Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Moose on the Loose in Indian Lake

There are so many festivals in the autumn that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the various opportunities. One reason that I do favor these annual events for my family is the variety of activities at each festival. As my children get older they want to have more input in the activities that we do. We find a festival offers a little bit of everything for my family of four. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After Irene: Paddling The New Duck Hole

A few days after Hurricane Irene, I hiked to Duck Hole to see how the place looked after the breach of the old logging dam. Although the pond lost most of its water, there were streams running through the resultant mudflats and a pool remained at the base of the waterfall on east shore.

Earlier in the year, I had carried my canoe to Duck Hole and had a ball paddling around and admiring views of High Peaks. Now I wondered if anyone would ever want to bring a canoe to Duck Hole again.

Well, someone already has: Adirondack guide Joe Hackett. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Natural History: The Season’s First Frost

It is inevitable. Regardless of how nice the summer has been, a time comes in September when the first frost of the season coats every exposed surface with a layer of ice crystals and brings about the official end of the growing season.

While this event causes gardeners to panic about harvesting nearly ripened vegetables, and homeowners to cover up, or bring in their delicate flowering plants, it also brings about the demise of the many forms of life that are unable to tolerate freezing conditions. While there are numerous living entities in our region that can’t survive temperatures below 32 degrees, most are capable, after developing special adaptations that allow them to deal with the changes that are soon to come. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Naj Wikoff: Digging Out in Keene

What follows is a guest essay by Naj Wikoff, a member of the Keene Flood Recovery Fund steering committee.

“The hardest thing I had to do this week was let three employees go today,” said Rob Hastings, owner of Rivermede Farm in Keene Valley. He and I were standing amongst a crowd of over 200 residents attending a pig roast, block party and benefit for the Keene Flood Recovery Fund on Market Street in Keene Valley Friday, September 9.

The event, which raised over $21,000, was further buoyed by the news that Route 73, the hamlet’s vital artery to the Northway that had been closed since Irene’s 11 plus inches of rain washed away major sections, would open on Monday. Just seven days earlier Governor Cuomo, countering DOT estimates that the roadway might be opened by Columbus Day but possibly not till December, stated that unless it was opened within 10 days, “Wheels will roll or heads will roll,” a statement followed by his suspension DOT and DEC restrictions on construction, such as requirements of going out to bid for contracts. Since then in a near 24-hour cycle DOT trucks have poured in with load after load of boulders, gravel and other road foundation materials.

The closure of 73 as well as 9N north to Upper Jay, and DEC media and web announcements that all trails in the eastern High Peaks were off limits to hikers, brought visitor traffic in Keene Valley to a dead stop and caused dozens of cancellations of room reservations during Labor Day weekend, the second busiest holiday of the year for local stores. Thanks to a massive volunteer effort that put hundreds of people at McDonough’s Valley Hardware and elsewhere scraping off mud, pumping out basements, cleaning shelves and merchandise, most stores, B&Bs and restaurants had managed to reopen, but what was missing was the people.

“Road Closed” said the sign to Keene Valley. “Don’t even think of going there” was the message. The hamlet of Keene was hardly better off as it was the center on incoming politicians and state officials, the media, National Guard, DOT trucks and Labor for Your Neighbor volunteers so that what visitors made it through the gauntlet scurried west to the relatively untouched Village of Lake Placid, though a fleet of water ski boats sank during the storm and River Road and Snowslip Farms were certainly torn up.

No question the attention by Governor Cuomo, who visited the hamlets on two successive weekends, and the outpouring of volunteers, the National Guard and DOT transformed the hamlets along with Upper Jay, Jay and Ausable Forks bringing them back from what appeared to be war zones to a somewhat sense of normality, though deep scars and uncertain futures remained.

Knowing this outcome likely to occur, a grass roots effort was launched while the rains were still falling and fields flooding to create the Keene Flood Recovery Fund with perhaps a greater sense of urgency than the media’s scramble to film the unfolding disaster. Jim Herman and Dave Mason, the soon to become president and vice president of the Keene Community Trust, lead the effort. Working in partnership with the Adirondack Community Trust (ACT) a small team was assembled. The goal was simple; raise as much money as fast as possible and begin giving it out in grants to local residents and business to help cover critical needs not met by FEMA, other government sources, insurance or sweat equity.

