falls: A canoe and cartop boat access trail to the Raquette River at Moody Falls in the Town of Colton, St. Lawrence County is completed. The site, located off State Route 56 north of Seveys Corners on lands owned by Lyme Adirondack Timberlands and subject to a conservation easement held by DEC, has a new trail which leads down to the Raquette River upstream of Moody Falls. There is a four-car parking lot and improved road access. There will also be an access trail along the falls that will provide access from above to below Moody Falls which should be completed later this year or early next year. All of these actions were also proposed in the Raquette-Boreal Unit Management Plan, which was completed in 2006. The official opening will be on Sunday, July 29 at 10 AM as part of the Raquette River Awareness.

Road to Madawaska Flow / Quebec Brook Closed: The logging road from Route 458 in the town of Duane into the Santa Clara Easement Lands and the Madawaska Flow / Quebec Brook has been closed to the public, the Adirondack Explorer has learned. The waterways were acquired by the state in 1998, but the beginning of the road crosses non-easement lands. According to DEC, private landowner Winston Towers closed the road but did not give a reason other than that the land will soon be put on the market. “DEC is actively seeking a solution to this issue and seeks to reestablish public access to Madawaska Pond in the near future,” Winchell told Phil Brown. “DEC has a public access right of way in another location, but there is no road; it would have had to been built.” Madawaska flow’s only remaining access is a bushwhack from Blue Mountain Road and crossing privately owned railroad bed. It’s possible to paddle, with carries around rapids, to Madawaska Flow via Quebec Brook from Blue Mountain Road.

Lewis Preserve WMA: The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it may be deep and swift moving.

Lyon Mountain – Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The town roads are open as Fishhole Pond access road. All other gates and roads are closed to public motor vehicle access at this time except those open to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) as identified on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands webpage. Accessible campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available to for use and the privy on campsite #2 has been repaired.

Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The conservation easement lands are open to public recreational use, including hunting. Leasing of hunting and recreational camps on these conservation easement lands will continue under a new agreement between DEC and the landowner.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: A bridge replacement project on Floodwood Road in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County has been completed. Motor vehicles may once again access parking lots and trailheads to Floodwood Pond, East Pine Pond, the southwestern end of Long Pond and Floodwood Mountain. Also, Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was recently completed. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest – Poke-O-Moonshine: The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is open Thursdays through Mondays. The fire tower is staffed by a steward through a cooperative program of the Friends of the Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower and the DEC. Also, note the climbing closures above.

Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is now open for motor vehicle usage. Do not block the gate at the end of the parking lot which provides access to private lands beyond Lake Lila.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Stories written under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our Editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.


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