Thursday, September 6, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Sept 6)

This weekly Adirondack conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

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 weekly a Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EARLY FALL CONDITIONS
There is a chance of thunderstorms this weekend. Remember that conditions can change suddenly with weather so be prepared and carry a flashlight, first aid kit, food, water and extra clothing. Conditions on summits are always more extreme; avoid lightening and make sure campfires are completely out.

** COOLER WEATHER, SHORTER DAYS
Temperatures are turning considerably cooler now especially in the evenings, morning and overnight. Temperatures have been falling into the 40s overnight and even into the 30s at higher elevations. Pack a non-cotton jacket or sweater. Days are shorter, darkness is arriving earlier. Plan hikes accordingly and always carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** WET TRAILS
Trails may be wet and muddy, especially in low-laying areas and along waters. Walk through, not around, wet and muddy spots to prevent widening and eroding trails.

** EXPECT BEAR ENCOUNTERS
Bear sightings and encounters have been occurring more frequently than usual this summer leading to a spike in bear-related calls to DEC and local law enforcement officials, as many as a dozen per week. Higher reports of encounters with bears have been coming from the Old Forge-Inlet corridor, and in the High Peaks (where bear canisters are required). A dozen nuisance bears have been put down so far this year in the Adirondacks. Wildlife biologists say the increased encounters are the result of reduced natural food sources this year [read more]. Black bears will take advantage of readily available food sources, including bird feeders and garbage. To prevent encounters with bears, you should never intentionally feed them, and you should discourage them from seeking food from sources near your home or camp. The use of bear canisters is required by campers in the Eastern High Peaks from April 1 to November 30 and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Pack all food, toiletries and garbage in canisters [Read More]

** DEC, MANUFACTURER DISCOURAGING BEAR-VAULT CANISTER USE
DEC and the manufacturer are discouraging the use of BearVault Canisters in the eastern High Peaks as bears are regularly defeating this type of canister and obtaining the food stored inside.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: MODERATE
There have been nearly 20 wildfires in the Adirondacks since July 1st that have burned some 30 acres. Half of the Adirondack wildfires this July were started by campfires that were not put out completely. The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and a moderate drought in the Southwestern Adirondacks, use extreme caution there. Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.

** DROUGHT CONDITIONS
The US Drought Monitor continues to reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and moderate drought conditions in the Western and Southwestern Adirondacks. Drought conditions are reported weekly by the National Climatic Data Center.

** BURN BAN IN EFFECT
A ban on open burning remains in effect until October 10.

** WATERS RUNNING AT NEAR SEASONAL LOWS
Rivers and streams are returning to normal, or just below normal, but remain at near seasonal lows. Continue to be watchful for sand bars, shoals, rocks, stumps, limbs and other navigation hazards that may be exposed or lying just under the water surface. Consult the latest streamgage data if you are venturing onto the region’s waters.

** ADIRONDACK WATER TEMPERATURES
Ausable River (West Branch in Wilmington) water temperature remains in the lower-60s.
Lake Champlain (at Burlington) water temperature is now about 70 degrees.
Lake George (at Warner Bay) water temperature has fallen to 77 degrees.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN LAMPRICIDE APPLICATIONS
The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Cooperative) will be applying lampricides to portions of five tributaries to Lake Champlain and two deltas during the months of September and October. Areas to be treated include the Saranac River delta, Mill Brook delta, Mill Brook, Great Chazy River, and Mount Hope Brook in New York and the Winooski and Missisquoi rivers in Vermont. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the Saranac River delta on September 10th, but weather conditions may affect planned treatment dates. 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. [Read More]

** ROUTE 86 ROADWORK
Repaving of the Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington is expected to continue into mid-September. Motorists can expect delays and should consider detours such as through Keene and Jay.

ROCK CLIMBING ROUTES OPEN/ BE AWARE OF FALCONS
All climbing routes are open. DEC has tallied 32 peregrine falcon chicks produced at 18 nest locations with successful fledging of falcons at all areas that had rock climbing route closures. If you observe a peregrine falcon exhibiting defensive or distressed behavior while climbing, please descend immediately and report your observations to the DEC Region 5 Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291.

NEW STATE LAND PURCHASE
New York State will acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn lands in the Adirondacks in phases over the next five years. The State has not yet purchased any of these lands at this time, so there is no public access currently available. The purchase of the first tract is expected to be completed in late 2012 or early 2013. [More Info]

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

KEEP DOGS LEASHED
Dog owners are reminded that dogs must be leashed in the Eastern High Peaks when on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, everywhere above 4,000 feet, or at other areas where the public congregates. It is recommended dogs be kept leased in most areas for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and as a courtesy to fellow hikers.