The process was not unlike the building of the Continental railroad wherein the trains followed the rails as they were built. The public relations and fund raising effort was launched simultaneously with the recruiting of five people to serve on the allocations committee while application and funding guidelines were being written, the Keene Valley Trust board reorganized, agreements with ACT negotiated, and web and Facebook sites created.

The Nature Conservancy provided the forum for committees to form, meet, and stayed energized with hot coffee available morning till night. Critical was the early blessing and support by Keene supervisor Bill Ferebee, agreement by the Keene Community Trust to take on a project of such scope, the talent pool assembled, and the full support of the Adirondack Community Trust, aided in no small measure that their president Vinny McClelland and donor recognitions officer Melissa Eissinger were residents of Keene. Another was the sheer mass of community development knowledge stored in the brain of Henrietta Jordan, who could draft funding guidelines the way some can cast a dry fly into an eddy on their first try.

As of this writing about $100,000 has been raised and the first wave of grants has already been approved, but the amount needed to raise is far, far higher if they are to reduce layoffs like those already done by Hastings. While to the casual observer the hamlets might not look so bad, the damage done has been severe. Over a dozen families are not able to move back to their homes and are in need of temporary housing, just two businesses lost over $200,000 in inventory, the Keene Firehouse has to be relocated and rebuilt, the public skating rink replaced, the Keene Library, which also houses the Food Pantry, needs an aggressive abatement program to keep mold from settling in, and one third of Rivermede Farm’s sugaring lines have to be replaced along with all their storage tanks and two greenhouses. The first 12 applicants’ losses, which does not include many of the previously listed, have totaled over $2.5 million, this before FEMA and insurance are factored it.

Meanwhile a recently constituted Keene Business Committee (aka chamber of commerce) is attempting to stop plummeting income and lure back visitors. Led by Rooster Cob Inn owner, masseuse and rustic furniture salesperson Marie McMahon, they have taken on the DOT, DEC and later the State Police to change their signs that announce the closing of High Peaks trails, detour visitors to Placid via Plattsburgh and other actions that discouraged traffic to local businesses. Plans are underway to host events over Columbus Day and a conference for high school and college geology professors to showcase the wide array of major environmental changes that include the largest landslide in recorded state history, 22 new slides in the high peaks, and the rerouting of streams and waterfalls creating what can be best described as moonscapes in some locales.

“Our goal is to help the community come out stronger,” said Herman. “One benefit of all these landslides, rerouting of streams, and other environmental changes is that there are many new features for hikers, geologists and environmentalists to see and experience. We are trying to get the word out that now is the best time to come see them while they are fresh. We have some new vistas of Giant that didn’t exist before and old streambeds that have been hidden for centuries are now revealed. New growth will cover them up. The time to see them is now.”

Another benefit was the Governor discovering that Keene Valley had no cell phone coverage. “Where can I get cell service?” Cuomo asked Ron Konowitz, a local volunteer fireman and on-the-ground coordinator of volunteers. Konowitz told the governor not only that he would have to travel three miles down the road and stand in the middle of Marcy Field to pick up a signal, but in fact there was a cell tower in place, had been for four months, though had yet to be turned on by Verizon, a consequence that had hampered communication amongst all the various state agencies, volunteers, rescue workers, civic leaders, the media and one governor and the outside word. The piercing brown eyes of the wheels-will-roll governor swiveled and locked on the “Frankenpine” hidden amongst the tall White Pines behind the Neighborhood House. Two days later a frantic Verizon worker stuck his head in the Birch Store asking if anyone could help him locate their cell tower. Pam Gothner did and the next day the hamlet had cell service.

The Keene Flood Recovery Fund can be reached at www.keenerecoveryfund.org

Photo: Keene Valley flooding during Tropical Storm Irene; Volunteers at work.

Naj Wikoff, a member of the Keene Flood Recovery Fund steering committee, is local artist, columnist for the Lake Placid News, president of Creative Healing Connections, which organizes healing retreats for women living with cancer, women veterans, and other special audiences, and arts coordinator for Connecting Youth and Communities of Lake Placid and Wilmington (CYC).


Monday, September 12, 2011

Hamilton County’s Dueling Sheriffs Face Off

Through a technicality in a poorly written election law, B. Frank Kathan was renamed Sheriff of Hamilton County in 1901 despite having lost by forty votes. Jim Locke, initially declared the winner, had already moved into the jail. When the decision was reversed, he stayed put, and the county had two men who claimed to be sheriff. Kathan pursued court options, while Locke armed his men and refused to surrender the jailhouse.

