Thursday, October 13, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct. 13)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS TRAIL ADVISORY
Just a few trails remain closed in both the Eastern High Peaks and the Dix Mountain Wildernesses due to significant blowdown, washed-out bridges and eroded and cobbled trails – see details below. Trails that are not closed still may have bridges washed out, eroded sections or flooded areas. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Hikers should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Several groups of lost hikers required search and rescue operation last weekend. DEC has updated it’s closed trail map [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain above normal, with the Raquette and Sacandaga Rivers running high. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
Trails continue to have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.

EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. 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.

** MOST STATE CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
Now that Columbus Day has passed the only DEC campground open in the Adirondacks is the Fish Creek Campground and Cranberry Lake all the others are closed until next season. The Fish Creek and Cranberry Lake campgrounds will close October 23rd. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** HUNTING SEASONS NOW OPEN
Hunting seasons have begun. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking 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. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.

** 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 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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.

** NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

** CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC has 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.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Blowdown Update: blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general are clear with the exception of wet and muddy areas.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

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. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running above normal. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters. Expect eroded trails and blowdown on carries.

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

** All trails in the Eastern High Peaks are clear of blowdown unless otherwise stated below. DEC has updated it’s closed trail map [pdf].

Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. The crossing involves hopping from rock to rock to cross Marcy Brook. Hikers concerned about “rock hopping” can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam. Also the crossing may not be passable during high water. Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Explorer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter.

Closed Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails: Trails in or accessed from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve that remain closed include the first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and the West River Trail. The other three cross over trails and bridges are open and must be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails. Also closed are the Carry Trail, the trials from Warden’s Camp to the Sawteeth Trail and to the Haystack Trail, and the Haystack Brook Trail.

Deer Brook Trail: The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 remains closed.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. 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.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed.

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

East River Trail: The bridge over the Hudson River on the East River Trail to Mt Adams and Allen Mountain remains out, use the flagged low water crossing.

East River/ Hanging Spear Falls Trail: The East River Trail/Hanging Spear Falls Trail is clear of blowdown and open from end to end. A 1/3 mile reroute near the campsite, just north of the state land boundary line is complete.

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.

** Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold.

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.

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.

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: All trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness are open and clear of blowdown except the following: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail remains closed. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond. The Hunter Pass Trail has a small slide approximately 1 mile below the junction with the Round Pond to Dix Mountain Trail. The Round Mountain Loop Trail has some minor erosion.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: The Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead is open though some DOT equipment remains on site. Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to.

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is closed. The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. 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.

** Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System: The Flume Parking Area adjacent to the Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River, has been repaved by Town of Wilmington Highway crews. The River Trail at the Flume is still washed out and impassable due to debris deposited there by the Ausable River. The 0.2 mile trail reroute on the Wilmington Trail up Whiteface Mountain has been created to bypass a large washout.

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

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 (though it is likely to reopen next year).

Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

Moose River Plains: All roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

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

** Milfoil Infestation in South Bay: Variable-leaf watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive plant, has been found in the South Bay of Lake Champlain. Watermilfoil crowds out beneficial native aquatic plants and can impair recreational uses including boating, fishing and swimming. Boaters, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts should take precautions to avoid transporting this and other invasive species to other waters or other parts of Lake Champlain. More information on the infestation and the responsibility of recreationists to limit its spread can be found here.

** 4-H Horse 101 Program in Warren County: Learning the basics of the 4-H Horse Program is the goal of 4-H Horse 101. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County will be hosting this event on Tuesday, October 18th from 6:30 pm— 7:30 pm at the Extension Education Center, 377 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg. Did you know you don’t have to have a horse to be in the 4-H Horse Program? The 4-H Horse Bowl and Hippology programs are excellent sources of information and are presented in a game-show, trivia format. Both programs do NOT require a horse to participate. This event is free of charge and does not require a horse to participate. Event is open to all youth ages 5 and registered in kindergarten and older who reside in Warren County. Interested youth must pre-register. To register, please contact the CCE office at 623-3291 or 668-4881.

** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The bridge on the trail to Lapland Pond from Pike Brook Trailhead has been repaired.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Challis Pond Trail, off the Ensign Pond Road, has 5 large pine trees down in first portion of trail. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year (see High Waters Warning above).

** Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Volunteers Needed: DEC is seeking volunteers to work on trails and trail infrastructure in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness. For more information or to volunteer, please contact DEC Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278 or e-mail r5info@gw.dec.state.ny.us

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trail has been washed down stream. It is possible to cross the stream in spots without the bridge. The Treadway Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. 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. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact.

Santanoni Historic Preserve: The trail around Newcomb Lake is clear of blowdown on its full length. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

** 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

Lake Champlain Islands: The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

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.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area assessment of the campsites has been completed. Campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available for use, however the privy on campsite #2 remains knocked over. DEC crews will right and reset the privy in the near future. Campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: There is blowdown on the Deer Loop Trail between Route 30 and the bridge. 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.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. Forestdale Road has been closed by the Town of Black Brook. In Terry Mountain State Forest both the Red Road and the Tower Road have been repaired and are open to public motor vehicle use.

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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

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.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Astronomy: The October Night Sky

Here are some naked eye objects for the month of October. All of these objects, although small, should be visible without the help of binoculars or a telescope, so long as you have clear dark skies.

Light pollution is a killer for seeing these objects with your naked eye. To find out how dark your location is, use the Google Map Overlay of light pollution. If you are in a blue, gray or black area then you should have dark enough skies. You may still be able to see some of these objects in a green location. If you aren’t in a dark sky location you may still be able to see these objects with a pair of binoculars or telescope.

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for October 2011). The map shows what is in the sky in October at 9 pm for early October; 8 pm for late October.

If you are not familiar with what you see in the night sky, this is a great opportunity to step outside, look up, and begin learning the constellations. The sky is beautiful and filled with many treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Once you have looked for these objects go through the list again if you have a pair of binoculars handy, the views get better!

Meteor Showers
This post was a bit late for the Draconids, which peaked on October 8th. The peak was during our daylight hours and we (as far as I could see) didn’t get much of a show. I looked but saw maybe one that was a Draconid meteor. However, from what I’ve read Europe, Northern Africa, and the middle East got a pretty good show as it was dark for them during the peak hours of the meteor shower.

Orionid Meteor Shower peaks on the 21st and 22nd. With the peak you can expect to see as many as 20 fast although faint meteors per hour. This shower should be easier to spot than Draconids and Perseids since this shower will have a thin crescent moon that will rise in early morning. Orion will rise in the east around 11pm and that is when I would suggest to start looking for meteors, although they may be better as Orion is higher in the sky at 2am. Remember the darker the site for viewing the better your chances are of seeing them. I also suggest to bundle up since October is quite chilly.

The Moon
The moon will be full on the 11th, as with every full moon it rises at sunset and sets and sunrise.

On the 11th, and the 12th there will be a close encounter again between the moon and Jupiter. Around 8pm on the 11th you’ll see Jupiter just below the Moon. Throughout the night you will see Jupiter and the moon getting closer. On the 12th the two will be about a degree closer together.

The Last Quarter Moon is on the 19th which will be visible from midnight into the morning.

On the 21st and 22nd the Moon and Mars will be about 10° apart (a fist-width at arm’s length) with Mars above the Moon.

New Moon on the 26th.

Mars
Mars is still a morning object for this month rising around 2am. Before sunrise it will be about 45° above the horizon below Gemini and in Cancer.

Jupiter
Jupiter is rising just a little after sunset in the East and will be in the sky all night. In the West around sunrise. If you happen to have a pair of binoculars I suggest pointing them at Jupiter to check out some of it’s moons which change their position every day. The moons you can see are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Lyra the Harp, Cygnus the Swan and Aquila the Eagle
Due to earlier dark hours this month these constellations still remain directly overhead after sunset, around 7:00pm. These three constellations contain 3 of the brightest stars in the summer sky which form what is called The Summer Triangle. The star Vega in Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. If you are in a really dark area you should be able to see the Milky Way passing through the constellations Cygnus and Aquila. Again, if you have a pair of binoculars and want to be wowed (even from a light polluted spot) look towards the Milky Way and look at all the stars that pop out at you.

Delphinus
If you have spotted The Summer Triangle, look to the left (East) of the star Altair to find a small kite shaped constellation called Delphinus, the Dolphin.

Pleiades
A great grouping of stars in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. Looking at it has always reminded me of a smaller version of the little dipper. In dark locations you can see anywhere from 5-7 and possibly a few more stars in this grouping. It has also been called the seven sisters and is actually a Messier object, number 45. These are very hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. This grouping of stars has quite a bit of history in mythology. It rises about 45 minutes earlier than Orion in the East.

Andromeda
Although it may be easier to view later in the night around midnight or later – The Andromeda Galaxy cataloged as M31 is visible to the naked eye in the northeast. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way lying about 2.5 million light-years away. If in a dark enough location the light produced by this galaxy is roughly the diameter of 5 moons in our sky.

Perseus
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the naked eye. M34, which you may need to wait until around 11pm for it to be high enough to see is nearly a moon-diameter wide and is a fairly easy to see open cluster.
Look for a grouping of stars around the brightest star in Perseus, Mirphak.

Sagittarius
M8 is an open star cluster and nebula complex, also known as the Lagoon Nebula . Visible to the naked eye as a small hazy patch. Bright enough that it is visible even in suburbia. It may look small with the naked eye, but it is actually quite large nearly two moon diameters across. I’m not sure if any of the other objects are visible to the naked eye, although Sagittarius is a beautiful sight as it lays in the Milky Way.

Aquila
The Great Rift is a non-luminous dust cloud that can be seen splitting the Milky Way in two separate streams. It stretches from Aquila to the constellation Cygnus although it is more prominent in the constellation Aquila.

Hercules
Messier Object 13 (known as M13) is a globular cluster. It will have a small hazy glow to it. Hercules is getting lower in the sky so M13 may be difficult to spot through the haze of the atmosphere.

Cygnus
North America Nebula (NGC7000) – The unaided eye sees only a wedge-shaped star-cloud which may be quite dim, or not visible at all. In dark skies it should pop out a bit. Located near the star Deneb. M39 an open cluster patch of stars northeast of the star Deneb. The Northern Coalsack spans across the sky between the stars Deneb, Sadir, and Gienah in the northeastern portion of Cygnus. If you don’t know which stars of Sadir and Gienah just find Deneb with the map and look to the east northeast.

Ursa Major
Very low in the North at sunset and low at sunrise. Mizar and Alcor is a double star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Was once used as a test of good eyesight before glasses. Mizar resolves into a beautiful blue-white and greenish white binary (double star system). They are labeled on the map I linked to above.

Photo: The radiant of the Orionid Meteor Shower taken from the astronomy freeware Stellarium.

Michael Rector is an amateur astronomer with his own blog, Adirondack Astronomy.


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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct. 6)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EXPECT HIGH USAGE THIS WEEKEND
Due to the combination of the Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving Holidays this weekend, and expected good weather, visitors to the High Peaks Region should be aware that trailhead parking lots and interior campsites may reach capacity by Friday afternoon. Visitors should plan accordingly and are advised to seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the Adirondack Park. Suggestions for other places to visit can be found here.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS TRAIL ADVISORY
Just a few trails remain closed in both the Eastern High Peaks and the Dix Mountain Wildernesses due to significant blowdown, washed-out bridges and eroded and cobbled trails – see details below. Trails that are not closed still may have bridges washed out, eroded sections or flooded areas. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. The ability to navigate with a map and compass is important. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Hikers should be able to navigate by map and compass. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain above normal, except for those rivers on the western slopes of the Adirondacks such as the Beaver, Black, Independence, Oswagatchie, and West Canada Creek which are at normal levels for this time of year. Rivers east of West Canada Creek are running high. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
Due to recent rainfalls, trails have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.

EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

** MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

** MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. 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.

SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
Fall camping is available through this Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** 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 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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.

SOME HUNTING SEASONS OPEN
Hunting seasons have begun. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking 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. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Blowdown Update: blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general are clear with the exception of wet and muddy areas.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

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. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running high. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters. Expect eroded trails and blowdown on carries.

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

** All trails in the Eastern High Peaks are clear of blowdown unless otherwise stated below. A DEC Map (PDF, 497 kb) depicts closed, open and cleared trails as of 9/28).

Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. The crossing involves hopping from rock to rock to cross Marcy Brook. Hikers concerned about “rock hopping” can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam. Also the crossing may not be passable during high water. Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Explorer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter.

Closed Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails: Trails in or accessed from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve that remain closed include the first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and the West River Trail. The other three cross over trails and bridges are open and must be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails. Also closed are the Carry Trail, the trials from Warden’s Camp to the Sawteeth Trail and to the Haystack Trail, and the Haystack Brook Trail.

Deer Brook Trail: The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 remains closed.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. 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.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed.

** Elk Lake – Panther Gorge Trail: The Elk Lake to Marcy Trail via Panther Gorge is now open, though mild blowdown remains on the trail through Panther Gorge.

** East River Trail: The bridge over the Hudson River on the East River Trail to Mt Adams and Allen Mountain remains out, use the flagged low water crossing.

** East River/ Hanging Spear Falls Trail: The East River Trail/Hanging Spear Falls Trail is clear of blowdown and open from end to end. A 1/3 mile reroute near the campsite, just north of the state land boundary line is complete.

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.

Trails And Blowdown: The Mount VanHovenberg Trail contains blowdown. There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold. The southern trail to Rooster Comb may contain blowdown. The Snowy Mountain to Rooster Comb may contain blowdown. The trail over Lower Wolfjaw Mountain between the two trail junctions contains blowdown. The Indian Pass Trail contains blowdown between the Wall Face Bridge and the Henderson Bridg; the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. The Scott and Wallface Ponds Trail may contain blowdown. The Lake Colden to Algonquin Mountain Trail may contain blowdown. The Avalanche Pass Trail to Lake Colden may contain blowdown. The Lake Colden Eastside and Westside Trails may contain blowdown. The trail between Feldspar Lean-to and the Four Corners may contain blowdown. The Trail to Allen Mountain is passable but has some blowdown. The Rooster Comb Trail has two clusters of blowdown within the first mile, but it is passable.

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.

** 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.

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 Dix Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation however some trails remain closed. The main Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead at the Ausable Club is open. All trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness are open and clear of blowdown except the following: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail remains closed. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond. The the Indian Head, Fish Hawk Cliffs and Lake Road to Blake Peak Trails are open. The Hunter Pass Trail has a small slide approximately 1 mile below the junction with the Round Pond to Dix Mountain Trail. The Round Mountain Loop Trail has some minor erosion.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: The Giant Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation. The Roaring Brook Trail is clear of blowdown. The Ridge Trail is clear of blowdown and the bridge near the Giant Washbowl has been extended. The Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead is open though some DOT equipment remains on site. The North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N is clear of blowdown up to the lean-to and drainages have been cleared of snags that were diverting water across the trail. Beaver activity has flooded the trail past the lean-to.

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is closed. The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. 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.

** Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System: The Flume Parking Area adjacent to the Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River will be closed until October 7 while the Town of Wilmington repairs and upgrades the parking area. The River Trail at the Flume is still washed out and impassable due to debris deposited there by the Ausable River. The 0.2 mile trail reroute on the Wilmington Trail up Whiteface Mountain has been created to bypass a large washout. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir is shored up and safe for use.

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

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 (though it is likely to reopen next year).

Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Moose River Plains: All roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

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

New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law: The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.

New Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch: The new Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch Site on was opened Thursday, September 15th. The opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the start of the Lake Champlain FLW Bass Fishing Tournament. The boat launch is located at 5 Dock Street on the shore of Lake Champlain just south of the mouth of the Saranac River. The $627,000 boat launch facility includes three launching and retrieval lanes. DEC designed the boat launch and oversaw its construction; the City of Plattsburgh is responsible for management and maintenance.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: Dacy Clearing Road and the Dacy Clearing Parking Area are now open to motor vehicle traffic. A snowmobile bridge near Black Mountain has been washed out. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

** Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Challis Pond Trail, off the Ensign Pond Road), has 5 large pine trees down in first portion of trail. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Hoffman Notch Trail is clear of blowdown its complete length from the Loch Muller Trailhead to the Boreas Road Trailhead. Half of the Big Pond Trail is cleared of blowdown starting at the junction of the Hoffman Notch Trail and from the Big Pond Trailhead to the north end of Big Pond. The trail to Bailey Pond is clear of blowdown.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year (see High Waters Warning above).

** Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Volunteers Needed: DEC is seeking volunteers to work on trails and trail infrastructure in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness. For more information or to volunteer, please contact DEC Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278 or e-mail r5info@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Blowdown is minimal on the Spectacle Pond Trail and all bridges are intact. The Gull Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Crane Pond is clear of blowdown. The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trail has been washed down stream. It is possible to cross the stream in spots without the bridge. The Treadway Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. 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. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

Santanoni Historic Preserve: The trail around Newcomb Lake is clear of blowdown on its full length. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Long Pond Trail from Cisco Brook Trailhead to Long Pond has moderate blowdown – travel will be slower. The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Old Farm Clearing to Cross Brook is clear of blowdown. The Peaked Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown from the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead to the beaver pond below Peaked Mountain Pond. There is blowdown on the trail from the beaver pond to the summit of Peaked Mountain. The Siamese Ponds Trail between Sacandaga Lean-to and the Siamese Ponds is passable but has moderate blowdown. Botheration Pond Loop from Old Farm Trailhead has a moderate amount blowdown that will slow travel. The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Eleventh Mountain Trailhead to Siamese Ponds has significant blowdown but is passable. The bog bridging north of Diamond Brook Bridge, however, sustained damage.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. The Cotter Swamp Trail, Griffin Connector Trail and Crane Mountain Trails are passable with minor blowdown. The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of 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. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. 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. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. 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

Lake Champlain Islands: All trails and campsites on Valcour Island are clear of blowdown and open for use. Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

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.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area assessment of the campsites has been completed. Campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available for use, however the privy on campsite #2 remains knocked over. DEC crews will right and reset the privy in the near future. Campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The Deer Loop Trail is mostly clear of blowdown; the section between Route 30 and the bridge. The trail at Whiteface Landing is clear of blowdown and the register has been replaced.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. Forestdale Road has been closed by the Town of Black Brook. In Terry Mountain State Forest both the Red Road and the Tower Road have been repaired and are open to public motor vehicle use.

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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

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.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Sept 29)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS TRAIL ADVISORY
The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness are all open for public recreation. Most trails in or accessed from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve are now open. A few trails remain closed in both the Eastern High Peaks and the Dix Mountain Wildernesses due to significant amount of blowdown, washed-out bridges and eroded and cobbled trails – see details below. Trails that are not closed still may have bridges washed out, eroded sections or flooded areas. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. The ability to navigate with a map and compass is important. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Hikers should be able to navigate by map and compass. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain above normal, except for those rivers on the western slopes of the Adirondacks such as the Beaver, Black, Independence, and Oswagatchie which are at normal levels for this time of year. Rivers east of and including West Canada Creek are running high. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

SECONDARY ROAD CLOSURES
Although State Route 73 and Route 9N have reopened, several secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, remain closed. Essex County is maintaining an updated list of road closures.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
Fall camping is available through Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** 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 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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.

SOME HUNTING SEASONS OPEN
Some hunting seasons are underway or will begin shortly. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking 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. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

** Blowdown Update: blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general are clear with the exception of wet and muddy areas.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

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. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running high. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters. Expect eroded trails and blowdown on carries.

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

** All trails in the Eastern High Peaks are clear of blowdown unless otherwise stated below. A DEC Map (PDF, 497 kb) depicts closed, open and cleared trails as of 9/28).

** Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. The crossing involves hopping from rock to rock to cross Marcy Brook. Hikers concerned about “rock hopping” can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam. Also the crossing may not be passable during high water events. Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Exporer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter.

** Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails Closed: Trails in or accessed from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve that remain closed include the first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and the West River Trail. The other three cross over trails and bridges are open and must be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails. Also closed are the Carry Trail, the trials from Warden’s Camp to the Sawteeth Trail and to the Haystack Trail, and the Haystack Brook Trail.

** Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails Recently Reopened: The West River Trail, the first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and the West River Trail are closed due to bridges being damaged. The other three cross over trails and bridges are open and must be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails. Also now open are the East River Trail, Cathedral Rock Trail, Bear Run Trail, Wedge Brook Trail, Lake Road to Gothics Trail, Lost Lookout Trail, Lower Ausable Lake to Pyramid Peak to Gothics Trail, Lower Ausable Lake to Sawteeth Trail, Sawteeth to Pyramid Peak Connector Trail. 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.

** Deer Brook Trail: The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 remains closed.

** Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. 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.

** Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed.

** Elk Lake – Panther Gorge Trail: The Elk Lake – Panther Gorge Trail remains closed.

** East River/ Hanging Spear Falls Trail: The East River Trail/Hanging Spear Falls Trail is clear of blowdown except for a large section (1/3 mile) of blowdown and heavy erosion near the campsite, just north of the state land boundary line. This section of trail remains closed, however, Hanging Spear Falls can be accessed from the Flowed Lands.

** 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.

** Trails And Blowdown: The Mount VanHovenberg Trail contains blowdown. There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold and also on the trail to Calamity Lean-tos. The southern trail to Rooster Comb may contain blowdown. The Snowy Mountain to Rooster Comb may contain blowdown. The trail over Lower Wolfjaw Mountain between the two trail junctions contains blowdown. The Indian Pass Trail contains blowdown between the Wall Face Bridge and the Henderson Bridg; the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. The Scott and Wallface Ponds Trail may contain blowdown. The Lake Colden to Algonquin Mountain Trail may contain blowdown. The Avalanche Pass Trail to Lake Colden may contain blowdown. The Lake Colden Eastside and Westside Trails may contain blowdown. The trail between Feldspar Lean-to and the Four Corners may contain blowdown. The Trail to Allen Mountain is passable but has some blowdown. The Rooster Comb Trail has two clusters of blowdown within the first mile, but it is passable.

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.

Duck Hole: 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.

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 Dix Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation however some trails remain closed. The main Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead at the Ausable Club is open. All trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness are open and clear of blowdown except the following: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail remains closed. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond. The the Indian Head, Fish Hawk Cliffs and Lake Road to Blake Peak Trails are open. The Hunter Pass Trail has a small slide approximately 1 mile below the junction with the Round Pond to Dix Mountain Trail. The Round Mountain Loop Trail has some minor erosion.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: The Giant Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation. The Roaring Brook Trail is clear of blowdown. The Ridge Trail is clear of blowdown and the bridge near the Giant Washbowl has been extended. The Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead is open though some DOT equipment remains on site. The North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N is clear of blowdown up to the lean-to and drainages have been cleared of snags that were diverting water across the trail. Beaver activity has flooded the trail past the lean-to.

** Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is closed. The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. 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.

** Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System: The Flume Parking Area adjacent to the Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River will be closed until October 7 while the Town of Wilmington repairs and upgrades the parking area. The River Trail at the Flume is still washed out and impassable due to debris deposited there by the Ausable River. The 0.2 mile trail reroute on the Wilmington Trail up Whiteface Mountain has been created to bypass a large washout. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir is shored up and safe for use.

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

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 (though it is likely to reopen next year).

Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Moose River Plains: The Rock Dam Road is open for motor vehicle use. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

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

New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law: The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.

New Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch: The new Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch Site on was opened Thursday, September 15th. The opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the start of the Lake Champlain FLW Bass Fishing Tournament. The boat launch is located at 5 Dock Street on the shore of Lake Champlain just south of the mouth of the Saranac River. The $627,000 boat launch facility includes three launching and retrieval lanes. DEC designed the boat launch and oversaw its construction; the City of Plattsburgh is responsible for management and maintenance.

** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: Dacy Clearing Road and the Dacy Clearing Parking Area are now open to motor vehicle traffic. A snowmobile bridge near Black Mountain has been washed out. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

** Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Challis Pond Trail, off the Ensign Pond Road), has 5 large pine trees down in first portion of trail. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Hoffman Notch Trail is clear of blowdown its complete length from the Loch Muller Trailhead to the Boreas Road Trailhead. Half of the Big Pond Trail is cleared of blowdown starting at the junction of the Hoffman Notch Trail and from the Big Pond Trailhead to the north end of Big Pond. The trail to Bailey Pond is clear of blowdown.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year (see High Waters Warning above).

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The Long Pond Trail, from the Padarnarum Spur, is cleared of blowdown but flooded under 1 to 3 feet of water in some locations. The Island Pond Trail, from the Long Pond Trail, is flooded under 1 to 2 feet of water in some locations. Gay Pond Road is impassible by motor vehicle beyond campsite 13. There are several large sections of road that have washed out. The road has been temporarily posted as closed east of campsite 13. Buttermilk Road, a town road, has several sections that have washed out and several sections with 1-2 feet of standing water. Four wheel drive and high clearance vehicle are required north of the Luzerne/Warrensburg town line. Buttermilk Road Extension, a DEC administered road north of the Gay Pond Road intersection, remains closed. Several sections of the road have washed out and are impassible by motor vehicle. Foot traffic is possible. The access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site has washed out and is impassable by motor vehicle. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The Bear Slide Accessible Trail has washed out. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The access road and 2 designated tent sites are in good condition. River access and tent sites 1-5 along River Road are all open and in good condition.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Volunteers Needed: DEC is seeking volunteers to work on trails and trail infrastructure in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness. On October 1, DEC seeks volunteers to assist with moving the 220 foot long bog bridging on the Mill Brook Trail. Work includes emptying rocks from the cribbing, repositioning the bog bridging, refilling the cribbing with rocks and staking down the bridging. Volunteers can also work with DEC staff and Student Conservation Crews at other times and in various areas of the Pharoah Lake Wilderness at a number of tasks including: Carrying 5 foot and 6 foot long 2″ x 10″ lumber about 1 mile to a bridge site, Peeling logs for building material, Building bridges, Brushing out and clearing blowdown. For more information or to volunteer, please contact DEC Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278 or e-mail r5info@gw.dec.state.ny.us

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Blowdown is minimal on the Spectacle Pond Trail and all bridges are intact. The Gull Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Crane Pond is clear of blowdown. The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trail has been washed down stream. It is possible to cross the stream in spots without the bridge. The Treadway Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. 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. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: The trail around Newcomb Lake is clear of blowdown on its full length. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Old Farm Clearing to Cross Brook is clear of blowdown. The Peaked Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown from the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead to the beaver pond below Peaked Mountain Pond. There is blowdown on the trail from the beaver pond to the summit of Peaked Mountain. The Siamese Ponds Trail between Sacandaga Lean-to and the Siamese Ponds is passable but has moderate blowdown. Botheration Pond Loop from Old Farm Trailhead has a moderate amount blowdown that will slow travel. The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Eleventh Mountain Trailhead to Siamese Ponds has significant blowdown but is passable. The bog bridging north of Diamond Brook Bridge, however, sustained damage.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. The Cotter Swamp Trail, Griffin Connector Trail and Crane Mountain Trails are passable with minor blowdown. The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of 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. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. 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. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. 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

** Lake Champlain Islands:# All trails and campsites on Valcour Island are clear of blowdown and open for use. Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

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.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area assessment of the campsites has been completed. Campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available for use, however the privy on campsite #2 remains knocked over. DEC crews will right and reset the privy in the near future. Campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The Deer Loop Trail is mostly clear of blowdown; the section between Route 30 and the bridge. The trail at Whiteface Landing is clear of blowdown and the register has been replaced.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. In Terry Mountain State Forest the Red Road has been closed to public motor vehicle use do to unsafe conditions due to erosion from the storm. Also the Tower Rd is unusable for recreation or motor vehicle access at this time due to ongoing construction by the Essex County.

** 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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

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.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Sept 22)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH PEAKS ACCESS UPDATE
Most areas of the Eastern High Peaks are now open and DEC and volunteers from a number of organizations have cleared more than 130 miles of trails, and continue working to reroute and clear blowdown from the handful of trails that remain closed following Tropical Storm Irene. All trails are open in the Giant mountain Wilderness and in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, with the exception of the trail to the Colvin Range. The only two High Peaks that remain inaccessible are Mount Colvin and Blake Peak. The Adirondack Mountain Reserve’s (AMR) Lake Road has reopened. Hikers can now access trails to Nippletop and Dial Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. Most other trails from the AMR, including those to the Colvin and Great Ranges, Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs, and along the East Branch of the Ausable River, remain closed. Trails to Noonmark and Round mountains are open. The Great Range can be reached from trails in the Johns Brook Valley. Also closed in the High Peaks Wilderness are the Deer Brook Trail from Route 73, Southside Trail from the Garden, the Orebed Brook Trail, the Cold Brook Pass Trail, and the trail from Elk Lake to Panther Gorge. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** MARCY DAM REROUTE – BRIDGE UPDATE
Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Exporer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter. A reroute below Marcy Dam on the Van Hoevenberg Trail will lead to a Marcy Brook low-water crossing area below Marcy Dam. When the water is high the low water crossing impassable, so hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to reach Marcy Dam.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS TRAIL ADVISORY
Back country travel remains difficult in some areas of the Eastern High Peaks. Hikers and campers should expect to encounter damaged or washed out bridges, dams, boardwalks and ladders, trails buried by landslides or heavily eroded (1-3 feet deep in some places) and blowdown. When water levels in rivers and brooks are high some crossings may be impassable. A number of trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and newly eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be able to navigate with a map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

** WATERS RUNNING HIGH
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain high, except those rivers on the western slopes of the region such as the Beaver, Black, Independence, and Oswagatchie, which are at normal levels for this time of year. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

SECONDARY ROAD CLOSURES
Although State Route 73 and Route 9N have reopened, several secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, remain closed. Essex County is maintaining an updated list of road closures.

** ADDITIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
In the Moose River Plains the Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remain closed. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. 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 (though it is likely to reopen next year).

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
21 of the 41 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds have closed for the season as regularly scheduled. Fall camping is available through Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** 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 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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.

SOME HUNTING SEASONS OPEN
Some hunting seasons are underway, or will begin shortly. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking 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.

** INLET SEEKS PADDLING WORLD RECORD
Inlet will attempt to win back the world record for the largest floating raft of canoes and kayaks; the current record is held by Pittsburgh, Pa. The attempt will be made this Saturday, September 24, at the Fourth lake lakefront in Inlet. The event is organized by One Square Mile of Hope as a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. In 2008, 1,104 canoes and kayaks were rafted together, a number that was bested by Pittsburgh by about 500 boats. Inlet’s population is 320; Pittsburgh, who took the title last year, has a population of 420,000. Registration starts at 7:30 am, canoes and kayaks will enter the lake starting at 10:30 am; the raft will be formed at noon. Call the Inlet Town Hall at (315) 357-5501 for more information.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

Blowdown Reports: The Northville-Placid Trail is clear of blowdown from Duck Hole Pond to Moose Pond. Hikers have reported moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail. There is heavy blowdown between Benson and Silver Lake. Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephen 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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

Shattuck Clearing to Nothern Terminus: There is a washout immediately past the second bridge east of Shattuck Clearing on the way to Cold River Lean-to. The bridge over Seward Brook just before Ouluska Lean-to is damaged and badly tilted, holding a lot of debris that came down the brook. The bridge over Roaring Brook at the junction with Preston Ponds trail is gone. Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running high. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters. Expect eroded trails and blowdown on carries.

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

** High Peaks Access Update: Most areas of the Eastern High Peaks are now open and DEC and volunteers from a number of organizations have cleared more than 130 miles of trails, and continue working to reroute and clear blowdown from the handful of trails that remain closed following Tropical Storm Irene. All trails are open in the Giant mountain Wilderness and in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, with the exception of the trail to the Colvin Range. The only two High Peaks that remain inaccessible are Mount Colvin and Blake Peak.

** Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails: The Adirondack Mountain Reserve’s (AMR) Lake Road has reopened. Hikers can now access trails to Nippletop and Dial Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. Most other trails from the AMR, including those to the Colvin and Great Ranges, Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs, and along the East Branch of the Ausable River, remain closed. Trails to Noonmark and Round mountains are open. The Great Range can be reached from trails in the Johns Brook Valley.

** Deer Brook Trail: The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73

** Johns Brook Southside Trail: The Johns Brook Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to the John’s Brook Outpost is closed due to landslides.

** Orebed Brook Trail: Orebed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is closed.

** Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass is closed.

** Elk Lake – Panther Gorge Trail: The Elk Lake – Panther Gorge Trail is closed.

** 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.

** Heavy Blowdown Areas: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold and also on the trail to Calamity Lean-tos.

** Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Exporer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter. A reroute below Marcy Dam on the Van Hoevenberg Trail will lead to a Marcy Brook low-water crossing area below Marcy Dam. When the water is high the low water crossing impassable, so hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to reach Marcy Dam.

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.

Duck Hole: 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.

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 Reopend: The Giant Mountain Wilderness has reopened to public recreation, including the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead. The North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N is clear of blowdown up to the lean-to and drainages have been cleared of snags that were diverting water across the trail. Beaver activity has flooded the trail past the lean-to. The trail to Rocky Peak Ridge from Route 9 (New Russia) is in good shape. The trail to Hopkins Mountain via the Ranney Trail is in good condition.

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

** Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System, the River Trail impassable for first 0.25 mile due to washouts and debris on trail. All other trails are in usable condition although blowdown will slow travel. Volunteers are working on clearing trails. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir has been undermined and is not safe for use.

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

Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Moose River Plains Roads: In the Moose River Plains the Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remain closed. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

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.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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 Stephen 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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

** New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law: The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.

