Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open Burning Ban in Effect, Fire Threat Elevated

All residential brush burning is prohibited during the state’s historically high fire-risk period from March 16 through May 14. The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for the State of Vermont for Friday, March 23. Conditions in New York will allow wild fires to start easily and spread quickly due to the unusually warm temperatures, clear skies, low humidity, breezy winds, lack of snow and large amounts of dead, dry vegetation.

DEC Region 5 Environmental Conservation Officers have already issued more than a dozen tickets and warnings to people burning brush since the ban went into effect on March 16. Violating the ban is a misdemeanor offense with possible penalties of $500 to $18,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail for the first offense and up to $26,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail for subsequent offenses. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Mar 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
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Mar 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
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Mar 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
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

10 Almanack Stories to Keep You Safe in Winter

Adirondack search and rescue operations have been in the news lately. More than 20 people were rescued from melting lake ice in the two weeks, and four major baclountry rescues over the same period are a stern reminder of how easily outdoor recreationists can get into trouble. The big snow that’s finally arrived will mean a lot more folks heading to the woods and waters this weekend.

What follows is a list of Adirondack Almanack stories about outdoor winter safety:

Be Prepared For Winter Conditions

Preparing For Your Winter Adirondack Adventure

Be Safe On The Ice This Winter

Gear: The Smallest Personal Locator Beacon Available

Avalanche Danger in the Adirondacks

When Things Go Wrong: Building Emergency Snow Shelters

Dan Crane: Solo Backcountry Exploration

Take The Adirondack Winter Survival Quiz

Learn From What Others Have Gone Through


Lawrence Gooley: The Greatest Adirondack Rescue Story Ever?



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Astronomy: The March Adirondack Night Sky

Here are some objects for the unaided eye for the month of March. 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 unaided 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. Snow will add more light pollution due to light reflecting off of it.

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 March 2012). The map shows what is in the sky in March at 8 pm for early March; 7 pm for late March.

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!

New note: Measuring Degrees with your hands, proportionally works for people of all ages. With your arm fully extended out:
Width of your pinky finger is 1°
Width of your ring, middle, and index finger equals 5°
Width of your fist equals 10°
Width from tip to tip of index finger and pinky finger stretched out equals 15°
Width from tip to tip of your thumb and pinky finger stretched out equals 25°

Highlight for viewing with the unaided eye

March 11 – 15 – Jupiter and Venus conjunction where they will lie 3° from each other.

March 25 – Jupiter and the Moon 3° apart.

March 26 – Venus and the Moon 1.8° apart.

The Moon
March 1 – The Moon will be at first quarter.

March 8 – Full Moon. The Full Moon will pass 10° south of Mars in the constellation Leo.

March 11 – The Moon will pass 6° south of Saturn

March 14 – Last quarter Moon

March 22 – New moon, best night to get out and enjoy the darkest skies possible.

March 25 – The thin crescent Moon will pass within 3° north of Jupiter to the west after sunset.

March 26 – The thin crescent Moon will pass within 1.8° south of Venus to the west after sunset.

March 30 – The second occurrence of a first quarter Moon in the month of March.

Mercury
For the first week of March, Mercury will be at it’s prime location for viewing. Mercury will reach it’s greatest eastern elongation on March 5. For viewers in the Adirondacks Mercury will reach a height of 11° above the horizon just after sunset in the west, and will set after 30 minutes. Although low on the horizon and in the glow of sunset, at a magnitude of -0.4 it should easily be visible. After March 5, Mercury will slowly start to lower, and will pass between Earth and the Sun on March 21.


Venus
By March 4 Venus and Jupiter will be 9° apart, and by March 11 and 15 they will lie 3° from each other. During this conjunction the two planets will be 30° above the horizon to the west, and don’t set until close to 11pm. Venus will reach it’s greatest elongation on March 27. By the 31st Venus will be 3° below the star cluster Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus, which can be seen with the unaided eye.

Mars
As the sun sets take a look to the East and you will find the red planet shining as it rises above the horizon. On March 3 Mars reaches peak visibility and will lie opposite the Sun in our sky. This will be as close as Mars gets for another two years.

Jupiter
Jupiter and Venus get together by mid March for a spectacular conjunction which can be enjoyed with the unaided eye or even through a pair of 10×50 binoculars.

Saturn
Saturn rises shortly before 10pm by mid-March in the constellation Virgo. Saturn will be 6° northeast of the brightest star in Virgo, Spica. Spica will be quite dim in comparison to Saturn’s bright yellow glow.

Orion
In the south after sunset you can find the constellation of Orion. The red supergiant star Betelgeuse in the upper left of the constellation making Orion’s shoulder. Below it you will see 3 stars going from left to right creating Orion’s Belt. Below Orion’s belt you will find 3 dimmer stars perpendicular to the belt. If you look at the middle star of those 3 you may notice a slight haziness surrounding it. That haziness is referred to as a stellar nursery and is the Orion Nebula. This nebula contains a group of new stars within a dust cloud. This is where and how solar systems are born.

Taurus
Up and to the right of Orion is the constellation Taurus. A bright orange star, Aldebaran is the eye of Taurus the bull. Also within this constellation near Aldebaran is a grouping of stars that you can see with your naked eye, even in moderately light polluted areas; this cluster of stars is known as the Hyades.

Pleiades
Within the constellation of Taurus you can also find a closer grouping of stars known as the Pleiades (also known as the 7 Sisters or Subaru – Look at the logo for the Subaru vehicle, it is very similar to this cluster). 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.

Gemini
Up and to the left of Orion you can find the Gemini twins. The two brightest stars within this constellation are Pollux and Castor, forming the heads of the brothers.

Canis Major
Below and to the left of Orion is the constellation Canis Major – The Dog. One of the most defining features of Canis Major is the brightest star in our sky, Sirius. Sirius can be seen twinkling in the southern skies, and may even appear different colors as you look at it; from blue, to green, to white. This flickering is due to the earths atmosphere. Sirius is roughly 8.5 light-years away making it one of the closest stars to us.

Perseus
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the unaided eye which appear faint and fuzzy.
Look for a grouping of stars around the brightest star in Perseus, Mirphak.

Ursa Major
Rising earlier and getting higher in the sky by sunset. 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.

A couple notes
I invite anyone with a camera to share their pictures of the night sky with me if you’d like them to appear on my blog, email address can also be found on my blog. Please include a location, date and time that the images were taken. Any other information is also welcome.

With the warmer weather getting near I am scouting out a location that I can set up my telescopes and share the night views with anyone that may want to join. Public property with no closing hours, and a good view of the sky in all directions in a low to moderate light polluted area is preferred. If anyone knows of a place that is welcome to this idea please either email me with information, or comment in the comments section below with information. Looking for an area preferably in Clinton County. Again my email can be found via my blog, link below.

Photos: Above, Jupiter, Venus, and thin Waxing Gibbous Moon lineup of February 23 over Plattsburgh, by Michael Rector; Below, showing the conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon on March 25, and the conjunction of Venus and the Moon on March 25 via the astronomy freeware Stellarium.

Photo Below: Venus and Jupiter conjunction via the astronomy freeware Stellarium.

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


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Dec – Feb)

What follows is the late-December through February Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a 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.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 23)

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.

** SNOW – WINTER CONDITIONS
A major snowstorm has blanketing the region, with the exception of the eastern Essex County and North Warren counties (which are expecting snow Friday). Currently there are 10 to 15 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations, with 30 inches or more in the higher elevations. A “Winter Weather Advisory” has been issued for the area, check weather forecasts and conditions before entering the backcountry. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering around zero this weekend. There is significant ice accumulation on summits. Full crampons are recommended for areas above tree line, while traction devices are sufficient in icy open areas at lower elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in all areas of the High Peaks backcountry at this time, and are not recommended elsewhere), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 10 to 15 inches at most lower elevation; less toward the southwest Adirondacks and more toward the Northeast. There is 30 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little as of Thursday, but are expecting 4 to 8 inches Friday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** TRAVERSING STEEP SLOPES
All backcountry visitors should be aware of proper safety methods for traversing steep slopes that are prone to avalanche. See Avalanche Preparedness for more information on avalanches and safety practices.