At the time, Hamilton County had two prisoners—one held by Locke in the jail, and one held by Kathan in his home. Kathan angrily demanded the right to take office, but Locke remained entrenched, defying anyone to remove him from the building.

If pushed further by the courts, Locke promised to subpoena all the voters in the county to confirm the intent of each individual ballot. The expense to poor, huge, and sparsely populated Hamilton County would be enormous.

On March 12, the judge issued a confusing order. He refused to impose punishment on Locke for taking over the jailhouse, but also ruled that Locke had no jurisdiction, no legal right to the office of sheriff, and no power to carry out civil or criminal processes.

Still locked out of the jail under threat of violence, Kathan established a second sheriff’s office and bided his time. With further court action pending, he finally made his move a few weeks later. There are two variations of what happened next, but the violent version was recounted in May when the case went before the state supreme court.

On April 1, Kathan and a few of his men went to Lake Pleasant and staked out the county jail. When darkness arrived, he attempted to enter the building. Surprised to find the outside door unlocked, he stepped inside and faced off against Al Dunham, the lone jailer present.

Kathan, described as “a large and powerful man,” dropped Dunham with one punch and commandeered the office. (A second version of the story was much more benign. It claimed Kathan found the jailhouse unoccupied and simply took over.)

Now Locke was himself locked out. He countered by establishing a sheriff’s office in William Osborne’s hotel at Speculator—and the battle of the dueling sheriffs continued.

One of the sheriff’s duties was contacting jurors on behalf of the county. When the juror list was presented to Kathan (since he was the most recent court-approved sheriff), Locke obtained a certified copy from the county clerk’s office.

Jurors on the list received official notices from both Kathan and Locke, and both men submitted billing to the county board of supervisors for their work. To clear up the mess, the board tried to declare Locke the official county sheriff, but that directly violated the judge’s earlier order.

In response, the judge issued a summons demanding an explanation as to why the board itself should not be cited for contempt of court. It seemed like nobody agreed on anything (sounds suspiciously like today’s political environment).

Locke then filed a proceeding that required Kathan to prove he was entitled to the office. The significance of that move wasn’t lost on Kathan: Locke indeed planned to subpoena all of the county’s voters to court where they could verify the intent of every single ballot cast.

Meanwhile, the state appellate court finally ruled on Kathan’s original filing and declared him the sheriff of Hamilton County. Locke, true to his word, remained in the courthouse and began sending subpoenas to hundreds of county residents.

However, just a few days after the appellate court’s ruling, an unexpected tragedy took much of the fight out of Jim Locke. His write-in candidacy had been initiated by William Osborne, and his sheriff’s office was in Osborne’s hotel. Will Osborne had a reputation as the most fearless man in Hamilton County, a title earned, in part, for suffering a head wound in an intense gun battle during which he shot and captured a very dangerous criminal.

In mid-August, Osborne had been injured in a baseball game. In September, during Locke’s struggle to remain as sheriff, came a stunning announcement—Osborne had died of his injuries. After burying his close friend, Locke resumed the fight, but soon decided on a compromise based on leverage he now held—more than half the county voters had already been subpoenaed.

To avoid the great expense of continued litigation, which one writer said “would have almost swamped the county treasury,” Locke demanded compensation for having served as sheriff for the year since he was elected. The agreement also said, “It is understood that, in withdrawing from the case, Locke was not a loser through any previous legal proceedings.”

It was a confusing decision, but the county and Kathan agreed to the terms. Locke’s office was disbanded and the deputies he had appointed were dismissed. It had been a long, tempestuous year, but Hamilton County finally had one official sheriff. And, hopefully, a new set of rules governing write-in votes.

Photo: A few of the many wild headlines generated by the sheriff controversy.

Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004 and have recently begun to expand their services and publishing work. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Astronomy: The September Night Sky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adirondack State Campground Camping

What follows is a guest essay contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy:

Picture this… the weather forecast is for a beautiful weekend, spring camping has begun and you have a reservation for your favorite site at the campground you camped at as a child. Your grandparents have reserved the site next to you and they will have their boat in the water and the fishing poles put together before you arrive. Your kids are excited about getting to the perch hole they fished last year.