** New Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch: The new Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch Site on was opened Thursday, September 15th. The opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the start of the Lake Champlain FLW Bass Fishing Tournament. The boat launch is located at 5 Dock Street on the shore of Lake Champlain just south of the mouth of the Saranac River. The $627,000 boat launch facility includes three launching and retrieval lanes. DEC designed the boat launch and oversaw its construction; the City of Plattsburgh is responsible for management and maintenance.

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The Long Pond Trail, from the Padarnarum Spur, is cleared of blowdown but flooded under 1 to 3 feet of water in some locations. The Island Pond Trail, from the Long Pond Trail, is flooded under 1 to 2 feet of water in some locations. Gay Pond Road is impassible by motor vehicle beyond campsite 13. There are several large sections of road that have washed out. The road has been temporarily posted as closed east of campsite 13. Buttermilk Road, a town road, has several sections that have washed out and several sections with 1-2 feet of standing water. Four wheel drive and high clearance vehicle are required north of the Luzerne/Warrensburg town line. Buttermilk Road Extension, a DEC administered road north of the Gay Pond Road intersection, remains closed. Several sections of the road have washed out and are impassible by motor vehicle. Foot traffic is possible. The access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site has washed out and is impassable by motor vehicle. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The Bear Slide Accessible Trail has washed out. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The access road and 2 designated tent sites are in good condition. River access and tent sites 1-5 along River Road are all open and in good condition.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. 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. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

Santanoni Historic Preserve: The Newcomb Lake Trail contains significant amounts of blowdown. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. The Cotter Swamp Trail, Griffin Connector Trail and Crane Mountain Trails are passable with minor blowdown. The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of 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. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. 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. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. 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.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Old Farm Clearing to Cross Brook is clear of blowdown. The Peaked Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown from the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead to the beaver pond below Peaked Mountain Pond. There is blowdown on the trail from the beaver pond to the summit of Peaked Mountain. The Siamese Ponds Trail between Sacandaga Lean-to and the Siamese Ponds is passable but has moderate blowdown. Botheration Pond Loop from Old Farm Trailhead has a moderate amount blowdown that will slow travel. The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Eleventh Mountain Trailhead to Siamese Ponds has significant blowdown but is passable. The bog bridging north of Diamond Brook Bridge, however, sustained damage.

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 inaccessible.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: Blowdown has been removed from Dacy Clearing Road, it is passable by foot, bike and horse. However, the road is not open to motor vehicles. Repairs are still needed at two culverts. A snowmobile bridge near Black Mountain has been washed out. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

Buck Mountain – Pilot Knob: The trail between Buck Mountian and Pilot Knob is in good condition with minor blowdown.

** Hudson River Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual. Be careful of trees, limbs and other debris that have been washed into the waters.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Hoffman Notch Trail is clear of blowdown its complete length from the Loch Muller Trailhead to the Boreas Road Trailhead. Half of the Big Pond Trail is cleared of blowdown starting at the junction of the Hoffman Notch Trail and from the Big Pond Trailhead to the north end of Big Pond. The trail to Bailey Pond is clear of blowdown.

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

Lake Champlain Islands: South End Trail, North End Perimeter Trail, and Lighthouse Trail on Valcour Island are impassable due to flooding. Campsites 7, 8 & 22 are unusable and are now closed. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites are closed to public use until the blowdown can be cleared from the access road and a complete assessment of the road and campsites can be completed.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. In Terry Mountain State Forest the Red Road has been closed to public motor vehicle use do to unsafe conditions due to erosion from the storm. Also the Tower Rd is unusable for recreation or motor vehicle access at this time due to ongoing construction by the Essex County.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

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. Thanks to the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail crew there is now a completely new trail from the trailhead to the summit. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion. Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Damage from the storm was limited to some minor blowdown on most carries and trails. There is significant amount of blowdow across the Fish Pond Truck Trail; it is passable on foot but not by horses or horse drawn wagons. 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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

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.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Sept 15)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS REOPENED
The remnants of Tropical Storm Irene brought disastrous flash floods in the Eastern Adirondacks along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and the High Peaks. Although a few trails remain closed, the High Peaks, Giant, and Dix Mountain wilderness areas have all reopened. Both lanes of State Route 73 are now open. DEC and volunteers from a number of organizations have clear some 130 miles of trails, and continue working to reroute and clear blowdown from the remaining trails impacted by the storm. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS TRAIL ADVISORY
Some hazardous conditions continue and back country travel remains difficult, and in some places impossible, in the Eastern High Peaks. Hikers and campers should expect to encounter damaged or washed out bridges, dams, boardwalks and ladders, trails buried by landslides or heavily eroded (1-3 feet deep in some places) and blowdown. When water levels in rivers and brooks are high some crossings may be impassable. A number of trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and newly eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be able to navigate with a map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

** WATERS RUNNING HIGH
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain high, except those rivers on the western slopes of the region such as the Black, Independence, and Oswagatchie, which are at normal levels for this time of year. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** SECONDARY ROAD CLOSURES
Although State Route 73 and Route 9N have reopened, several secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, remain closed as well. Essex County is maintaining an updated list of road closures.

** ADK HEART LAKE AND JOHNS BROOK FACILITIES OPEN
Access roads to Adirondak Loj and John Brook Lodge (JBL) are open and both facilities are operating normally. JBL is operating on a caretaker basis, which means guest must pack in their own food, but will have the use of the lodge kitchen. The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to Johns Brook Lodge is closed due to landslides.

** MARCY DAM REROUTE
A reroute below Marcy Dam on the Van Hoevenberg Trail will lead to a Marcy Brook low-water crossing area below the Marcy Dam Bridge which was washed out during the storm. When the water is high the low water crossing impassable, so hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to reach Marcy Dam.

** ADDITIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
In the Moose River Plains, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remain closed. 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 (though it is likely to reopen next year). The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, has reopened.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, espcially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

** SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
21 of the 41 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds have closed for the season as regularly scheduled. Fall camping is available through Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** 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 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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.

** SOME HUNTING SEASONS OPEN
Some hunting seasons are underway, or will begin shortly. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking 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.

** INLET SEEKS PADDLING WORLD RECORD
Inlet will attempt to win back the world record for the largest floating raft of canoes and kayaks; the current record is held by Pittsburgh, Pa. The attempt will be made on Saturday, September 24, at the Fourth lake lakefront in Inlet. The event is organized by One Square Mile of Hope as a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. In 2008, 1,104 canoes and kayaks were rafted together, a number that was bested by Pittsburgh by about 500 boats. Inlet’s population is 320; Pittsburgh, who took the title last year, has a population of 420,000. Registration starts at 7:30 am, canoes and kayaks will enter the lake starting at 10:30 am; the raft will be formed at noon. Call the Inlet Town Hall at (315) 357-5501 for more information.

** DRAFT PUBLIC RIGHT OF NAVIGATION AND FISHING POLICY
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has prepared the draft Program Policy: “OGC-9: Public Right of Navigation and Fishing”. This draft program policy is intended to address staff’s need for guidance regarding the public rights of navigation and fishing. As such, this document will serve as General Counsel Policy with respect to Office of Public Protection officers, including both Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, to carry out their enforcement responsibilities. The draft Program Policy can be found online. Written comments on the draft Program Policy will be accepted until September 20th. Written comments should be addressed to Kenneth Hamm at the below-mentioned address. In addition, comments may be submitted via e-mail to: krhamm@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

** Blowdown Reports: The Northville-Placid Trail is clear of blowdown from Duck Hole Pond to Moose Pond. Hikers have reported moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail. There is heavy blowdown between Benson and Silver Lake. Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephen 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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

Shattuck Clearing to Nothern Terminus: There is a washout immediately past the second bridge east of Shattuck Clearing on the way to Cold River Lean-to. The bridge over Seward Brook just before Ouluska Lean-to is damaged and badly tilted, holding a lot of debris that came down the brook. The bridge over Roaring Brook at the junction with Preston Ponds trail is gone. Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running high. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters. Expect eroded trails and blowdown on carries.

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

** Dix Mountain Wilderness Reopened: The main Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead at the Ausable Club is now open as are both trails that lead to the summit of Nippletop (The Henry Goddard Leach Trail and the Gill Brook/Elk Pass Trail). All other trails remain closed including: trails to the Colvin Range – Mt. Colvin, Blake Peak and Pinnacle; the loop trail to Bear Den Mountain, Dial Mountain, and Nippletop; and all of the trails and roadways around the Ausable River and Lower Ausable Lake. Trails that can be accessed from the trailhead near the parking area on the Ausable Club Road are open, including those to Noonmark Mountain, Round Mountain and Dix Mountain.

** Eastern High Peaks Trail Closures: The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness is open to public recreation, however a number of trails remain closed at this time, including: All trails out of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club); The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 to Rooster Comb; The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Lodge; The Orebed Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics); The Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass. The Wolfjaw Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Lower and Upper Wolfjaws) has reopened.

** 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.

** Opalescent River / Calamity Brook Trail: The bridge has been repaired and is now safe for use.

** Heavy Blowdown Areas: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold and also on the trail to Calamity Lean-tos.

** Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. During high water this crossing may not be passable. Hikers can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam.

** Indian Pass Trail: 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.

** Marcy Dam / Avalanche Pass / Flowed Land Corridor: Marcy Dam to Flowed Land Corridor was significantly impacted but is still passable using caution. Marcy Brook jumped its banks along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam causing widespread damage to the trail. A mud slide on the Avalanche Pass Trail between the old landslide and Avalanche Lake is quite deep in spots. Hikers may need to leave the trail to avoid debris and mud holes. The “Hitch-up Matilda’s” (boardwalk) along the shore of Avalanche Lake are missing some decking, use caution when crossing. There is a debris pile at the south end of Avalanche Lake and the bog bridges have dislodged and moved. Around Lake Colden nearly every bog crossing dislodged and moved. Worst are the large log bridges on both shores of the lake that went alongside the water. Reroutes have been constructed around two destroyed bridges on the Calamity Brook Trail and the trail is clear of blowdown all the way to Flowed Lands.

** Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works: 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.

Duck Hole: 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.

** Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: Has been cleared and is now passable.

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

** Upper Works Trailhead: Blowdown has been cleared from the trail from Upperworks Trailhead to the north end of Henderson Lake.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness Reopend: The Giant Mountain Wilderness has reopened to public recreation, including the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead. The North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N is clear of blowdown up to the lean-to and drainages have been cleared of snags that were diverting water across the trail. Beaver activity has flooded the trail past the lean-to. The trail to Rocky Peak Ridge from Route 9 (New Russia) is in good shape. The trail to Hopkins Mountain via the Ranney Trail is in good condition.

** Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

** Jackrabbit Trail: The Jack Rabbit Trail is clear of blowdown from Saranac Lake to Lake Placid. The McKenzie Mountain Trail between the trailhead on Route 86 and the intersection with the Jack Rabbit Trail has been cleared of blowdown, but blowdown is present on the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: The McKenzie Mountain Trail between the trailhead on Route 86 and the intersection with the Jack Rabbit Trail has been cleared of blowdown, but blowdown remains above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. A large tree fell at Whiteface Landing and is blocking the trail; it destroyed the trail register. 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Pitchoff Mountain Trail has been cleared of blowdown for its entire length and no major issues are reported. The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Trail has been cleared of blowdown for its entire length and no major issues are reported. All other trails, including Pitchoff Mountain, are passable. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: The Wilmington to Whiteface Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown from the trailheads to the summit. The Cooper Kiln Trail has been cleared of blowdown for two miles from the Bonnieview Road. Blowdown is still present in places on the remainder of the trail. All trails open and in good shape in the Hardy Road Trail system. In the Flume Trail System, the River Trail impassable for first 0.25 mile due to washouts and debris on trail. All other trails are in useable condition although blowdown will slow travel. Volunteers are working on clearing trails. Wilmington Trail to the summit of Whiteface Mountian has significant erosion in the first .25 mile but is passable. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir has been undermined and is not safe for use.

Wilmington Snowmobile Trail: The Wilmington Snowmobile Trail is being constructed by DEC in the Wilmington Wild Forest, including one 25-foot bridge [pdf].

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

** Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

** Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

Moose River Plains Roads: The Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time.

Moose River Plains Map Updated: DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map. The map is available as a pdf download [link]. Among the improvements are the identification of universal access facilities.

Mossly Vly Snowmobile Bridge (Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement): The Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge Project on Mud Lake Road in the Town of Pleasant (snowmobile trail S41) is underway and expected to be completed by the start of the snowmobiling season.

Jessup River Road Reopend: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, is now open after the replacement of bridges of the Jessup and Miami rivers.

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.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

** 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 Stephen 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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: # The Long Pond Trail, from the Padarnarum Spur, is cleared of blowdown but flooded under 1 to 3 feet of water in some locations. The Island Pond Trail, from the Long Pond Trail, is flooded under 1 to 2 feet of water in some locations. Gay Pond Road is impassible by motor vehicle beyond campsite 13. There are several large sections of road that have washed out. The road has been temporarily posted as closed east of campsite 13. Buttermilk Road, a town road, has several sections that have washed out and several sections with 1-2 feet of standing water. Four wheel drive and high clearance vehicle are required north of the Luzerne/Warrensburg town line. Buttermilk Road Extension, a DEC administered road north of the Gay Pond Road intersection, remains closed. Several sections of the road have washed out and are impassible by motor vehicle. Foot traffic is possible. The access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site has washed out and is impassable by motor vehicle. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The Bear Slide Accessible Trail has washed out. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The access road and 2 designated tent sites are in good condition. River access and tent sites 1-5 along River Road are all open and in good condition.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. 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. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: The Newcomb Lake Trail contains significant amounts of blowdown. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

** Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: The trail to the fire tower on Vanderwhacker Mountain is cleared and opened.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. The Cotter Swamp Trail, Griffin Connector Trail and Crane Mountain Trails are passable with minor blowdown. The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of 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. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. 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. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. 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.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Eleventh Mountain Trailhead to Siamese Ponds has significant blowdown but is passable.

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 inaccessible.

** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Black Mountain Trail is clear from Pike Brook Road parking area to summit of the mountain. Blowdown has been removed from Dacy Clearing Road, it is passable by foot, bike and horse. However, the road is not open to motor vehicles. Repairs are still needed at two culverts. A snowmobile bridge near Black Mountain has been washed out. Shelving Rock Road is in good shape. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

Buck Mountain – Pilot Knob: The trail between Buck Mountian and Pilot Knob is in good condition with minor blowdown.

** Hudson River Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual. Be careful of trees, limbs and other debris that have been washed into the waters.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The trail to Bailey Pond looks good with the exception of some blowdown that needs clearing but is manageable to get around fairly easily. The trail to Big Pond has significant amount of blowdown and is impassable at this time. There is swath of damage on both sides of the trail and across it for a good distance starting about 0.25 mile in.

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

Paper Mill Ash Banks on the Boquet River to be Stabilized: DEC and Georgia Pacific finalized an agreement for remediation of the Black Ash Pond site owned by the Town of Willsboro in Essex County. The black ash was deposited by a former paper mill adjacent to the Boquet River. Portions of the deposits remain unstable and unvegetated after several decades, with material sloughing off into the river. The agreement would involve sloping and stabilizing the bank as well as adding top soil and vegetation.

Lake Champlain Islands: South End Trail, North End Perimeter Trail, and Lighthouse Trail on Valcour Island are impassable due to flooding. Campsites 7, 8 & 22 are unusable and are now closed. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites are closed to public use until the blowdown can be cleared from the access road and a complete assessment of the road and campsites can be completed.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. In Terry Mountain State Forest the Red Road has been closed to public motor vehicle use do to unsafe conditions due to erosion from the storm. Also the Tower Rd is unusable for recreation or motor vehicle access at this time due to ongoing construction by the Essex County.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

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. Thanks to the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail crew there is now a completely new trail from the trailhead to the summit. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion. Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Damage from the storm was limited to some minor blowdown on most carries and trails. There is significant amount of blowdow across the Fish Pond Truck Trail; it is passable on foot but not by horses or horse drawn wagons. 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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

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.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Astronomy: The September Night Sky

This month I am changing the format of this a bit to include more than just some deep sky objects that you can make out faintly with your naked eye. This time and from now on I will try to include the Moon, planets, and some constellations.

Here are some naked eye objects for the month of September. All of these objects, although small, should be visible without the help of binoculars or a telescope, so long as you have clear dark skies.

Light pollution is a killer for seeing these objects with your naked eye. To find out how dark your location is, use the Google Map Overlay of light pollution. If you are in a blue, gray or black area then you should have dark enough skies. You may still be able to see some of these objects in a green location. If you aren’t in a dark sky location you may still be able to see these objects with a pair of binoculars or telescope.

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for September 2011). The map shows what is in the sky in September at 9 pm for early September; 8 pm for late September.

If you are not familiar with what you see in the night sky, this is a great opportunity to step outside, look up, and begin learning the constellations. The sky is beautiful and filled with many treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Once you have looked for these objects go through the list again if you have a pair of binoculars handy, the views get better!

