Thursday, October 12, 2017

Current Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (Oct 12)

CompassThis weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled each Thursday afternoon.

Contribute Your Knowledge: Add a comment below, or send your observations, corrections, updates, and suggestions to adkalmanack@gmail.com.

Practice Leave No Trace Principles when visiting the Adirondack Park.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

FROST ADVISORY: The National Weather Service in Burlington has issued a Frost Advisory, in effect from 1 to 8 am, Friday morning for the Northern St Lawrence Valley of New York, Eastern Essex county of New York, and the western, central, and southern sections of Vermont. The frost in the Champlain Valley of Vermont will be most prevalent away from Lake Champlain and across the Green Mountains of Vermont it will generally be at the lower elevations, generally below 1000 feet. Lows in the lower to mid 30s with isolated lows near 30 degrees are expected from 1 am Friday to 8 am Friday. Sensitive outdoor plants may be killed if left uncovered due to the frost.

FOLIAGE REPORT: Leaf season is past peak in the High Peaks and Central Adirondacks, but will continue through this weekend in the Lake George and Lake Champlain valleys, and along the Southern Adirondacks.

SUN AND MOON SATURDAY: Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 7:07 am and sunset at 6:16 pm , providing 11 hours and 10 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 11:11 pm Friday night, and set at 2:24 pm, Saturday afternoon. It will be about 51% illuminated.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER: Follow the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here.

TEMPERATURES  COLDER: Temperatures are colder in the morning and evening –  while days are shortening as the sun sets earlier each day. A frost is expected early Friday.  Plan accordingly, wear or carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing and carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes. Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods in cold temperatures. Check Mountain Forecasts here.

HUNTING SEASON HAS BEGUN: Hunting season have begin in the Adirondacks. Expect to encounter hunters. Hikers should wear bright colors and keep pets leashed as a precaution.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trails are drier, but after heavy rains early this week hikers can still expect to get their feet wet and muddy and expect to encounter areas of deeper mud, especially in low-laying areas.  Avoid widening the trail by walking around mud. Most stream crossings are passable.

BE PREPARED! Start slow, gain experience. Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, extra clothing, a flashlight, and a map and compass – inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods. Just before entering the backcountry or launching a boat check the National Weather Service watches, warnings, and advisories here. Follow Adirondack weather forecasts at Burlington and Albany and consult the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.

FIRE DANGER: The fire danger is LOW. Use caution with open fires and remember it is illegal to leave even a smoldering fire unattended.

BLUE GREEN ALGAE MAY BE PRESENT: Continued warm weather this week means the possibility of blue green algae blooms remains present. People and pets should not swim or bathe in, or drink, algae-contaminated water, and do not use it in cooking or washing.  Several blooms were reported in the past week at Lake Champlain.

WATER LEVELS NORMAL – JUST ABOVE NORMAL: After heavy rains early in the week waters levels have risen to just above normal on most rivers and streams, for this time of year.  All backcountry water crossings should be passable, although low water paddle routes may be too low for water navigation. Boaters should be aware of shallow areas, especially where buoys may have been removed for the season.

Check the levels of Adirondack waters here for waters where you intend to recreate and follow the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here.

The following stream gage readings (in feet) were observed on Thursday afternoon.

Moose River at McKeever –3.6 (10/12); 1.98 (9/28)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 5.67 (10/12);  3.79 (9/28)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 1.93 (10/12);  1.19 (9/28)
Hudson River at North Creek –  3.61 (10/12);  2.83 (9/28)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 1.89 (10/12);   1.58 (9/28)
Lake Champlain at Whitehall – 94.57 (10/12);  94.92 (9/28)

WATER TEMPERATURES WARM: The temperatures of most waters are in the upper 50s to lower 60s. The following water temperatures were reported Thursday:

Ausable River (Wilmington) – about 6o degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb – about 55 degrees
Lake Champlain (average) – about 63 degrees
Lake George (Warner Bay) – about 64 degrees

INVASIVE SPECIES: Boaters are reminded to clean, drain and dry boats before launching into a water and that state regulations prohibit launching, or attempting to launch, a watercraft from a state boat launch, or leaving a state boat launch, with any aquatic invasive species attached to the boat or trailer. For more information on these regulations visit DEC’s website.