When school is out for the summer, you’ll spend even more time camping and your kids will earn the newest patch in the Junior Naturalist Program. In the past they have had so much fun completing the activities and the bonus is how much they have learned about conservation and the environment. Someday they’ll be bringing their children camping and you will be the grandparent.

In the Adirondack Park there are 42 public campgrounds administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. These campgrounds provide a wide variety of experiences, including island camping, tent and trailer camping, boat launching facilities, hiking trails, beaches and day use areas with picnic tables and grills. There are no utility hook-ups at these campgrounds.

For more information about DEC operated campgrounds call (518) 457-2500 or www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/camping.html. To make a reservation call Reserve America, at 1-800-456-CAMP (1-800-456-2267), or reserveamerica.com

More than 100 private campgrounds are also available in the Adirondacks. They generally offer a wider variety of services, including utility hook-ups. For a listing of private campgrounds contact the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council at (518) 846-8016 or www.VisitAdirondacks.com and click on the camping link.

This guest essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy. Their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy, share, and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Adirondackers Go To War: 1861-1865

Understanding and appreciating the events of the Civil War will come alive the weekend of September 9-11 in North Creek as the Johnsburg Historical Society commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of that war in 1861.

Saturday, September 10th at 7:30 pm and on Sunday, September 11th at 2:00 pm local author Glenn L. Pearsall will present “Johnsburg Goes to War: 1861-1865” in the auditorium of the Tannery Pond Community Center. During this special two hour “one man show” with extras, Glenn will share his two years worth of research on the 125 men from Johnsburg who went off to war.

Pearsall’s talk will feature over 100 historic photographs including some pictures of those men from Johnsburg and the places they fought as they look today. Re-enactors in uniform will read from the diaries and journals that Pearsall has discovered to give a real sense of what the war meant to small Adirondack hamlets like Johnsburg in 1861. His talk will cover army life in the 22nd, 93rd, 96th and 118th NY Regiments who recruited men from Warren, Washington, Clinton and Essex Counties here in the Adirondacks.

From August 26 to September 21st the Widlund Gallery of Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek will feature a display of pictures of some of the men from Johnsburg who went off to war including historical photographs, period flags and a display on Mathew Brady, noted Civil War photographer born in Johnsburg.

On September 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on September 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. a dramatic living history re-enactment will take place at the town Ski Bowl on NYS Rt 28. (The re-enactors will not be open for business Friday). Several professional re-enactment groups will represent the lives of men in the 118th NY, the 123rd NY, 95th NY and 76th NY. The park’s ideal location offers spacious grounds, fresh water, restrooms, and ample parking.

Jim Hunt, contact for the re-enactors, indicates that “The camp setup will be a living history. All items used are authentic reproductions. We will camp in canvas tents, cook over an open fire and dress in period correct attire. We will converse with the public and answer questions about life 150 years ago. We will have display items for people to look at and touch. We will conduct ourselves in camp as they would have done. We will do firing demonstrations all day long so people can see and hear what a musket sounds like. The public will be able to hold the muskets but not fire them. We will conduct a military drill and manual of arms (probably at 1:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) and we will be having a Civil War wedding. This will be an actual wedding of two of our members. The camp will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday.”

For more information or to reserve a ticket for Glenn Pearsall’s program on either Saturday at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday at 2 p.m., call 518-251-5788 and leave a message. Tickets must be picked up by ten minutes before the programs. Adult tickets are $10 and children’s tickets are $6 for the benefit of the Johnsburg Historical Society. This entire Civil War commemoration is made possible by the Rivendell Foundation, Stewart’s Shops and friends of the Johnsburg Historical Society.

Photo: Monument to the War Dead of the Town of Queensbury, Warren County, New York. Located at the intersection of Glen, Bay and South Streets in Glens Falls, New York.


Friday, September 9, 2011

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

On Friday afternoons Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers a collection of the week’s top weblinks. You can find all our weekly web round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 7,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Adirondack Events This Weekend (September 9)

Visit the Almanack on Fridays for links to what’s happening this weekend around the Adirondacks.

The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry conditions and hunting and fishing reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Around & About in Lake George This Weekend

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend


Friday, September 9, 2011

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

Each Friday morning Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers the previous week’s top stories. You can find all our weekly news round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 7,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Sept 8)

Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday afternoon, year round. The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry recreation conditions reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters.

