Thursday, December 6, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Dec 6)

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 Outdoor Conditions Report also runs each Friday at Saratoga Wire.

 

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EARLY WINTER CONDITIONS: Warmer temperatures and some rain this week have melted most of the snow at lower elevations. What snow and ice that remain at elevations above 3,000 feet that will require traction devices. Remember that conditions can change suddenly with weather and accidents happen so be prepared and carry a flashlight, first aid kit, food, water and extra clothing. Conditions on summits are always more extreme.

** SOME WET AND MUDDY TRAILS: Some trails at lower elevations will be wet and muddy as temperatures warm during the day. Wear proper footwear and walk through, not around muddy areas to prevent widening trails.

** SNOW COVER: Snow cover has been reduced to elevations above 3,000 feet where snow is hard and icy. Traction devices will be needed above 3,000 feet where trails are very icy.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN: Late fall wind storms mean you should expect to encounter blowdown on and over trails, especially at higher elevations.

** NORMAL AND ABOVE NORMAL WATER LEVELS: This week’s snow melt has returned rivers and streams to normal levels for this time of year. Waters that drain the High Peaks and western Adirondacks have running at above normal levels. Some low-water crossings may not be accessible in those areas.

** ICE ON WATERS: There is less than an inch of ice on Lake Colden. Ponds, small lakes, bays and higher elevation waters are freezing over. Ice is also forming on some backwaters of rivers and streams. Ice is not safe to cross. Ice that holds snow will not hold the weight of a person.

** LOWER LOCKS CLOSING ON SARANAC CHAIN: The Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain will be shut down for the winter, effective Monday, December 10. The locks are closed and made inoperable every winter to avoid unsafe situations and to prevent damage to the locks. According to DEC “Operation of the locks in icy conditions in the past was the cause of damage to hoses, hydraulic rams, and the hydraulic control mechanism. The repair of these damages is costly and stops boater traffic in the highly utilized area while the locks are being repaired.” DEC does not officially close the Upper Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain. They are manually operated and become inoperable when ice forms. The Lower Locks will be reopened after the ice goes out in the spring

** BACKCOUNTRY SKI REPORT: There is no skiing on the Whiteface Mountain Toll Road and not enough snow for backcountry skiing elsewhere. Backcountry ski conditions are reported weekly by Tony Goodwin of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: There is not enough snow, even for golf course skiing. No cross-country ski areas have opened yet.

** DOWNHILL SKIING REPORT: Whiteface and Gore are both reporting about 20% of their terrain open. Oak Mountain in Speculator, under new management this year, has been making snow in hope of opening on Saturday, but call ahead. has posted a ski season preview here.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT: Nights have been cold, but ice has not yet formed and warmer temperatures and rain have left what few routes there were unclimbable. Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service provides regular ice climbing reports.

** LIFE JACKETS (PFDs) REQUIRED: State law requires life jackets be worn by anyone on a boat less than 21 feet in length between November 1st and May 1st. Cold water temperatures can cause hyperventilation, hypothermia and weakening of limbs all which could lead to drowning if a person is not wearing a Personal Floatation Device.

** 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]

Fire Danger: LOW

MOTORISTS: BE ALERT FOR MOOSE AND WHITETAIL DEER: The peak period for vehicle collisions with whitetail deer and moose is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This is the peak of the annual breeding cycles when deer and moose are more active and less cautious in their movements. Motorists should be alert especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when these animals are most active. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year, two-thirds at this time of year. There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs. The best way to avoid a collision with deer or moose is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

HUNTING SEASONS NOW OPEN: Hunting seasons have begun. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack regularly reports on these traditional sports here.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

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. 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.

CAVES AND MINES: Last year, 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.

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.

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 here.

Silver Lake Wilderness / Mud Lake Lean-to: A combined crew of ADK and lean2rescue volunteers recently temporarily fixed the Mud Lake lean-to making it usable until spring when a new roof is put on it. Over three separate trips, the tree was removed and the old shingles were removed and bundled ready to be taken out by sled in the winter. The remaining lean-to was assessed and new logs brought in or cut in place. It was rebuilt sufficiently to place a tarp (an old McDonalds billboard) on top to get through the winter season. New roofing materials were transported part way into the woods and hidden waiting for a crew to transport to the lean-to for a spring re-roofing job. This was a complete volunteer effort. The Mud Lake lean-to is now open for use.

Blowdown Report: Users will encounter blowdowns on the trail in several known areas including West Canada Creek to Sucker Brook Trail; South approach to the height of land north of Tirrell Pond and Salmon Pond Road; and just south of the Seward lean-to. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general is clear.

West Canada Lake Wilderness: The project to move Spruce Lake lean-to #2 is complete and the lean-to is available for use. A 30-foot long two-stringer footbridge along the Northville-Lake Placid Trail south of Spruce Lake lean-to #1 has been repaired. In addition two 10-foot long bog bridges were constructed on the trail in that general area. All of the work was done by the Student Conservation Association’s Adirondack Program.