** ICE ON WATER
Expect wet conditions on lake ice this weekend. Ice has formed on the smaller bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, but they remain largely open wateror covered with dangerously thin ice. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on most lakes at lower elevations. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
This will be the best weekend so far this winter for downhill skiing. With the exception of the recommendation to call ahead to Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg to be sure, all the region’s downhill areas will be open this week with good fresh packed powder and powder. Gore Mountain and Whiteface are reporting more than 90% of their terrain open.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
A great weekend for cross-country. All of the of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on 4 to 8 inches of base. Phil Brown reported a number of good cross-country and backcountry ski opportunities for the Almanack here. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There is 30 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin and back-country skiing has improved with the notable exception of the VanHovenberg Trail between Marcy Dam and Indian Falls, which is boney as are other trails toward Keene. As of Thursday, there was not much new snow in Keene/Keene Valley so still no appreciable snow on the Johns Brook approach to the High Peaks or on the road to Lower Ausable Lake (that could change Friday). Snow depths are not as deep as would normally be the case for this time of year, so use caution. The Calamity Brook approach to Lake Colden is now being reported thin but skiable. The Marcy Trail is not yet reported skiable, but may be following expected snow on Friday. Whale’s Tail and Wright Peak should be skiable. The hiking trail from ADK Loj is still not recommended for skiing, but Marcy Dam Truck Trail, while thin at the start, is in good shape. Other skiable routes include Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni and Moose Pond, Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; the Fish Pond Truck Trail, Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow, (all four of the above had good cover before this new snow) plus Connery Pond to Whiteface Landing and Raquette Falls – both still a bit thin but skiable. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden crossable as is the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area, Caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Summits and other open areas are icy – carry and use traction devices and crampons where warranted. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
This has been an unusual winter and most routes are in, but with mixed conditions depending on exposure, with a lot of March-like conditions – stick to shaded areas. Best bets include the north side of Pitch-Off and, for experienced climbers, the Colden Trap Dyke which is all ice and essentially a new climb. Worst bet would be Poke-O-Moonshine, which is mostly gone or sketchy. This weekend is expected to be busy so be cautious and courteous. There is still plenty of ice, but use extreme caution. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
With the additional snow this week, and more on the way, snowmobile trails are in generally good condition from Southern Franklin County and Cranberry Lake through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, with lesser conditions toward Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Best bets remain the Moose River Plains, in the Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Area (though some areas will be difficult to get to), in the Stillwater, Beaver River or Old Forge system, and around Cranberry Lake. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable and that is not likely to change, even with expected new snow on Friday. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are running at normal levels for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snowshoes Required: The use of snowshoes or skis is required throughout the High Peaks Wilderness as snow depth exceeds 8 inches. The use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow.

** Ice on Summits: There is significant ice accumulation on summits. Full crampons are recommended for areas above tree line, while traction devices are sufficient in icy open areas at lower elevations.

** Crossing Marcy Brook: Numerous people trying to cross Marcy Brook immediately above Marcy Dam (the former pond) have broken through to the water and mud. Crossings of Marcy Brook should be accomplished as described below.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed ice and snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

New Bridge Planned For Marcy Brook: Phil Brown is reporting that DEC will build a new bridge over Marcy Brook about a quarter-mile downstream from Marcy Dam and upstream from the current low-water crossing, which has become known as “The Squirrel Crossing”. In August, the old bridge at the dam was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene. A log-stringer bridge is expected to be built this spring or summer, paid for by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. No decision has been made yet on the replacing Marcy Dam which was damaged by Irene. Phil Brown’s report can be found at Adirondack Explorer.

** Cascade Lakes Day Use Area: DOT has place barriers at the end of the entrance to the Cascade Lakes Day Use Area along Route 73 through the spring mud season. Vehicles should not park in this area as it is a traffic hazard and the dangerous to occupants exiting and entering the vehicles. Use one of the parking areas to the east or west of that area.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

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).

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 Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: The carriage road between the Gate House and the Main Lodge at Camp Santanoni is skiable. One more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

Lake George – Prospect mountain Highway: The gates on Prospect Mountain Highway have been closed as there is no snow for snowmobiling.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.

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

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.

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

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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: Users of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail should watch for logging equipment crossing the trail at its southern end. Logging operations are occurring on the private lands on both sides of the trail. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, February 16, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 16)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Unseasonably low precipitation but seasonably cold weather remains, continuing to leave conditions generally icy and snow crusty around the region. A storm headed for the coast will miss the Adirondack region, but some regular light snow, especially at higher elevations, have helped keep what snow we have on the ground. There continues to be between 4 to 8 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations, with 20 inches or more in the higher elevations. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering around zero this weekend. Snow cover varies with elevation, with the most in the south central and central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam. With the exception of Lake George and Lake Champlain, all the region’s lakes are iced over. Use caution when traveling on ice. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in all areas of the High Peaks backcountry at this time, and are not recommended elsewhere), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 2 to 6 inches at most lower elevation; 5 to 7 inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks including Newcomb. There is 20 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little to no snow. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Not much change in the ice situation this week. Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, where there remains much open water. Ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on most lakes at lower elevations. There is ice on South Bay on Lake Champlain, and on some of the bays of Lake George, but on large portions of these lakes the ice remains dangerously thin or nonexistent. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
Warmer temperatures mean great skiing, and mountains with snow-making capability have been making snow all week. With the continued exception of Big Tupper and Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, the region’s downhill areas will be open this week, albeit for those relying on natural snow it will be on limited terrain and some icy conditions. Gore Mountain and Whiteface are reporting about 80% of their terrain open. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Your best bet remains the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails. Expect machine groomed trails, some thin cover, some icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. All of the of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on generally thin cover and limited trails. Good opportunities include the Paul Smith’s and Newcomb VICs, which are still reporting good cover, as are the Tupper Lake trails, and Dewey Mountain. The Lake Placid area has about 3 to 5 inches of solid base; the Whiteface Highway is skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail has good cover on most sections, particularly from Whiteface Inn Lane to the top of the pass, but icy conditions on the west side. The rest of the trail including the Old Mountain Road section is skiable with caution as there are still a few rocks to dodge. Phil Brown reported a number of good cross-country and backcountry ski opportunities for the Almanack here. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There is 20 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Parts of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail are not well covered, especially at the start, but skiable routes include the Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni and Moose Pond (good cover), Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; the Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow; and the Raquette Falls area. The hiking trail from ADK Loj is not recommended for skiing. Avalanche Pass is now reported skiable, as is the Calamity Brook approach to Lake Colden. The Wright Peak ski trail is reported skiable, but the hiking trail is very icy. The Marcy ski trail is reported not yet skiable. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden was crossable as is the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area; use caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Summits and other open areas are icy – carry and use traction devices and crampons where warranted. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
This has been an unusual winter and climbing routes are mixed depending on exposure, with a lot of March-like conditions – stick to shaded areas. Best bets include the north side of Pitch-Off and, for experienced climbers, the Colden Trap Dyke which is all ice and essentially a new climb. Worst bet would be Poke-O-Moonshine, which is mostly gone or sketchy. This weekend is expected to be busy so be cautious and courteous. There is still plenty of ice, but use extreme caution. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
No change this week, but some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with some boney and bare spots. Riding conditions remain at best fair in Southern Franklin County and Lake Clear through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Reasonable riding remains on the Cedar River side in the Moose River Plains, in the Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Area (though some areas will be difficult to get to), in the Stillwater, Beaver River or Old Forge system, and around Cranberry Lake. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams have returned to normal levels for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snowshoes Required; Crampons Recommended: The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness wherever snow depth exceeds 8 inches. The use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow. Snowshoes or skis are required beyond Avalanche Camp; beyond the junction of the Phelps Mountain and the VanHovenburg Trails; beyond the junction of the Whales Tail and the Algonquin Mountain Trails; and anywhere snow depths are 8 inches or deeper.

