Thursday, July 28, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 28)

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.

ALL ROCK CLIMBING ROUTES HAVE REOPENED
Peregrine falcon nesting activity has ended for the season and all rock climbing routes are now open. Peregrine falcon nest monitoring efforts will be completed in the next couple of weeks. However, it is already clear that 2011 was a difficult year for falcon nesting in the Adirondacks, with many nest failures and very few nests producing more than one chick. This is most likely due to the severe rainstorms and flooding early in the nesting season. DEC appreciates the assistance and cooperation of the rock climbing community and thanks the climbers that assisted in monitoring cliffs and nest sites. Thanks also to climbers for their patience and understanding and not climbing closed routes. If you observe a peregrine falcon exhibiting defensive or distressed behavior while climbing, please descend immediately and report your observations to the DEC Region 5 Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** MAIN MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROAD REOPENS
The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), will be fully open to motor vehicles beginning Friday, July 29. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

** REMAINING BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
Most rivers in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms and use caution when crossing swollen rivers after storms.

** RAQUETTE RIVER AWARENESS WEEK (7/30 – 8/6)
From Saturday, July 30th through Saturday, August 6th The Raquette River Blueway Corridor has scheduled a week of events for Raquette River Awareness Week. From flea markets to Class V whitewater kayaking, the communities along the Raquette River hope to introduce residents and visitors alike to the beauty of the Raquette River and the communities that line its banks. More information can be found online.

** ADIRONDACK WATERFEST
Adirondack Waterfest, a free family event, will be held Friday July 29, 2011 at the Lake Placid Town Beach from 10 am – 4pm. Held in partnership with the Mirror Lake Watershed Association, the Lake Placid Shoreowners’ Association and the Mill Pond Neighborhood Association, Adirondack Waterfest will include an array of exhibitors including The Wild Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and local River and Lake Associations. Individuals can learn about local water resources, recreation, water quality, water monitoring, shoreline management and more. Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery will be selling an array of native plants for your garden. A Kids Area will be offered with activities, games, prizes, t-shirt printing and a bouncy house. There will also be live music throughout the day supplied by local radio station WSLP.

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

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

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

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

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

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

** Fire Danger: MODERATE

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

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, high near 75.
Friday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, low around 54.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 79.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 81.

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** NPT Lake Durant/Stephens Pond Area Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are sought on Monday, August 1st and 8th to remove numerous blowdowns (varying in size from small to quite large trees) with hand tools in the Lake Durant / Stephens Pond area. Each day will involve several miles of hiking along with 5 to 7 hours of strenuous work. Volunteers should bring a crosscut saw, an axe, bowsaw, or pruning saw if they have them; several hand tools including a crosscut saw will be available. Volunteers will meet at the shower building at the Lake Durant Campground at 9 am and return around 5 pm. Brief instruction on axe and saw work will be provided for those not proficient with those tools. Participants should bring plenty of water, lunch, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will work rain or shine. If interested contact: Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com
or 518-429-0049.

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

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

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

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Expect Heavy Use: The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a water trail extending from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine is hosting the Second Annual 740 Miles in A Day event this Saturday, July 30. Recently named “America’s Best Canoe Trail 2011” by Outside Magazine, NFCT is hosting the 740 Miles in A Day event to get paddlers out on the water at any point along the trail to raise awareness of trailside businesses and communities. To show your support, the organizers ask that you pre-register and report back on the mile or miles you paddled. The goal is to have multiple paddlers across the Trail contributing a total number of miles paddled that meets or exceeds 740 miles. To register and learn more visit their webpage.

Waters have returned to normal.

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

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water.

Little Porter Mountain: The bridge has been replaced over Slide Brook on the Little Porter Mountain Trail.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

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

** NPT Lake Durant/Stephens Pond Area Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are sought on Monday, August 1st and 8th to remove numerous blowdowns (varying in size from small to quite large trees) with hand tools in the Lake Durant / Stephens Pond area. Each day will involve several miles of hiking along with 5 to 7 hours of strenuous work. Volunteers should bring a crosscut saw, an axe, bowsaw, or pruning saw if they have them; several hand tools including a crosscut saw will be available. Volunteers will meet at the shower building at the Lake Durant Campground at 9 am and return around 5 pm. Brief instruction on axe and saw work will be provided for those not proficient with those tools. Participants should bring plenty of water, lunch, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will work rain or shine. If interested contact: Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com
or 518-429-0049.

** Moose River Plains Road Reopens: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), will be fully open to motor vehicles beginning Friday, July 29. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

** Jessup River Road: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

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

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** Independence River Wild Forest: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties. The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

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

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

** Thirteenth Lake: Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snow plow turn around about a quarter mile before the trailhead.

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

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

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

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

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

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

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

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

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

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

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

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

——————–
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, July 21, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 21)

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH HEAT AND HUMIDITY
With forecasts calling for temperatures in the high 80s to mid 90s with 100 percent humidity across much of the Adirondacks through Saturday, the National Weather Service has issued an Heat Advisory. The combination of excessive heat and humidity can lead to heat-related illnesses, especially in children, the elderly, and those performing strenuous physical activities such as hiking. Schedule strenuous activities for early morning, wear light weight, loose fitting clothing, stay out of the sun, take frequent shaded rests, drink plenty of water, and know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency – call 911.

** LAKE PLACID IRONMAN EVENT
This Sunday, more than 2,500 athletes will compete in the thirteenth annual Lake Placid Ironman. Expected heavy traffic on roadways in Lake Placid, Jay, Ausable Forks, and Wilmington including Routes 9N, 86 and 73.

** WAKLEY DAM ULTRA – NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL
The Damn Wakely Dam Ultra footrace will take place this Saturday, July 23th. Expect heavy use along the section of the Northville Placid Trial between Piseco Lake and Wakely Dam.

** ALL ROCK CLIMBING ROUTES HAVE REOPENED
Peregrine falcon nesting activity has ended for the season and all rock climbing routes are now open. Peregrine falcon nest monitoring efforts will be completed in the next couple of weeks. However, it is already clear that 2011 was a difficult year for falcon nesting in the Adirondacks, with many nest failures and very few nests producing more than one chick. This is most likely due to the severe rainstorms and flooding early in the nesting season. DEC appreciates the assistance and cooperation of the rock climbing community and thanks the climbers that assisted in monitoring cliffs and nest sites. Thanks also to climbers for their patience and understanding and not climbing closed routes. If you observe a peregrine falcon exhibiting defensive or distressed behavior while climbing, please descend immediately and report your observations to the DEC Region 5 Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
A number of secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include The Jessup River Road in Hamilton County; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; and Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. In the Western Lake George Wild Forest Lily Pond Road has reopened. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
All rivers in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms.

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

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

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

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

** Fire Danger: MODERATE

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

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, high near 83.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, low around 56.
Saturday: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly sunny, high near 82.
Saturday Night: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; partly cloudy, low near 57.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 73.

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** Piseco Lake to Wakely Dam: The Damn Wakely Dam Ultra footrace will take place this Saturday, July 23th. Expect heavy use along the section of the Northville Placid Trial between Piseco Lake and Wakely Dam.

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

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

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

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters have returned to normal.

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

** Heavy Roadway Traffic: This Sunday, more than 2,500 athletes will compete in the thirteenth annual Lake Placid Ironman. Expected heavy traffic on roadways in Lake Placid, Jay, Ausable Forks, and Wilmington including Routes 9N, 86 and 73.