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 was replaced the end of July by the ADK Professional Trail Crew, under contract with the DEC. Both approaches to the South Lake outlet bridge had bog bridging installed in July by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, the bridge that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing has been replaced by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

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

** Trails Changes After Tropical Storm Irene. The vast majority of trails have reopened and crossings have been repaired, however some trails have been rerouted, and others are no longer being maintained by DEC. Adirondack Explorer editor Phil Brown has reviewed the lasting changes following Irene here.

** South Meadow Road: The Town of North Elba has blocked the South Meadow Road for the winter. Cars may park in the area near the roads end at the intersection with the Loj Road. There is not enough snow to ski.

** Elk Lake Trails: The two trails that cross the Elk Lake Lodge Lands – Elk Lake Trail to the southern High Peaks Wilderness and Hunter Pass Trail to the southern Dix Mountain Wilderness have reopened for public use. The gate at Clear Pond will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season, adding two miles to a round trip hike.

** Bradley Pond Trail: The first bridge on the Bradley Pond Trail is damaged and unsafe to use. The stream can be forded at that location. The second bridge, which crosses Santanoni Brook, is tilting. It can be used with caution.

** Hudson River – East River Trail: The bridge over the Hudson River on the East River Trail is out, use the nearby flagged ford (low water crossing). An ice bridge does not form at the ford, so crossing the river at this point will always entail wading through the water. Crossing when water levels are high or when water temperatures are cold can be risky.

McKenzie Mountain: Trail to McKenzie Mountain from the Whiteface Inn Road has been cleared of blowdown to the summit of the mountain as has the herd path between McKenzie and Moose Mountain (to within 0.7 mile of the summit of Moose Mountain).

Whiteface Landing: 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.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: Road construction continues on the bridge over the West Branch Ausable River, the parking areas for the Wilmington Bike Trail and the Flume contain construction equipment and material. Parking is available but limited. (Report from 11/29)

Feldspar Lean-to: ADK’s Professional Trail Crew’s has built a new bridge over the Opalescent River between the Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold. The bridge was washed out by Tropical Storm Irene last year.

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. [See the video]

Avalanche Pass Trail: There was a mud slide on the Avalanche Pass Trail between the old landslide and Avalanche Lake. Hikers may need to leave the trail to avoid debris.

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.

New Jay Mountain Trail: A newly constructed 2.5-mile trail to the western end of the Jay Mountain Ridge is complete and available for public use. The trail bypasses the steep and eroded sections of an existing herd path that had been the primary access to mountain’s summit. The Jay Mountain Trail starts at a new trailhead at the intersection of Jay Mountain Road and Upland Meadows Road in the town of Jay. The new trailhead is located on Forest Preserve lands approximately 300 feet downhill from where the old herd path entered the woods and offers parking for up to five cars. At the end of the new trail, a short spur trail to the north leads to an overlook that provides a spectacular 360 degree scenic view. There are some rough sections of trail that will improve in the future according to the DEC statement. Hikers can continue along the ridgeline, following rock cairns, for approximately 1.5 miles to the summit of Jay Mountain. [Read More] A bridge on the Carlott Road, one of the roads to access the Jay Mountain Road from the southeast, remains closed.

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, however signs at both ends make the alternative route clear.

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 was closed by a landslide in 2011 will no longer be maintained DEC.

Cold Brook Trail: DEC is no longer maintaining the Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass.

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 and the bridges have been repaired.

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to.

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

** Moose River Plains: The Limekiln and Cedar River Road gates have been closed. Motorized access to the Moose River Plains Road system is closed until there is enough snow to reopen the gates for snowmobiling.

Moose River Plains: DEC trail crews are building a new 5.1-mile snowmobile trail that will connect the Limekiln-Cedar River Road near Fawn Lake to State Route 28 near the Seventh Lake Boat Launch. The trail is the first phase of a long-distance community connector trail that will link Indian Lake, Inlet, Raquette Lake and Long Lake as described in the 2011 Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. Please use caution while hiking in the vicinity of the work crews. Be sure workers using chainsaws see you before you approach them. Follow any instructions workers provide.

Great Sacandaga Lake – Batchellerville Bridge: The new Batchellerville Bridge has reopened ahead of schedule. The new bridge, just south of the old bridge, carries Saratoga County Route 98 over Great Sacandaga Lake between Batchellerville and Edinburg. The higher bridge will provide a new vertical clearance for sailboats of 42 feet.

Mason Lake, Perkins Clearing Road – Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has completed a number of changes to the campsites around Mason Lake and along the Perkins Clearing Road pursuant to the actions described in the Jessup River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. See the Mason Lake Designated Campsites Map [PDF] for more details. These changes include: 1) Converting the first waterside campsite on Perkins Clearing Road into a picnic area and waterway access site on the shore of Mason Lake with two picnic tables, privy and water access registration box. 2) Designation of 10 campsites as a result of closing some over used, poorly located campsites and creating new ones. Three of these sites are only open for this year and will be closed in 2013. 3) Three campsites along Mason Lake Road (6, 7 and 8) have been combined into a group campsite that is available by permit only obtained from the local Forest Ranger. 4) Installing boulders to serve as vehicle barriers; keeping vehicles from accessing or parking in areas not designated for motor vehicle use.