Trail Difficulties: Use caution on trails through drainages. Due to the rains, snow, thaws and refreezing trails through steep drainages may contain snow, ice and water in various combinations which can difficult to recognize.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

** New Bridge Over Marcy Brook: Phil Brown is reporting that DEC will build a new bridge over Marcy Brook about a quarter-mile downstream from Marcy Dam and upstream from the current low-water crossing, which has become known as “The Squirrel Crossing”. In August, the old bridge at the dam was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene. A log-stringer bridge is expected to be built this spring or summer, paid for by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. No decision has been made yet on the replacing Marcy Dam which was damaged by Irene. Phil Brown’s report can be found at Adirondack Explorer.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

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).

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 Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: The carriage road between the Gate House and the Main Lodge at Camp Santanoni is skiable. Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

** Lake George – Prospect mountain Highway: The gates on Prospect Mountain Highway have been closed as there is no snow for snowmobiling.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.

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

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.

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

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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: Users of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail should watch for logging equipment crossing the trail at its southern end. Logging operations are occurring on the private lands on both sides of the trail. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, February 16, 2012

Phil Brown: Bad Winter Skiing Options

Yes, it’s been a bad winter for skiers, but it’s not all bad. People are skiing, though their options are limited by the shortage of snow.

The best skiing seems to be at the two extremes: on high slopes or on mellow terrain. For a sample of what the elite skiers are doing, check out the videos on Drew Haas’s website Adirondack Backcountry Skiing.

If you’re not into skiing slides or other gnarly terrain, your best bets will be former truck trails, old woods roads, frozen ponds, and other smooth, flat terrain. You can find an account of one such trip in the March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer: a round-trip to Raquette Falls. Click here to read the story.

That said, I had two good outings on intermediate terrain within the past week. On Sunday, I skied from Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid to the top of McKenzie Pass on the Jackrabbit Trail. The cover was excellent, but I understand conditions on the Saranac Lake side of the pass are not so good.

On Tuesday, I skied to Avalanche Lake from South Meadow Road. Again, the cover was good except on parts of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail. Click here to read a more detailed report and view a video of my descent of Avalanche Pass.

For other backcountry options, check out Tony Goodwin’s ski report, which is updated a few times a week, and also Adirondack Almanack‘s Thursday afternoon Outdoor Conditions Report, which often includes suggestions for areas outside the Lake Placid area.

Of course, you can always visit one of the Adirondack Park’s cross-country-ski centers if the backcountry isn’t an option. Despite the low snow, Rick Karlin reports in the Explorer that the Nordic centers are open for business, thanks in part to good grooming. Click here to read Karlin’s story.

Finally, if all else fails, you might try to imitate the guy in this video (one of the best ski videos I’ve seen).

Photo by Phil Brown: A skier on the trail to Raquette Falls.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 9)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions remain with unseasonably low precipitation but seasonably cold weather, leaving conditions generally icy around the region. An artic cold front is expected to move through this weekend and temperatures are predicted to be in the single digits during the day and below zero at night. Scattered snow squalls and whiteouts are forecast around the region, but likely not enough to substantially contribute to the snow pack. We lost additional snow cover this week; there is now between 4 to 8 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations, with 18 inches or more in the higher elevations. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering above and below zero this weekend. Snow cover varies substantially with elevation, with the most in the south central and central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam. With the exception of Lake George and Lake Champlain, all the region’s lakes are iced over. Use caution when traveling on ice. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in all areas of the High Peaks backcountry at this time, and are not recommended elsewhere), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 2 to 6 inches at most lower elevation; 5 to 7 inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks. There is 18 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little to no snow. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, where there remains much open water. Ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on lakes at lower elevations. There is ice on South Bay on Lake Champlain, and on some of the bays of Lake George, but on large portions of these lakes the ice remains dangerously thin or nonexistent. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
With the exception of Big Tupper and Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, the region’s downhill areas will be open this week, albeit for those relying on natural snow it will be on limited terrain and icy conditions. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Your best bet remains the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails. Expect machine groomed trails, thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. All of the of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on generally thin cover and limited trails; call ahead to cross-country facilities. Your best bet continues to be the Lapland Lake, Garnet Hill, and the Paul Smith’s VIC, where several activities have been moved to take advantage of the groomed trails and good cover. The Adirondack Interpretive Center (former Newcomb VIC) has reasonable cover. The Lake Placid area has about 3 to 5 inches of snow; the Whiteface Highway is barely skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail has cover on most sections except McKenzie Pond Road to Saranac Lake and from McKenzie Pond Road for the first mile toward McKenzie Pond. There are good conditions from Whiteface Inn Lane to the top of the pass, but icy conditions on the west side. The rest of the trail including the Old Mountain Road section is skiable with caution as there are still a few rocks to dodge. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There is 18 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Skiable routes (on crusty conditions) include the Marcy Dam Truck Trail (very thin at the start), Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni and Moose Pond (good cover), Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; the Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow. The Adk Loj Trailhead to Marcy Dam is skiable but still rocky in places. Avalanche Pass passable with caution, but not generally recommended for skiing yet. The Wright Peak ski trail is reported skiable, but the hiking trail is very icy. The Marcy ski trail is reported not yet skiable. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden was crossable as is the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area; use caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Summits and other open areas are icy – carry and use traction devices and crampons where warranted. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Climbing routes are mixed depending on exposure. The ice is reported to be typical of early March conditions with south facing ice melting out. Stick to shaded climbs. There is still plenty of ice. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with some boney and bare spots. Riding conditions are at best fair in Southern Franklin County and Lake Clear through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Reasonable riding remains on the Cedar River side in the Moose River Plains, in the Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Area (though some areas will be difficult to get to), in the Stillwater, Beaver River or Old Forge system, and around Cranberry Lake. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL JUST ABOVE LEVELS
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams have returned to normal or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snowshoes Required; Crampons Recommended: The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness wherever snow depth exceeds 8 inches. The use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow. Snowshoes or skis are required beyond Avalanche Camp; beyond the junction of the Phelps Mountain and the VanHovenburg Trails; beyond the junction of the Whales Tail and the Algonquin Mountain Trails; and anywhere snow depths are 8 inches or deeper.

Trail Difficulties: Use caution on trails through drainages. Due to the rains, snow, thaws and refreezing trails through steep drainages may contain snow, ice and water in various combinations which can difficult to recognize.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

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).

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 Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.

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

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.

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

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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: Users of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail should watch for logging equipment crossing the trail at its southern end. Logging operations are occurring on the private lands on both sides of the trail. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, February 9, 2012

Astronomy: The February Night Sky

Here are some objects for the unaided eye for the month of February. 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 unaided 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. Snow will add more light pollution due to light reflecting off of it.

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 February 2012). The map shows what is in the sky in February at 8 pm for early February; 7 pm for late February.

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!

New note: Measuring Degrees with your hands, proportionally works for people of all ages. With your arm fully extended out:
Width of your pinky finger is 1°
Width of your ring, middle, and index finger equals 5°
Width of your fist equals 10°
Width from tip to tip of index finger and pinky finger stretched out equals 15°
Width from tip to tip of your thumb and pinky finger stretched out equals 25°

The Moon
February 9th – Close encounter of the Moon and Mars. Look for the moon in the east after 8:30pm, Mars will be about 10° to the left glowing a red.

February 12th and 13th – The moon pairs up with another planet, this time it’s with the ringed planet Saturn. Saturn will be about 11° down and to the left of the moon on the 12th, and about 9° above the moon on the 13th.