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.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS STORM DAMAGE UPDATE
The remnants of Tropical Storm Irene brought disastrous flash floods that impacted local infrastructure, homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and trails, especially in the Eastern Adirondacks along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and the High Peaks. The Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness and the Giant Mountain Wilderness have reopened, although the Dix Mountain Wilderness and several area trails remain closed. State Route 73 is now open. The Central, Western and Northern Adirondacks were minimally impacted; the Almanack has posted alternative areas to explore throughout the Adirondack Park. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

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

** MAJOR ROAD CLOSURES
State Route 73 is now open. Use 511NY to learn of the current road closures. Be aware that many secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, may be closed as well. Essex County is also maintaining a list of road closures.

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

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown. Trees may be toppled on and over backcountry roads, trails and campsites.

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

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

** ADIRONDACK CANOE CLASSIC / 90 MILER
The annual Adirondack Canoe Classic, known locally as the 90-Miler, will be held this weekend, September 10 and 11. This three-day flat water race follows one of the original highways of the Adirondacks from the Old Forge to Saranac Lake. Expect very heavy use along the paddle route which starts on Friday at 8 am at the Old Forge lakefront. The route includes the Fulton Chain of Lakes, the Raquette Lake, the Marion River and the Eckford Chain of Lakes ending in Blue Mountain Lake at the end of day one. Saturday begins at Bissell’s on Long Lake continues down Long Lake and into the Raquette River to the state boat launch on Routes 3 & 30 (about five miles east of the village of Tupper Lake). Sunday begins at Fish Creek Campground proceeds down Upper Saranac Lake through the carry to Middle Saranac Lake and on to the Saranac River, into Lower Saranac Lake across Oseetah Lake and Lake Flower to the finish at Prescott Park in the village of Saranac Lake.

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

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

** OUTDOOR SPORTS EDUCATION WEEKEND COURSES
Cornell Cooperative Extension, Sportsmen Education Instructors, and Warren County Conservation Council will host a series of home study sportsmen education classes Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th. Three classes are being offered each day; Sportsman Education, Bow Hunter Education, or Trapper Education (you may choose ONLY ONE class per day). The classes are being offered as home study course and all materials need to be picked up at Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center. All classes are FREE and will be held from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at PACK FOREST in Warrensburg. Registration is required and CCE will begin taking registrations on July 15th – and classes will fill quickly. For more information, please contact the CCE Education Center at (518) 623-3291 or 668-4881 or e-mail mlb222@cornell.edu

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

2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE
Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, the 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.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES
Boaters on Adirondack waterways should expect to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches. 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.

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

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

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

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

Changes to Allowable Lines Rules
The number of allowable lines for angling in freshwater in New York State has been increased to three, with the exception of Lake Champlain where the limit remains two.

Current Seasons
Open seasons include Trout, Landlock Salmon, Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Sunfish, Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass). For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Fish Have Gone Deep With Warmer Weather
Reports indicate that fishing has slowed with recent unsettled weather. Fish are being caught in deeper water with flies and flashers, larger-bait and spoons. Fish depths can change daily with deep water temperature.

** 2010 Lake George Fishing Report Issued
The Lake George fishing summary report for last year has been completed and is available online. Notable findings for 2010 include a drastic increase in the catch rate of fall stocked landlocked salmon, and overall increases in catch rates, although not creel rates for lake trout. The Lake George Angler Diary Program has been active for over twenty years, and has provided valuable information which biologists use in part to make fishery management decisions for the lake.

** Critical Repairs Made to Brighton Fish Barrier
DEC Operation’s staff made important repairs to a fish barrier on the outlet of Black Pond in the Town of Brighton, Franklin County. The barrier prevents invasive, nonnative fishes from infesting Black Pond. Such an infestation would mean the demise of an exceptional population of the Windfall Heritage strain of brook trout – a population that: sustains itself by natural reproduction; provides a very popular fishery; and serves as a brood stock for Windfall strain eggs for stocking other waters. Severely rusted I-beams, steel grating, and steel plating were replaced by a DEC crew and the Town of Brighton Highway Superintendent has approved the installation of guide rails to keep vehicles off of the metal grate of the structure.