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

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

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats. White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. Give bats an opportunity to recover and voluntarily avoid Adirondack caves.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville-PLacid Trail Conditions are provided by the Adirondack Mountain Club’s NPT Chapter. You can learn more about the trail, get specific conditions, and volunteer to help maintain this historic trail here.

Blowdown Report: Hikers will encounter blowdowns on the trail in several known areas including West Canada Creek to Sucker Brook Trail; South approach to the height of land north of Tirrell Pond and Salmon Pond Road; and just south of the Seward lean-to. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general is clear.

West Canada Lakes: A 30-foot long two-stringer footbridge along the Northville-Lake Placid Trail south of Spruce Lake lean-to #1 has been repaired. In addition two 10-foot long bog bridges were constructed on the trail in that general area. All of the work was done by the Student Conservation Association’s Adirondack Program.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away in the spring of 2011. The 45 foot span bridge was replaced the end of July by the ADK Professional Trail Crew, under contract with the DEC. Both approaches to the South Lake outlet bridge had bog bridging installed in July by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

Silver Lake Wilderness: The Mud Lake Lean-to on the Northville Placid Trail has been destroyed by a large white pine that toppled on it during a recent storm. DEC is working to have a replacement built in the near future.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: Spruce Lake lean-to #2 is undergoing a move and replacement this year to a new location back 100+ feet from the water as a Boy Scout Eagle project. It may or may not be suitable for use at this time due to its current condition, reconstruction and relocation.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, the bridge that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing has been replaced by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Some Waters Low: Water levels are at near seasonal lows and all rivers. Be watchful for sand bars, shoals, rocks, stumps, limbs and other navigation hazards that may be exposed or lying just under the water surface.

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

** Bear Encounters Higher in High Peaks, Canisters Required: There has been a significant amount of nuisance bear activity in the Eastern High Peaks. Expect to encounter bears. The use of bear resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks [Read More].

** DEC, Manufacturer Discouraging BearVault Canister Use: DEC and the manufacturer are discouraging the use of BearVault Canisters in the eastern High Peaks as bears are regularly defeating this type of canister and obtaining the food stored inside.

** Tahawus: A crew has been repairing the bridge across the Hudson River at Tahawus, the suspension bridge taken out by Tropical Storm Irene. Reports indicate that work may be completed by this weekend.

Feldspar Lean-to: ADK’s Professional Trail Crew just finished building a new bridge over to the Feldspar Lean-to. They are also hoping to finish a new bridge over the Opalescent River, between the Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold, this week. Both bridges were washed out by Irene last year.

** Wall Face Lean-to Volunteers Still Needed: Lean2Rescue is expected to complete reconstruction of the Wall Face Lean-To this weekend. Volunteers for this an other projects should send their name, address, phone number, and email address to lean2rescue@twcny.rr.com and also deluciap@welchallyn.com. Volunteers must register and sign a DEC-AANR agreement before participating.

** Jackrabbit Trail Blowdown CLEARED: Blowdown on the Jackrabbit Trail between Whiteface Inn and the intersection with the McKenzie Mountain Trail caused by a recent storm has been cleared.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Last summer Tropical Storm Irene created many new slides and damaged trails and other infrastructure. Hikers should be attentive as trails may not look the same as they did when they were last hiked or as described in guidebooks and maps. Some trails have been rerouted. Know how to navigate by map and compass. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

New Marcy Dam Bridge Complete: The footbridge over Marcy Dam, washed away during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, has been rebuilt about 75 yards below the dam, upstream from the low water crossing. Trails on the east side of Marcy Brook are now easily accessible. [See the video]

Avalanche Pass Trail: There was a mud slide on the Avalanche Pass Trail between the old landslide and Avalanche Lake. Hikers may need to leave the trail to avoid debris.

Giant Mountain Slides: The approach to Eagle Slide (and others in the area) was significantly affected by Hurricane Irene, the herd path approach between the Bottle Slide and Eagle Slide drainages is no longer recommended. Instead, follow Roaring Brook to the base of the Eagle Slide. There are some trees downed in the brook. [Hat Tip: Adirondack Rock]

Colden Trap Dyke: The Trap Dyke was changed considerably during Hurricane Irene. Fixed ropes, harnesses and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to the age, weatherizing and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used.

Jay Mountain Road: Jay Mountain Road is open but the bridge on the Carlott Road, one of the roads to access the Jay Mountain Road from the southeast, is closed.