February 14th – The last quarter moon, visible from midnight into the morning.

February 21st – New moon, best night to go out and enjoy the stars without the light of the moon washing out the skies.

February 22nd – If you can find the one day old very thin crescent moon after sunset, Mercury will be 5° to the left. Mercury may be a bit difficult to spot, and both objects may be too low on the horizon to see with the Adirondack mountains.

February 25th – The moon and Venus pair up in the west-southwest just after sunset. The moon will be 3° to the right of Venus.

February 26th – The moon pairs up with one more planet before this months end. After sunset in the southwest you will see Jupiter about 4° to the left of the almost crescent moon.

February 29th – First Quarter Moon.

Mercury
Near the end of February you can find Mercury 10° above the horizon in the west after sunset. Early to mid month Mercury will be too low to see.

Venus
Venus will be very prominent in the west-southwest after sunset. Venus will be the brightest object about 30° (three fist-widths) above the horizon. Venus sets around 8:15pm.
On February 9th if you have a pair of binoculars look for Venus, to the left in the same field of view will be a blue-green star, that star is actually the planet Uranus.

Mars
Mars rises in the east after 8pm just under the back end of the constellation Leo.

Jupiter
The gas giant is high in the sky at sunset and will finally set around 11pm

Saturn
Not rising until about midnight in the constellation Virgo. Saturn will be close to the brightest star in Virgo, Spica.

Orion
In the south around 8pm you can find the constellation of Orion. The red supergiant star Betelgeuse in the upper left of the constellation making Orion’s shoulder. Below it you will see 3 stars going from left to right creating Orion’s Belt. Below Orion’s belt you will find 3 dimmer stars perpendicular to the belt. If you look at the middle star of those 3 you may notice a slight haziness surrounding it. That haziness is referred to as a stellar nursery and is the Orion Nebula. This nebula contains a group of new stars within a dust cloud. This is where and how solar systems are born.

Taurus
Up and to the right of Orion is the constellation Taurus. A bright orange star, Aldebaran is the eye of Taurus the bull. Also within this constellation near Aldebaran is a grouping of stars that you can see with your naked eye, even in moderately light polluted areas; this cluster of stars is known as the Hyades.

Pleiades
Within the constellation of Taurus you can also find a closer grouping of stars known as the Pleiades (also known as the 7 Sisters or Subaru – Look at the logo for the Subaru vehicle, it is very similar to this cluster). 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.

Gemini
Up and to the left of Orion you can find the Gemini twins. The two brightest stars within this constellation are Pollux and Castor, forming the heads of the brothers.

Canis Major
Below and to the left of Orion is the constellation Canis Major – The Dog. One of the most defining features of Canis Major is the brightest star in our sky, Sirius. Sirius can be seen twinkling in the southern skies, and may even appear different colors as you look at it; from blue, to green, to white. This flickering is due to the earths atmosphere. Sirius is roughly 8.5 light-years away making it one of the closest stars to us.

Perseus
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the unaided eye which appear faint and fuzzy.
Look for a grouping of stars around the brightest star in Perseus, Mirphak.

Ursa Major
Very low on the horizon at sunset and not rising back into the sky until after midnight. 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 Above: Image of the constellations Gemini, Taurus, Orion, and Canis Major from the astronomy freeware Stellarium.

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


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 2)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Despite unseasonably warm weather this week, winter conditions remain with low precipitation and seasonably cold weather this weekend which will create icy conditions everywhere. Day time temperatures remain below freezing most of the time, however, a day or two of temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s have become common. Night time temperatures remain below freezing. We lost additional snow cover this week, except at higher elevations where there is 20 inches or more in wind blown areas. Summit areas can expect wind chill values below zero this weekend. Snow cover varies with elevation, with the most in the south central and central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam, backcountry skiing is not recommended and crampons will be helpful, if not required. Frozen lakes are covered with water or slush, or layered ice. Recent rains and warm temperatures have opened waters and thinned ice on rivers and streams and around inlets, outlets and shorelines – avoid these areas. Many waters such as Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake have water and slush on the surface. Use caution when traveling on ice. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 2 to 6 inches at most lower elevation; 5 to 7 inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks. There is 20 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little to no snow. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes but ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter and this week’s warm weather has left lakes that are frozen covered with water, slush, or layered ice. The larger lakes still have areas of dangerously thin ice and open areas. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and on some of the bays of Lake George, but in large portions of these lakes ice remains dangerously thin. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
With the exception of Big Tupper and Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, the region’s downhill areas will be open this week, albeit for those relying on natural snow it will be on limited terrain and dicey conditions. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are both reporting about 70% of their trails open. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Conditions have deteriorated since last week. Only on the the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails is cross-country skiing possible. Expect machine groomed trails, thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. With the exception of Mount Van Hovenberg, most of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on thin cover and limited trails. Your best bet continues to be the Lapland Lake, Garnet Hill, and the Paul Smith’s VIC, where several activities have been moved to take advantage of the groomed trails and good cover. The Lake Placid area has about 3 to 5 inches of snow; the Whiteface Highway is barely skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail has been reduced by rain and warm weather and is not recommended. Your best bet is to call ahead to cross-country facilities. Opportunities can still be had on the Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni, Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; first two miles of the Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow, the St. Regis Canoe Area, and in the Moose River Plains and Inlet area. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Early season routes are no longer recommended, the few areas that are skiable are icy and boney. A better bet would be the flatter roads and truck trails reported above. There is 20 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden was crossable as was the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Now ice is covered with slush, and when that slush does freeze, caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Climbing routes are mixed depending on exposure. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with bare spots and wet areas. Riding conditions are at best, minimal to fair in Southern Franklin County through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. The lakes also have many open spots in them, making winter travel dangerous. The only reasonable riding is in the Moose River Plains where there is 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground, in the Perkins Clearing area, and around Cranberry Lake where 5 to 7 inches are reported. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WATERS RUNNING WELL ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are running well above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and scientists are seeking help to determine exactly where and why. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) is a citizen science-based effort to collect more information on local frogs and toads. New York’s NAAMP program is active in the Hudson River Valley and is holding trainings for prospective volunteers this February. To learn more and get involved, visit the Frog and Toad Monitoring page on DEC’s website.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Stream and Water Crossings: Recent rains and warm temperatures have opened waters and thinned ice on rivers and streams and around inlets, outlets and shorelines – avoid these areas. Many waters such as Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake have water and slush on the surface. Use caution when traveling on ice.

Snowshoes Required; Crampons Recommended: Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam – the use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow. Crampons should be carried and used when necessary.

Trail Difficulties: Use caution on trails through drainages. Due to the rains, snow, thaws and refreezing trails through steep drainages may contain snow, ice and water in various combinations which can difficult to recognize.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Crossing on the ice above the dam is not recommended at this time as the ice remains thin due to the brook’s current. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

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).

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 Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.

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

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.