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water.

Little Porter Mountain: The bridge has been replaced over Slide Brook on the Little Porter Mountain Trail.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

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

** Northville Placid Trail (Piseco Lake to Wakely Dam): The Damn Wakely Dam Ultra footrace will take place this Saturday, July 23th. Expect heavy use along the section of the Northville Placid Trial between Piseco Lake and Wakely Dam.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

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

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

Independence River Wild Forest: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties. The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

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

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

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

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

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

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

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

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: Lily Pond Road is now open.

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

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

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

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

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

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

——————–
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, July 14, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 14)

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.

** MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Trails in exposed areas are drying out but trails in deep woods, near water and in lows spots may still contain mud and water on trails. All trails may be wet and muddy following heavy rain events. Hikers should be prepared for mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and remembering to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
All rivers in the region are running at or below normal for this time of year with the Sacandaga and beaver rivers running notably low. Occassional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data.

** INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK
Advocates of combating invasive species in the Adirondacks are hoping local residents and visitors will become familiar with invasive species during the 6th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week which continues through Sunday (July 16). Look for events highlighting the threat of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Interpretive walks and paddles, identification support, invasive species talks, workshops for all ages and more are planned throughout the Adirondacks [calendar of events. Invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making their early detection increasingly important to combating their spread. Adirondack Almanack regularly covers the issue of invasive species in the Adirondacks [link].

ROAD CLOSURES
A number of secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include The Jessup River Road in Hamilton County; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; and Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

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

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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

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

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
Due to active peregrine falcon nesting rock climbing routes remain closed at the Labor Day Wall in Wilmington Notch and at the Lower Washbowl. Routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff and on the Nose of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain have reopened. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

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

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, high near 79.
Friday Night: Clear, low around 47.
Saturday: Sunny, high near 82.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, low around 55.
Sunday: Sunny, high near 83.

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

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

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

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

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters have returned to normal.

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

** Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

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

** New Beaver Brook Mountain Bike Trails – Wilmington Wild Forest: A 3.5-mile system of multi-use trails has been opened for mountain biking and hiking on the Beaver Brook Tract off the Hardy Road in the Town of Wilmington. More information and a map is now available online.

Little Porter Mountain: The bridge has been replaced over Slide Brook on the Little Porter Mountain Trail.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Johns Brook Valley: The Deer Brook Lean-to has been relocated 100 yards up the brook from its former location. A sign at the former location directs campers to the new location. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

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

** New Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex Map: Local and state officials have announced a cooperative effort among 24 villages and hamlets in the western Adirondacks to promote the half million acre Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex. “The Bob”, as it is also known, is a mix of public and private land larger than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and almost as large as Yosemite. The Bob includes more than 100,000 acres of Old Growth forests; More than 1,400 lakes and ponds; hundreds of miles of flat and white-water paddling including portions of the Moose, Independence and Oswagacthie rivers; More than 400 miles of hiking trails; and blocks of private land, including remote interior communities like Big Moose, Conifer, Stillwater and Beaver River. The Bob encompasses a number of preexisting management ares, including the Five Ponds, Pepperbox, William C. Whitney, Round Lake, Pigeon Lake and Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness areas together with the Aldrich Pond, Watson’s East Triangle, Fulton Chain, Sargent Ponds, Independence River and Cranberry Lake Wild Forest areas. The Bob is named after Robert Marshall, who first proposed special protection for the area in the 1930s. The only travel corridor that bisects the entire Bob is the former Adirondack Railroad line that stretches from Remsen (north of Utica) to Lake Placid. More information can be found online.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

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

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

** Independence River Wild Forest: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties. The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

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

** The Ausable Point Day Campground Reopens: More than 90 of the 123 campsites at the Ausable Point Campground on Lake Champlain will be open Friday July 15th. The Ausable Point Day Use Area with its large beach and picnic pavilion opened last week. The campground, the day use area and the access road were underwater for almost two months during the historic flooding of Lake Champlain. The waters and wave action caused extensive erosion and other damage. The area was inaccessible during this period. Once the water levels receded below flood stage, DEC staff began clean up and repair of flood damage on the road, the campground, beach and other facilities. Many of the campsites have been previously reserved for this weekend. It’s recommended that campers call ahead at 518-561-7080 to learn the availability of campsites.

** Lake Champlain Bass Tournament Dispersal Study
Growing interest of Lake Champlain’s bass fishery has led to a new study that will analyze bass dispersal after release during tournaments held in Plattsburgh. Scientists from the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh are tagging bass during 2011 and 2012 tournaments with external plastic tags and internal radio transmitters. Researchers will be tracking tagged bass in the lake to assess fish movement patterns. Anglers who recover tagged fish are encouraged to send an e-mail to the address on the tag, and indicate the date, tag number, and approximate location of recovery (i.e., Main Lake, Missisquoi Bay, Northeast Arm, etc.). Please release any tagged fish back to the lake if possible. Questions about the study may be directed to Mark Malchoff at SUNY Plattsburgh (mark.malchoff@plattsburgh.edu; 518-564-3037).

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

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

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

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

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: All ADA accessible roads are now open for motor vehicle access to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). Permit holders must remember to check the allowable vehicle type and call the Warrenburg office (518-623-1209) for the current combination and conditions. Recently opened MAPPWD roads include: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, Huckleberry Mountain Route, and the Palmer Pond Access Route.

** Hudson Recreation Area: The two designated accessible campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are open for camping. People with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) may access these campsites with motor vehicles. Call the Warrenburg office (518-623-1209) for the current combination and conditions. See the Hudson River Special Management Area webpage for more information and maps on the facilities, including ADA accessible facilities, in this area.

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

** Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area is open, but the road is still in rough condition. 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles are recommended.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: Gates on Lily Pond Road remain closed but are expected to open soon.

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

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

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: A new accessible fishing/waterway access sites has been constructed on Fishhole Pond. The facility is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and provides outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. The features that provide accessibility for people with disabilities include: universally accessible parking area designed to accommodate up to five vehicles; ADA compliant access ramp; and universally accessible platform designed for getting in and out of boats, canoes and kayaks. Contact the Region 5 Lands & Forests Office (518-897-1291) for more information and directions to these facilities.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

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

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

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


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Astronomy: The July Night Sky With The Naked Eye

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

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

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for July 2011). The map shows what is in the sky in July at 10 pm (for early July; 10 pm for late July).

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

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

Capricornus

The Asteroid Vesta is visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Capricornus. The Dawn Space Craft is on it’s way to Vesta as I type this, and should start it’s orbit around Vesta on July 16, 2011 for one year. You may not see Vesta moving across the sky, but if you track it all month long you will notice it’s change of position in the sky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Andromeda Galaxy in a Wikipedia photo taken with an H-Alpha filter which helps filter out artificial light and skyglow; Below, Screen capture from the astronomy freeware Stellarium showing where Vesta is located in Capricornus on July 9.

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


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 7)

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, June 30, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 30)

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH USE THIS WEEKEND
Due to the Fourth of July and Canada Day holiday weekends visitors should be aware that popular parking lots, camping sites, motels and hotels may fill to capacity. Heavy traffic is expected in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness in particular, where facilities are likely to fill by Friday afternoon. This is a weekend to seek recreation opportunities in less-used areas of the Adirondack Park. The DEC website Hiking Trails Outside the High Peaks provides a list of alternative day hikes in the Adirondacks.