Corey’s Road: Corey’s Road is open. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Deer Brook Flume – Snow Mountain: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on the Deer Brook Trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion, however signs at both ends make the alternative route clear.

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

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The opening of this trail is still being evaluated. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed. The opening of this trail is being evaluated.

** Elk Lake-Marcy Trail: The bridge has been replaced in Marcy Swamp Inlet on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. The blowdown between Marcy Swamp and Panther Gorge Lean-to has been cleared.

Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.

Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to. See also, the Giant Mountain Slides notice above.

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

** Bear Encounters Higher in Inlet-Old Forge Corridor: There has been a significant amount of nuisance bear activity in the Inlet-Old Forge corridor. Expect to encounter bears. All food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters [Read More].

Mason Lake, Perkins Clearing Road – Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has completed a number of changes to the campsites around Mason Lake and along the Perkins Clearing Road pursuant to the actions described in the Jessup River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. See the Mason Lake Designated Campsites Map [PDF] for more details. These changes include: 1) Converting the first waterside campsite on Perkins Clearing Road into a picnic area and waterway access site on the shore of Mason Lake with two picnic tables, privy and water access registration box. 2) Designation of 10 campsites as a result of closing some over used, poorly located campsites and creating new ones. Three of these sites are only open for this year and will be closed in 2013. 3) Three campsites along Mason Lake Road (6, 7 and 8) have been combined into a group campsite that is available by permit only obtained from the local Forest Ranger. 4) Installing boulders to serve as vehicle barriers; keeping vehicles from accessing or parking in areas not designated for motor vehicle use.

Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed and is gated at the first bridge (which needs replacing). DEC says “it continues to be a high priority to fix those bridges and reopen the road. Funding is the issue. We hope to fix that first bridge and reopen the road to the next bridge. Time schedule is not set.”

Moose River Plains: The Otter Brook Road is open over the South Branch of the Moose River to the Indian Lake Road and the Indian Lake Road is open to the new Squaw Lake/Indian Lake Trailhead. The Town of Inlet Highway department has installed a new rock barrier on the Indian Lake Road about 0.3 miles before the Squaw Lake Trail in accordance with the management plan for Moose River Plains Complex. Parking for the trailhead is located at a pre-existing pull-off just before the new barrier. The new parking area is signed and can hold 5 to 6 vehicles. The Limekiln Gate and the Cedar River Gate are now open and the main Moose River Plains Road is open to motor vehicles.

** Moose River Plains: DEC trail crews are building a new 5.1-mile snowmobile trail that will connect the Limekiln-Cedar River Road near Fawn Lake to State Route 28 near the Seventh Lake Boat Launch. The trail is the first phase of a long-distance community connector trail that will link Indian Lake, Inlet, Raquette Lake and Long Lake as described in the 2011 Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. Please use caution while hiking in the vicinity of the work crews. Be sure workers using chainsaws see you before you approach them. Follow any instructions workers provide.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away in the spring of 2011. The 45 foot span bridge was replaced the end of July by the ADK Professional Trail Crew, under contract with the DEC. Both approaches to the South Lake outlet bridge had bog bridging installed in July by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

Silver Lake Wilderness: The Mud Lake Lean-to on the Northville Placid Trail has been destroyed by a large white pine that toppled on it during a recent storm. DEC is working to have a replacement built in the near future.

NPT – Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, the bridge that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing has been replaced by a Student Conservation Association trail crew.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: DEC has finished maintenance work on the 31+ miles of public roads. A new web page has been developed for the Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands which includes information about the unit and its recreational opportunities. A new 5 car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead on conservation easement lands. The old parking area was located on forest preserve lands in the West Canada Wilderness, is closed and a rock barrier is located at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake.

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

Silver Lake Wilderness: The Mud Lake Lean-to on the Northville Placid Trail has been destroyed by a large white pine that toppled on it during a recent storm. DEC is working to have a replacement built in the near future.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: A new 5 car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead on conservation easement lands. The old parking area was located on forest preserve lands in the West Canada Wilderness, is closed and a rock barrier is located at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake. The bridge over the West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail at the outlet of Mud Lake has been rebuilt by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew as a paid contractor for the DEC.

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

Lake George Infested With Spiny Water Flea: Lake George is the latest lake to be infested by spiny water flea, two weeks ago the Hudson River Feeder Canal and the Champlain Canal above Lock 11 were reported to be infested with the invasive plankton. Spiny water flea is a particular concern for anglers as it can foul down-riggers and other fishing gear. It’s believed to have arrived in Lake Huron in 1984 in ship ballast water, and since spread to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Great Sacandaga Lake, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir. Officials from Vermont have requested the New York State Canal Corporation immediately close the Champlain Canal to prevent the spread of the invasive plankton into Lake Champlain. The Canal Corporation has refused.