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

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, January 26, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 26)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions are the rule. Day time and night time temperatures are hovering above and below freezing and significant mixed precipitation is expected as we head into the weekend, which while adding some snow in the central Adirondacks and higher elevations, will keep conditions generally icy elsewhere. We have lost some snow cover this week and snow cover varies with elevation, with the most in the south central and central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam, backcountry skiing is not recommended and crampons will be helpful, if not required. Expect summit wind chill values in teens. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 5 to 7inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks. There is 18 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little to no snow. Up to a few additional inches is expected Thursday night and possibly more Friday night and Saturday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes but ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter. The larger lakes still have areas of dangerously thin ice and open areas. Ice fisherman, skiers, skaters and others have begun accessing many waters. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on many smaller lakes at lower elevations, although this weeks wet and warm weather mean ice may be layered and slushy. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and at Huddle Bay on Lake George, and on the bays of Sacandaga Lake but those lakes are otherwise open. Use extreme caution. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
With the exception of Big Tupper and Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, the region’s downhill areas will be open this week. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open (Whiteface is reporting about 60% and Gore 70% of their trails). Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There are still early season conditions with only the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails are recommended for skiing. More snow predicted for Thursday and Friday evenings could mean improved conditions for this weekend, still expect machine groomed trails, some thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. Most of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on thin cover, and limited trails. Your best bet is the Paul Smith’s VIC, and Lapland Lake. The Lake Placid area has about 5 to 7 inches of snow; the Whiteface Highway is barely skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail has been reduced by rain and warm weather and is not recommended. Dewey Mountain, Cascade, and Mount van Hovenberg closed this week, so call ahead for those areas, as well as the Tupper Lake trails. Opportunities can still be had on the Connery Pond Road, Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails, Raquette Falls, towards Newcomb including Santanoni, in the Moose River Plains, and at Garnet Hill near North Creek. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Early season routes are icy and in fair to poor shape, hills are fast, and some obstacles just beneath the snow. A better bet would be the flatter roads and truck trails reported above. There is 18 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. The Marcy Dam Truck Trail between South Meadows Road and Marcy Dam is barely skiable as is the trail between Avalanche Lake and the Flowed Lands – ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is crossable – but Avalanche Pass is marginal, and Marcy and the Calamity Trail still reported unskiable. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Some early climbing routes are in but not ideal. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails are open, but expect generally thin, hard packed icy trails with bare spots and wet areas. Riding conditions are at best, fair in Southern Franklin County through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. The lakes also have many open spots in them, making winter travel dangerous. The only reasonable riding is in the Moose River Plains where there is 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground and around Cranberry Lake where 5 to 7 inches are reported. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are running at normal levels for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and scientists are seeking help to determine exactly where and why. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) is a citizen science-based effort to collect more information on local frogs and toads. New York’s NAAMP program is active in the Hudson River Valley and is holding trainings for prospective volunteers this February. To learn more and get involved, visit the Frog and Toad Monitoring page on DEC’s website.

DEC SEEKS INFORMATION ON SICK OR DEAD DEER
The DEC is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today. Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. To locate your nearest DEC office, see www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. [Read More]

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snowshoes Required; Crampons Recommended: Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam – the use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow. Crampons should be carried and used when necessary.

** Trail Difficulties: Use caution on trails through drainages. Due to the rains, snow, thaws and refreezing trails through steep drainages may contain snow, ice and water in various combinations which can difficult to recognize.

** Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Crossing on the ice above the dam is not recommended at this time as the ice remains thin due to the brook’s current. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

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).

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 Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

** Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

** Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

** Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.

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

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.

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

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, January 19, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 19)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions are the rule throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing. There was considerable freezing rain and sleet on Thursday across the region, so expect conditions to be icy. Snow cover mostly varies with elevation, with the most in the central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam. Expect summit wind chill values to be in the lower 20s to single digits below zero. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from more four to six inches across the region at lower elevations outside the central Adirondacks, where there is 6 to 10 inches at lower elevations and 18 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Up to a few additional inches is expected Thursday night and possibly more Friday night into Saturday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes. Ice fisherman, skiers, skaters and others have begun accessing many waters. 8 to 9 inches of ice are reported on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden and 5 to 7 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and at Huddle Bay on Lake George, and on the bays of Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
Big Tupper opened this week, and with the exception of Hickory in Warrensburg, all the regions downhill mountains are now open. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open with top to bottom skiing on about 70% of their trails. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There are still early season conditions with only the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails are recommended for skiing. More snow predicted for Thursday and Friday evenings could mean improved conditions for this weekend, still expect machine groomed trails, some thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. Most of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on thin cover, and limited trails. Areas with some good cover include the trails around the Paul Smith’s VIC, and the Tupper Lake’s Country Club to Big Tupper Ski Area network. The Lake Placid area has about 6 to 8 inches of snow; the Whiteface Highway is skiable. The entire Jackrabbit Trail is now reported skiable with caution on downhills, which may be fast. The section along River Road between Lake Placid and Cascade Cross-Country Center is thin. Call ahead to Mount Vanhovenberg. Main Loop at Henry’s Woods on Bear Cub Lane skiable. Other possibilities include the Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails, Raquette Falls, and towards Newcomb, at Garnet Hill near North Creek, in Hoffman Notch, and the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Early season routes are in good shape, but all hills will be quite fast, and some obstacles just beneath the snow. There is 18 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. The Marcy Dam Truck Trail between South Meadows Road and Marcy Dam is skiable as is the trail between Avalanche Lake and the Flowed Lands – ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is crossable – but Avalanche Pass is marginal, and Marcy and the Calamity Trail reported unskiable. A few of the more die-hard backcountry skiers have been testing out some early slide skiing, but we’ll need more snow for a proper season to get started. The St. Regis Canoe Area is reported skiable. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Early climbing routes are in. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails are open, but expect generally thin, icy cover with some bare spots on heavily used trails. The best opportunities to ride are in the south Central Adirondacks and in Southern Franklin County, but other areas, including eastern Essex and northern Warren County are still lacking enough snow. Inlet reports icy and poor conditions, best place to ride are in the Moose River Plains (6-8 inches of snow, groomers operating. Long Lake has not officially opened their trail system, though folks are riding. Indian Lake reports rideable trails, with poor and icy conditions. Speculator trails are rideable, but lack safe connections via the lakes. There are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads in the Perkins Clearing Easement Lands. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

WARREN-SARATOGA COUNTY SNOWMOBILER WARNING
The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

** SNOWMOBILE SAFETY WEEK ENDS SUNDAY
Snowmobiling is enjoyed by over 4 million people across the United States and Canada. While, the sport is safe and enjoyable if done properly and with respect, the excitement of snowmobiling may occasionally turn into tragedy. Injuries and deaths that are related to snowmobiling can be prevented. Frequently reported contributing factors in accidents include excessive speed, drowning, unsafe operation, inattention, and operating under the influence of alcohol. In fact, over 50% of snowmobile-related fatalities involve intoxicated operators.
The purpose of International Snowmobile Safety Week is to expose people to safe snowmobiling practices and to demonstrate how operating safely can prevent mishaps. Learn more online.

NON_RESIDENT SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION ONLINE
Non-residents of New York State who have snowmobiles registered in their home states may now register their sleds in NY online. New York registration is required to operate the snowmobile on New York State’s 10,500 miles of trails. A temporary NYS registration is issued at the end of the transaction for immediate operation of the snowmobile in NYS. New York State residents cannot use this to register their sleds yet, that is expected to be implemented by the Department of Motor Vehicles in the near future. Registrants who join a NYS Snowmobile Association club first, reduce their registration cost from $100 (non-club member) to just $45 per sled (club member).

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are generally running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

** VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and scientists are seeking help to determine exactly where and why. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) is a citizen science-based effort to collect more information on local frogs and toads. New York’s NAAMP program is active in the Hudson River Valley and is holding trainings for prospective volunteers this February. To learn more and get involved, visit the Frog and Toad Monitoring page on DEC’s website.

DEC SEEKS INFORMATION ON SICK OR DEAD DEER
The DEC is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today. Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. To locate your nearest DEC office, see www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. [Read More]

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snowshoes Required: Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam – the use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

** Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

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).