The Moon
The Moon will be full on September 12th in the East from sunset and setting in the West around sunrise.
On the night of the 15th and the 16th Jupiter will be roughly 7° below the moon. On the 16th find the moon in the East around 11pm and Jupiter will be 7° to the right.
The 23rd Mars will be about 5° up and to the left of the Moon in the early morning before sunrise.

Mercury
Mercury will be visible early in the morning, about 45 minutes before sunrise until the 18th of September, slowly getting closer to the horizon.

Mars
For the month of September Mars is still a morning planet not rising in the East until 3am just below the constellation Gemini.

Jupiter
Jupiter is rising earlier in the evening around 10:30pm. If you happen to have a pair of binoculars handy this is a great object to point them at. Even a typical pair of binoculars 10×50 should show you four of Jupiters moons; Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. You can actually watch them orbit around Jupiter if you watch them all month long.

Lyra the Harp, Cygnus the Swan and Aquila the Eagle
Directly overhead after sunset, around 7:30pm. These three constellations contain 3 of the brightest stars in the summer sky which form what is called The Summer Triangle. The star Vega in Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. If you are in a really dark area you should be able to see the Milky Way passing through the constellations Cygnus and Aquila. Again, if you have a pair of binoculars and want to be wowed (even from a light polluted spot) look towards the Milky Way and look at all the stars that pop out at you.

Delphinus
If you have spotted The Summer Triangle, look to the left (East) of the star Altair to find a small kite shaped constellation called Delphinus, the Dolphin.

Andromeda
Although it may be easier to view later in the night around midnight or later – The Andromeda Galaxy cataloged as M31 is visible to the naked eye in the northeast. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way lying about 2.5 million light-years away. If in a dark enough location the light produced by this galaxy is roughly the diameter of 5 moons in our sky.

Perseus
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the naked eye. M34, which you may need to wait until around 11pm for it to be high enough to see is nearly a moon-diameter wide and is a fairly easy to see open cluster.

Sagittarius
M8 is an open star cluster and nebula complex, also known as the Lagoon Nebula . Visible to the naked eye as a small hazy patch. Bright enough that it is visible even in suburbia. It may look small with the naked eye, but it is actually quite large nearly two moon diameters across. I’m not sure if any of the other objects are visible to the naked eye, although Sagittarius is a beautiful sight as it lays in the Milky Way.

Aquila
The Great Rift is a non-luminous dust cloud that can be seen splitting the Milky Way in two separate streams. It stretches from Aquila to the constellation Cygnus although it is more prominent in the constellation Aquila.

Hercules
Messier Object 13 (known as M13) is a globular cluster. It will have a small hazy glow to it. Hercules is getting lower in the sky so M13 may be difficult to spot through the haze of the atmosphere.

Cygnus
North America Nebula (NGC7000) – The unaided eye sees only a wedge-shaped star-cloud which may be quite dim, or not visible at all. In dark skies it should pop out a bit. Located near the star Deneb. M39 an open cluster patch of stars northeast of the star Deneb. The Northern Coalsack spans across the sky between the stars Deneb, Sadir, and Gienah in the northeastern portion of Cygnus. If you don’t know which stars of Sadir and Gienah just find Deneb with the map and look to the east northeast.

Ursa Major
Mizar and Alcor is a double star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Was once used as a test of good eyesight before glasses. Mizar resolves into a beautiful blue-white and greenish white binary (double star system). They are labeled on the map I linked to above.

Photo: The Summer Triangle in a Wikipedia photo showing the constellations and stars that make up the Summer Triangle.

Michael Rector is an amateur astronomer with his own blog, Adirondack Astronomy.


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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (September 8)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS STORM DAMAGE UPDATE
The remnants of Tropical Storm Irene brought disastrous flash floods that impacted local infrastructure, homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and trails, especially in the Eastern Adirondacks along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and the High Peaks. The Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness and the Giant Mountain Wilderness have reopened, although the Dix Mountain Wilderness and several area trails remain closed. ADK has reopened the Adirondak Loj and Wilderness Campground at Heart Lake and the Johns Brook Lodge in the Johns Brook Valley (see details below). State Route 73 is now open between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, and may be accessed by taking Route 9N from Elizabethtown. Route 73 remains closed between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection, but is expected to open by next weekend. The Central, Western and Northern Adirondacks were minimally impacted; the Almanack has posted alternative areas to explore throughout the Adirondack Park. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** HAZARDOUS BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS
Hazardous conditions continue and back country travel is difficult, and in some places impossible, throughout much of the Eastern High Peaks. Hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, damaged or washed out bridges, dams, boardwalks and ladders, trails buried by landslides or heavily eroded (1-3 feet deep in some places) and blowdown. There are dozens of new landslides and the dangerous threat of additional slides continues. Water levels in rivers and brooks are currently high so crossings may be impassable. A number of trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and newly eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be able to navigate with a map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

** WATERS RUNNING HIGH, SOME NEAR FLOOD
This week’s steady rains have raised the level of the region’s rivers and streams to near flood stage. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** MAJOR ROAD CLOSURES
State Route 73 is now open between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, and may be accessed by taking Route 9N from Elizabethtown. Route 73 remains closed between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection, but is expected to open by next weekend. Use 511NY to learn of the current road closures. Be aware that many secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, may be closed as well. Essex County is also maintaining a list of road closures.

** ADK FACILITIES AT HEART LAKE AND JOHNS BROOK
Access roads to both ADK properties were washed out in the storm, but Adirondak Loj and John Brook Lodge (JBL) remained largely unscathed and both roads are now open. The Town of Keene will be operating a shuttle bus from the Marcy Field parking area to the corner of Market Street and Adirondack Road (approximately 1.25 miles away from the Garden Trailhead) from 12 pm to 7 pm on Friday and from 7 am to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday. JBL is reopening on a caretaker basis, which means guest must pack in their own food, but will have the use of the lodge kitchen. The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to Johns Brook Lodge is closed due to landslides.

** OPEN HIGH PEAKS TRAILS
Open trails in the High Peaks Wilderness include all trails from the Adirondak Loj trailhead, the Cascade Mountain trailhead, the Garden trailhead, the Rooster Comb trailhead, the Upper Works trailhead and the East River trailhead. Open trails in the Giant Mountain Wilderness include all trails starting from the trailheads on Route 9 and Route 9N. Giant Mountain may also be accessed via the Hopkin Mountain Trail from the Ranney Trailhead. These trails may have washed-out bridges, blowdown, eroded sections and/or flooded areas and water levels in rivers and brooks are currently high so crossings may be impassable. A number of trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and newly eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be able to navigate with a map and compass. Almanack contributor Phil Brown has modified a DEC map showing currently closed trails in the Eastern High Peaks.

** MARCY DAM REROUTE
Almanack contributor Phil Brown is reporting that a reroute below Marcy Dam on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, will lead to an Marcy Brook low-water crossing area below the Marcy Dam Bridge which was washed out during the storm. Water is currently high there and the low water crossing impassable, so hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to reach Marcy Dam.

** NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL WARNING
Tom Wemett, Chair of the ADK’s Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) Chapter is advising avoidance of the NPT due to extreme flooding caused by the continuous rain this week. “I was in the rain doing trail maintenance on Sunday and Monday from Piseco to Jessup River,” Wemett reported Wednesday evening, “the trail was a river on the hike-out on Monday. West Canada Creek is in flood stage for sure and impassable. Other streams which normally can be rock-hopped or at least crossed with minimal difficulty are now flooded and knee or waist high. I highly recommend staying off of the NPTrail until 3 to 4 days of sunshine and no rain allow water to recede and the trail to dry out a bit. Also, there have been reports of major blowdowns that have made some parts of the trail extremely difficult and in some reported cases impassable. Please delay your hike until the weather allows the trail some breathing room and trail stewards to work on clearing the trail.”

** ADDITIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time. The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, has reopened.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites. Expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
Last week’s storm and this week’s rains have left trails wet and muddy. Wear proper footwear and gaitors and remember to walk through, not around, mud and water to avoid further damage to trails.

** SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
17 of the 41 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds have closed for the season as regularly scheduled. Four campgrounds – Lake Harris, Scaroon Manor, Luzerne and Hearthstone Point – will close this Sunday, September 11. Fall camping is available through Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online. Campgrounds currently open include:

Clinton County Ausable Point
Essex County: Crown Point, Paradox Lake, and Wilmington Notch
Franklin County: Fish Creek, Meacham Lake, and Saranac Lake Islands
Fulton County: Northampton Beach
Hamilton County: Eighth, Lewey, and Sacandaga Lake, Moffit Beach, Indian Lake Islands, and Lake Durant
Warren County: Lake George Battleground, Lake George Islands, and Rogers Rock
Herkimer County: Nicks Lake

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.

** ADIRONDACK CANOE CLASSIC / 90 MILER
The annual Adirondack Canoe Classic, known locally as the 90-Miler, will be held this weekend. This three-day flat water race follows one of the original highways of the Adirondacks from the Old Forge to Saranac Lake. Expect very heavy use along the paddle route which starts on Friday at 8 am at the Old Forge lakefront. The route includes the Fulton Chain of Lakes, the Raquette Lake, the Marion River and the Eckford Chain of Lakes ending in Blue Mountain Lake at the end of day one. Saturday begins at Bissell’s on Long Lake continues down Long Lake and into the Raquette River to the state boat launch on Routes 3 & 30 (about five miles east of the village of Tupper Lake). Sunday begins at Fish Creek Campground proceeds down Upper Saranac Lake through the carry to Middle Saranac Lake and on to the Saranac River, into Lower Saranac Lake across Oseetah Lake and Lake Flower to the finish at Prescott Park in the village of Saranac Lake.

** INLET LOOKS TO TAKE BACK PADDLING WORLD RECORD
Inlet will attempt to win back the world record for the largest floating raft of canoes and kayaks; the current record is held by Pittsburgh, Pa. The attempt will be made on Saturday, September 24, at the Fourth lake lakefront in Inlet. The event is organized by One Square Mile of Hope as a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. In 2008, 1,104 canoes and kayaks were rafted together, a number that was bested by Pittsburgh by about 500 boats. Inlet’s population is 320; Pittsburgh, who took the title last year, has a population of 420,000. Registration starts at 7:30 am, canoes and kayaks will enter the lake starting at 10:30 am; the raft will be formed at noon. Call the Inlet Town Hall at (315) 357-5501 for more information.

DRAFT PUBLIC RIGHT OF NAVIGATION AND FISHING POLICY
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has prepared the draft Program Policy: “OGC-9: Public Right of Navigation and Fishing”. This draft program policy is intended to address staff’s need for guidance regarding the public rights of navigation and fishing. As such, this document will serve as General Counsel Policy with respect to Office of Public Protection officers, including both Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, to carry out their enforcement responsibilities. The draft Program Policy can be found online. Written comments on the draft Program Policy will be accepted until September 20th. Written comments should be addressed to Kenneth Hamm at the below-mentioned address. In addition, comments may be submitted via e-mail to: krhamm@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES NOW ON SALE
Hunting and trapping licenses are now on sale for the 2011-12 license year (the new license year begins October 1). Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE
Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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.

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.

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.

** Fire Danger: LOW

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Partly sunny, highs in the upper 70s.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, lows in the upper 40s.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, highs in the upper 60s.
Saturday Night: Clear, lows in the lower 40s.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, highs in the upper 60s.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** NPT Warning: Tom Wemett, Chair of the ADK’s Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) Chapter is advising avoidance of the NPT due to extreme flooding caused by the continuous rain this week. “I was in the rain doing trail maintenance on Sunday and Monday from Piseco to Jessup River,” Wemett reported Wednesday evening, “the trail was a river on the hike-out on Monday. West Canada Creek is in flood stage for sure and impassable. Other streams which normally can be rock-hopped or at least crossed with minimal difficulty are now flooded and knee or waist high. I highly recommend staying off of the NPTrail until 3 to 4 days of sunshine and no rain allow water to recede and the trail to dry out a bit. Also, there have been reports of major blowdowns that have made some parts of the trail extremely difficult and in some reported cases impassable. Please delay your hike until the weather allows the trail some breathing room and trail stewards to work on clearing the trail.”

** Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

** Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach on Monday, August 29th. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

** 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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

** Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

** Shattuck Clearing to Nothern Terminus: Shattuck Clearing to the Averyville Trailhead (nothern terminus) is in fair condition with some blowdown. There is a washout immediately past the second bridge east of Shattuck Clearing on the way to Cold River Lean-to. The bridge over Seward Brook just before Ouluska Lean-to is damaged and badly tilted, holding a lot of debris that came down the brook. The bridge over Roaring Brook at the junction with Preston Ponds trail is gone. Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running high, at or near flood. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** Carries are still being assessed, expect eroded trails, blowdown, and flooding.

** Adirondack Canoe Classic / 90 Miler: The annual Adirondack Canoe Classic, known locally as the 90-Miler, will be held this weekend. This three-day flat water race follows one of the original highways of the Adirondacks from the Old Forge to Saranac Lake. Expect very heavy use along the paddle route which starts on Friday at 8 am at the Old Forge lakefront. The route includes the Fulton Chain of Lakes, the Raquette Lake, the Marion River and the Eckford Chain of Lakes ending in Blue Mountain Lake at the end of day one. Saturday begins at Bissell’s on Long Lake continues down Long Lake and into the Raquette River to the state boat launch on Routes 3 & 30 (about five miles east of the village of Tupper Lake). Sunday begins at Fish Creek Campground proceeds down Upper Saranac Lake through the carry to Middle Saranac Lake and on to the Saranac River, into Lower Saranac Lake across Oseetah Lake and Lake Flower to the finish at Prescott Park in the village of Saranac Lake.

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

** Dix Mountain Wilderness Closed: State Route 73 is closed between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection. The Dix Mountain Wilderness has been closed by the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC). DEC fully intends to enforce this closure. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use. Consider visiting other, less impacted areas of the Adirondack Park [other suggested opportunities].

** Eastern High Peaks Trail Closures: The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness is open to public recreation, however a number of trails remain closed at this time, including: All trails out of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club); The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 to Rooster Comb; The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Lodge; The Orebed Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics); The Wolfjaw Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Lower and Upper Wolfjaws), The Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass; and the Elk Lake Trail between the Elk Lake Trailhead and Panther Gorge. Consider visiting other, less impacted areas of the Adirondack Park [other suggested opportunities].

** Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van trail and the South Meadow truck trail will need to be used as a detour.

** Opalescent River / Calamity Brook Trail: A cable is broke on the suspension bridge over the Opalescent River on the Calamity Brook Trail, the bridge is not safe for use.

** Heavy Blowdown Areas: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold and also on the trail to Calamity Lean-tos.

** Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. During high water, which is the current condition, this crossing may not be passable. Hikers can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam.

** Van Hovenbrerg Trail: A reroute has been created on the VanHovenburg Trail below the Phelps Trail to bypass a heavily damaged section.

** Marcy Dam / Avalanche Pass / Flowed Land Corridor: Marcy Dam to Flowed Land Corridor was significantly impacted but is still passable using caution. Marcy Brook jumped its banks along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam causing widespread damage to the trail. A mud slide on the Avalanche Pass Trail between the old landslide and Avalanche Lake is quite deep in spots. Hikers may need to leave the trail to avoid debris and mud holes. The “Hitch-up Matilda’s” (boardwalk) along the shore of Avalanche Lake are missing some decking, use caution when crossing. There is a debris pile at the south end of Avalanche Lake and the bog bridges have dislodged and moved. Around Lake Colden nearly every bog crossing dislodged and moved. Worst are the large log bridges on both shores of the lake that went alongside the water. The stream crossing on the East Shore Trail is completely down and unsafe to walk across. A large pine tree is down and blocking the trail at the Calamity Trail register box. There is blowdown blocking access to the lean-to and campsite at Livingston Point at Flowed Lands.

** Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works: 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.

** Duck Hole: 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.

** Western high Peaks: The Western High Peaks off Coreys Road was not hit too badly. The trail to the Raquette Falls is clear of major obstacles. All bridges are intact on the Blueberry Trail from the Seward Trailhead to Ward Brook Lean-to; blowdown was minimal and has been cleared. Blueberry and Ward Brook Lean-tos are in good shape. Hikers coming off of Seymour Mountain stated trail is good but muddy. Hikers who have done Seward, Donaldson, or Emmons Mountains report good conditions as well.

** Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: There is a lot of blowdown on the trail. A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness Reopend: The Giant Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation however a number of trails remain closed at this time. All trails from trailheads on Route 73 between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection are closed. State Route 73 is closed between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection. All trails starting from the trailheads on Route 9 and Route 9N. Giant Mountain may also be accessed via the Hopkins Mountain Trail from the Ranney Trail. Many of these trails have not been assessed at this time. Hikers may encounter blowdown, eroded trails and flooding.

** Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail. The Town of Keene has closed O’Toole Road, the seasonal use road accessing the Big Crow Trailhead, to local traffic only. The footbridge at the Big Crow Trailhead is demolished and there are many trees down.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. A large tree fell at Whiteface Landing and is blocking the trail; it destroyed the trail register. 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.

** Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Pitchoff Mountain Trail has been cleared of blowdown for its entire length and no major issues are reported. The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Trail has been cleared of blowdown for its entire length and no major issues are reported. All other trails, including Pitchoff Mountain, are passable. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: The Whiteface Mountain Trail from both the Wilmington Reservoir and Marble Hill Trailheads contains blowdown but is passable. All trails open and in good shape in the Hardy Road Trail system. In the Flume Trail System, the River Trail impassable for first 0.25 mile due to washouts and debris on trail. All other trails are in useable condition although blowdown will slow travel. Volunteers are working on clearing trails. Wilmington Trail to the summit of Whiteface Mountian has significant erosion in the first .25 mile but is passable. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir has been undermined and is not safe for use.

** Wilmington Snowmobile Trail: The Wilmington Snowmobile Trail is being constructed by DEC in the Wilmington Wild Forest, including one 25-foot bridge [pdf].

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

** Moose River Plains Roads: The Moose River Plains received minor damage as a result of Tropical Storm Irene. The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) is open, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time.

** Moose River Plains Map Updated: DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map. The map is available as a pdf download [link]. Among the improvements are the identification of universal access facilities.

** Mossly Vly Snowmobile Bridge (Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement): The Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge Project on Mud Lake Road in the Town of Pleasant (snowmobile trail S41) is underway and expected to be completed by the start of the snowmobiling season.

** Jessup River Road Reopend: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, is now open after the replacement of bridges of the Jessup and Miami rivers.

** 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.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

** West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephen 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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: Gay Pond Road is impassible by motor vehicle beyond campsite 13. There are several large sections of road that have washed out. The road has been temporarily posted as closed east of campsite 13. Buttermilk Road, a town road, has several sections that have washed out and several sections with 1-2 feet of standing water. Four wheel drive and high clearance vehicle are required north of the Luzerne/Warrensburg town line. Buttermilk Road Extension, a DEC administered road north of the Gay Pond Road intersection, remains closed. Several sections of the road have washed out and are impassible by motor vehicle. Foot traffic is possible. The access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site has washed out and is impassable by motor vehicle. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The Bear Slide Accessible Trail has washed out. The trail is passable by foot, but may not meet the needs of users with a mobility impairment. The access road and 2 designated tent sites are in good condition. River access and tent sites 1-5 along River Road are all open and in good condition.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: The Newcomb Lake Trail contains significant amounts of blowdown. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

** Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: The trail to the fire tower on Vanderwhacker Mountain is cleared and opened.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of 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. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. 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. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. 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.

** 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 inaccessible.

** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: Blowdown has been removed from Dacy Clearing Road, it is passable by foot, bike and horse. However, the road is not open to motor vehicles. Repairs are still needed at two culverts. A snowmobile bridge near Black Mountain has been washed out. Shelving Rock Road is in good shape. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

** Buck Mountain – Pilot Knob: The trail between Buck Mountian and Pilot Knob is in good condition with minor blowdown.

** Hudson River Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual. Be careful of trees, limbs and other debris that have been washed into the waters.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: CThe trail to Bailey Pond looks good with the exception of some blowdown that needs clearing but is manageable to get around fairly easily. The trail to Big Pond has significant amount of blowdown and is impassable at this time. There is swath of damage on both sides of the trail and across it for a good distance starting about 0.25 mile in.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: 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 northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

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

** Black Ash Banks on the Boquet River to be Stabilized: DEC and Georgia Pacific finalized an agreement for remediation of the Black Ash Pond site owned by the Town of Willsboro in Essex County. The black ash was deposited by a former paper mill adjacent to the Boquet River. Portions of the deposits remain unstable and unvegetated after several decades, with material sloughing off into the river. The agreement would involve sloping and stabilizing the bank as well as adding top soil and vegetation.

Lake Champlain Islands: South End Trail, North End Perimeter Trail, and Lighthouse Trail on Valcour Island are impassable due to flooding. Campsites 7, 8 & 22 are unusable and are now closed. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites are closed to public use until the blowdown can be cleared from the access road and a complete assessment of the road and campsites can be completed.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. In Terry Mountain State Forest the Red Road has been closed to public motor vehicle use do to unsafe conditions due to erosion from the storm. Also the Tower Rd is unusable for recreation or motor vehicle access at this time due to ongoing construction by the Essex County.

** Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

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. Thanks to the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail crew there is now a completely new trail from the trailhead to the summit. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion. Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Damage from the storm was limited to some minor blowdown on most carries and trails. There is significant amount of blowdow across the Fish Pond Truck Trail; it is passable on foot but not by horses or horse drawn wagons. 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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area. A Whitney Wilderness webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

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.



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some High Peaks Areas Reopen, NPT Trail Warning

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) have reopened access to several High Peaks wilderness areas and facilities. The Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness and the Giant Mountain Wilderness have reopened, although the Dix Mountain Wilderness and several area trails remain closed. ADK has reopened the Adirondak Loj and Wilderness Campground at Heart Lake and the Johns Brook Lodge in the Johns Brook Valley. Roads to those facilities were among several that were washed out when the remnants of Tropical Storm Irene slammed into the eastern slopes of the Adirondacks causing widespread damage and destruction, especially along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and the High Peaks. State Route 73 is now open between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, and may be accessed by taking Route 9N from Elizabethtown. Route 73 remains closed between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection, but is expected to open by next weekend.

Open trails in the High Peaks Wilderness include all trails from the Adirondak Loj trailhead, the Cascade Mountain trailhead, the Garden trailhead, the Rooster Comb trailhead, the Upper Works trailhead and the East River trailhead. Open trails in the Giant Mountain Wilderness include all trails starting from the trailheads on Route 9 and Route 9N. Giant Mountain may also be accessed via the Hopkin Mountain Trail from the Ranney Trailhead.

Access roads to both ADK properties were washed out in the storm, but Adirondak Loj and John Brook Lodge (JBL) remained largely unscathed. Crews from the Town of North Elba Highway Department completed work on the Adirondack Loj Road late Wednesday. The bridge on the road to the Garden Trailhead will be closed to motor vehicles this weekend although pedestrians can cross the bridge. The Town of Keene will be operating a shuttle bus from the Marcy Field parking area to the corner of Market Street and Adirondack Road (approximately 1.25 miles away from the Garden Trailhead) from 12 pm to 7 pm on Friday and from 7 am to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday. JBL is reopening on a caretaker basis, which means guest must pack in their own food, but will have the use of the lodge kitchen. The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to Johns Brook Lodge is closed due to landslides.

The reopened trails may have washed-out bridges, blowdown, eroded sections and/or flooded areas and water levels in rivers and brooks are currently high so crossings may be impassable. A number of trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and newly eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be able to navigate with a map and compass. Trails will be wet and muddy this weekend, wear proper footwear and gaitors and remember to walk through, not around, mud and water to avoid further damage to trails.

Almanack contributor Phil Brown is reporting that a reroute below Marcy Dam on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, will lead to an Marcy Brook low-water crossing area below the Marcy Dam Bridge which was washed out during the storm. Water is currently high there and the low water crossing impassable, so hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to reach Marcy Dam. Phil has also modified the DEC map above to better show currently closed trails in the Eastern High Peaks.

Although most trails have reopened, trails from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) remain closed due to the closure of a section of Route 73 and the damage to the trailhead parking lots. Other closed trails include:

* The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 to Rooster Comb.

* The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Lodge

* The Orebed Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics)

* The Wolfjaw Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Lower and Uper Wolfjaws)

* The Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass.

* The Elk Lake Trail between the Elk Lake Trailhead and Panther Gorge.

Additionally, Tom Wemett, Chair of the ADK’s Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) Chapter is advising avoidance of the NPT due to extreme flooding caused by the continuous rain this week. “I was in the rain doing trail maintenance on Sunday and Monday from Piseco to Jessup River,” Wemett reported Wednesday evening, “the trail was a river on the hike-out on Monday. West Canada Creek is in flood stage for sure and impassable. Other streams which normally can be rock-hopped or at least crossed with minimal difficulty are now flooded and knee or waist high. I highly recommend staying off of the NPTrail until 3 to 4 days of sunshine and no rain allow water to recede and the trail to dry out a bit. Also, there have been reports of major blowdowns that have made some parts of the trail extremely difficult and in some reported cases impassable. Please delay your hike until the weather allows the trail some breathing room and trail stewards to work on clearing the trail.”

Suggestions for visiting other areas of the Adirondack Park can be found here.

The Almanack will post it’s regular weekly Outdoor Conditions Report this afternoon.

All of the Almanack’s reporting on Tropical Storm Irene can be found here.

Illustration: A DEC map showing currently closed trails in the Eastern High Peaks. Phil Brown has modified this map for easier reading here.



Friday, September 2, 2011

6.1 Million Adirondack Acres Leave Plenty to Do

Although Hurricane Irene has wrought considerable destruction on the Eastern High Peaks area of the Adirondacks, aside from a few unfortunate communities, trails and campgrounds, the vast majority of the Adirondack Park was left unscathed and open for business. This Labor Day weekend and the coming months offer a great opportunity to explore the rest of the Adirondack Park’s 6.1 million acres.

The Adirondack Park has a land area larger than than Vermont. At 9,400 square miles, the Park is bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined. Yet, many visitors rarely get out of the Lake Placid-High Peaks Region to explore places like the Fulton, Saranac or Raquette chains, the half-million acre Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex in the southwest, the St. Regis Canoe Area, or the some three-quarter million acres of newly acquired easement lands. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (September 1)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EXTENSIVE DAMAGE IN THE EASTERN ADIRONDACKS
The remnants of Hurricane Irene brought disastrous flash floods and epic damage to local infrastructure, homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and trails. Damage is widespread across the and the Eastern Adirondacks, especially along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and the High Peaks. State Route 73 is closed between Route 9 and Keene Valley and in the Hamlet of Keene. There are a number of other roads closed, particularly in Essex County. Trails in the Eastern High Peaks, Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain wilderness areas have been closed through the Labor Day weekend and beyond due to dangerous conditions and extensive damage to trails and interior infrastructure in those areas. Additional areas to avoid until there is a clearer picture of conditions include the Jay Mountain Wilderness, Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area, and the Sentinel Range. One trail up Hurricane Mountain is open; Almanack contributor Phil Brown has offered some local alternatives. The Central, Western and Northern Adirondacks were minimally impacted (see below for details on those areas). Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** DANGEROUS BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS
Dangerous conditions exist and back country travel is difficult, and in some places impossible, throughout much of the Eastern Adirondacks. Hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, damaged or washed out bridges, dams, boardwalks and ladders, trails buried by landslides or heavily eroded (1-3 feet deep in some places) and blowdown. There are dozens of new landslides and the extremely dangerous threat of additional slides continues. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

** MOST CAMPGROUNDS OPEN
All state campgrounds in the Adirondacks have reopened except Little Sand Point in Piseco (due to blowdown). A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** MANY WATERS RUNNING WELL ABOVE NORMAL
Many of the region’s rivers are running well above normal and some scattered localized flooding remains. Exceptions include rivers south of the Oswegatchie in the western part of the Adirondacks, including the Beaver, Black, Independence and Moose rivers, and West Canada Creek which all remain at normal or below normal levels. Storms will quickly raise the level of rivers so watch the weather and consult the latest streamgage data.

** MAJOR ROAD CLOSURES
State Route 73 between Route 9 and Keene Valley and in the Hamlet of Keene. There are a number of other roads closed in the Adirondacks. Use 511NY to learn of the current road closures. Be aware that many secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, may be closed as well. Essex County is also maintaining a list of road closures.

** ADDITIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time. The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Hurricane Irene contributed considerable blowdown. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites. Expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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.

** DRAFT PUBLIC RIGHT OF NAVIGATION AND FISHING POLICY
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has prepared the draft Program Policy: “OGC-9: Public Right of Navigation and Fishing”. This draft program policy is intended to address staff’s need for guidance regarding the public rights of navigation and fishing. As such, this document will serve as General Counsel Policy with respect to Office of Public Protection officers, including both Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, to carry out their enforcement responsibilities. The draft Program Policy can be found online. Written comments on the draft Program Policy will be accepted until September 20th. Written comments should be addressed to Kenneth Hamm at the below-mentioned address. In addition, comments may be submitted via e-mail to: krhamm@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES NOW ON SALE
Hunting and trapping licenses are now on sale for the 2011-12 license year (the new license year begins October 1). Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN PROGRAM
There are several opportunities left through DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. On September 17, you can hike with a licensed guide to the summit of an Adirondack high peak. These and other Beyond BOW events are open to all, and are not limited to women. For information on cost and registration, and to view additional upcoming events, visit the Beyond BOW Workshops Schedule on the DEC website. Details of each event are also available online (PDF).

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE
Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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.

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.

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.

** Fire Danger: LOW to MODERATE

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Mostly sunny, high near 77.
Friday Night: Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms; partly cloudy, low around 63.
Saturday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; cloudy, high near 80.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; cloudy, low around 57.
Sunday: Showers likely, possibly a thunderstorm; cloudy, high near 77.
Sunday Night: Rain likely; cloudy, with a low around 57.
Labor Day: Rain likely; cloudy, with a high near 70.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** See Tom Wemmet’s report on the Northville-Placid Trail Conditions.

** Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

** The condition of lean-tos (include the Ouluska Pass, Seward, Cold River #3 and #4) along the Cold River dowstream from Duck Hole (which has dewatered) is unknown at this time. They all lie within a few feet of the River and may have been damaged or destroyed by floodwaters. Also unknown is the status of two suspension bridges, one over the Cold River and one over Moose Creek.

Chubb River Crossing: The “Flume” bridge, over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls, located 5.9 miles south of the Averyville Rd., Lake Placid Trailhead, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is may be flooded at certain times of the year and after heavy rains and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew after being washed out this spring. The Wakely Dam Camping area remains closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead at certain times of the year and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running well above normal levels (see high water warning above). Paddlers should be on the lookout for trees, limbs and other debris that have been washed into the waters.

** Carries are being assessed, expect eroded trails, blowdown, and flooding.

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

** Eastern High Peaks Closed: The eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness, the Giant Mountain Wilderness, and the Dix Mountain Wilderness has been closed by the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC). DEC fully intends to enforce this closure. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use. Consider visiting other, less impacted areas Northern, Western, and Southern sections of the Adirondack Park.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness Closed: The Giant Mountain Wilderness has been closed by the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC). DEC fully intends to enforce this closure. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use. Consider visiting other, less impacted areas Northern, Western, and Southern sections of the Adirondack Park.

** Dix Mountain Wilderness Closed: The Dix Mountain Wilderness has been closed by the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC). DEC fully intends to enforce this closure. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use. Consider visiting other, less impacted areas Northern, Western, and Southern sections of the Adirondack Park.

** Adirondack Mountain Club Facilities Closed: The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Loj and John’s Brook Lodge will be closed Labor Day Weekend. The access road to Adirondak Loj is closed.

** Route 73 Closure: State Route 73 is blocked/washed out northeast of St. Huberts and the road is closed.

** Marcy Dam Truck Trail: The Marcy Dam Truck Trail has four major washouts.

** Klondike Trail: The first bridge on the western end of the Klondike Notch Trail was washed away.

** Van Hovenbrerg Trail: The Van Hoevenberg (Mt. Marcy) trail has washouts 1 to 3 feet deep. Between Marcy Dam and the Phelps Trail there are numerous washouts, including a 200-yard section that will need to be rerouted.

** Marcy Dam / Avalanche Pass Trail: Marcy Brook jumped its banks along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam causing widespread damage to foot trail. There is approximately 18 inches of mud in Avalanche Pass.

** Lake Colden: The Calamity Trail from Lake Colden impassible south of McMartin Lean-to due to large amount of blowdown.

** Calamity Brook Trail: The suspension bridge over Opalescent on the Calamity Brook Trail is missing railings. There is a large amount of blowdown on the trail.

** Avalanche Lake: The “Hitch-up Matilda’s” along the shore of Avalanche Lake are missing significant decking and are not passable.

** Orebed Trail: A slide on the Orebed Trail above the ladders took out approximately 1/2 mile of trail, it is not known whether the ladders were impacted.

** Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works: All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass trail from Upper Works were destroyed.

** Duck Hole: 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.

** Western high Peaks: The Western High Peaks off Coreys Road was not hit too badly. The trail to the Raquette Falls is clear of major obstacles. All bridges are intact on the Blueberry Trail from the Seward Trailhead to Ward Brook Lean-to; blowdown was minimal and has been cleared. Blueberry and Ward Brook Lean-tos are in good shape. Hikers coming off of Seymour Mountain stated trail is good but muddy. Hikers who have done Seward, Donaldson, or Emmons Mountains report good conditions as well.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Caulkins Creek Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While the blowdown has been cleared from the Caulkins Creek Truck Trail from Corey’s Road to Shattuck Clearing, bridge crossings between Corey’s Road and Shattuck Clearing may be unsafe for horse traffic – use caution.

** Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas and Owen Pond Trails are passable though there is some erosion to the trails and scattered minor blowdown. All other trails, including Pitchoff Mountain, are passable. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

** Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The footbridge at the Big Crow Trailhead is demolished and there are many trees down; and the seasonal use road accessing the trailhead is severely eroded and unusable.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. A large tree fell at Whiteface Landing and is blocking the trail; it destroyed the trail register. 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.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: The area sustained moderate damage from the storm, though there is significant blowdown on all trails. All trails open and in good shape in the Hardy Road Trail system. In the Flume Trail System, the River Trail impassable for first 0.25 mile due to washouts and debris on trail. All other trails are in useable condition although blowdown will slow travel. Volunteers are working on clearing trails. Wilmington Trail to the summit of Whiteface Mountian has significant erosion in the first .25 mile but is passable. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir has been undermined and is not safe for use.

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

** Moose River Plains: The Moose River Plains received minor damage as a result of Hurricane Irene. The Cellar Brook culvert, on the main road through the Moose River Plains, failed but is passable by high clearance vehicle, it is expected to be repaired or replaced before Labor Day Weekend.

Moose River Plains Roads: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time.

Wakely Dam: The campsites near Wakely Dam are now open for public use.

Jessup River Road Closed: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: There are several road washouts in the Hudson River Recreation Area. Campsites 1 to 5 in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open with no damage. Although not yet assessed, trails are expected to contain significant blowdown and other campsites may have broken trunks or limbs hanging over them. River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area is under water just south of the intersection with Gay Pond Road. There are minor washouts on Jabe Pond Road and Buttermilk Road has many washouts.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Trailheads and access sites along State Rt. 8 (including Kibby Pond, Cod Pond, 11th Mt., Bartman, and Siamese Ponds Trailheads) are all accessible. Thirteenth Lake Area Trailhead accessible from Thirteenth Lake Road. The Garnet Lake Area Trailhead is accessible from the Johnsburg end (north end) of Garnet Lake Road. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail as is the bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail. DEC will be replacing both bridges with natural log bridges. The southern end of the East Branch Sacandaga Trail was brushed out this spring from Eleventh Mountain to Cross Brook. Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. The Puffer Pond – Kings Flow Trail (Upper Trail) to Puffer Pond is blocked by beaver ponds. A temporary reroute has been marked to the north and upstream of the beaver dam. Hikers can also take the King Flows East Trail to the Puffer Pond Brook (Outlet) Trail to reach Puffer Pond.

** Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: The trail to the fire tower on Vanderwhacker Mountain is cleared and opened.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: 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. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. 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. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. 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.

** 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 inaccessible.

** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: There are no longer washouts on the Dacy Clearing Road, but there are blowdown trees in the road between the Hogtown Parking Lot and Dacy Clearing. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Several trees are suspended in power lines along Shelving Rock Road in the one mile stretch starting 2 miles north of the Hogtown Road intersection to the northern bridge over Shelving Rock Brook. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

** Buck Mountain – Pilot Knob: The trail between Buck Mountian and Pilot Knob is in good condition with minor blowdown.

** Hudson River Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual. Be careful of trees, limbs and other debris that have been washed into the waters.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Severance Mountain Trail on Route 9N is in good condition with only a few blowdowns. The South end of the Notch Trail (near Loch Muller Road) has significant blowdown. Both Loch Muller Road and Potash Hill Road have been cleared of blowdown and are passable. Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: 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 northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

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

** Lake Champlain Islands: South End Trail, North End Perimeter Trail, and Lighthouse Trail on Valcour Island are impassable due to flooding. Campsites 7, 8 & 22 are unusable and are now closed. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites are closed to public use until the blowdown can be cleared from the access road and a complete assessment of the road and campsites can be completed.

** Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead.

** Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

** 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. Thanks to the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail crew there is now a completely new trail from the trailhead to the summit. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion. Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Damage from the storm was limited to some minor blowdown on most carries and trails. There is significant amount of blowdow across the Fish Pond Truck Trail; it is passable on foot but not by horses or horse drawn wagons. 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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area. A Whitney Wilderness webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

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.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Conditions Report From The Northville-Placid Trail

What follows is a guest post by Tom Wemmet Chair of the Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) Chapter of Adirondack Mountain Club and the webmaster for www.nptrail.org which features the latest trail conditions, hike planning help, and more. The Almanack asked Tom to tell us what he knows about conditions on the Northville-Placid Trail following this week’s storm.

Well, hurricane Irene certainly left her mark on the Adirondacks as roads, bridges and trails have been washed away and closed in many areas of the Eastern High Peaks. Irene also left her mark on the Northville-Placid Trail as part of the Duck Hole Dam breached with the result that Duck Hole Pond is dewatering.



Although the Eastern High Peaks are currently closed to hiking, the Northville-Placid Trail remains open. We do know for sure that the Duck Hole area has been affected but we believe that the rest of the trail is still open for hiking.

One unknown at this time are the lean-tos along the Cold River that are downstream from Duck Hole. These include the Ouluska Pass, Seward, Cold River #3 and #4 lean-tos. These all lie within a few feet of the River and thus may have been damaged or destroyed by the recent floodwaters especially with the addition of 61 acres of water from Duck Hole Pond. Also unknown is the status of two suspension bridges, one over the Cold River and one over Moose Creek.

It appears that the southern section of the NPT from Upper Benson north to Long Lake may have fared much better. Kevin Cotter, the trail steward for the NPT from Upper Benson to Rock Lake, recently visited his section of the trail on Tuesday, August 30th. He reported that there were new blowdowns but that the trail was passable, stream crossings were no problem, and the trail had its usual wet and muddy areas.

So, as an alternative to hiking in the Eastern High Peaks this coming holiday weekend, head to the Northville-Placid Trail for an overnight, section hike or thru-hike. You will find some new blowdowns and wet and muddy areas but otherwise an enjoyable adventure.

Photo: The breech in the Duck Hole Dam. Taken during an overflight by Kris Alberga, DEC District Forester on Monday afternoon, August 29, 2011.



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DEC Warns About Conditions in the Adirondacks

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a warning Wednesday afternoon that unsafe conditions will remain in much of the backcountry of the Adirondacks through Labor Day Weekend and beyond following the devastating impacts of the remnants of Hurricane Irene. The most seriously affected areas include of some most popular areas in the Eastern Adirondacks. Several trail areas are closed or inaccessible due to Hurricane Irene storm damage include flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down of trees and other debris.

Citing the extent of the damage and ensuring public safety, DEC has closed the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness through Labor Day Weekend and beyond. Areas in the Western Adirondacks are reported in fairly good condition though some flooding and blowdown can be expected. Most DEC campgrounds in the Adirondacks are expected to be open for Labor Day Weekend with many available sites.



According to long-time Adirondack guide and outdoors writer Joe Hackett this is the first time since the Great Ice Storm of ’98 that the DEC has closed large areas of Forest Preserve lands due to a natural disaster. In 1995 some areas of of DEC Regions 5 and 6 were closed after a major blowdown in 1995, Hackett said. Some sixty years ago The Big Blowdown of 1950 caused a complete shutdown of the roads and trails across large swaths of the park, a historic suspension of the State Constitution, a temporary glut in the spruce market, and a political impact that continues to this day.

Many eastern High Peaks mountain areas have been impacted by landslides. Mt. Colden, Trap Dike, Wright Peak, Skylight, Basin, Armstrong, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaws, Dix, Macomb, Giant and Cascade Mountains and many existing slides widened and/or lengthened. The threat of additional slides exists on these and other mountains remains in effect. Adirondack Almanack will have a report on the new slides this evening.

Although a full assessment of the recreational infrastructure in all areas of the Adirondacks has not been completed, DEC has confirmed the following:

* The footbridge over Marcy Dam has washed away and the flush boards have been damaged;

* Marcy Dam Truck Trail has 4 major washouts;

* The first bridge on the western end of the Klondike Notch Trail washed downstream to South Meadows Trail;

* Washouts on the Van Hoevenberg (Mt. Marcy) trail are 1 to 3 ft deep;

* Along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam, Marcy Brook jumped its banks and caused widespread damage to the trail;

* One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered;

* Calamity Trail from Lake Colden is impassible south of McMartin Lean-to.

Lesser amounts of damage can be found on Adirondack Forest Preserve lands south and north of these areas. However, hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down when entering the backcountry. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Updated information on trail closures and trail conditions in the Eastern Adirondacks can be found at the DEC website and at Adirondack Almanack‘s weekly Conditions Report which will be updated Thursday afternoon:

Over the next several weeks DEC is expecting to evaluate the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use.

Many DEC Campgrounds in the Adirondacks and the Catskills experienced significant damage from the storm including flooded areas, road destruction, and loss of electric and water service. Despite progress in restoring services, a number of campgrounds may be closed or have limited availability of campsites over Labor Day Weekend.

The following temporary Adirondack campground closures are in effect: Little Sand Point, Poplar Point, Point Comfort, Lake Durant, Ausable Point, Paradox Lake, and Putnam Pond. All other campgrounds are open and operating. A complete, updated list of closed campgrounds can be found on the DEC website.

The public should be aware that many state and local roads may be inaccessible to travel and access to campground areas could be limited. Those planning to visit the Adirondacks this weekend should call ahead or check for road closure information at the Department of Transportation’s webpage.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Leaves Widespread Damage in the Adirondacks

Following a spring of historic flooding and two minor earthquakes, the Adirondacks has been slammed by the remains of Hurricane Irene leaving behind a changed landscape, isolated communities, disastrous flooding and epic damage to local infrastructure, homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and trails.

Damage from the remnants of Hurricane Irene is widespread across the Eastern Adirondacks from Moriah, which suffered extensive damage during the spring flooding that had still not been repaired, to the entire Keene Valley and into the Lake Placid region. Trails in the Eastern High Peaks, Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain wilderness areas have been closed through the Labor Day weekend. The bridge over Marcy Dam has been washed away and the Duck Hole Dam breached.

Every town in Essex County suffered damage officials say, but Upper Jay, Jay, AuSable Forks, and all hamlets in the town of Keene have been devastated by flooding of the AuSable, which rose to a record 12 feet over flood stage. Essex County Highway Department Tony Lavigne told the Press Republican that “the flooding is way worse than this past spring and much more widespread.” Mountain Health Center in Keene suffered heavy damage and has been closed. In Upper Jay, the historic remains of Arto Monaco’s Land of Make Believe are gone. Flood waters also raged through Lake George Village and closed dozens of roads in Warren, Washington, and Saratoga counties. [Lake George Photos via Lake George Mirror].

Tom Woodman, who reported on the situation in Keene for the Almanack, wrote that “The hamlet of Keene is an astonishing and deeply saddening sight. The fire station has been torn in half by rampaging waters of a tributary of the East Branch of the Ausable. Buildings that house the dreams of merchants and restaurateurs, who have brought new life to Keene, are battered, blanketed in mud, and perched on craters scoured out by the flood waters.” North Country Public Radio‘s Martha Foley posted photos of the devastation in Keene.

Route 73 has been washed out and undermined in several places, closing the main artery into the High Peaks and Lake Placid from the east. Carol Breen, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation told Woodman that Route 73 should reopen before winter. Route 9N between Keene and Upper Jay is expected to be reopened in a few days.

Although criticized at the time by many for being premature and unnecessary, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation warned recreationists to stay out of the backcountry and closed its campgrounds and other facilities across the Adirondacks on Saturday. That closure was fortuitous, as damage in some areas has stranded campers and has closed the Giant, Dix, and Eastern High Peaks wilderness areas. More than a dozen DEC campgrounds and day-use areas remain closed. These closures are expected to continue through the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

The historic dam at Duck Hole has been washed away, closing off only recently acquired access by canoe or guideboat into the High Peaks via Henderson Lake and Preston Ponds. Phil Brown has posted DEC photos of Duck Hole draining.

DEC District Forester Kris Alberga, who was among the first to see the widespread destruction in the backcountry during a flyover of the High Peaks Monday afternoon, reported that the bridge over Marcy Dam has been washed away and the dam is leaking seriously. “There are numerous washouts on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail,” Alberga said in a e-mail forwarded to the Almanack, “Marcy Brook between Marcy Dam and Avalanche Camps jumped its banks, carved a new channel and wiped out much of the trail. The Van Hovenberg trail above Marcy Dam is eroded 1-3 ft deep in many places. The handrails on the suspension bridge on the Calamity Pond trail are gone and the trail is not passable.” Phil Brown reported today that the level of Marcy Dam pond has dropped, revealing mud flats. The trails along Lake Colden are reported to be underwater and the trail to Avalanche Pass made impassable.

The bridge on the Adirondack Loj Road south of South Meadows Road has been washed out, cutting off the Loj and stranding some 31 visitors and Adirondack Mountain Club staff there. The access to the Garden Trailhead at Interbrook Road is no longer passable beyond the bridge over Johns Brook.

Phil Brown traveled to Marcy Dam Monday afternoon and snapped a photo of a new slide on Wright Peak, near Angel Slide. Other new slides reported include those on Mount Colden (including at the Trap Dike), Basin, Haystack, Upper and Lower Wolfjaw, in the Dixes, and on Giant Mountain.

Although reports have not been received from the Santanoni and Seward ranges, it appears that the Western and South-Central Adirondacks have not been seriously impacted. Backcountry users in those and other areas of the Adirondack Park should, however, expect blowdown and eroded trails, washed-out bridges and new landslides.

At a press conference held in front of the destroyed Keene Volunteer Fire Department, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that DEC and the Adirondack Park Agency will suspend special permitting requirements to aid in a speedy rebuild.

Photo: Duck Hole Pond is draining after the dam went out. Photo courtesy NYS DEC.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (August 25)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND



** indicates new or revised items.

** EXTREME WEATHER EXPECTED SUNDAY AND MONDAY

Due to anticipated hazardous weather from Hurricane Irene the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a warning urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks from Sunday 8/28 through Monday 8/29. Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes. Already saturated soils could also increase the potential for blow-downs.

POTENTIAL FOR TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN

Recent hot and humid weather produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and the current weather conditions continue to be excellent for algae growth. Algae accumulations or “blooms” will move around with changing winds and weather fronts. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than normal this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding. Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water. The latest status of Lake Chaplain algae blooms can be found at the Vermont Department of Health’s website.

** LOCAL WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS

All the region’s rivers are running at normal levels for this time of year. Sunday and Monday’s storm will quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data.

** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES

Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time. The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** AuSABLE RIVER ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR STEPS DOWN

After 4 years as Executive Director of the Ausable River Association (AsRA), Carol Treadwell is resigning her position to relocate with her husband John Steitz to Montana to pursue opportunities there. Carol will guide the organization until a qualified replacement is found. Carol’s imminent departure has prompted a search for a qualified individual to lead the work of the conservation group that prides itself on a cooperative approach to stewarding the exceptional resources of the Ausable River and its watershed.

** DRAFT PUBLIC RIGHT OF NAVIGATION AND FISHING POLICY

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has prepared the draft Program Policy: “OGC-9: Public Right of Navigation and Fishing”. This draft program policy is intended to address staff’s need for guidance regarding the public rights of navigation and fishing. As such, this document will serve as General Counsel Policy with respect to Office of Public Protection officers, including both Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, to carry out their enforcement responsibilities. The draft Program Policy can be found online. Written comments on the draft Program Policy will be accepted for 30 days from the date of publication of this notice. Written comments should be addressed to Kenneth Hamm at the below-mentioned address. In addition, comments may be submitted via e-mail to: krhamm@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES NOW ON SALE

Hunting and trapping licenses are now on sale for the 2011-12 license year (the new license year begins October 1). Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.

SNOW-MAKING IMPROVEMENTS AT GORE MOUNTAIN

130 new high-efficiency tower snow-making guns will be added to Gore Mountain’s inventory. The new 30’ guns will be concentrated on Gore Mountain’s core terrain such as Sunway, Otter Slide, Sleighride, 3B, and Quicksilver, and also the Wild Air Terrain Park and Burnt Ridge Mountain’s Sagamore trail. Gore is also expected to purchase 30 shorter 10’ guns for the Showcase trail. Gore Mountain management says they will relocate some of the existing tower gun inventory to the North Side, including the Pete Gay and Sleeping Bear trails. New fan gun outlets are expected to go online for the base area Arena trail; ground guns that were previously used there and on the North Side are expected to be moved to summit trails. The mountain is also unveiling the natural Hudson trail and Hudson glades on Little Gore Mountain, which are located north of the new Hudson Chair, which connects Gore with the Historic North Creek Ski Bowl.