** HIGH WATERS
2011 continues to be a rainy and wet year in the Adirondacks. Additional rain this week has boosted already swollen waters leaving all rivers in the region are running above normal with those in the Hudson and Champlain running well above normal. Some trails and campsites adjacent to waters may still be flooded, or at least very wet. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution as this spring’s high waters have still not abated.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING IMPACTS CONTINUE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded, but the lake has begun returning to near normal levels. While most facilities will be open for this weekend, the Ausable Point Campground and Day Use Area is closed for the holiday weekend. The entrance road will be open to motor vehicle traffic this weekend to the entrance gate, which provides access to the fishing access site, the wildlife observation deck, and other parts of the Ausable Point Wildlife Management Area. The Peru Dock is fully operational except that the pump station is closed. At Willsboro Bay only center floating docks are installed at this time. In South Bay the floating docks are scheduled to be installed before the holiday weekend. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

TICONDEROGA FERRY HAS BEGUN OPERATING
The cable ferry between Ticonderoga and Shoreham, Vermont began running June 16, after being unable to operate for nearly two months.due to flooded docks on both sides. The ferry runs from 7 to 7 daily; $9 one-way or $16 round-trip for cars and small trucks. More information about the ferry is available online.

** ROAD CLOSURES
A number of secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to spring flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include The Jessup River Road in Hamilton County; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred this spring and combined with saturated soils have contributed to already considerable blowdown in some areas; expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. A hiker had to be rescued by helicopter last week from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

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

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

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

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

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance of early showers, partly sunny, high near 72.
Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 51.
Saturday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly sunny, high near 83.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers,thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 57.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, high near 78.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, low around 50.
Independence Day: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly sunny, high near 76.

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

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

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters: Water levels remain high. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

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

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

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

Wilmington Wild Forest: A 3.5-mile system of multi-use trails has been opened for mountain biking and hiking on the Beaver Brook Tract off the Hardy Road in the Town of Wilmington.

** Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged. The bridge crossing is located at a deeper section of Slide Brook. Hikers should go a little farther upstream or downstream of the bridge to cross during low water. However, if there has been significant rain and water levels are high (as they will likely be this weekend), the brook will be impassable – hikers should plan another hike.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Johns Brook Lodge Opens / Upgrades: The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Johns Brook Lodge (JBL) opens for the season Saturday, June 24 following upgrades and enhanced services. JBL, which was built by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) in 1925, is 3.5 miles from the nearest road along the Phelps Trail. The lodge is 5.6 miles from the summit of Mount Marcy, and is also in close proximity to Gothics, Armstrong Mountain, Big Slide Mountain and Upper and Lower Wolf Jaw. This spring, ADK volunteers insulated and paneled the two main bunk rooms, installed transom windows. The improvements were made in the fourth year of a five-year project to rejuvenate the lodge and improve the visitor experience. Over the past few years, the JBL great room has been insulated and paneled, the kitchen has been renovated, windows have been replaced, the family bunk rooms have been upgraded, and the staff cabin has been expanded. On weekends this summer, trained volunteer hosts will greet and direct arriving guests, explain services, operate the JBL store, and provide hikers with information about ADK and the surrounding backcountry. With two, four-bunk family rooms and two larger bunk rooms, JBL can accommodate up to 28 guests. During the summer accommodations include meals prepared by ADK staff. JBL is also open during the spring and fall, but guests must pack in their own food during the “caretaker” seasons.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

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

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

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

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

** Independence River Wild Forest UMP Amendment: DEC has completed a draft amendment to the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The draft amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Management Guidance: Snowmobile Trail Siting, Construction and Maintenance on Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack Park; Nov. 2009. Additionally, the amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. The Independence River Wild Forest is comprised of over 79,000 acres located in the Towns of Grieg, Watson and Lyonsdale in Lewis County and the Town of Webb, Herkimer County. Any individual or organization interested in providing comments or receiving additional information about the proposed amendment of the Independence River Wild Forest UMP can contact Keith Rivers at NYSDEC 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, New York 13367or call (315) 376-3521 or e-mail kwrivers@gw.dec.state.ny.us. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

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

Ticonderoga Ferry Now Open: The cable ferry between Ticonderoga and Shoreham, Vermont began running June 16, after being unable to operate for nearly two months.due to flooded docks on both sides. The ferry runs from 7 to 7 daily; $9 one-way or $16 round-trip for cars and small trucks. More information about the ferry is available online.

** Lake Champlain Flooding Impacts Continue: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded, but the lake has begun returning to near normal levels. While most facilities will be open for this weekend, the Ausable Point Campground and Day Use Area is closed for the holiday weekend. The entrance road will be open to motor vehicle traffic this weekend to the entrance gate, which provides access to the fishing access site, the wildlife observation deck, and other parts of the Ausable Point Wildlife Management Area. The Peru Dock is fully operational except that the pump station is closed. At Willsboro Bay only center floating docks are installed at this time. In South Bay the floating docks are scheduled to be installed before the holiday weekend. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

Great Sacandaga Lake Beaches Closed: All six public beaches in Fulton and Saratoga counties remain closed. Broadalbin’s beach on Lakeview Road, adjacent to the state boat launch, will not open this year after the Town Council voted to end funding. Officials have told local reporters that people who use the beach do so at their own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty, but they aren’t being considered trespassers because the area hasn’t been posted. The town park and beach in Edinburg has been closed since last summer for the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge; it’s expected to reopen in 2013. The Northville beach on Route 30 is scheduled to open for Fourth of July weekend, but the beach is still under water. The beach on South Shore Road in Providence, near Fish House, also is under water, but is expected to be opened by July 1. The beach in the Northampton Day Use area is under water, but also expected to open by the end of the month. The water level of the Great Sacandaga Lake has stayed above target levels since the end of April.

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

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

Thirteenth Lake: A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

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

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: The Dacy Clearing Park Area and Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts. Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

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

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Two new accessible fishing/waterway access sites have been constructed on Grass Pond and Fishhole Pond. The facilities are compliant with the American Disabilities Act and provide outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. The features that provide accessibility for people with disabilities include universally accessible parking areas designed to accommodate up to five vehicles; ADA compliant access ramps; and universally accessible platforms designed for getting in and out of boats, canoes and kayaks. Contact the Region 5 Lands & Forests Office (518-897-1291) for more information and directions to these facilities.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. 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.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Poke-O-Moonshine / Taylor Pond Wild Forest: The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on Thursday through Monday.

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, June 23, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 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.