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 Wild Forest: Currently there are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads. Groomers have been operating and snowmobiles have been using the trail system. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

** Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: Currently there are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads. Snowmobiles have been using the trail system.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

** Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Warren-Saratoga County Snowmobile Warning: The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

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. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – 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

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, January 12, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 12)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though much colder air is expected to arrive this weekend bringing temperatures into the single digits above zero during the day and below zero at night. There was considerable freezing rain and sleet on Thursday across the region, so expect conditions to be icy. Snow cover varies around the region with the most snow along the southern and eastern Adirondacks and the south central Adirondacks into the High Peaks. Wind chill on summits this weekend is expected to be as low as 20 below zero. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time). Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece (Not Cotton!) clothing. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from more than a foot along the Tug Hill Plateau, 2 to 4 inches of snow in the lower elevations in the High Peaks area, with 12 inches or more in the higher elevations. There is 6 to 8 inches in Southeastern and South Central Adirondacks. Twelve inches of snow is being reported at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; 8 inches at Lake Clear, 5 inches at Paul Smiths, 4-6 inches at lower elevations in the High Peaks and along the Northern and Eastern slopes of Adirondacks, 2-4 inches around Old Forge, Cranberry Lake, and Long Lake; 6-10 inches in the Moose River Plains with up to a foot toward Inlet, and an 5-8 inches in around Schroon Lake, Northern Warren County, Speculator, and Indian Lake. Portions of the Adirondacks, especially across the Southern and South Central regions could see an additional 4-6 inches on Friday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes. Ice fisherman, skiers, skaters and others have begun accessing many waters. 8 to 9 inches of ice are reported on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden and 5 to 7 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is thin ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and at Huddle Bay on Lake George. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
Thursday’s snowfall and recent below-freezing temperatures, mean that this Martin Luther King weekend should see some busy slopes. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open with top to bottom skiing (Gore with about half of their trails; Whiteface is reporting 75% of trails open). With the exception of Big Tupper and Hickory in Warrensburg, all the regions downhill mountains are open with some limited skiing. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY & BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
The region’s cross-country ski areas will all be open this weekend, albeit on a limited number of trails and thin cover, except for Lapland Lake, which would be your best ski area bet. The Lake Placid area has about 4 to 6 inches of snow so the Whiteface Highway is skiable and some sections of the Jackrabbit Trail are skiable with caution. The peninsula section from Saranac Avenue to the Whiteface Club is a good bet. Marcy Dam Truck Trail not skiable, but Meadow Lane to the summer parking lot is reported barely skiable, as is the Main Loop at Henry’s Woods on Bear Cub Lane in lake Placid. Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni is skiable as are the trails at the Paul Smith’s VIC where five inches of snow make that a good choice as is the Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails. Although there have been a few die-hards skiing the thin cover of some of the new slides, there is generally not enough snow cover yet in the High Peaks. Updated cross-country and back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Early climbing routes are in, the popular ones reported crowded. The Chapel Pond canyon climbs are in and Chapel Pond is frozen, but avoid the inlet and outlets areas. Cascade Falls (reported to be improved following Tropical Storm Irene widening) is claimable. There is decent climbing reported on the North Side of Pitchoff at Multi-Gulley, Chillar Pillar and in the southern Adirondacks / Lake George region. Roaring Brook should be in soon, but there are some climbs now at Poke-O-Moonshine, Mineville Pillar, Underwood Canyon. No climbing reported yet at Pharaoh Mountain or on the North Face of Gothics, but the Palisades on Champlain is being climbed. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** 16th ANNUAL ADIRONDACK INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAINFEST
The 16th Annual Adirondack International Mountainfest, hosted by The Mountaineer in Keene Valley will take place from January 13-15. Mountainfest is an annual celebration of ice climbing and mountaineering, featuring guest athletes who entertain us with tales of climbing adventures, instructional clinics taught by visiting climbers and local guides, demo gear, and a chance to gather with the climbing community. This year will feature climbing guides Zoe Hart, Emilie Drinkwater, Bayard Russell and Jim Shimberg. A full schedule, a list of classes and instructors, and registration information is available online.

** MOST SNOWMOBILE TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
Most of the region’s snowmobile trails remain closed, the best opportunity to ride this weekend will be in the Moose River Plains and toward Inlet which has begun grooming (although Indian Lake has not). Perkins Clearing is not recommended at this time. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WARREN-SARATOGA COUNTY SNOWMOBILER WARNING
The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

** SNOWMOBILE SAFETY WEEK BEGINS MONDAY
Snowmobiling is enjoyed by over 4 million people across the United States and Canada. While, the sport is safe and enjoyable if done properly and with respect, the excitement of snowmobiling may occasionally turn into tragedy. Injuries and deaths that are related to snowmobiling can be prevented. Frequently reported contributing factors in accidents include excessive speed, drowning, unsafe operation, inattention, and operating under the influence of alcohol. In fact, over 50% of snowmobile-related fatalities involve intoxicated operators.
The purpose of International Snowmobile Safety Week is to expose people to safe snowmobiling practices and to demonstrate how operating safely can prevent mishaps. Learn more online.

** NON_RESIDENT SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION ONLINE
Non-residents of New York State who have snowmobiles registered in their home states may now register their sleds in NY online. New York registration is required to operate the snowmobile on New York State’s 10,500 miles of trails. A temporary NYS registration is issued at the end of the transaction for immediate operation of the snowmobile in NYS. New York State residents cannot use this to register their sleds yet, that is expected to be implemented by the Department of Motor Vehicles in the near future. Registrants who join a NYS Snowmobile Association club first, reduce their registration cost from $100 (non-club member) to just $45 per sled (club member).

** DEC SEEKS INFORMATION ON SICK OR DEAD DEER
The DEC is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today. Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. To locate your nearest DEC office, see www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. [Read More]

HURRICANE IRENE DAMAGE TO TRAILS
Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are generally running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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.

STATE FOREST PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests has announced the winners of the 2011 “Celebrating New York’s Forests” photo contest. More than 530 photos were submitted and judged. The winners’ and semifinalists’ photographs for each of the five categories: “Enjoying the Forest,” “Trees Where We Live,” “Forest Products,” “State-owned Forests,” and “Commissioner’s Choice,” can be viewed by going to the Celebrating New York’s Forests – Photo Contest webpage on DEC’s website.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snow and Ice: Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though much colder air is expected to arrive this weekend bringing temperatures into the single digits above zero during the day and below zero at night. There was considerable freezing rain and sleet on Thursday across the region, so expect conditions to be icy. Rocks, sticks and vegetation are above or just below the snow. Cross country skiing is not recommended until there is additional snow cover. Snowshoes are not necessary or recommended for the lower elevations. However snowshoes should be carried as they are recommended, though not required, to be used in the higher elevations. Traction devices may be needed for icy conditions found on trails in lower elevations and on open summits. Wind chill on summits this weekend is expected to be as low as 20 below zero. Currently there are 2 to 4 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations; the caretaker reports 12 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin.

** Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

** South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

** Corey’s Road: People accessing the Western High Peaks using the Corey’s Road should be alert for logging trucks. Timber operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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.

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).

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: Currently there are 4 to 6 inches of snow on the roads, more towards Inlet. Motor vehicles (cars & trucks) should not be using the road system. There is not enough snow at this time for groomers to operate on the snowmobile trail system on in the Indian Lake end but groomers are operating on the Inlet side. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

** Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: Currently there are 2-3 inches of snow on the roads. Motor vehicles (cars & trucks) should not be using the road system. There is not enough snow at this time for groomers to operate on the snowmobile trail system.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Martin Luther King holiday weekend (January 14-16) will be the first of three Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge. Events will also be held on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. See the press release for additional information.

** Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Warren-Saratoga County Snowmobile Warning: The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

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. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – 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

New Paul Smith’s College VIC Trails: The Paul Smith’s College VIC has nearly doubled their winter sports trail system, and currently has about five inches of snow. To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months. Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit. Some trails will also be designated for skijoring. Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions. More information van be found here.

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, January 12, 2012

DEC Seeks Information on Sick or Dead Deer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today.

Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. » Continue Reading.



Monday, January 9, 2012

Astronomy: The January Night Sky

Here are some objects for the unaided eye for the month of January. 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 unaided 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. Snow will add more light pollution due to light reflecting off of it.

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 January 2012). The map shows what is in the sky in January at 8 pm for early January; 7 pm for late January.