MOST DEC CAMPGROUNDS CLOSED: DEC’s Fish Creek campground remains open until October 22nd. All other State Campgrounds have closed for the season.

DO NOT RELY ON TECHNOLOGY: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries expire quickly in cold temperatures. Plan and prepare carefully before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass – and know how to use them.

KEEP PETS LEASHED: Keep your pet under control. Restrain it on a leash when others approach. Collect and bury droppings away from water, trails and camp sites. Keep your pet away from drinking water sources. Dogs must be leashed in the Eastern Zone of the 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. Dogs should be kept leashed for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and rare plants, and out of courtesy to fellow hikers everywhere in the Adirondack Park.

LEAVE NO TRACE / CARRY IN – CARRY OUT: Learn and practice the seven Leave No Trace principles. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other unwanted or unneeded items at lean-tos and campsites. Do not litter. Take the free online Leave No Trace course here.

GROUP SIZE RESTRICTIONS: Large groups have significantly more impact on the trails, natural resources and other users. DEC regulation restricts group size in the High Peaks Wilderness to no more than 15 hikers (day users) or 8 campers (overnight users) and encourages this practice to be followed in other areas. Outside the High Peaks Wilderness, DEC regulation requires a temporary permit be issued to authorize organized events of more than twenty people; camping at the same location for more than three nights; or camping in groups of more than 10 people.

VOLUNTEER FOR TRAIL WORK: No matter what your sport, if you’re a trail user consider contributing your efforts to one of the many organizations dedicated to maintaining the region’s network of thousands of miles of trails.

RECENT CHANGES IN THE ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY

* indicates new items this week.

HIGH PEAKS REGION
Including Dix Mountain, Giant Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, Jay Mountain, McKenzie Mountain, Sentinel Range Wildernesses
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

** Route 73, Marcy Field – Lower Cascade Lake: Motorists are advised to watch for single alternating lanes controlled by flaggers on three separate mile-long stretches of paving work on Route 73 in the town of Keene between Marcy Field and Lower Cascade Lake. The alternating-lane segments are expected to be in place through the end of September during weekday daylight hours, weather dependent.

Bear Activity in Eastern High Peaks, Giant Mountain, and Dix Mountain Wildernesses: Bear resistant canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks and strongly encouraged in the Dix Mountain Wilderness through November 30th. All visitors to these areas are advised to practice proper management of food, trash, and toiletries to prevent negative encounters with bears and creating nuisance bears including:

Owls Head Trail Closed: The trail to the summit of Owls Head in the town of Keene is closed to public access by the landowners between 4 pm Fridays and 7 am Mondays. The road to the trail, the trailhead, and all but the last 0.1 mile of the trail are located on private lands. The landowner has announced their intention to close the trail for public use at the end of the 2017 hiking season – an actual closure date has not been announced. More about this closure, and a map of the area can be found here.

Garden Parking Fee: A fee of $10 (USD, $13 Canadian) per calendar day (12:01 AM to Midnight) is being assessed for parking at the Garden Lot. The daily fee will continue through the month of October. An attendant will be at the Garden Lot from 1:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Fridays and from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays during this period. Town Employees and DEC Rangers will monitor the lot during the week. The parking fees pay for attendants on weekends, maintenance and winter snowplowing of the Garden, Rooster Comb and Roaring Brook Parking Lots, portable toilets, information kiosks and donations of rescue equipment.

** High Peaks Parking Shuttle: The shuttle from the Southwest corner of Marcy Field, off Route 73, to the Garden Parking Lot will operate for the last weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, October 15th. A fee of $10 (USD, $13 Canadian) will be charged per person for a round trip.

** Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway: Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway has closed.

* Lake Arnold and the Feldspar Lean-to: Sections of the trail between Lake Arnold and the Feldspar Lean-to are underwater but passable. Hikers should expect to get their feet wet. This area may not be passable after heavy rains.