** HIGH WATERS
Additional rain this week has continued the rainy Spring into Summer and boosted levels in some already swollen waters. Lake Champlain has finally dropped below flood stage, however many waters in the Lake Champlain and Hudson River watershed remain high, including the Hudson, Sacandaga, Schroon, Bouquet, Ausable and Salmon rivers, as well as the Raquette River, which has remained high since this springs flooding began, and the Black and Independence rivers. Some trails and campsites adjacent to rivers that continue to be high (and along Lake Champlain) may still be flooded, or at least very wet. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution as this spring’s high waters have still not abated.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING IMPACTS CONTINUE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded, but the lake has begun returning to near normal levels. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. The Plattsburgh Docks, Port Douglas and Peru Docks Boat Launch Sites are now operational. Tomorrow the center floating docks will be installed at Willsboro Bay. Other Lake Champlain campgrounds, marinas, and boat launches have reopened or are expected to reopen this weekend, including Monitor Bay Town Campground and boat launch, Van Slooten Harbour Marina in Port Henry, and Bulwagga Bay Town Campground. The Port Henry Village Campground is expected to open July 1st. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** TICONDEROGA FERRY HAS BEGUN OPERATING
The cable ferry between Ticonderoga and Shoreham, Vermont began running June 16, after being unable to operate for nearly two months.due to flooded docks on both sides. The ferry runs from 7 to 7 daily; $9 one-way or $16 round-trip for cars and small trucks. More information about the ferry is available online.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to spring flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred this spring and combined with saturated soils have contributed considerable blowdown in some areas; expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. A hiker had to be rescued by helicopter last week from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

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

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

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

INCREASED INVASIVE SPECIES BOAT INSPECTIONS
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed at Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Fulton Chain of Lakes, Cranberry Lake, Meacham Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Flower, Upper St. Regis Lake, Lake Placid, Rainbow Lake, Osgood Pond, Second Pond, Tupper Lake, Lake George, and Saratoga Lake. Stewards inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary. More than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Showers, possibly a thunderstorm; high near 69.
Friday Night: Showers, patchy fog; low around 53.
Saturday: Showers likely; cloudy, high near 66.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers, cloudy, low around 52.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66.

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

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

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters: Water levels remain high, especially on the Raquette and Hudson Rivers and in the Lake Champlain watershed. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

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

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

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

** Wilmington Wild Forest: A 3.5-mile system of multi-use trails has been opened for mountain biking and hiking on the Beaver Brook Tract off the Hardy Road in the Town of Wilmington.

** Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged. The bridge crossing is located at a deeper section of Slide Brook. Hikers should go a little farther upstream or downstream of the bridge to cross during low water. However, if there has been significant rain and water levels are high, the brook will be impassable – hikers should plan another hike.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Johns Brook Lodge Opens / Upgrades: The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Johns Brook Lodge (JBL) opens for the season Saturday, June 24 following upgrades and enhanced services. JBL, which was built by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) in 1925, is 3.5 miles from the nearest road along the Phelps Trail. The lodge is 5.6 miles from the summit of Mount Marcy, and is also in close proximity to Gothics, Armstrong Mountain, Big Slide Mountain and Upper and Lower Wolf Jaw. This spring, ADK volunteers insulated and paneled the two main bunk rooms, installed transom windows. The improvements were made in the fourth year of a five-year project to rejuvenate the lodge and improve the visitor experience. Over the past few years, the JBL great room has been insulated and paneled, the kitchen has been renovated, windows have been replaced, the family bunk rooms have been upgraded, and the staff cabin has been expanded. On weekends this summer, trained volunteer hosts will greet and direct arriving guests, explain services, operate the JBL store, and provide hikers with information about ADK and the surrounding backcountry. With two, four-bunk family rooms and two larger bunk rooms, JBL can accommodate up to 28 guests. During the summer accommodations include meals prepared by ADK staff. JBL is also open during the spring and fall, but guests must pack in their own food during the “caretaker” seasons.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

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

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

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

** Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

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

** Ticonderoga Ferry Now Open: The cable ferry between Ticonderoga and Shoreham, Vermont began running June 16, after being unable to operate for nearly two months.due to flooded docks on both sides. The ferry runs from 7 to 7 daily; $9 one-way or $16 round-trip for cars and small trucks. More information about the ferry is available online.

** Lake Champlain Flooding Impacts Continue: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded, but the lake has begun returning to near normal levels. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. The Plattsburgh Docks, Port Douglas and Peru Docks Boat Launch Sites are now operational. Tomorrow the center floating docks will be installed at Willsboro Bay. Other Lake Champlain campgrounds, marinas, and boat launches have reopened or are expected to reopen this weekend, including Monitor Bay Town Campground and boat launch, Van Slooten Harbour Marina in Port Henry, and Bulwagga Bay Town Campground. The Port Henry Village Campground is expected to open July 1st. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** Upper Chateaugay Lake: The floating docks have now been installed.

Great Sacandaga Lake Beaches Closed: All six public beaches in Fulton and Saratoga counties remain closed. Broadalbin’s beach on Lakeview Road, adjacent to the state boat launch, will not open this year after the Town Council voted to end funding. Officials have told local reporters that people who use the beach do so at their own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty, but they aren’t being considered trespassers because the area hasn’t been posted. The town park and beach in Edinburg has been closed since last summer for the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge; it’s expected to reopen in 2013. The Northville beach on Route 30 is scheduled to open for Fourth of July weekend, but the beach is still under water. The beach on South Shore Road in Providence, near Fish House, also is under water, but is expected to be opened by July 1. The beach in the Northampton Day Use area is under water, but also expected to open by the end of the month. The water level of the Great Sacandaga Lake has stayed above target levels since the end of April.

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

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

Thirteenth Lake: A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

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

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: The Dacy Clearing Park Area and Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts. Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

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

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. 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.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Poke-O-Moonshine / Taylor Pond Wild Forest: The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on Thursday through Monday.

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, June 16, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 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.

** HIGH WATERS
Some waters have returned to normal levels, but Lake Champlain is still above flood stage (see below) and the Hudson and Raquette Rivers remain very high, and the Indian, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon, Saranac, Independence, and Oswegatchie Rivers remain above normal. Water temperatures is still low throughout much of the park. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to river than continue to be high may still be flooded. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon (6/16). A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Port Henry, Westport and Willsboro Bay (Plattsburgh Dock is operational). Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, Malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred this spring and combined with saturated soils have contributed considerable blowdown in some areas; expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. A hiker had to be rescued by helicopter this week from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

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

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

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE
Spring is the best time to remember that wild animals belong in the wild. All too often, well-meaning people pick up animals, particularly white-tailed deer fawns and young birds, mistakenly believing that these animals have been orphaned or abandoned. This is almost never the case. The parent animals are nearby, waiting for the human threat to leave, so that they may resume caring for their offspring. The best advice is: “If you care, leave them there.”

INCREASED INVASIVE SPECIES BOAT INSPECTIONS
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed at Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Fulton Chain of Lakes, Cranberry Lake, Meacham Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Flower, Upper St. Regis Lake, Lake Placid, Rainbow Lake, Osgood Pond, Second Pond, Tupper Lake, Lake George, and Saratoga Lake. Stewards inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary. More than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Showers, thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 76.
Friday Night: Showers likely, thunderstorms possible; low around 53.
Saturday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, high near 75.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 44.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 71.

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

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

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

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels remain high and water temperatures low, especially on the Raquette and Hudson Rivers and in the Lake Champlain watershed. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

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

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: The 7th Annual Great Adirondack Trail Run will take place on Saturday in Keene Valley. Expect heavy use by trail runners in the Giant Mountain Wilderness along the North Trail to Giant Mountain between the Route 9N Trailhead / Owl’s Head Lookout area, and the turnoff for Hopkins Mountain and the Mossy Cascade Trail down to the Mountaineer on Route 73. The 11.5 mile run will begin at 9 AM, with runners starting one per minute at the Route 9N trailhead. A second race will be held from Baxter Mountain Tavern to Keene Valley along the Baxter Moutain Trail from the Baxter Mountain Tavern on Rte 9N between Keene and Elizabethtown to the finish area at Riverside in Keene Valley. This shorter 3.5 mile run will begin at 10 AM, also with a staggered start. NOTE: There will be no support–participants are on their own from start to finish, and will need their own water, food and all other supplies. Anyone caught littering will be immediately disqualified.