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!

New note: Measuring Degrees with your hands, proportionally works for people of all ages. With your arm fully extended out:

Width of your pinky finger is 1°
Width of your ring, middle, and index finger equals 5°
Width of your fist equals 10°
Width from tip to tip of index finger and pinky finger stretched out equals 15°
Width from tip to tip of your thumb and pinky finger stretched out equals 25°

The Moon
January 8th Full Moon

January 10th The Moon is near a cluster of stars in the constellation Cancer known as the Beehive cluster.

January 14th The Moon south of Mars, about 9°.

January 16th Is the Last Quarter Moon below Saturn and the star Spica.

January 23rd Is the New Moon, great night if clear to go out and learn some constellations and do some star gazing.

January 26th The thin crescent Moon will be about 6° from Venus after sunset in the West.

January 30th The Moon will be 6° above the planet Jupiter.

Mercury
Mercury rises 90 minutes before sunrise in the southeast and will be about 9° above the horizon. Don’t confuse Mercury with the ruddy glow of the star Antares. Mercury may be quite tough to spot with the twilight glow, but if you’re up early enough in the morning it worth giving a look to see if you can spot the innermost planet. Every day Mercury will get closer to the horizon, disappearing by the middle of January.

Venus
Venus can be found in the southwest just after sunset all throughout the month of January about 15° above the horizon.

Mars
Mars rises after 10pm in the constellation Leo, and nearly 2 hours earlier by the end of the month.
Mars will move into the constellation Virgo by January 14th as it moves slowly eastward in our sky. By January 24th the eastward motion of Mars will come to a halt as the red planet then switches direction and makes it way back into the constellation Leo by the first week of February.
Throughout the month of January Mars will actually double in brightness going from a magnitude 0.2 to -0.5 as we get ever closer to Mars in our orbit. Do not be fooled by any e-mails you may get about Mars being as big as the Moon in the sky, it is a hoax, Mars will never be that large from Earth.

Jupiter
Jupiter will be some 60° above the southern horizon at nightfall shining at a magnitude of -2.5 and will be setting 4 minutes earlier each day as we go through the month of January.

Saturn
Starting to come up a little earlier, Saturn will be visible in the East around 1:30am within the constellation Virgo at about 6° east-northeast from the constellations brightest star Spica.

Orion
The constellation Orion can be seen rising in the East after sunset. This is one of the most well known constellations and within it is one of astronomers favorite nebula; M42 also called the Great Nebula in Orion. If you are in a dark enough location you may be able to see this nebula with the unaided eye. Look for Orion’s belt and look for the 3 stars that are perpendicular to the belt. The middle star in this group of 3 is actually a small cluster of stars within a nebula of dust and debris. This can be seen as a small hazy glow around this middle star.

Andromeda
To the East of the square of Pegasus, attached to it in most drawings of the constellations, is the constellation Andromeda. If you find the bright star Mirach and follow the chain of 3 stars to the North it will bring you to the Andromeda galaxy in clear dark skies.

Triangulum
The constellation Triangulum is to the South of Andromeda. Made up of only 3 stars forming a triangle shape.

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.

Perseus
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the unaided eye which appear faint and fuzzy.
Look for a grouping of stars around the brightest star in Perseus, Mirphak.

Ursa Major
Rising in the North-Northeast after sunset. 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 Above: Image of the double cluster in Perseus. Taken by Michael Rector.

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


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 5)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though are expected to rise above freezing this weekend in the lower and middle elevations. Will chill on summits this weekend is expected to be in the low single digits. There are up to 6 inches of snow at the lower elevations, and 12 inches or more in the higher elevations. A mixture of mud, water, ice and snow may be found on trails in lower elevations, while snow and ice will be present in the higher elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time). Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece (Not Cotton!) clothing. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from a foot or more along the Tug Hill Plateau, 4 to 6 inches in the Northern and Western slopes of the Adirondacks and two to four inches of snow in the Southestern Adirondacks, more above 2,000 feet. Twelve inches of snow is being reported at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; 5 inches at Paul Smiths, 4-6 inches at lower elevations in the High Peaks and along the Northern and Eastern slopes of Adirondacks, 2-4 inches around Old Forge and Indian Lake, 6-10 inches in the Moose River Plains with up to a foot toward Inlet, and an 2-4 inches in Warren County.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds. Ice fisherman, skiers, skaters and others have begun accessing many waters. 8 to 9 inches of ice are reported on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden and 2 to 4 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
Nights have been cold enough for snow making, and warm days make for some great skiing. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open with top to bottom skiing on about half of their trails. McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a few trails open and Mt. Pisgah will open this weekend with some limited skiing and there is at lead one run open at Oak Mountain near Lake Pleasant. No skiing yet at Big Tupper and Hickory in Warrensburg. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY & BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
The region’s cross-country ski areas will all be open this weekend, albeit on a limited number of trails and thin cover, except for Lapland Lake, which would be your best ski area bet. The Lake Placid area has about 4 to 6 inches of snow so the Whiteface Highway is skiable and some sections of the Jackrabbit Trail are skiable with caution. The peninsula section from Saranac Avenue to the Whiteface Club is a good bet. Marcy Dam Truck Trail not skiable, but Meadow Lane to the summer parking lot is reported barely skiable, as is the Main Loop at Henry’s Woods on Bear Cub Lane in lake Placid. Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni is skiable as are the trails at the Paul Smith’s VIC where five inches of snow make that a good choice as is the Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails. There is not enough snow cover yet in the High Peaks. Updated cross-country and back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Early climbing routes are in, the popular ones reported crowded. The Chapel Pond canyon climbs are in and Chapel Pond is frozen, but avoid the inlet and outlets areas. Cascade Falls (reported to be improved following Tropical Storm Irene widening) is claimable. There is decent climbing reported on the North Side of Pitchoff at Multi-Gulley, Chillar Pillar and in the southern Adirondacks / Lake George region. Roaring Brook should be in soon, but there are some climbs now at Poke-O-Moonshine, Mineville Pillar, Underwood Canyon. No climbing reported yet at Pharaoh Mountain or on the North Face of Gothics, but the Palisades on Champlain is being climbed. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** MOST SNOWMOBILE TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
Most of the region’s snowmobile trails remain closed, the best opportunity to ride this weekend will be in the Moose River Plains and toward Inlet which has begun grooming (although Indian Lake has not). Perkins Clearing is not recommended at this time. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WARREN-SARATOGA COUNTY SNOWMOBILER WARNING
The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

HURRICANE IRENE DAMAGE TO TRAILS
Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are generally running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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.

** STATE FOREST PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests has announced the winners of the 2011 “Celebrating New York’s Forests” photo contest. More than 530 photos were submitted and judged. The winners’ and semifinalists’ photographs for each of the five categories: “Enjoying the Forest,” “Trees Where We Live,” “Forest Products,” “State-owned Forests,” and “Commissioner’s Choice,” can be viewed by going to the Celebrating New York’s Forests – Photo Contest webpage on DEC’s website.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snow and Ice: Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though are expected to rise above freezing this weekend in the lower and middle elevations. Will chill on summits this weekend is expected to be in the low single digits. There are up to 6 inches of snow at the lower elevations, and 12 inches or more in the higher elevations. Snowshoes may be needed above 3,000 and traction devices for ice should be packed and used when warranted.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) is icy and treacherous. Hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: DOT equipment has been removed from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead and parking there is restored. 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The Hurricane Mountain Road and the O’Toole Road have reopened to all traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead have reopened. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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 River Trail at the Flume has been repaired.

Whiteface Mountain Toll Road: The Whiteface Mountain Toll Road is closed to motorized traffic for the season.