** Willsboro Fishway Restoration Underway
The Willsboro Fishway allows spawning salmon from Lake Champlain to pass upstream of the Willsboro Dam on the Boquet River in the Town of Willsboro, Essex County. That passage provides the salmon access to spawning and nursery habitat upstream of the dam and additional angling opportunities. The Fishway is plagued with crumbling concrete, dilapidated denils (baffles that help salmon swim up the fishway), and a huge accumulation of debris from recent flooding that has prevented the fishway’s opening. In August, DEC and a Moriah Shock prison crew began clearing the debris upstream. New wood denils, steps that allow salmon to progress up the incline and past the dam, have been made, but there is no timetable yet for a high-strength cement layer be added to the top of the structure. It is expected that the refurbished fishway will be functioning for this fall’s salmon spawning run.

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

** Sea Lampry Control in September, October
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be applying lampricide the delta complex at the mouths of the Little Ausable and Ausable rivers, and the Boquet River, Mount Hope Brook, and Putnam Creek in New York. The Poultney River, which borders both states, including its Hubbardton River tributary in Vermont, will also be treated. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the delta complex in New York on September 7th. Lake level and weather conditions may affect scheduling and could result in the last treatment extending into October. These treatments are part of the Cooperative’s long-term sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain. While trout and salmon populations of the lake are the primary beneficiaries of these efforts, lake sturgeon, walleye, and many other species also profit from sea lamprey control. Temporary water use advisories will be in effect for each of the treatments to minimize human exposure to affected waters. Each state’s Department of Health recommends that the treated river and lake water not be used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation, or livestock watering while the advisories are in effect. A toll-free number (888-596-0611) provides information on the treatment schedule for each of the treatments, progress reports, updates on treatments, and water use advisories.

Saranac River Chain Fish Survey, Sampling, Complete
DEC’s Region 5 Bureau of Fisheries staff have completed a three-year fish community survey and sampling for mercury in all the large lakes in the Saranac River chain from Upper Saranac Lake to Cadyville Reservoir in Plattsburgh. The last lake to be surveyed was Middle Saranac Lake which revealed high numbers of fish, with yellow perch and smallmouth bass dominating. DEC staff found many yellow perch over 10 inches, and some as long as 14 inches. Smallmouth bass were abundant in rocky habitat and averaged over 1-1/2 pounds. Rock bass, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, white sucker, and a few Northern pike were also captured. There was a surprise capture of a single lake trout in the deepest net set at 21 feet, the maximum depth of the lake. Because of the high quality of the yellow perch and smallmouth bass caught, DEC is not expected to stock walleye to balance the fish community. DEC staff believed that bass predation on stocked walleye fingerlings would have been high and unproductive. In addition to sampling the fish community, 20 bass and perch were sent to the DEC Rome Laboratory to be analyzed for mercury contamination.

New DEC Region 6 Fishing Maps Available
Thirteen new maps have been added to the North-Central New York Public Fishing Rights (PEF) Maps webpage. These new maps will help guide anglers to trout fishing streams throughout DEC’s Region 6, covering Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, St. Lawrence, and Jefferson Counties. These areas called Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) are permanent easements purchased by the DEC from willing landowners, giving anglers the right to fish along stream banks on the landowner’s property.

Annual 2011 Coldwater Season Forecast
Stocking was late with high cold waters into early June. The prospects for catching holdover trout are low due to drought and high temperature episodes last summer. In particular, trout kills or stressed trout were reported in the main stem of the Ausable River near Ausable Forks, the Saranac River, the St. Regis River, and in the Batten Kill. Trout anglers should look to small streams and upland headwaters for wild brook or brown trout. Use drifting worms or salted minnows when streams are high and cold and focus on eddies or back waters where fish congregate to escape fast water. Brook trout pond fishing may still be viable as waters are still cold. Unlike the rivers, most area lakes and ponds provided good fishing last year with no reports of trout die offs.