** Wilmington Whiteface Bike Trails: The second Wilmington/Whiteface Bike Fest, a four-day event which also includes the Whiteface Uphill Road Race, the “Brainless Not Chainless Gravity Ride,” and for the first time a 57-mile qualifier for the Leadville 100. The Bike Fest is expected to bring an additional 4,000 bike enthusiasts to the Wilmington area. Expect heavier than normal traffic on the Flume, Whiteface, Beaver Brook, and Hardy Road Mountain bike trail systems and along the Whiteface Memorial Highway. Sunday’s race starts at the Whiteface Mountain bridge and heads toward Jay and Saddleback Mountains along Jay Mountain Road and Barlett Road. Racers can still register for the WW100 online.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons due to washouts and blowdown.

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

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

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

** West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

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

** Lake Champlain Flooding: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon (6/16). A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Port Henry, Westport and Willsboro Bay (Plattsburgh Dock is operational). Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, Malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** Chazy Lake: Floating docks have not yet been installed.

** Upper Chateaugay Lake: Floating docks have not yet been installed.

** Great Sacandaga Lake Beaches Closed: All six public beaches in Fulton and Saratoga counties remain closed. Broadalbin’s beach on Lakeview Road, adjacent to the state boat launch, will not open this year after the Town Council voted to end funding. Officials have told local reporters that people who use the beach do so at their own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty, but they aren’t being considered trespassers because the area hasn’t been posted. The town park and beach in Edinburg has been closed since last summer for the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge; it’s expected to reopen in 2013. The Northville beach on Route 30 is scheduled to open for Fourth of July weekend, but the beach is still under water. The beach on South Shore Road in Providence, near Fish House, also is under water, but is expected to be opened by July 1. The beach in the Northampton Day Use area is under water, but also expected to open by the end of the month. The water level of the Great Sacandaga Lake has stayed above median and target levels since the end of April. It’s believed the lake will return to normal in the next week if there are no big storms.

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

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

** Thirteenth Lake: A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: The Dacy Clearing Park Area and Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts. Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

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

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. 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.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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, June 9, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 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.

** HEAVY SHARED ROADWAY USE
Expect to encounter bicyclists, runners, and motorcycles on area roads, sometimes in large numbers. Americade and Warrensburg Bike week will fill Warren County roads, especially those near Lake George with motorcycles. Communities hosting foot and bike races that use local roads include Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Inlet and Indian Lake including the Moose River Plains.

** HIGH WATERS
Larger rivers in the Western Adirondacks have returned to normal levels for this time of year, with the exception of the those in the St. Lawrence watershed where the Raquette River remains high, and in the Hudson and Champlain watersheds where the Hudson, Indian, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon and Saranac Rivers remain well above normal. In the eastern Adirondacks water levels are high, but water temperatures is still low throughout the park. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may be flooded in the Eastern Adirondacks. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon. A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are still flooded and due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time; The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

LANDSLIDE UPDATE
Recent heavy rains expanded a slide on Whiteface and exacerbated a slide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley, that NYS geologists say is the state’s largest ever. Several weeks of heavy rain contributed to the Whiteface slide which is believed to have occurred during a storm Friday evening. The slide expanded the existing backcountry area’s Slide 3 so that it left tons of debris at the base of Slide 1, also known as Slide Out. A meeting was held this week and covered by the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred over the past week. Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

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

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

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE
Spring is the best time to remember that wild animals belong in the wild. All too often, well-meaning people pick up animals, particularly white-tailed deer fawns and young birds, mistakenly believing that these animals have been orphaned or abandoned. This is almost never the case. The parent animals are nearby, waiting for the human threat to leave, so that they may resume caring for their offspring. The best advice is: “If you care, leave them there.”

** INCREASED INVASIVE SPECIES BOAT INSPECTIONS
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed at Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Fulton Chain of Lakes, Cranberry Lake, Meacham Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Flower, Upper St. Regis Lake, Lake Placid, Rainbow Lake, Osgood Pond, Second Pond, Tupper Lake, Lake George, and Saratoga Lake. Stewards inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary. More than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

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

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

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Mostly sunny, high near 70.
Friday Night: Increasing clouds, low around 41.
Saturday: Showers likely, cloudy, with a high near 63.
Saturday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, low around 50.
Sunday: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 68.

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

LOCAL & REGIONAL CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

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

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette and Lake Champlain watershed rivers, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Wilmington, Lake Placid, High Peaks, Long Lake

** Lake Placid Marathon: The Lake Placid Marathon will take place on Sunday, June 12, and will attract athletes and spectators to roadways in the Lake Placid area. Both races will start on Main Street in front of the Olympic Speedskating Oval at 8:00 a.m. in mass start. Runners will proceed along historic Main Street past the Post Office and through the center of town for the first half mile. Everyone will then proceed clockwise around Mirror Lake on Mirror Lake Drive to join Parkside Drive at the National Sports Academy. The course proceeds out Route 73 to the Horseshow Grounds before doing a 2.8 mile out and back on River Road for the first loop. For those completing the Half Marathon, after the River Road turnaround, runners will continue back through the Horseshow Grounds and continue to the finish at the Olympic Speedskating Oval. The marathon includes 28 aid stations over the course’s 26.2 miles. The half marathon will have 15 aid stations over 13.1 miles. For more information and a complete master schedule, visit www.lakeplacidmarathon.com.

** Wilmington-Whiteface & Saranac Lake Road Races: Team Placid Planet, a cycling and multisport club based in Lake Placid and the High Peaks Region, is hosting the 4th Annual Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race on Saturday, June 11th and the 3rd Annual Saranac Lake Downtown Criterium (NYS Criterium Championships) on Sunday, June 12th. Both races are sanctioned by USA Cycling, the national cycling sanctioning body, and provide opportunities for men, women, and youth of a variety of experience levels as well as first-time racers to participate. The Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race starts at the Wilmington Town Park and takes Bonnie View Road to a 13.7 mile loop on back roads in the town of Black Brook before returning to Wilmington and finishing 1.6 miles up Whiteface Mountain to the Santa’s Workshop entrance. The Saranac Lake Downtown Criterium is a multi-lap event around Main Street, Broadway, Dorsey St, and Rt 3. Registration is online at BikeReg.com or on site on race day. More information, including sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can also be found online or by emailing jameslwalker3@yahoo.com.

** Wilmington – Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems: Mountain bikers are asked to avoid using all bike trail systems in the Wilmington area – including the Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems – to prevent rutting and damaging trails.

** Isolated Snow On The Ground: Snow may be found in a few isolated areas.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

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

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

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

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons due to washouts and blowdown.

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

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

** Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished following heavy damage during this spring’s flooding; it’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

** Black Fly Challenge Mountain Bike Race: The 16th running of the Black Fly Challenge bicycle race will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2011. Affected roads between Inlet and Indian Lake include Routes 30 and 28, Cedar River Road, Limekiln Road in the Moose River Plains, and Otter Brook Road in Inlet. Over half the 40 mile course traverses the Moose River Recreation Area on backcountry roads. The race changes direction every year with the start alternating between Indian Lake and Inlet, with Indian Lake hosting the start this year. The top racers finish the race in about two hours while the rest of the field may take four hours or more.

