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.
** UNPREDICTABLE WINTER CONDITIONS
Unpredictable winter conditions will exist throughout the Adirondacks this weekend following Thursday’s rains shifting to snow through Friday with gusty winds in some areas. A mixture of mud, water, ice and some snow will be found on trails in lower elevations, while there will be snow and ice at higher elevations, more above 3,000 feet. Exposed rocks and bedrock are icy especially on windblown summits. Night time and morning temperatures are below freezing at all elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Pack and use ice traction devices. Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece (Not Cotton!) clothing. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.
** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
One to several inches of snow cover can be expected this weekend throughout the Adirondacks, especially at elevations above 3,000 feet. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open with a minimal number of trails, but downhill facilities relying on natural snow remain closed. There is not yet enough snow for cross-country or back-country skiing or snowshoeing or snowmobiling.
** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
A mixture of mud, water, ice and some snow will be found on trails in lower elevations. Wetter areas will include those along waterways and wetlands and in low lying areas where day time temperatures reach above freezing. Wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating herd paths.
** NO ICE ON WATER IS SAFE
Ice has begun forming on water bodies, especially in smaller ponds, higher elevation waters, bays and backwaters. At this time no ice is safe. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.
** CROSS COUNTY AND DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
There is currently not enough snow for cross country or backcountry skiing and cross-Country ski areas remain closed. Gore Mountain and Whiteface are both struggling with the weather to keep one a minimal number of trails open, and mountains relying on natural snow remain closed. Adirondack Almanack has published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.
** SNOWMOBILE TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
The region’s snowmobile trails remain closed, and it will be some time before sledders can hit the trails. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.
HURRICANE IRENE DAMAGE TO TRAILS
Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.
** WATERS RUNNING AT OR JUST ABOVE NORMAL
The region’s rivers and streams are running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.
** HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.
** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]
** Fire Danger: LOW
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BE PREPARED
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.
FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.
PRACTICE ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.
CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats. White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states.
ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION
NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL
Blowdown Report: Blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general are clear.
West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.
Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.
ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL
** Ice has begun forming along shorelines and in backwaters.
** Waters are generally running at or just above normal levels for this time of year. Always consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.
HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks
** Snow and Ice: Snow and ice are present at all elevations, with only an inch of snow at the lower elevations and more at higher elevations. Exposed rocks and bedrock are icy especially on windblown summits. Pack and use traction devices such as “stabilicers”.
DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.
Deer Brook Flume – Snow Mountain: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on the Deer Brook Trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion.
Duck Hole: The Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole is out. One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered. The bridge over the dam had been previously removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water. Note: This affects the Bradley Pond Trail and not the Northville Placid Trail.
Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. The crossing involves hopping from rock to rock to cross Marcy Brook. Hikers concerned about “rock hopping” can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam. Also the crossing may not be passable during high water. Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Explorer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter.
** Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.
Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes.
Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.
** Elk Lake Trailhead-Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Elk Lake Trailhead and the trails accessed from it have reopened now that the regular big game season has ended.
Elk Lake-Marcy Trail: The bridge is out in Marcy Swamp on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. Also there is light blowdown between Marcy Swamp and Panther Gorge Lean-to.
Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.
Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold.
Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.
Calkins Creek Horse Trail: The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.
Giant Mountain Wilderness: The Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead is open though some DOT equipment remains on site. Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to.
** Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is closed. The Hurricane Mountain Road has reopened to all traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead have reopened.
** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.
Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System: The River Trail at the Flume has been repaired.
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake
** Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands: Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge on the Carpenter Hill Trail, an important snowmobile connector trail in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands, has been was replaced by the DEC. Carpenter Hill Trail connects the Mud Lake Road and the Jessup River Road in the Town of Lake Pleasant. The bridge has traditionally been used to bypass winter logging of easement lands. Replacing the bridge eliminates the need for hazardous ice crossings. The new bridge is 60 feet long, 12 feet wide and was built with steel stringers set on abutments of timber cribbing. The bridge is bigger, much sturdier and should have a longer life span than the previous bridge. The previous bridge was 47 feet long, 11 feet wide and built with five 18-inch thick birch and spruce supporting stringers. The stringers were rotted and one had broken apart making the crossing unsafe. The 40,000-acre Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands are located just north of the Village of Speculator and Route 8 in the towns of Arietta, Lake Pleasant and Wells in Hamilton County. The 14,332 acre Perkins Clearing Tract lies west of Route 30 and the 21,648 acre Speculator Tree Farm Tract lies east of Route 30.
Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year).
Eagle Cave in Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats.
Moose River Plains: All roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.
Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.
Silver Lake Wilderness: There is heavy blowdown on the Northville Placid Trail between Benson and Silver Lake.
West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephens Pond to Lake Durant.
West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.
Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.
The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co
Crane Mountain: The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.
Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The bridge on the trail to Lapland Pond from Pike Brook Trailhead has been repaired.
Hammond Pond Wild Forest: A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. The bridge over the Berrymill Brook on the Hammond Pond Trail is out. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.
Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trail has been washed down stream. It is possible to cross the stream in spots without the bridge. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila
** New Paul Smith’s College VIC Trails: The Paul Smith’s College VIC has nearly doubled their winter sports trail system, To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months. Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit. Some trails will also be designated for skijoring. Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions. More information van be found here.
Lewis Preserve WMA: The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it may be deep and swift moving.
Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.
Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.
Lyon Mountain – Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions
** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands: Public use of these easement lands have reopened to the public except for public hunting which is prohibited through December 31.
Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: There is blowdown on the Deer Loop Trail between Route 30 and the bridge. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.
** Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Roads in the Split Rock area have reopened and the trailhead is now easily accessible.
** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain has been restored with the reopening of Forestdale Road.
St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has begun forming on smaller ponds, bays and along shorelines. A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.
** Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.
Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.
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.