TURKEY SURVEY INPUT SOUGHT

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, through the month of August. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Turkey Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. The Adirondacks are currently in the third year of poor poult production. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST

In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN PROGRAM

There are several opportunities left through DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. On September 17, you can hike with a licensed guide to the summit of an Adirondack high peak. These and other Beyond BOW events are open to all, and are not limited to women. For information on cost and registration, and to view additional upcoming events, visit the Beyond BOW Workshops Schedule on the DEC website. Details of each event are also available online (PDF).

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE

Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN

Hurricane Irene is expected to contribute considerable blowdown on Sunday and Monday. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. Expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS

It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS

The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES

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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES

Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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.

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.

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.

** Fire Danger: MODERATE

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Mostly sunny, high near 73.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 46.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 77.

Saturday Night: Chance of showers; partly cloudy, low around 58.

Sunday and Monday: Due to anticipated hazardous weather from Hurricane Irene DEC is urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks on Sunday and Monday. Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Chubb River Crossing: The “Flume” bridge, over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls, located 5.9 miles south of the Averyville Rd., Lake Placid Trailhead, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is may be flooded at certain times of the year and after heavy rains and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew after being washed out this spring. The Wakely Dam Camping area remains closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead at certain times of the year and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running at normal levels. See extreme weather warning above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

Visitors can expect capacity conditions in the Eastern High Peaks to exist on holiday weekends, and most good weather weekends for the remainder of August. Check with DEC Forest Rangers (518/897-1300) prior to any weekend trip to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and consider visiting other, less used areas of the Adirondack Park.

Group size regulations are in effect throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Group size for overnight campers is 8 or less and for day use it is 15 or less.

** Route 9N Closure: A small section of State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks, a quarter-mile north of State Route 86, will be closed from August 15 to September 1 for two weeks to replace a culvert. A short detour via John Fountain Road has been marked.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beavers have dammed and flooded the Giant Mountain Trail from Route 9N near the intersection with the Hopkins Mountain Trail. The waters are reportedly deep and the trail impassable.

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail (the trail from Upper Works that

crosses the Opalescent River (once known as the East River) on its way to Allen Mountain and Flowed Lands) has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is nearly impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred last December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail.

Caulkins Creek Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While the blowdown has been cleared from the Caulkins Creek Truck Trail from Corey’s Road to Shattuck Clearing, bridge crossings between Corey’s Road and Shattuck Clearing may be unsafe for horse traffic – use caution.

SOUTHWEST-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time.

** Wakely Dam Area Reopens: The campsites near Wakely Dam are now open for public use.

Jessup River Road Closed: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

Lake Champlain Toxic Algae Blooms Possible: Recent hot and humid weather produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and the current weather conditions continue to be excellent for algae growth. Algae accumulations or “blooms” will move around with changing winds and weather fronts. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than normal this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding. Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water. The latest status of Lake Chaplain algae blooms can be found at the Vermont Department of Health’s website.

Sacandaga Lake Fishing Pier Now Open: There is a new 40 foot long fishing access pier on Great Sacandaga Lake in Northhamption, adjacent to the state boat launch on Route 30. The new pier will be dedicated on August 19th at noon. The pier is expected to be in the lake each year by the first Saturday of May, and removed at the end of November.

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Site: The town swimming beach is now closed by decision of the town. DEC will now manage the parking area of the former beach for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area rather than using the main section of the Broadalbin Boat Launch Site. The area will be open from 5 am to 10 pm to reduce littering, vandalism and other illegal activities at the site. The change in operation is expected to reduce congestion in the main section of the popular Broadalbin Boat Launch Site.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail as is the bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail. DEC will be replacing both bridges with natural log bridges. The southern end of the East Branch Sacandaga Trail was brushed out this spring from Eleventh Mountain to Cross Brook. Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. The Puffer Pond – Kings Flow Trail (Upper Trail) to Puffer Pond is blocked by beaver ponds. A temporary reroute has been marked to the north and upstream of the beaver dam. Hikers can also take the King Flows East Trail to the Puffer Pond Brook (Outlet) Trail to reach Puffer Pond.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: 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.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts. Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: 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 northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Special Access to Jefferson, St. Lawrence County Wetlands: The public will have a special opportunity to visit restricted portions of three Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties starting Saturday, Aug. 20 and continuing through Wednesday, Aug. 31. During the 12-day period, Perch River WMA in Jefferson County (off Route 12 near Brownville, Orleans and Pamelia) and Upper and Lower Lakes (two miles west of Canton along Route 68) and Wilson Hill WMAs (six miles west of Massena off Route 37) in St. Lawrence County, including their wetland restricted areas, will be open to visitors. This is the 16th year DEC will open the WMA wetlands for expanded public access. For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits to the public to provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl. The restricted wetland areas are also used by a number of New York State’s endangered, threatened, and rare species including bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers (marsh hawks), among others. By late August, the nesting and brooding season is mostly complete and the fall migration period has not yet begun, enabling DEC to allow public access. However, ongoing habitat management and monitoring projects on the WMAs should still be avoided. Due to duck population studies, Perch Lake itself will only be open from noon until 9 P.M. each day. For additional information, bird lists and maps, contact DECs Regional Wildlife Office at 315-785-2263 or visit the DEC webpage.

Deer River Primitive Area: The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated and a new webpage has been developed for the http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/70572.html. Both include information about the Deer River Primitive Area and its recreational opportunities.

Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated to include information about the Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area and its recreational opportunities.

Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands: A new webpage has been developed for the Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands which includes information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

** 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. Thanks to the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail crew there is now a completely new trail from the trailhead to the summit. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion. Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however 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.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area. A Whitney Wilderness webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions. A new webpage has been developed for the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

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.




Thursday, August 25, 2011

DEC: Avoid the Backcountry Sunday and Monday

Due to anticipated hazardous weather from Hurricane Irene the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a warning urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks from Sunday 8/28 through Monday 8/29.

Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes. Already saturated soils could also increase the potential for blow-downs. DEC is currently considering whether or not to close its local campgrounds.



Adirondack Almanack will have a more complete report on conditions around the Adirondacks this afternoon.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (August 18)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND



** indicates new or revised items.

** POTENTIAL FOR TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN

Recent hot and humid weather produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and the current weather conditions continue to be excellent for algae growth. Algae accumulations or “blooms” will move around with changing winds and weather fronts. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than normal this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding. Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water. The latest status of Lake Chaplain algae blooms can be found at the Vermont Department of Health’s website.

** MANY WATERS RUNNING WELL ABOVE NORMAL

Heavy rains in some areas this week have raised water levels. Most rivers in the region are running above normal or well-above normal with the notable exception of the Indian River, which is running below normal. The Oswegatchie, Raquette, Boquet, and Saranac Rivers are all running well above normal. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms and use caution when crossing swollen rivers after storms.

** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES

The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) is open, however Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam. The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES NOW ON SALE

Hunting and trapping licenses are now on sale for the 2011-12 license year (the new license year begins October 1). Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.

** SNOW-MAKING IMPROVEMENTS AT GORE MOUNTAIN

130 new high-efficiency tower snow-making guns will be added to Gore Mountain’s inventory. The new 30’ guns will be concentrated on Gore Mountain’s core terrain such as Sunway, Otter Slide, Sleighride, 3B, and Quicksilver, and also the Wild Air Terrain Park and Burnt Ridge Mountain’s Sagamore trail. Gore is also expected to purchase 30 shorter 10’ guns for the Showcase trail. Gore Mountain management says they will relocate some of the existing tower gun inventory to the North Side, including the Pete Gay and Sleeping Bear trails. New fan gun outlets are expected to go online for the base area Arena trail; ground guns that were previously used there and on the North Side are expected to be moved to summit trails. The mountain is also unveiling the natural Hudson trail and Hudson glades on Little Gore Mountain, which are located north of the new Hudson Chair, which connects Gore with the Historic North Creek Ski Bowl.

EARLY SNOWFALL FORECAST FOR WINTER 2011-12

Accuweather weather forecaster Henry Margusity has posted a map suggesting heavy snowfall for the winter of 2011-12. Margusity is predicting a weak La Nina that will forming this fall and continue through winter. He says “I am not convinced that blocking will be prevalent across Greenland this winter, however, with the trough axis predicted to be in the Midwest, that will lead to storms developing along the East coast and racing northeast.” The forecast is preliminary and will be updated in October. Each week during the upcoming winter the Almanack’s Outdoor Conditions Report includes snow depth and ice conditions, along with downhill, cross-country, and backcountry skiing, ice climbing, and snowmobiling conditions. (Hat Tip to Harvey Road).

TURKEY SURVEY INPUT SOUGHT

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, through the month of August. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Turkey Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. The Adirondacks are currently in the third year of poor poult production. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST

In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN PROGRAM

There are several opportunities left through DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. On September 17, you can hike with a licensed guide to the summit of an Adirondack high peak. These and other Beyond BOW events are open to all, and are not limited to women. For information on cost and registration, and to view additional upcoming events, visit the Beyond BOW Workshops Schedule on the DEC website. Details of each event are also available online (PDF).

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE

Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN

Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. Expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS

It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

** 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.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS

The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES

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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES

Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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.

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.

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.

** Fire Danger: MODERATE

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly sunny, high near 79.

Friday Night: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly clear, low around 48.

Saturday: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; sunny, high near 79.

Saturday Night: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 51.

Sunday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 75.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the ADirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail.

NPT Volunteers Sought: The NPTrail Chapter of ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

** Chubb River Crossing: The “Flume” bridge, over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls, located 5.9 miles south of the Averyville Rd., Lake Placid Trailhead, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is may be flooded at certain times of the year and after heavy rains and may require wading through water and mud.

** West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew after being washed out this spring. The Wakely Dam Camping area remains closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead at certain times of the year and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running above normal or well above normal. See water level notice above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

Visitors can expect capacity conditions in the Eastern High Peaks to exist on holiday weekends, and most good weather weekends for the remainder of August. Check with DEC Forest Rangers (518/897-1300) prior to any weekend trip to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and consider visiting other, less used areas of the Adirondack Park.

Group size regulations are in effect throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Group size for overnight campers is 8 or less and for day use it is 15 or less.

** Route 9N Closure: A small section of State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks, a quarter-mile north of State Route 86, will be closed from August 15 to September 1 for two weeks to replace a culvert. A short detour via John Fountain Road has been marked.

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail (the trail from Upper Works that

crosses the Opalescent River (once known as the East River) on its way to Allen Mountain and Flowed Lands) has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is nearly impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail.

Caulkins Creek Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While the blowdown has been cleared from the Caulkins Creek Truck Trail from Corey’s Road to Shattuck Clearing, bridge crossings between Corey’s Road and Shattuck Clearing may be unsafe for horse traffic – use caution.

SOUTHWEST-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, however, Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam.

Jessup River Road Closed: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished and significant damage from flooding to the Cedar River Road and the camping area has forced the closure of the Wakely Dam Area. It’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Lake Champlain Toxic Algae Blooms Possible: Recent hot and humid weather produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and the current weather conditions continue to be excellent for algae growth. Algae accumulations or “blooms” will move around with changing winds and weather fronts. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than normal this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding. Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water. The latest status of Lake Chaplain algae blooms can be found at the Vermont Department of Health’s website.

Sacandaga Lake Fishing Pier Now Open: There is a new 40 foot long fishing access pier on Great Sacandaga Lake in Northhamption, adjacent to the state boat launch on Route 30. The new pier will be dedicated on August 19th at noon. The pier is expected to be in the lake each year by the first Saturday of May, and removed at the end of November.

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Site: The town swimming beach is now closed by decision of the town. DEC will now manage the parking area of the former beach for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area rather than using the main section of the Broadalbin Boat Launch Site. The area will be open from 5 am to 10 pm to reduce littering, vandalism and other illegal activities at the site. The change in operation is expected to reduce congestion in the main section of the popular Broadalbin Boat Launch Site.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail as is the bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail. DEC will be replacing both bridges with natural log bridges. The southern end of the East Branch Sacandaga Trail was brushed out this spring from Eleventh Mountain to Cross Brook. Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. The Puffer Pond – Kings Flow Trail (Upper Trail) to Puffer Pond is blocked by beaver ponds. A temporary reroute has been marked to the north and upstream of the beaver dam. Hikers can also take the King Flows East Trail to the Puffer Pond Brook (Outlet) Trail to reach Puffer Pond.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: 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.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts. Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: 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 northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Special Access to Jefferson, St. Lawrence County Wetlands: The public will have a special opportunity to visit restricted portions of three Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties starting Saturday, Aug. 20 and continuing through Wednesday, Aug. 31. During the 12-day period, Perch River WMA in Jefferson County (off Route 12 near Brownville, Orleans and Pamelia) and Upper and Lower Lakes (two miles west of Canton along Route 68) and Wilson Hill WMAs (six miles west of Massena off Route 37) in St. Lawrence County, including their wetland restricted areas, will be open to visitors. This is the 16th year DEC will open the WMA wetlands for expanded public access. For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits to the public to provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl. The restricted wetland areas are also used by a number of New York State’s endangered, threatened, and rare species including bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers (marsh hawks), among others. By late August, the nesting and brooding season is mostly complete and the fall migration period has not yet begun, enabling DEC to allow public access. However, ongoing habitat management and monitoring projects on the WMAs should still be avoided. Due to duck population studies, Perch Lake itself will only be open from noon until 9 P.M. each day. For additional information, bird lists and maps, contact DECs Regional Wildlife Office at 315-785-2263 or visit the DEC webpage.

** Deer River Primitive Area: The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated and a new webpage has been developed for the http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/70572.html. Both include information about the Deer River Primitive Area and its recreational opportunities.

** Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated to include information about the Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area and its recreational opportunities.

** Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands: A new webpage has been developed for the Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands which includes information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however 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.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

** 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 conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

** Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area. A Whitney Wilderness webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions. A new webpage has been developed for the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

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.




Saturday, August 13, 2011

Astronomy: August Night Sky With The Naked Eye

Here are some naked eye objects for the month of August. All of these objects, although small, should be visible without the help of binoculars or a telescope, so long as you have clear dark skies.

Light pollution is a killer for seeing these objects with your naked eye. To find out how dark your location is, use the Google Map Overlay of light pollution. If you are in a blue, gray or black area then you should have dark enough skies. You may still be able to see some of these objects in a green location. If you aren’t in a dark sky location you may still be able to see these objects with a pair of binoculars or telescope.

 

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for August 2011). The map shows what is in the sky in August at 9 pm for early August; 8 pm for late August.

If you are not familiar with what you see in the night sky, this is a great opportunity to step outside, look up, and begin learning the constellations. The sky is beautiful and filled with many treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Once you have looked for these objects go through the list again if you have a pair of binoculars handy, the views get better!

A few new items added to the list to view this month, along with some of the previously mentioned ones from July.

Perseid Meteor Shower

This is definitely the highlight this month every year. The full moon may interfere with your view of some of the dimmer meteors but the brighter meteors should still be visible with the moon light this year. The peak of the Perseid’s is on August 12, and 13th, between midnight and an hour before sunrise, and I mean the morning hours after midnight – not that night. The meteors will be radiating out of the constellation Perseus (marked on the map link provided above), although you should be able to see them looking anywhere in the sky except towards the moon.

Jupiter

Jupiter starts to rise in the east at 11:45pm early in the month of August, and around 11pm later in the month. It will be the brightest object in the sky, other than the moon. NASA has just launched the spacecraft Juno which is making it’s way to the gas giant. It will take Juno 5 years to reach Jupiter.

Uranus

You will need to be in a very dark location, a gray or black location on the light pollution map posted above. Uranus will be in the constellation Pisces, rising at 10pm and 9pm later in the month. May be a very hard target to spot if light pollution is present, and if it is too low on the horizon when looking.

Andromeda

Although it may be easier to view later in the night around midnight or later – The Andromeda Galaxy cataloged as M31 is visible to the naked eye in the northeast. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way lying about 2.5 million light-years away. If in a dark enough location the light produced by this galaxy is roughly the diameter of 5 moons in our sky.

Perseus

The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the naked eye. M34, which you may need to wait until around 11pm for it to be high enough to see is nearly a moon-diameter wide and is a fairly easy to see open cluster.

Scorpius

Messier Object 7 (M7) is an open star cluster near the stinger of Scorpius is a small, hazy patch known since antiquity. Visible enough that the Greek astronomer Ptolemy cataloged it. M6 an open star cluster is nearby to the north of M7 and is a little smaller and fainter. M6 is also known as the Butterfly Cluster.

Sagittarius

M8 is an open star cluster and nebula complex, also known as the Lagoon Nebula . Visible to the naked eye as a small hazy patch. Bright enough that it is visible even in suburbia. It may look small with the naked eye, but it is actually quite large nearly two moon diameters across. I’m not sure if any of the other objects are visible to the naked eye, although Sagittarius is a beautiful sight as it lays in the Milky Way.

Aquila

The Great Rift is a non-luminous dust cloud that can be seen splitting the Milky Way in two separate streams. It stretches from Aquila to the constellation Cygnus although it is more prominent in the constellation Aquila.