** Hamilton County Birding Festival: Hamilton County is hosting the 7th Annual Adirondack Birding Festival this weekend, June 10-12th, with John and Pat Thaxton and Joan Collins guiding many of the trips and a variety of events, including driving safaris, walks, hikes and canoe trips, as well as evening presentations. This year, Joan Collins will present a beginning birding talk on Friday, June 10th evening. John Thaxton will give a talk, “The Usual suspects”, about the boreal species in the Adirondacks, at the Indian Lake Theatre, in Indian Lake. The final event of the festival, will be a luncheon cruise aboard the W.W. Durant up the Marion River, with a tribute to Gary Lee, for his participation in the Festival, as well as in his general promotion of birding. Most of the birding guides for the weekend will be aboard to celebrate and recap the weekends events. Information for the festival can be found at www.adirondackbirds.com. All of our events are free, but registration is requested.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Creek and West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail have been washed away.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead. The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open, the public may access to the Pillisbury Mountain trailhead with motor vehicles.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Hudson River, Schroon Lake, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga Lake

** Lake Champlain Flooding: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon. A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are still flooded and due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** Warren County Roads: Americade and Warrensburg Bike Week are taking place through Sunday, June 12th. These annual events bring thousands of riders to Adirondack roadways, especially in Warren County. Drive safely and be aware of motorcycles sharing the road. Many secondary roads have not yet been cleared of the winter accumulation of sand and dirt, making it especially hazardous for motorcycles on curves and corners. The Hague Volunteer Fire Department has already responded to the first motorcycle accident on Tongue Mountain, and two Americade attendees have already be killed in an accident in Lake Luzerne. Use caution and share the roadway.

** Great Sacandaga Lake Beaches Closed: All six public beaches in Fulton and Saratoga counties are closed. Broadalbin’s beach on Lakeview Road, adjacent to the state boat launch, will not open this year after the Town Council voted to end funding. Officials have told local reporters that people who use the beach do so at their own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty, but they aren’t being considered trespassers because the area hasn’t been posted. The town park and beach in Edinburg has been closed since last summer for the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge; it’s expected to reopen in 2013. The Northville beach on Route 30 is scheduled to open for Fourth of July weekend, but the beach is still under water. The beach on South Shore Road in Providence, near Fish House, also is under water, but is expected to be opened by July 1. The beach in the Northampton Day Use area is under water, but also expected to open by the end of the month. The water level of the Great Sacandaga Lake has stayed above median and target levels since the end of April. It’s believed the lake will return to normal in the next two weeks if there are no big storms.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

** Thirteenth Lake: A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: The Dacy Clearing Park Area and Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts. Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

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

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. 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.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. This summer DEC and SCA will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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, June 2, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 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.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
Due to additional rains again this past week, many waters remain well above normal, notably the Raquette, Beaver, Hudson, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon and Saranac Rivers. Water levels are high and water temperatures are low, rivers and streams are running swiftly. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may still be flooded. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN REMAINS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here.

** MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

** LANDSLIDES CONTINUE
Last weekends heavy rains expanded a slide on Whiteface and exacrebated a slide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley, that NYS geologists say is the state’s largest ever. Several weeks of heavy rain contributed to the Whiteface slide which is believed to have occurred during a storm Friday evening. The slide expanded the existing backcountry area’s Slide 3 so that it left tons of debris at the base of Slide 1, also known as Slide Out.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests (see below). Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time; The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open, the public may access to the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead with motor vehicles; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROADS OPENED
The Moose River Plains road system in Hamilton County was partially opened last Friday. The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road has been opened to motor vehicles from the Limekiln Lake gate at the western end near Inlet and to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake. The opening of the Moose River Plains roads is due to the hard work of the local highway department staff and the successful partnership between DEC, the Towns of Inlet and Indian Lake and Hamilton County.

** SNOW AT ELEVATION
A foot or more of snow is present in elevations from 4000 feet to tree line. Snow may be found below 4000 feet on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** FLUME AND HARDY ROAD BIKE TRAIL SYSTEM
Mountain bikers are asked to avoid using all bike trail systems in the Wilmington area – including the Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems – to prevent rutting and damaging trails.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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

** BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events and very windy days have occurred over the past week. Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

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

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

INLET’S WOODS & WATER OUTDOOR EXPO
Inlet’s Woods and Waters Outdoor Expo will share information about outdoor recreational opportunities and products on Saturday and Sunday June 4th and 5th 2011. The event will be held on the Arrowhead Park Lakefront. The free public event is expected to be a multi-themed outdoor recreational event hosting booths containing products for power sports, paddling, mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and more. Not for profit Organizations from the many fitness events, environmental organizations, and tourism councils throughout the Adirondack Park are expected to attend.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, high near 62. North wind with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Friday Night: Patchy frost, clear, low around 28. North winds gusting to 23 mph.
Saturday: Sunny, high near 68. South wind at 5 mph becoming west.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers, mostly cloudy, low around 46.
Sunday: Chance of showers, partly sunny, high near 69.

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

LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

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

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette and Oswegatchie rivers, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

** Snow at Elevation: A foot or more of snow is present in elevations above 4000 feet and at lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

Dix Mountain Wilderness / Elk Lake Road: Elk Lake Road has reopened.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Corey’s Road Open: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, has reopened.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water.

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

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. 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.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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

** Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

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

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: Mountain bikers are asked to avoid using all bike trail systems in the Wilmington area – including the Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems – to prevent rutting and damaging trails.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System was opened late last Friday (see above for details).

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Creek and West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail have been washed away.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The Powley-Piseco Road in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest has reopened.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open, the public may access to the Pillisbury Mountain trailhead with motor vehicles.

** Perkins Clearing / Speculator tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

Lake Champlain: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open. The Dacy Clearing Park Area is open, however, the Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts.

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

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

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

NORTHERN-NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Lake Champlain Islands: The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites, access points and portions of trails are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches.Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch.

Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Madawaska Flow Road has reopened to public motor vehicle access.

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Pinnacle Road has reopened.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Both the Upper and the Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain are open.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond Road: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

Corey’s Road: The Town of Harrietstown has opened the Corey’s Road.

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. This summer DEC and SCA will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

** Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

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

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
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.

——————–
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, June 2, 2011

Astronomy: The June Night Sky With The Naked Eye

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

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

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com [pdf – if you get an error, hit reload]. The map shows what is in the sky in June at 11 pm (for early June; 10 pm for late June).

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!

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

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

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

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

Virgo
Saturn is in Virgo, it will be the orange “star” you see directly next to the star Porrima. They are very close at the moment and if you are looking in Virgo you can’t miss it’s orange glow. Don’t get Saturn confused with the star Arcturus in the constellation Boötes (pronounced boh-‘oh-tees).

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

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

Photo: The North America Nebula in a Wikipedia photo that reveals how its appearance can change dramatically using different combinations of visible and infrared observations by telescope.

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


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 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 publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HEAVY USE – MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
A larger number of visitors can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and the Memorial Day Holiday. Popular parking lots, camping sites, motels and hotels may fill to capacity, especially in the High Peaks region. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the park. For suggestions, pick up a copy of The Other 54.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
Due to additional rains again this past week, many waters remain well above normal, notably the Raquette, Oswegatchie, St. Regis, Saranac, Salmon, and Hudson Rivers. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may still be flooded. Some low-lying waterfront properties remain submerged by high waters. Many boat launches in the region remain flooded or nearly so, making it difficult to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN REMAINS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests (see below). Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time; Old Military Road and Jessup River Road, preventing motor vehicle access to the Pillsbury Mountain and Spruce Lake trailheads; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant. The Adirondack Explorer has posted the DEC’s list of currently closed roads.

** MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROADS OPENED [Late Update]
The Moose River Plains road system in Hamilton County was partially opened Friday. The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road has been opened to motor vehicles from the Limekiln Lake gate at the western end near Inlet and to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake. The opening of the Moose River Plains roads is due to the hard work of the local highway department staff and the successful partnership between DEC, the Towns of Inlet and Indian Lake and Hamilton County.

** SNOW AT ELEVATION
A foot or more of snow is present in elevations from 3700 feet to tree line. Snow may be found below 3700 feet on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** MOST DEC FACILITIES ARE OPEN
43 of the DEC’s 44 Adirondack Campgrounds and related day use areas, including Prospect Mountain Highway and Lake George Beach will be open this weekend. The Ausable Point Campground is closed due to flooding on Lake Champlain. Also, a third of the campsites at the Northampton Campground are not available for use due to high waters on Great Sacandaga Lake. All campgrounds are expected to be full. DEC has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and public intoxication. Fireworks are illegal in New York State and quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am. DEC staff will be patrolling campgrounds throughout the weekend. Black bears are plentiful in the Adirondacks. Food and coolers should be stored securely and out of sight in either a car trunk or the passenger area of truck with the windows closed.

** FLUME BIKE TRAIL SYSTEM
The Flume Bike Trail System in Wilmington is wet and muddy. Bikers are asked to avoid using the trail system to prevent damage to the trails.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

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

** BLOWDOWN
Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. The large storms expected Thursday afternoon will add to the problem. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

** KEENE VALLEY LANDSLIDE
NYS geologists have told North Country Public Radio that the massive 82-acre landslide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley is the state’s largest ever. A half-dozen homes are threatened and the slide has moved 150 feet downhill. The town is urging hikers and people curious about the slide to stay away as the situation is dangerous. Dry weather is expected to slow the slide, but the hillside could begin moving again next spring.

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

** ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Occasional showers and thunderstorms, high near 70.
Friday Night: Occasional showers and possible thunderstorm; low around 55
Saturday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, high near 75.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 54.
Sunday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 79.
Sunday Night: Chance of showers; mostly cloudy, low around 59.
Monday – Memorial Day: Partly sunny, with a high near 80.

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

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

HUNTING AND FISHING REPORT

** Spring Turkey Season Ends Tuesday
The Spring Turkey Hunting Season end Tuesday, May 31st. DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

** Freshwater Fish Regulation Changes
DEC is considering changes to current freshwater fishing regulations. The proposed changes are available for public review and feedback. Changes being considered include modifications to the current seasons, size limits, and creel limits on certain waters for popular game fish species such as trout, salmon, walleye, black bass, pickerel, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge. Additional suggested changes pertain to ice fishing on certain waters, as well as for establishing specific gear requirements for certain angling practices. The proposed changes are on the DEC website which provides instructions on how to submit input and quick email links to easily submit comments online. Comments will be accepted through June 24, 2011, regulation changes would become effective on October 1, 2012.

** 2010 Fish Stocking Numbers Available
The 2010 Fish Stocking List which provide the numbers of freshwater fish stocked by county for last year’s fishing season is now available online. The fish are stocked to enhance recreational fishing and to restore native species to waters they formerly occupied. Each year, DEC releases over one million pounds of fish into more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state.

Trout Season Open
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Warmwater Sportfishing Season
The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) is open in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

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

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette and Oswegatchie rivers, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

** Busy Memorial Day Weekend: A higher number of people can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and the Memorial Day Weekend. Popular parking lots, camping sites, motels and hotels may fill to capacity, especially in the High Peaks region. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the park. For suggestions, pick up a copy of The Other 54.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

** Snow at Elevation: A foot or more of snow is present in elevations above 3700 feet and at lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

** Dix Mountain Wilderness / Elk Lake Road: Elk Lake Road has reopened.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Corey’s Road Open: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, has reopened.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

** Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water.

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

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. 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.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

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

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System was opened late Friday (see above for details).

** West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Creek and West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail have been washed away.

** Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The Powley-Piseco Road in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest has reopened.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road. The Old Military Road and Jessup River Road remain closed due to washouts and soft spots. The Pillsbury Mountain and Spruce Lake trailheads cannot be accessed by motor vehicles at this time.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

** Lake Champlain: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open. The Dacy Clearing Park Area is open, however, the Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts.

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

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

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

NORTHERN-NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Lake Champlain Islands: The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites, access points and portions of trails are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches.Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch.

** Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Madawaska Flow Road has reopened to public motor vehicle access.

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Pinnacle Road has reopened.

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Both the Upper and the Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain are open.

** Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

** Moose Pond Road: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

** Corey’s Road: The Town of Harrietstown has opened the Corey’s Road.

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

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. This summer DEC and SCA will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

** Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

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

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
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.

——————–
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, May 19, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 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 publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND
A higher number of people can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and Canada’s Victoria Day Holiday. Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness should be aware that trailhead parking lots and interior campsites will often fill to capacity on Victoria Day weekend. Please plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the park.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
Due to additional rains this past week, most waters remain well above normal. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may be flooded. Some low-lying waterfront properties remain submerged by high waters. Many boat launches in the region remain flooded, making it risky to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN REMAINS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

**BLOWDOWN
Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
This is a good time to stay off wet trails. While snow is still present above 3,500 feet, lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** SNOW AT ELEVATION
A foot or more of snow is present in elevations from 3500 feet to tree line. Snow may be found below 3500 feet on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** ADIRONDACK PADDLEFEST IN OLD FORGE
Adirondack Paddlefest 2011 will be held in Old Forge from Friday to Sunday, May 20-22. Now in its 13th year, Paddlefest is the largest on-water Paddlesports Show and Sale in the US. Thousands of paddlers will be in Old Forge to test paddle hundreds of different models of canoes, kayaks and whitewater boats. Paddling industry representatives and experts from companies such as Current Designs, Dagger, Ocean Kayak, Oxbow SUP, Wave Sport, Delta and Pyranha will be on hand to answer questions. Waterfront venues will be offering presentations, including Choosing the Perfect Kayak Paddle and Easier Paddling for All Skill Levels. There will also be classes on Tandem Canoe Paddling, Basic Kayak Strokes and a Kayaking clinic for kids. Other events will include live music, a concert on Saturday night, plus an art show. Admission is free for kids 12 and under, $5 for adults (per day) with a $20 test paddle fee that will be applied to admission fees and any boat purchases.

** AUSABLE RIVER TWO-FLY CHALLENGE
Now in it’s 12th year Now in its 10th year, Ausable River Two-Fly Challenge tournament brings together fly fisherman from across the United States, who want to test their skills on the acclaimed river, while at the same time promote the 35-mile long river as a fishery and raise money to protect it. Rules for the catch and release tournament are simple. Anglers are allowed to bring two barb-less hook flies, of any combination or patterns and once the flies are lost or unusable – you’re out. The tournament starts noon on Friday, May 20th and runs through Saturday evening. More information, including times and costs, is available online.

** 19th ANNUAL HORICON MILL POND CHILDREN”S FISHING DERBY
The town of Horicon will host Barney Barnhardt children’s fishing derby at Mill Pond on Route 8 in Brant Lake (which includes a new handicapped accessible fishing pier) Warren County fish hatchery will stock the pond with several hundred rainbow trout. The derby is open to all kids 15 and under. Last year, nearly 250 kids took part; Fishing is banned in the pond after it is stocked until the derby.