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 and is gated at the first bridge (which needs replacing). DEC says “it continues to be a high priority to fix those bridges and reopen the road. Funding is the issue. We hope to fix that first bridge and reopen the road to the next bridge. Time schedule is not set.”

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 was replaced the end of July by the ADK Professional Trail Crew, under contract with the DEC. Both approaches to the South Lake outlet bridge had bog bridging installed in July by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

NPT – Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, the bridge that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing has been replaced by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: A new web page has been developed for the Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands which includes information about the unit and its recreational opportunities. The project to move Spruce Lake lean-to #2 is complete and the lean-to is available for use. A new 5 car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead on conservation easement lands. The old parking area was located on forest preserve lands in the West Canada Wilderness, is closed and a rock barrier is located at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake.

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.

West Canada Lake Wilderness: The project to move Spruce Lake lean-to #2 is complete and the lean-to is available for use. A new 5 car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead on conservation easement lands. The old parking area was located on forest preserve lands in the West Canada Wilderness, is closed and a rock barrier is located at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake. The bridge over the West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail at the outlet of Mud Lake has been rebuilt by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew as a paid contractor for the DEC.

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

Tongue Mountain: On the Tongue Mountain Range, signs at trail intersection of the Summit (red) Trail and Lake (blue) Trail coming from the Clay Meadow Trailhead have been replaced. Hikers are advised to carry maps as the signs at this location are often stolen. 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.

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.

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.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: This past summer the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program completed a reroute of Hoffman Notch Trail. Two new bridges were built and the bridge that was washed out has been replaced. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

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.

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: A new 2.5 mile foot trail has been built from the trailhead on 14th Road in Minerva to the summit of Moxham Mountain. The trailhead is located on the south side of 14th Road, about 2 miles west of the intersection of 14th Road and Route 28N in the town of Minerva. The trail was cleared and marked with yellow trail markers by the Student Conservation Association’s Adirondack Program. 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. The Boreas River crossing on the Cheney Pond – Irishtown Trail is not bridged. During low water conditions, crossing by rock hopping may be possible.

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

** Piercefield – Tupper Lake: Hunters and others bushwhacking in the woods in the town of Piercefield in St. Lawrence County and the town of Tupper Lake in Franklin County are asked to look for and report signs of Colin Gillis, 18, of Tupper Lake, who was last seen on March 10, 2012, walking on State Route 3 between the communities of Tupper Lake and Piercefield. [See A Photo And More Information]

** Lower Locks Closing on Saranac Chain: The Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain will be shut down for the winter, effective Monday, December 10. The locks are closed and made inoperable every winter to avoid unsafe situations and to prevent damage to the locks. According to DEC “Operation of the locks in icy conditions in the past was the cause of damage to hoses, hydraulic rams, and the hydraulic control mechanism. The repair of these damages is costly and stops boater traffic in the highly utilized area while the locks are being repaired.” DEC does not officially close the Upper Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain. They are manually operated and become inoperable when ice forms. The Lower Locks will be reopened after the ice goes out in the spring

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate for the Moose Pond Waterway Access Site in the town of St. Armand, Essex County, is now closed until after spring mud season.

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.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: A new webpage has been developed for the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities. A 700-foot long accessible access trail provides scenic views of Webb Royce Swamp for birders, wildlife observers and outdoor photographers of all abilities. The trailhead parking lot is located on the east side of Clark Road about 0.6 miles from Route 9/Lake Shore Road. Leaving the parking lot, the hardened access trail travels through a field in the early stages of succession, then crosses a hedgerow into another field that is actively mowed before ending at a raised pad overlooking the swamp. The pad provides unblocked views across a large expanse of the swamp and serves as a turn around spot for wheelchairs. The variety of habitats that can be viewed from the access trail provides an opportunity to view a wide range of bird species and other wildlife.

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): For the first time since this conservation easement was purchased the public is now able to access the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands all year long. The public can now hunt, fish, hike, camp and participate in other recreational activities all year long and on all the lands except those immediately surrounding the hunting camp. Previously these lands were closed to hunting from September 1 to December 31 and closed to the public during the big game hunting season. See the note above regarding public access on the Madawaska Road. While the surrounding conservation easement lands are open to public access, motorized access is extremely limited at this time. The Pinnacle Mountain Parcel, Deer River Parcel and the other parcels north of Route 458 and west of the Blue Mountain Road (aka Azure Mountain Road) do have public access. Under the conservation easement agreement, now that the lands are open year-round to public recreation the private leased hunting and recreational camps can post and enforce against trespass on one acre areas around the camp buildings. Also, in addition to roads open to public motor vehicle access, members of the leased camps have the right to use motor vehicles to access their camps and other areas not open to public motor vehicle access. Respect the rights of the private camps and the camp members.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Summer storms caused significant blowdown on the St. Regis Mountain Trail and the Fish Pond Truck Trail. 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 closed for the season. A steward from the Friends of the Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is expected to return next summer.

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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General warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Additional detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation information 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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