Hercules

Messier Object 13 (known as M13) is a globular cluster. It will have a small hazy glow to it.

Cygnus

North America Nebula (NGC7000) – The unaided eye sees only a wedge-shaped star-cloud which may be quite dim, or not visible at all. In dark skies it should pop out a bit. Located near the star Deneb. M39 an open cluster patch of stars northeast of the star Deneb. The Northern Coalsack spans across the sky between the stars Deneb, Sadir, and Gienah in the northeastern portion of Cygnus. If you don’t know which stars of Sadir and Gienah just find Deneb with the map and look to the east northeast.

Ursa Major

Mizar and Alcor is a double star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Was once used as a test of good eyesight before glasses. Mizar resolves into a beautiful blue-white and greenish white binary (double star system). They are labeled on the map I linked to above.

Photo: Picture of the planet Jupiter from NASA’s Solar System Exploration. Bottom, the radiant of the Perseid Meteor shower from a screenshot of astronomy freeware Stellarium.

Michael Rector is an amateur astronomer with his own blog, Adirondack Astronomy.


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (August 11)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND



** indicates new or revised items.

** THREAT OF TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN

Recent hot and humid weather has produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain. Noticeably affected areas include Highgate Springs, and North Burlington. Blue green algae was reported earlier this season in Missisquoi and St. Albans bays. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than noral this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding. Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water.

** MOST WATERS AT OR ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS

Heavy rains in some areas this week have raised water levels. Most rivers in the region are running at or above normal levels for this time of year with the notable exception of the Indian River which is running below normal. The Black, Oswegatchie, Raquette, Salmon, Boquet, and Ausable Rivers are all running above normal. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms and use caution when crossing swollen rivers after storms.

MAIN MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROAD NOW OPEN

The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has reopened. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

REMAINING BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES

The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES GO ON SALE MONDAY

Hunting and trapping licenses go on sale for the 2011-12 license year Monday, August 15. The new sporting license year will begins October 1. Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.

** EARLY SNOWFALL FORECAST FOR WINTER 2011-12

Accuweather weather forecaster Henry Margusity has posted a map suggesting heavy snowfall for the winter of 2011-12. Margusity is predicting a weak La Nina that will forming this fall and continue through winter. He says “I am not convinced that blocking will be prevalent across Greenland this winter, however, with the trough axis predicted to be in the Midwest, that will lead to storms developing along the East coast and racing northeast.” The forecast is preliminary and will be updated in October. Each week during the upcoming winter the Almanack’s Outdoor Conditions Report includes snow depth and ice conditions, along with downhill, cross-country, and backcountry skiing, ice climbing, and snowmobiling conditions. (Hat Tip to Harvey Road).

TURKEY SURVEY INPUT SOUGHT

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, through the month of August. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Turkey Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. The Adirondacks are currently in the third year of poor poult production. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN BORDER INSPECTIONS

Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST

In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

** BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN OPPORTUNITIES

There are several opportunities in August and September through DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. This Saturday, August 13, you can take a wilderness adventure hike and learn how to stay safe while exploring the backcountry. On September 17, you can hike with a licensed guide to the summit of an Adirondack high peak. These and other Beyond BOW events are open to all, and are not limited to women. For information on cost and registration, and to view additional upcoming events, visit the Beyond BOW Workshops Schedule on the DEC website. Details of each event are also available online (PDF).

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE

Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN

Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. Expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS

It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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 begun ticketing violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS

The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES

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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES

Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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.

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.

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.

** Fire Danger: MODERATE

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Mostly sunny, a high near 72.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, low around 54.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

Saturday Night: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 54.

Sunday: Showers likely, thunderstorms possible; cloudy, high near 68.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** Northville Placid Trail Information: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the ADirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail.

** The NPTrail Chapter of ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

** Chubb River Crossing: Due to deterioration and damage of the “Flume” bridge, located 5.9 miles south of the Averyville Rd., Lake Placid Trailhead, the last stringer on the bridge crossing over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls is very dangerous. For safety, hikers may want to wade the river to cross at this point. The bridge will be replaced this summer.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

** Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is may be flooded at certain times of the year and after heavy rains and may require wading through water and mud.

** West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep. The bridge is expected to be replaced this summer. The Wakely Dam Camping area is closed.

** Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

** Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead at certain times of the year and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running at or above normal. See water level notice above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Visitors can expect capacity conditions in the Eastern High Peaks to exist on holiday weekends, and most good weather weekends for the remainder of August. Check with DEC Forest Rangers (518/897-1300) prior to any weekend trip to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and consider visiting other, less used areas of the Adirondack Park.

** Group size regulations are in effect throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Group size for overnight campers is 8 or less and for day use it is 15 or less.

** Route 9N Closure: A small section of State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks, a quarter-mile north of State Route 86, will be closed from August 15 to September 1 for two weeks to replace a culvert. A short detour via John Fountain Road has been marked.

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

** East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail (the trail from Upper Works that

crosses the Opalescent River (once known as the East River) on its way to Allen Mountain and Flowed Lands) has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is nearly impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

** Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the Preston Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge had gone out with an ice jam this spring.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail.

Caulkins Creek Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While the blowdown has been cleared from the Caulkins Creek Truck Trail from Corey’s Road to Shattuck Clearing, bridge crossings between Corey’s Road and Shattuck Clearing may be unsafe for horse traffic – use caution.

SOUTHWEST-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Fulton Chain – Skull Island Restoration Work: The Fulton Chain of Lakes Association (FCLA) has adopted Skull Island, on Second Lake, under DEC’s Adopt a Natural Resource program. Last summer FCLA replaced soil in heavily eroded areas and transplanted plants from neighboring Treasure Island [pdf]. FCLA will be roping off another area for restoration on Saturday, Aug. 13. Volunteers are welcome beginning at 9 am. For more information call Heather or Ed at (315) 369-6489. Although the public is asked to stay off of areas being restored, access to portions of the island is still open.

** The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Moose River Plains Road Now Open: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

Jessup River Road Closed: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished and significant damage from flooding to the Cedar River Road and the camping area has forced the closure of the Wakely Dam Area. It’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Lake Champlain Toxic Algae Blooms Possible: Recent hot and humid weather has produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain. Noticeably affected areas include Highgate Springs, and North Burlington. Blue green algae was reported earlier this season in Missisquoi and St. Albans bays. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than noral this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding.Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water.

** Lake Champlain Border Inspections: Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** Sacandaga Lake Fishing Pier Opens: There is a new 40 foot long fishing access pier on Great Sacandaga Lake in Northhamption, adjacent to the state boat launch on Route 30. The new pier will be dedicated on August 19th, at noon. The pier is expected to be in the lake each year by the first Saturday of May, and removed at the end of November.

Sacandaga River Loosetrife Control: On July 7, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District staff released 200 Galerucella beetles along the Sacandaga River in the town of Lake Pleasant to control Purple Loosestrife, an invasive wetland plant. Explosive populations of Loosestrife kill choke out native vegetation that wildlife depend on for food, shelter, and nesting. Adult plants produce 2.5 million seeds annually that are dispersed by water, wind, and animals. New plants also spring up from fragments and rhizomes. According to Soil and Water Conservation District officials, “Galerucella beetles are voracious herbivores that feed on the leaves and stems of Purple Loosestrife, but do not harm native wetland vegetation or garden ornamentals. As their food source declines, the bugs will die out.”

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Site: The town swimming beach is now closed by decision of the town. DEC will now manage the parking area of the former beach for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area rather than using the main section of the Broadalbin Boat Launch Site. The area will be open from 5 am to 10 pm to reduce littering, vandalism and other illegal activities at the site. The change in operation is expected to reduce congestion in the main section of the popular Broadalbin Boat Launch Site.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail as is the bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail. DEC will be replacing both bridges with natural log bridges. The southern end of the East Branch Sacandaga Trail was brushed out this spring from Eleventh Mountain to Cross Brook. Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. The Puffer Pond – Kings Flow Trail (Upper Trail) to Puffer Pond is blocked by beaver ponds. A temporary reroute has been marked to the north and upstream of the beaver dam. Hikers can also take the King Flows East Trail to the Puffer Pond Brook (Outlet) Trail to reach Puffer Pond.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: 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.

Tongue Mountain: In the Tongue Mountain Range, signs and markers for the Fifth Peak lean-to at the junction of the Blue Trail and Yellow Trail were replaced in May. Several large trees down on the Tongue Mountain Trail have been removed from the trail.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts. Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: 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 northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Special Access to Jefferson, St. Lawrence County Wetlands: The public will have a special opportunity to visit restricted portions of three Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties starting Saturday, Aug. 20 and continuing through Wednesday, Aug. 31. During the 12-day period, Perch River WMA in Jefferson County (off Route 12 near Brownville, Orleans and Pamelia) and Upper and Lower Lakes (two miles west of Canton along Route 68) and Wilson Hill WMAs (six miles west of Massena off Route 37) in St. Lawrence County, including their wetland restricted areas, will be open to visitors. This is the 16th year DEC will open the WMA wetlands for expanded public access. For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits to the public to provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl. The restricted wetland areas are also used by a number of New York State’s endangered, threatened, and rare species including bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers (marsh hawks), among others. By late August, the nesting and brooding season is mostly complete and the fall migration period has not yet begun, enabling DEC to allow public access. However, ongoing habitat management and monitoring projects on the WMAs should still be avoided. Due to duck population studies, Perch Lake itself will only be open from noon until 9 P.M. each day. For additional information, bird lists and maps, contact DECs Regional Wildlife Office at 315-785-2263 or visit the DEC webpage.

** Lake Champlain Border Inspections: Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however 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.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 - Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 - St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

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.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

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.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (August 4)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND



** indicates new or revised items.

** MAIN MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROAD NOW OPEN

The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has reopened. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

** REMAINING BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES

The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** MOST WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS

Most rivers in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year with the notable exception of the Indian and Hudson Rivers which are running below normal. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms and use caution when crossing swollen rivers after storms.

** RAQUETTE RIVER AWARENESS WEEK (7/30 – 8/6)

Raquette River Awareness Week continues through Saturday, August 6th. Sponsored by the Raquette River Blueway Corridor, the week features events from flea markets to Class V whitewater kayaking. The communities along the Raquette River hope to introduce residents and visitors alike to the beauty of the Raquette River and the communities that line its banks. More information can be found online.

** TURKEY SURVEY INPUT SOUGHT

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, through the month of August. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Turkey Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. The Adirondacks are currently in the third year of poor poult production. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN BORDER INSPECTIONS

Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN BASIN WILDLIFE HABITAT FUNDING

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced special funding through the America’s Great Outdoors initiative for the Lake Champlain Basin. Eligible landowners within the basin will be able to enroll in the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) to manage grassland and shrubland habitat. While targeted for grassland and shrubland birds, the program will also benefit other wildlife such as woodcock, deer, turkeys, and cottontails. NRCS has reduced the minimum land required for this initiative to five acres, allowing smaller landowners to participate. To apply or find out more about the program, please call or visit the Plattsburgh, Malone, or Greenwich NRCS Service Centers at the locations listed below. You can also read more about WHIP at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip. The deadline for enrollment for this initiative is August 10, 2011. Additional funding may be available after this initial program offering. For information about other programs and opportunities for habitat work on private lands throughout the state, contact DEC at (518) 402-8907 or e-mail f&wlip@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

** NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST

In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. You can read about the details here.

** BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN OPPORTUNITIES

There are several opportunities in August and September through DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. On August 13, you can take a wilderness adventure hike and learn how to stay safe while exploring the backcountry. On September 17, you can hike with a licensed guide to the summit of an Adirondack high peak. These and other Beyond BOW events are open to all, and are not limited to women. For information on cost and registration, and to view additional upcoming events, visit the Beyond BOW Workshops Schedule on the DEC website. Details of each event are also available online (PDF).

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE

Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

ALL ROCK CLIMBING ROUTES HAVE REOPENED

Peregrine falcon nesting activity has ended for the season and all rock climbing routes are now open. Peregrine falcon nest monitoring efforts will be completed in the next couple of weeks. However, it is already clear that 2011 was a difficult year for falcon nesting in the Adirondacks, with many nest failures and very few nests producing more than one chick. This is most likely due to the severe rainstorms and flooding early in the nesting season. DEC appreciates the assistance and cooperation of the rock climbing community and thanks the climbers that assisted in monitoring cliffs and nest sites. Thanks also to climbers for their patience and understanding and not climbing closed routes. 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. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN

Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. Expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

** BITING INSECTS

It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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 begun ticketing violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS

The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES

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. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES

Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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.

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.

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.

** Fire Danger: MODERATE

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Cloudy, then mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57.

Saturday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 77.

Saturday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; cloudy, low around 61.

Sunday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, high near 78.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** NPT Lake Durant/Stephens Pond Area Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are sought on Monday, August 8th to remove numerous blowdowns (varying in size from small to quite large trees) with hand tools in the Lake Durant / Stephens Pond area. Each day will involve several miles of hiking along with 5 to 7 hours of strenuous work. Volunteers should bring a crosscut saw, an axe, bowsaw, or pruning saw if they have them; several hand tools including a crosscut saw will be available. Volunteers will meet at the shower building at the Lake Durant Campground at 9 am and return around 5 pm. Brief instruction on axe and saw work will be provided for those not proficient with those tools. Participants should bring plenty of water, lunch, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will work rain or shine. If interested contact: Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com

or 518-429-0049.

Chubb River Crossing: Due to deterioration and damage of the “Flume” bridge, the last stringer on the bridge crossing over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls is very dangerous. For safety, hikers may want to wade the river to cross at this point. The bridge will be replaced this summer.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep. The Wakely Dam Camping area is closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running at or below normal.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION

Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks,

** Route 9N Closure: A small section of State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks, a quarter-mile north of State Route 86, will be closed from August 15 to September 1 for two weeks to replace a culvert. A short detour via John Fountain Road has been marked.

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is nearly impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Caulkins Creek Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While the blowdown has been cleared from the Caulkins Creek Truck Trail from Corey’s Road to Shattuck Clearing, bridge crossings between Corey’s Road and Shattuck Clearing may be unsafe for horse traffic – use caution.

SOUTHWEST-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** NPT Lake Durant/Stephens Pond Area Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are sought on Monday, August 8th to remove numerous blowdowns (varying in size from small to quite large trees) with hand tools in the Lake Durant / Stephens Pond area. Each day will involve several miles of hiking along with 5 to 7 hours of strenuous work. Volunteers should bring a crosscut saw, an axe, bowsaw, or pruning saw if they have them; several hand tools including a crosscut saw will be available. Volunteers will meet at the shower building at the Lake Durant Campground at 9 am and return around 5 pm. Brief instruction on axe and saw work will be provided for those not proficient with those tools. Participants should bring plenty of water, lunch, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will work rain or shine. If interested contact: Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com

or 518-429-0049.

** Moose River Plains Road Now Open: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

** Jessup River Road Closed: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished and significant damage from flooding to the Cedar River Road and the camping area has forced the closure of the Wakely Dam Area. It’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

** Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Lake Champlain Border Inspections: Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

Sacandaga River Loosetrife Control: On July 7, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District staff released 200 Galerucella beetles along the Sacandaga River in the town of Lake Pleasant to control Purple Loosestrife, an invasive wetland plant. Explosive populations of Loosestrife kill choke out native vegetation that wildlife depend on for food, shelter, and nesting. Adult plants produce 2.5 million seeds annually that are dispersed by water, wind, and animals. New plants also spring up from fragments and rhizomes. According to Soil and Water Conservation District officials, “Galerucella beetles are voracious herbivores that feed on the leaves and stems of Purple Loosestrife, but do not harm native wetland vegetation or garden ornamentals. As their food source declines, the bugs will die out.”

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Site: The town swimming beach is now closed by decision of the town. DEC will now manage the parking area of the former beach for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area rather than using the main section of the Broadalbin Boat Launch Site. The area will be open from 5 am to 10 pm to reduce littering, vandalism and other illegal activities at the site. The change in operation is expected to reduce congestion in the main section of the popular Broadalbin Boat Launch Site.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail as is the bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail. DEC will be replacing both bridges with natural log bridges. The southern end of the East Branch Sacandaga Trail was brushed out this spring from Eleventh Mountain to Cross Brook. Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. The Puffer Pond – Kings Flow Trail (Upper Trail) to Puffer Pond is blocked by beaver ponds. A temporary reroute has been marked to the north and upstream of the beaver dam. Hikers can also take the King Flows East Trail to the Puffer Pond Brook (Outlet) Trail to reach Puffer Pond.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: 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.

Tongue Mountain: In the Tongue Mountain Range, signs and markers for the Fifth Peak lean-to at the junction of the Blue Trail and Yellow Trail were replaced in May. Several large trees down on the Tongue Mountain Trail have been removed from the trail.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts. Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: 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 northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Lake Champlain Border Inspections: Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however 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.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 - Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 - St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

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.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

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.



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