** Tongue Mountain: On the Tongue Mountain Range, signs at trail intersection of the Summit (red) Trail and Lake (blue) Trail coming from the Clay Meadow Trailhead have been replaced. Hikers are advised to carry maps as the signs at this location are often stolen. Rattlesnakes are out and moving about on Tongue Mountain, leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Always check for snakes before sitting on the ground. There is no water on Toungue Mountain, be sure to carry enough water for the round trip of your hike. On hot, humid days assess your abilities and the dangers of heat exhaustion and dehydration before hiking; both can come on quickly.

Black Mountain: The Black Mountain gate on Pike Brook Road has been opened and the one mile road is accessible by motor vehicles.

New Cheney Mountain Trail: A new trail 1.5-mile-long has been built on town property up 1,161-foot-high Cheney Mountain in Moriah. The trailhead is located about a mile off Route 9N/22 on Pelfershire Road. Views from the summit include Vermont’s Green Mountains, the High Peaks, and the Moriah tailings pile, a historic reminder of the town’s iron mining past. Volunteers from Moriah, Port Henry, Mineville, Crown Point, Westport, Wadhams and Essex cut the trail with the support of Champlain Area Trails (CATS); no taxpayer money was spent. The trail has been in the planning stages since 2004. CATS has built about 20 miles of new trails since the organization was formed in 2010. The Cheney Mountain TRail is included as hike No. 22 in a new CATS trail map.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Big Pond Trail has been cleared of blowdown. The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

** Lake George Wild Forest Roads: Campsites along Pikes Beach Road and Schofield Flats Roads have been repaired and are open for use. Repairs have been completed on the Bear Slide Access Route, the trail is open for usage. The Darling Ford Road and the Buttermilk Road Extension in Hudson River Recreation Area, Lake George Wild Forest remain close due to erosion and washouts. They will be open sometime in the future when maintenance work is completed. Gay Pond Road is open to motor vehicle traffic, though the road is rough. It is recommended that high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles be used when driving on the road. The Northern Hudson River Special Management Area Map and the Hudson River Special Management Area Map 3 both incorrectly depict Gay Pond Road as being closed. These maps will be updated in the near future.

Shelving Rock Falls: A new parking area has been constructed along Shelving Rock Road near at the trailhead to Shelving Rock Falls. The parking area includes an accessible privy and space for 25 vehicles.

Shelving Rock Day Use Area: Users of the Shelving Rock Day Use Area must park in designated parking areas and not on the side of Shelving Rock Road. Vehicles parked along the road block block traffic including emergency vehicles. Vehicles parked along the road will be ticketed.

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

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

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Lean-tos: Pharaoh Lake #6 lean-to has been rebuilt. Pharaoh Lake #5 “Watch Rock” lean-to has no roof at this time, it will be replaced within a few weeks. Pharaoh Lake #2 lean-to will be re-roofed later this summer. Anyone interested in assisting on this project can contact Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter) and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Blowdown has been cleared from the Puffer Pond Trail between Chimney Mountain and Puffer Pond. A reroute has been constructed around the original beaver flooded trail segment of the West Puffer Pond Trail which travels around the south side of Chimney Mountain and continues past the John Pond Crossover Trail. The trails from the Old Farm Trailhead to Hour Pond Cut-off Trail and back to the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead has been cleared of blowdown.

Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

Boreas River – Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: Three campsites along the Northwoods Club Road near the bridge over the Boreas River have been reopened. Numerous dead and hazardous trees have been removed the sites were rehabilitated.

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: A new 2.5 mile foot trail has been built from the trailhead on 14th Road in Minerva to the summit of Moxham Mountain. The trailhead is located on the south side of 14th Road, about 2 miles west of the intersection of 14th Road and Route 28N in the town of Minerva. The trail was cleared and marked with yellow trail markers by the Student Conservation Association’s Adirondack Program. Three campsites along the Northwoods Club Road near the bridge over the Boreas River have been reopened. Numerous dead and hazardous trees have been removed the sites were rehabilitated. The Boreas River crossing on the Cheney Pond – Irishtown Trail is not bridged. During low water conditions, crossing by rock hopping may be possible.

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

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

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Water levels are at their annual lows in the Saranac Lakes Chain system. Be cautious, especially between the Lower Locks and Second Pond. Large boats run the risk of becoming grounded.