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

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Intermittent showers and thunderstorms, mostly cloudy, high near 65.
Friday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms, mostly cloudy, low around 49.
Saturday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms, partly sunny, high near 68.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms, mostly cloudy, low around 45.
Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 66.

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

Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch and the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond remain closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. DEC has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on the Nose on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain and 54 climbing routes remain closed including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Warmwater Sportfishing Open
The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) is open in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

** Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

** Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

** Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Spring Turkey Season Opened May 1
DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

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

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette River, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

** Busy Victoria Day Weekend: A higher number of people can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and Canada’s Victoria Day Holiday.

** No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

** Snow at Elevation: A foot or more of snow is present in elevations above 3500 feet and at lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

** Dix Mountain Wilderness / Elk Lake Road: Elk Lake Road is closed at the Clearn Pond gate for mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Corey’s Road Closed: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

** Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water.

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

** Connery Pond – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is unaccessible by motor vehicle due to washouts. 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.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Western high Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

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

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System remains closed for mud season. Gates have been closed at the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake. The road system will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

** West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Gates have been closed on all roads for the mud season. The roads will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Lake Champlain: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach were damaged by flooding and unusable at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest: Gates on the following roads are closed for mud season: Gay Pond Road, Prospect Mountain, Lily Pond Road, and Jabe Pond Road. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open. The gates on the Dacy Clearing and Shelving Rock trails are closed.

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

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

NORTHERN-NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Madawaska Flow Road is closed to public motor vehicle access due to a washout in the road.

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Pinnacle Trail is open for public access, however, the gate is closed and motor vehicle access is prohibited for mud season.

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Connery Pond Road is unaccessible by motor vehicle due to washouts. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

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

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road remains closed for mud season. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened. Non-motorized access is allowed on the road, however, trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

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

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
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.

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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 new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now 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, May 12, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 12)

The Almanack’s web platform went down this week on Thursday and this week’s conditions report was lost. You can still hear this week’s report (which aired Friday morning) online at WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and North Country Public Radio.

What follows is a transcript of this week’s radio report.

While waters have receded in the central Adirondacks some areas downstream of the region’s major rivers and along Lake Champlain are still experiencing flooding and more rain is expected this weekend.

Most waters are still above normal and impassable river, stream and brook crossings, and flooded trails and campsites are still a problem in many areas of the backcountry.

Many docks, boat launches, water access points, and low-lying waterfront properties also remain affected by high waters.

Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards that are normally easily seen and avoided. Rivers running above normal include the Hudson, Sacanadaga, Beaver, Raquette, Saranac, AuSable, and Bouquet.

Expect higher than normal traffic on the Grasse River which is playing host to the 50th Annual Canton Canoe Weekend from Friday through Sunday. Races start and finish at Canton’s Taylor Park.

In the backcountry, trails and campsites may be flooded or covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown due to saturated soils.

This is a good time to stay off wet trails in the High Peaks, and to stick to the lower elevation mountains along the Southern Adirondacks, including in the Lake George basin.

Snow is present at elevations above 3000 feet on north facing slopes and snowshoes will be needed at elevations above 3500 feet.

Lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to avoid widening the trails.

The gates are shut on roads typically closed during mud season, including those in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests, the Perkins Clearing and Elk Lake easement lands, the unpaved section of the Corey’s Road in the Western High Peaks, and the Lake Lila Road in the Whitney Wilderness.

Looking at some local conditions, in the High Peaks the first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away and high waters make crossing there risky, the first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole is now impassible, as is the Opalescent Cable Bridge on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail. The high water crossing bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed.

On the Northville Placid Trail in West Canada Lake Wilderness the bridge over West Canada Creek has gone out during the recent floods.

The Wakely Dam Area remains closed due to significant damage from flooding

Finally this week a reminder that all rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch, the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond, and 54 routes on Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster remain closed through the nesting season.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 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) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
The worst is now over in the central Adirondacks but areas downstream of the the region’s major rivers are still experiencing significant flooding. Most waters are well above normal and a significant number of closed roads, impassable river, stream and brook crossings, and flooded trails and campsites plague the backcountry. Docks, boat launches, and low-lying waterfront property across the region’s lakes and reservoirs are submerged by high waters. Lake Champlain is currently at the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington. Most boat launches in the region are flooded, making it risky to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. DEC is recommending that paddlers and boaters consider staying off larger rivers such as the Raquette, Saranac, Hudson, and Schroon. Paddlers consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution. A complete report of the Adirondack Floods of 2011 can be found here.

**EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding. DEC has closed most roadways for mud season. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
This is a good time to stay off wet trails. While snow is still present above 3,000 feet, lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** SNOWSHOES STILL REQUIRED
The use of snowshoes is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case on some trails above Lake Colden. Using snowshoes prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

** HUDSON RIVER WHITEWATER DERBY
The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and other races from North River to Rapairus.

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

Carry Extra Winter Gear
Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW
NOTE: We’re currently in the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance of rain and snow showers; partly sunny, high near 59.
Friday Night: Slight chance of showers; mostly cloudy, low around 38.
Saturday: Chance of showers; mostly cloudy, high near 61.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers; mostly cloudy, low around 33.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55.

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

** Snow Cover
Snow is gone outside the High Peaks where there is still snow cover above 3,000 feet. Conditions still require snowshoes above Lake Colden on some trails.

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is no longer suitable for backcountry skiing.

** Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch and the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond remain closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. DEC has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on the Nose on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain and 54 climbing routes remain closed including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Warmwater Sportfishing Opens Saturday
The first Saturday in May marks the beginning of the fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie, valued for their tasty flesh. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

** Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

** Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

** Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Spring Turkey Season Opened May 1
DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

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

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

** Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

** Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

** Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette River, flooding is occurring on most rivers and streams, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters – Flooding Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

** Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Snow at Elevation: Snow is present in elevations above 3000 feet, and snowshoes may be warranted in elevations above 3500 feet.

** Corey’s Road Closed: Corey’s Road is closed at Stony Creek Ponds, there is no access to the trailheads for the Western High Peaks. The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

** Day Glow South Camping: Campsites in the Day Glow South camping area below the Lake Colden Dam, including the McMartin and Opalescent lean-tos, are once again available for use, though the area may be wet and muddy.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Western high Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

** Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

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

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System is closed for mud season. Gates have been closed at the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake. The road system will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Gates have been closed on all roads for the mud season. The roads will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: The two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are flooded by 2-4 feet of water.

** Lake Champlain Islands: Lake Champlain is at record levels. Access points, campsites and trails on Valcour and other islands may be flooded.

Shelving Rock Road: The Town of Fort Ann has reopened Shelving Rock Road.

Ausable Point Campground & Day Use Area: The entry road to the Ausable Point Campground and Day Use Area is closed until further notice due to flooding. DEC has placed barricades at the end of the road and will be patrolling the area to ensure the public is abiding by the closure. The road will be reopened once the waters have receded and it is determined the road can handle motorized traffic without further damage.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The following roads have been closed for spring mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford in the Hudson River Special Management Area, Palmer Pond Access Route, Gay Pond Road, Lily Pond Road, Palmer Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road.

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

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

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: See the High Waters – Flooding Warning Above. Water levels are high and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. DEC is recommending staying off the Hudson River at this time.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

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

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
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.

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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 new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now 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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