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

Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands: Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge on the Carpenter Hill Trail, an important snowmobile connector trail in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands, has been was replaced by the DEC. Carpenter Hill Trail connects the Mud Lake Road and the Jessup River Road in the Town of Lake Pleasant. The bridge has traditionally been used to bypass winter logging of easement lands. Replacing the bridge eliminates the need for hazardous ice crossings. The new bridge is 60 feet long, 12 feet wide and was built with steel stringers set on abutments of timber cribbing. The bridge is bigger, much sturdier and should have a longer life span than the previous bridge. The previous bridge was 47 feet long, 11 feet wide and built with five 18-inch thick birch and spruce supporting stringers. The stringers were rotted and one had broken apart making the crossing unsafe. The 40,000-acre Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands are located just north of the Village of Speculator and Route 8 in the towns of Arietta, Lake Pleasant and Wells in Hamilton County. The 14,332 acre Perkins Clearing Tract lies west of Route 30 and the 21,648 acre Speculator Tree Farm Tract lies east of Route 30.

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).

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: Currently there are 6 to 10 inches of snow on the roads, more towards Inlet. Motor vehicles (cars & trucks) should not be using the road system. There is not enough snow at this time for groomers to operate on the snowmobile trail system on in the Indian Lake end but groomers are operating on the Inlet side. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Warren-Saratoga County Snowmobile Warning: The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

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. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – 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

** New Paul Smith’s College VIC Trails: The Paul Smith’s College VIC has nearly doubled their winter sports trail system, and currently has five inches of snow. To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months. Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit. Some trails will also be designated for skijoring. Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions. More information van be found here.

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has begun forming on smaller ponds, bays and along shorelines. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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, December 29, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Dec 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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Temperatures are below freezing at all elevations and trails are very icy. Ice and some snow will be found on trails at lower elevations, more above 3,000 feet. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Pack and use ice traction devices. Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece (Not Cotton!) clothing. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, several inches in the western slopes of the Adirondacks and a dusting to several inches of snow at lower elevations elsewhere, more above 3,000 feet. Five inches of snow is being reported at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; three to six around Indian Lake and in the Old Forge area.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice is forming on all water bodies and some isolated early season ice fishing has begun. Several inches has been reported on Cascade Lake, Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden although use caution near inlets and outlets. Smaller ponds and higher elevation waters may be able to hold a person’s weight. Check the depth of ice before crossing, avoid inlets and outlets. Ice on or near running water should be avoided. Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
Nights have been cold enough for snow making, and warm days make for some great skiing. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open (White reporting 28% of trails open; Gore %39) and McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a few trails open but downhill facilities relying on natural snow remain closed. Mt. Pisgah is hoping to open in the coming week, but not yet this weekend. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY & BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Garnet Hill and Lapland Lake have a few trails open, although snow is thin and hard and so recommended for intermediate-level and up skiers. Mt. Hoevenberg and Cascade Ski Center should both be open this weekend (call ahead). The Jackrabbit Trail remains unskiable. Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni will be skiable this weekend, though crusty. There is no recent report on the Burn Road near Little Tupper Lake, which was skiable up to Tuesday. The Whiteface Highway was thin for the first two miles, but should be skiable this weekend. There is not enough snow cover yet in the High Peaks. Updated cross-country and back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Although ice formation is still lagging, conditions have greatly improved over the past week and early climbing routes are in, the popular ones reported crowded. The Chapel Pond canyon climbs are still somewhat thin, but other routes are in there including the Crystal Ice Tower. Chapel Pond is frozen, but avoid the inlet and outlets areas. In the Cascade Pass area, Pitchoff is being top-roped and Cascade Falls (reported to be improved following Tropical Storm Irene widening) is claimable. There is decent climbing reported on the North Side of Pitchoff and Multi-Gulley and Crane Mountain are being climbed. Roaring Brook should be in soon, although no climbing yet at Poke-O-Moonshine, Mineville Pillar, Underwood Canyon, Pharaoh Mountain, the North Face of Gothics, and the Palisades on Champlain. There is no report from Chillar Pillar, Elk Pass, or Avalanche Pass. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** MOST SNOWMOBILE TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
Most of the region’s snowmobile trails remain closed, but there should be some available riding around Speculator, Old Forge, and Indian Lake, including the eastern parts of the Moose River Plains and Perkins Clearing (though probably no grooming taking place). Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WARREN-SARATOGA COUNTY SNOWMOBILER WARNING
The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is an active Railroad. There is now increased train traffic year-round. Travel by foot, vehicle or snowmobile on or near the Railroad Right-of-way is trespassing. Do not park any vehicle, including a snowmobile, on or near the Railroad right-of-way OR on or near any Railroad crossing, whether public or private. Questions regarding this notice should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, @ 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

HURRICANE IRENE DAMAGE TO TRAILS
Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING AT OR JUST ABOVE NORMAL
The region’s rivers and streams are generally running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack 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 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC 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

Blowdown Report: 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 is clear.

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 now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snow and Ice: Snowshoes are not needed at this time but traction devices for ice should be packed and used when warranted. Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Temperatures are below freezing at all elevations and trails are very icy. Ice and some snow will be found on trails at lower elevations, more above 3,000 feet.

** Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) is icy and treacherous. Hikers should use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

** Lake Colden and Beyond: There are 5 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Trails are very icy. Ice on exposed bedrock and rocks is very hard. Traction devices may not always be effective, particularly on steep slides and summits. If possible climb up steep routes and down more gently sloping routes. Carry a fall arresting device on steep routes.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

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

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

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. 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. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

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.

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.

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

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: DOT equipment has been removed from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead and parking there is restored. 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 open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The Hurricane Mountain Road and the O’Toole Road have reopened to all traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead have reopened. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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 River Trail at the Flume has been repaired.

Whiteface Mountain Toll Road: The Whiteface Mountain Toll Road is closed to motorized traffic for the season.

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

Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands: Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge on the Carpenter Hill Trail, an important snowmobile connector trail in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands, has been was replaced by the DEC. Carpenter Hill Trail connects the Mud Lake Road and the Jessup River Road in the Town of Lake Pleasant. The bridge has traditionally been used to bypass winter logging of easement lands. Replacing the bridge eliminates the need for hazardous ice crossings. The new bridge is 60 feet long, 12 feet wide and was built with steel stringers set on abutments of timber cribbing. The bridge is bigger, much sturdier and should have a longer life span than the previous bridge. The previous bridge was 47 feet long, 11 feet wide and built with five 18-inch thick birch and spruce supporting stringers. The stringers were rotted and one had broken apart making the crossing unsafe. The 40,000-acre Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands are located just north of the Village of Speculator and Route 8 in the towns of Arietta, Lake Pleasant and Wells in Hamilton County. The 14,332 acre Perkins Clearing Tract lies west of Route 30 and the 21,648 acre Speculator Tree Farm Tract lies east of Route 30.

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).

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: Currently there are 5 inches of snow on the roads. Motor vehicles (cars & trucks) should not be using the road system. There is not enough snow at this time for groomers to operate on the snowmobile trail system. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

** Warren-Saratoga County Snowmobile Warning: The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is an active Railroad. There is now increased train traffic year-round. Travel by foot, vehicle or snowmobile on or near the Railroad Right-of-way is trespassing. Do not park any vehicle, including a snowmobile, on or near the Railroad right-of-way OR on or near any Railroad crossing, whether public or private. Questions regarding this notice should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, @ 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

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. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

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

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

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: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. 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 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 Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – 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

New Paul Smith’s College VIC Trails: The Paul Smith’s College VIC has nearly doubled their winter sports trail system, To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months. Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit. Some trails will also be designated for skijoring. Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions. More information van be found here.

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

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area 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

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands: Public use of these easement lands have reopened to the public except for public hunting which is prohibited through December 31.

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: Roads in the Split Rock area have reopened and the trailhead is now easily accessible.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain has been restored with the reopening of Forestdale Road.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has begun forming on smaller ponds, bays and along shorelines. 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: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

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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