Mountain Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake area are asking riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

Calamity Brook Trail: The high water bridge on the Calamity Trail is unsafe and unusable and should not be crossed. Crossing Calamity Brook is not a problem at this time, but may be difficult during and after moderate to heavy rains. The East River Trail (aka the Opalescent River/Hanging Spear Falls Trail) can also be used to access the Flowed Lands and Lake Colden. It is an additional 3.7 miles one-way to reach the Flowed Lands using this route

Ouluska Brook Bridge: The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Crossing the brook is possible only during low water conditions.

Boreas Ponds Tract: The public can drive 3.2 miles of Gulf Brook Road to a parking area. From there, mountain bikers and hikers can travel a dirt road 3.6 miles to the southern end of Boreas Ponds; paddlers can portage 2.5 miles to the LaBier Flow put-in, paddle .5 mile across the Flow, and portage the remaining .5 mile to the Boreas Ponds put-in. The LaBier Flow put in and take out are reported to be difficult to manage and not easy to find.

WESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, Bog River Complex, Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds & Pepperbox Wildernesses, Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest, William C. Whitney & Round Lake Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Lows Upper Dam: A maintenance project is underway at Lows Upper Dam in the Bog River/Lows Lake area in southern St. Lawrence County. Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Lows Lake, as well as private landowners and users of the Sabattis Boy Scout Camp. Work is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday and is expected to last through November 2017. Members of the public wishing to access Hitchins Pond and Lows Lake will continue to launch at Low’s Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421. Recreational users should continue to use the existing designated portage around Low’s Upper Dam. From Hitchins Pond travel northwest past the old homesite; stay within the designated traffic area (delineated with orange construction fence) as you make your way through the work area; and continue to the dock on the right side of the Bog River Flow. Stay within the designated travel corridor at all times while traveling through the work area. Construction activities will not affect vehicular traffic to private land on Lows Lake (Boy Scouts and others) on Saturday and Sunday, but will change traffic patterns during the work week. Authorized vehicles may access private property from NYS Route 421 when the Sabattis Road is not passable.

Five Ponds Wilderness: An 800-foot portion of the Plains Trail (part of the Cranberry 50) has been rerouted to avoid a dangerous log crossing of a beaver dam. The new route has been brushed out and marked with red trail markers. Some blowdown remains in the reroute but the trail is usable. DEC plans to remove the blowdown this fall.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: There is an area with significant blowdown on the Norridgewock Trail about 1.5 miles south of Beaver River Station. A rough and temporary reroute has been flagged with pink flagging. All users should exercise caution when traveling through this area.

Round Lake Wilderness: A beaver dam has caused flooding of the Lilypad Pond Trail about 1.5 miles from trailhead, just past campsite #5.

NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, Whitehill Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Goldmine Conservation Easement: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reopened Goldmine Road, town of Parishville, St. Lawrence County. The road was closed in August to allow for the construction of a new bridge over Dead Creek on the Goldmine Conservation Easement.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS
Including DeBar Mountain Wild Forest, Kushaqua Tract Easement, Paul Smiths College Easement, Santa Clara Tract Easement, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, St. Regis Canoe Area
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Eagle Pond: A localized blue green algae bloom was recently reported in Eagle Pond in Franklin County. People and pets should not swim or bathe in, or drink, algae-contaminated water, and do not use it in cooking or washing.

DeBar Mountain Wild Forest: The foot bridge on the access trail to Debar Pond has been removed. Debar Pond may now be accessed near the lodge building using the road beyond the gate at the parking area. A new gate is expected to be installed that will allow easier passage of people with boats in the very near future. Trespassing in the lodge or any other building is prohibited.

Kushaqua Tract Easement: There is a deep washout on the North Branch Road. The road remains passable to four wheel drive pickups, SUVs and other high clearance vehicles but not cars.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Chazy Highlands Wild Forest, Lake Champlain Islands Complex, Sable Highlands Tract, Taylor Pond Complex, Wilmington Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Wilmington Wild Forest: More than 1.5 miles of bike trails, including a new loop opportunity, have been added to the Beaver Brook Trail Network.

Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain: The Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew will be working on the reroute of the upper half of the Ranger Trail on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain this Fall.

SOUTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Black River Wild Forest, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, Independence River Wild Forest, Pigeon Lake Wilderness

These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Black River Wild Forest: Stone Dam Trail north of Stone Dam Lake to its intersection with the Chub Pond Trail is overgrown and can be hard to find and follow.

Black River Wild Forest: The bridge across the inlet to Little Woodhull Lake on the Little Woodhull Lake Trail is out. The stream may not be passable in times of high water. The third bridge on the Otter Lake – Brandy Lake Trail (approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead on State Route 28) is no longer flooded by beaver activity. Nick’s Lake Outlet Trail to Remsen Falls may be rough and grown in. Nelson Lake Loop Trail has several blowdown trees. The gate at the end of the Wolf Lake Landing Road has been vandalized. Motor vehicle access beyond the gate is prohibited except by permit. Bear Lake Trail is wet and muddy for the first mile from the trailhead on Wolf Lake Landing Road. Chubb Pond Trail east from the new bridge over Gull Lake outlet is muddy to Buck Pond. Most blowdown has been cleared from the first two miles of Twin Lakes Trail from the Farr Road, the trail is in poor shape beyond to the marsh.

Fulton Chain Wild Forest: Safford Pond Trail is flooded by beaver activity near the Safford Pond Inlet. The Scenic Mountain (aka Vista) Trail contains several blown downs.

Fourth Lake Picnic Area: The Fourth Lake Picnic Area is now closed to the public.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Brown’s Tract Trail has been flooded by beavers between Tamarack lake and Bare Mountain, the trail is difficult to traverse. A culvert is washed out on the Big Otter Lake East Trail near Indian Brook. Also Big Otter Lake East Trail is flooded at South Inlet Flow but the trail remains passable. Moose River Mountain Trail has heavy blow down and is difficult to follow at times. Middle Settlement Lake Trail is flooded due to beaver activity between the Cedar Pond Trail and Middle Settlement Lake. East Pond-Lost Creek Trail between East Pond and the Big Otter Lake East Trail is rough, grown in and may contain blowdown. The trail is difficult to follow at times.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Blackfoot Pond Trail off of the East-Pond Lost Creek Trail remains rough, grown in and may contain blowdown. The trail is difficult to follow at times. The sign at the junction of the trails is missing, the turn off to Blackfoot Pond is not readily marked or noticeable. DEC will be replacing the sign soon.

WEST CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
Including Blue Mountain Wild Forest, Township 19 Easement, Township 20 Easement, Blue Ridge Wilderness, Moose River Plains Complex, Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Easement, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, West Canada Lakes Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Perkins Clearing: The bridge over the Kunjamuk River on the Pine Lakes Road on the Speculator Tree Farm is closed for safety purposes. DEC is developing plans to repair the bridge.

** Stillwater Fire Tower:  During hunting season, the Stillwater Fire Tower trail and tower are closed starting October 10th. They will reopen on December 21st.

Moose River Plains Complex: Wilson Ridge Trail, Sly Pond Trail, and Otter Brook Truck Trail are overgrown and sections may be difficult to follow. DEC plans to clear and brush the trails in 2018. Portions of the Otter Brook Road and Indian Lake Road are rough. High clearance vehicles are recommend on these roads. Cellar Pond Trail and Horn Lake Trail have recently been cleared.

O’Neil Flow Road: Logging operations on the Township 19 Easement Lands will result in increased numbers of logging trucks on O’Neil Flow Road this summer. Roll down vehicle windows, travel slowly, listen for trucks, and move off the road to allow passage of logging trucks. Logging trucks have the right of way. Barker Pond Roadside Campsite will be closed for several weeks due to logging operations in the area. Access to Barker Pond will remain open. Do not block the road when parking. Be prepared to reverse back down Barker Pond Road if you encounter logging trucks.

Wakely Mountain Fire Tower: remains closed until further notice due to safety concerns with the Wakely Mountain Fire Tower. The fire tower was closed to public access in December 2016 due to structural deficiencies.