Annual 2011 Warmwater Season Forecast
Adirondack waters include some of the most productive walleye fisheries in the state, including Tupper Lake, Union Falls Flow on the Saranac River, Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake, and the Oswegatchie River. High quality pike waters include Tupper Lake, Schroon Lake, Lake George, the Saranac Lakes, Cranberry Lake, First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Upper Chateaugay and the St. Regis Chain of Lakes. A number of 20 lb+ pike have been caught on Great Sacandaga Lake in recent years. Look for tiger muskie in First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Horseshoe Lake and Hyde Lake. Pickerel hot spots include Lake George, Brant Lake, Saratoga Lake, Lake Champlain and the Black River. Look to Lake Champlain for Black Bass and Lake Champlain, Great Sacandaga Lake, and Brant Lake for crappie. Surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes as the water warms up. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

Hudson River Rogers Island Pool Boat Launch
The floating dock has not been installed Rogers Island Pool.

Saranac River System
Both the Lower Locks, between Oseetah Lake and First Pond, and the Upper Locks, between Lower Saranac Lake and Middle Saranac Lake, are open for public usage.

Lake Clear
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp 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.

Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.

2011 Local Stocking Lists
The list of 2011 Spring Stocking Targets are now available online. Some recent stockings were in the North Branch of the Saranac River, Saranac River, Moose Pond (Town of St. Armand), Salmon River (Franklin County), Canada Lake, Lake Eaton, East and West Branch of the Ausable River, 13th Lake, and the Batten Kill.

2010 Fish Stocking Numbers Available
The DEC 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 and county fish hatcheries release over one million pounds of fish into more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state.

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.

Health Advisories on Fish
The NYSDOH has issued the 2010-2011 advisories on eating sportfish and game. Some of fish and game contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to human health. See the DEC webpage on Fish Health Advisories for more information and links to the Department of Health information.

ADIRONDACK HUNTING REPORTS

Hunting License Are Now On Sale
Hunting and trapping licenses go on sale for the 2011-12 license year Monday, August 15. The new sporting license year will begins October 1. Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online.

DEC 2011 Deer Hunting Forecasts Now Available
The DEC’s 2011 deer hunting season forecasts are now on their website. They include brief descriptions of the landscape and deer population trends within each Wildlife Management Unit.

Snapping Turtle Hunting Open Statewide
Hunters will need a Small Game Hunting License (http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/365.html) and may harvest snapping turtles by means of a firearm or bow through September 30. For details on size and bag limits during the season, please check the Reptile Hunting page online.

** Some Small Game Seasons Open
A number of small game seasons opened September 1, including: Grey, Black and Fox Squirrel, Crow, Snipe, Rail and Gallinule. Keep in mind that you will need a 2010-11 hunting license through September 30, and a 2011-12 hunting license beginning October 1. DEC small game hunting info is online.

** Canada Goose Hunting Open
Canda Geese hunting seasons began September 1 in the Northeast Hunting Area and September 6 in the Lake Champlain Hunting Area. Seasons in both areas will run until September 25th. DEC Canada Goose hunting info is online.

Upcoming Seasons
All trapping seasons are closed. Some small-game seasons have begun (see above). Early bear season begins September 17 and runs through October 14. The bow season for deer begins September 27. A week-long muzzleloader season runs concurrently with the muzzleloader deer season from October 15 to 21, followed by a regular season October 22 to December 4. The deadline for applying for a Deer Management Permit is October 1.

New Crossbow Season This Year
Crossbows may now be used for hunting big game (deer and bear) during the early bear season, regular firearms seasons, the special January firearms season in Suffolk County, and all late muzzleloading seasons. See Crossbow Hunting (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html) for more information and the Certificate of Qualification.

Junior Bowhunting Age Requirement Lowered
Recent legislation lowered the minimum age for youth hunters to purchase a Junior Bowhunting license for big game hunting from 14 to 12 years of age. See the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program for detailed information on youth hunting requirements.

Bowhunter Sighting Log
Bowhunters are invited to participate in DEC’s Bowhunter Sighting Log by keeping a diary of your bowhunting activity and the number of animals you see. This data helps DEC track deer and other wildlife populations (in deer season forecasts for example). To participate, e-mail fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (include “Bowhunter Sighting Log” in the subject line) and provide your name, address, hunter ID (back tag number), a list of the counties where you hunt, and whether or not you have participated in New York’s bowhunter log in any previous year.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park hunting, fishing, and trapping information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Habitat/Access Stamp is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Stamp proceeds support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation. A Habitat/Access Stamp is not required to hunt, fish or trap, nor do you have to purchase a sporting license to buy a habitat stamp.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Phil Brown: Slides Change High Peaks Landscape

The day after Hurricane Irene drenched the Adirondacks, state forester Kris Alberga flew over the High Peaks and saw so many new debris slides that he lost count of them.