New Boat Access for Raquette River at Moody Falls: A canoe and cartop boat access trail to the Raquette River at Moody Falls in the Town of Colton, St. Lawrence County is completed. The site, located off State Route 56 north of Seveys Corners on lands owned by Lyme Adirondack Timberlands and subject to a conservation easement held by DEC, has a new trail which leads down to the Raquette River upstream of Moody Falls. There is a four-car parking lot and improved road access. There will also be an access trail along the falls that will provide access from above to below Moody Falls which should be completed later this year or early next year. All of these actions were also proposed in the Raquette-Boreal Unit Management Plan, which was completed in 2006. The official opening will be on Sunday, July 29 at 10 AM as part of the Raquette River Awareness.

Road to Madawaska Flow / Quebec Brook Closed: The logging road from Route 458 in the town of Duane into the Santa Clara Easement Lands and the Madawaska Flow / Quebec Brook has been closed to the public, the Adirondack Explorer has learned. The waterways were acquired by the state in 1998, but the beginning of the road crosses non-easement lands. According to DEC, private landowner Winston Towers closed the road but did not give a reason other than that the land will soon be put on the market. “DEC is actively seeking a solution to this issue and seeks to reestablish public access to Madawaska Pond in the near future,” Winchell told Phil Brown. “DEC has a public access right of way in another location, but there is no road; it would have had to been built.” Madawaska flow’s only remaining access is a bushwhack from Blue Mountain Road and crossing privately owned railroad bed. It’s possible to paddle, with carries around rapids, to Madawaska Flow via Quebec Brook from Blue Mountain Road.

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

** Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: A new webpage has been developed for the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities. A 700-foot long accessible access trail provides scenic views of Webb Royce Swamp for birders, wildlife observers and outdoor photographers of all abilities. The trailhead parking lot is located on the east side of Clark Road about 0.6 miles from Route 9/Lake Shore Road. Leaving the parking lot, the hardened access trail travels through a field in the early stages of succession, then crosses a hedgerow into another field that is actively mowed before ending at a raised pad overlooking the swamp. The pad provides unblocked views across a large expanse of the swamp and serves as a turn around spot for wheelchairs. The variety of habitats that can be viewed from the access trail provides an opportunity to view a wide range of bird species and other wildlife.

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The town roads are open as Fishhole Pond access road. All other gates and roads are closed to public motor vehicle access at this time except those open to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) as identified on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands webpage. Accessible campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available to for use and the privy on campsite #2 has been repaired.

Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The conservation easement lands are open to public recreational use, including hunting. Leasing of hunting and recreational camps on these conservation easement lands will continue under a new agreement between DEC and the landowner.

** Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): Beginning in Fall 2012, for the first time since this conservation easement was purchased the public will be able to access and enjoy a broad range of recreational activities all year long on the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands. The public can now hunt, fish, hike, camp and participate in other recreational activities all year long and on all the lands except those immediately surrounding the hunting camp. Previously these lands were closed to hunting from September 1 to December 31 and closed to the public during the big game hunting season. See the note above regarding public access on the Madawaska Road. While the surrounding conservation easement lands are open to public access, motorized access is extremely limited at this time. The Pinnacle Mountain Parcel, Deer River Parcel and the other parcels north of Route 458 and west of the Blue Mountain Road (aka Azure Mountain Road) do have public access. Under the conservation easement agreement, now that the lands are open year-round to public recreation the private leased hunting and recreational camps can post and enforce against trespass on one acre areas around the camp buildings. Also, in addition to roads open to public motor vehicle access, members of the leased camps have the right to use motor vehicles to access their camps and other areas not open to public motor vehicle access. Respect the rights of the private camps and the camp members.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: A bridge replacement project on Floodwood Road in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County has been completed. Motor vehicles may once again access parking lots and trailheads to Floodwood Pond, East Pine Pond, the southwestern end of Long Pond and Floodwood Mountain. Also, Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Summer storms caused significant blowdown on the St. Regis Mountain Trail and the Fish Pond Truck Trail. 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 recently completed. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest – Poke-O-Moonshine: The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season. A steward from the Friends of the Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is expected to return next summer.

Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is now open for motor vehicle usage. Do not block the gate at the end of the parking lot which provides access to private lands beyond Lake Lila.

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.

** Lake Champlain Islands: Water levels are at seasonal lows. Be watchful for sand bars, shoals, rocks, stumps, limbs and other navigation hazards that may be exposed or lying just under the water surface.
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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.


Editorial Staff

Stories written under the Almanack‘s Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our Editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.




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