EAST CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
Including Camp Santanoni Historic Area,Essex Chain Lakes Complex, Hoffman Notch Wilderness, Hudson Gorge Wilderness, Jessup River Wild Forest, Siamese Ponds Wilderness Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Two foot bridges have collapsed. The 55-foot bridge over the East Branch Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail has collapsed and cannot be crossed. Do not attempt to scramble over it. During low water, rock hopping is possible. A 30-foot bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail over a tributary to the Thirteenth Lake south of the lake collapsed earlier this year and cannot be crossed.

EASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Hammond Pond Wild Forest, Lake George Wild Forest, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Split Rock Wild Forest, Lake Champlain
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Lake George: Lake George Beach and the Battlefield Picnic Area are now closed. The boat launching ramp at Lake George Beach is operational year round with parking for vehicles with trailers limited to 26 parking spots. Access is free of charge beginning after Labor Day until the Friday before Memorial Day.

Prospect Mountain Highway: Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway will close October 22nd.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: DEC staff have completed construction of a 15-vehicle parking area near along Pharaoh Lake Road near the intersection with Beaver Pond Road.

Lake Champlain: Blue green algae blooms have recently been reported in parts of Lake Champlain. People and pets should not swim or bathe in, or drink, algae-contaminated water, and do not use it in cooking or washing.

Lily Pond Road: high axle four wheel drive vehicles are recommended.

SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Ferris Lake Wild Forest, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Silver Lake Wilderness, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Hinckley Reservoir:  Hinckley Reservoir has been closed to the public for the season.

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Changes: Parking spots are striped in the main parking area for vehicles with trailers; Parking spots are striped in the auxiliary parking area for vehicles with canoes, kayaks, and other small boats on roof racks; Signs are installed identifying where parking is allowed and where parking is prohibited; An aquatic invasive species inspection site for boats and trailers is located at the access roadway to the auxiliary parking area; and a boat and trailer decontamination wash site will be located in the southwestern corner of the parking area. DEC plans to install bollards (posts) along the access road and on the periphery of the boat launch site to ensure vehicles travel and park within the boundaries of the boat launch site; bollards along the access roadway and on the periphery of the auxiliary parking area; and a trail between the auxiliary parking area and the boat launch ramp. Only vehicles with trailers may park in the main parking area of the boat launch and are restricted to parking in designated parking spots only. Vehicles carrying canoes, kayaks, and small boats on a roof rack or by other means must use the auxiliary parking area and are restricted to parking in designated parking spots. When the boat launch steward is present, all boats and trailers will be inspected. Due to the presence of spiny water flea in the lake, boaters leaving the lake that plan to boat on another lake within five days should have their boats decontaminated before leaving the boat launch. Boaters are encouraged to use other boat launches on the lake when parking is not available. A list of Great Sacandaga Lake boat launches is available on the DEC website at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/32533.html.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The upper section of the Spruce Mountain Trail will be closed for big game hunting season beginning October 21st through December 3rd. The fire tower will not be accessible during this time.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: Mud Pond Road has been maintained by the town and is in decent drivable condition.

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DEC Trail Supporter PatchBe sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. Check the Adirondack Almanack Outdoor Conditions Reports each Thursday afternoon. A map of the Adirondack Park can be found here; active alerts are updated by noon Friday here.

This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled by Adirondack Almanack founder and editor John Warren for publication each Thursday afternoon. John’s condensed version for radio can be heard Friday mornings on WSLP Lake Placid, and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The NYS 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 help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Editorial Staff

Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices. To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.




8 Responses

  1. Are the trails from elk lake trailhead closed because hunting season is now open?

  2. Alex Duschere says:

    In response to “Leave nothing behind” it had previously contained the epic quote “except for footprints.” Well, I predict that the way this country is rapidly morphing into this new century with dependence on mechanical labor saving devices,that phrase will be moot. All crashed drones debris will be removed from state lands.will
    be the new decree. Evolution precedes wisdom.

  3. Dick Carlson Dick Carlson says:

    Hey John – No NCPR – just this weekend or is it a long term thing?

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