Since then reports and photos of new slides—some taken from the air—have been trickling in. A guy who goes by the nickname of Mudrat has started compiling a list on Adirondack High Peaks Forums. In his first post, he listed sixteen that had been created or expanded by the storm, but there probably are many more.

The large slide depicted above, on the north side of Saddleback Mountain, was among those on Mudrat’s list. Brendan Wiltse, who took the photo, climbed it the day after storm before the state Department of Environmental Conservation closed the High Peaks Wilderness. He named the slide Catastrophic Chaos.

Now that DEC has reopened most of the trails in the Wilderness Area, many hikers will be eager to climb the new slides (and in winter, they will get skied). DEC spokesman David Winchell said the department is not prohibiting people from hiking on the slides, but he warned that debris on some slides is unstable.

It’s been estimated that that there are more than four hundred slide scars in the Adirondacks. They are most common in the High Peaks region, where soils are thin and slopes are steep.

Andrew Kozlowski, associate state geologist, said debris slides occur when heavy rains saturate the soil to the point where it starts slipping downward. “Once it starts moving, it starts accelerating,” he said, “and then it rockets down the slope”—taking trees and other vegetation with it.

Since the soils remain wet from Irene, he said, the High Peaks may see more slides if another storm hits, even one less powerful than Irene, which dumped about ten inches of rain.

If a slide strips a slope clean to the bedrock, he said, it can take centuries for vegetation to grow back. First, lichens cling to the bare rock, followed by moss. These pioneers trap bits of organic debris that decompose to form soil. Eventually, small seedlings take root, which in turn trap more debris. If rubble or dirt remain on the slide, the process is speeded up.

Kozlowski, who works for the New York State Museum, said debris slides are very different from the slow-motion mudslide discovered on the side of Little Porter Mountain in Keene this spring.

In that case, some eighty-two acres are slowly creeping down the mountain. The mudslide has destroyed, damaged, or imperiled a number of houses in the Adrian’s Acres subdivision.

The soil in the vicinity of the mudslide has been measured up to 250 feet deep, whereas the soil where debris slides takes place may be only a few yards deep. The speed of the mudslide on Little Porter—or whether it continues at all—depends on the depth of groundwater, Kozlowski said.

Kozlowski said the groundwater depth has dropped six feet since July. Right after Irene, it rose two feet. In the following days, it went up another half-inch. “What we’re anticipating is that the water levels will keep rising,” he said.

At its peak, the mudslide moved up to two feet a day. Although its movement is now “imperceptible,” Kozlowski said, if the groundwater reaches a certain level, the slide could speed up again. But he doesn’t know for sure what that level is.

“If the water levels recover in the in the four-to-six-foot range, things might start happening,” he said.

Click here to read a detailed account of the Keene mudslide on the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine’s website.

Photo of Saddleback slide by Brendan Wiltse.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer. He has been writing about the aftermath of Irene on his Outtakes blog and here at the Adirondack Almanack.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (September 8)

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

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

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

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works: All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.

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

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

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

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

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

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. A large tree fell at Whiteface Landing and is blocking the trail; it destroyed the trail register. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

** Crane Mountain: The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain Road is washed out and inaccessible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. Regis Canoe Area: Damage from the storm was limited to some minor blowdown on most carries and trails. There is significant amount of blowdow across the Fish Pond Truck Trail; it is passable on foot but not by horses or horse drawn wagons. A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

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

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

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

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

 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some High Peaks Areas Reopen, NPT Trail Warning

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) have reopened access to several High Peaks wilderness areas and facilities. The Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness and the Giant Mountain Wilderness have reopened, although the Dix Mountain Wilderness and several area trails remain closed. ADK has reopened the Adirondak Loj and Wilderness Campground at Heart Lake and the Johns Brook Lodge in the Johns Brook Valley.

Roads to those facilities were among several that were washed out when the remnants of Tropical Storm Irene slammed into the eastern slopes of the Adirondacks causing widespread damage and destruction, especially along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and the High Peaks. State Route 73 is now open between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, and may be accessed by taking Route 9N from Elizabethtown. Route 73 remains closed between the Hamlet of Keene Valley and the Route 9 intersection, but is expected to open by next weekend. » Continue Reading.


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