Thursday, June 20, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 20)

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

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** indicates new or revised items.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAIL CONDITIONS: Most trails around the region remain wet and muddy after considerable recent rains, especially in low lying areas and near waterbodies. Water levels are well above normal for this time of year; low water crossings may not be passable and trails along waterways may be flooded. Wear appropriate footwear, stay on the trail, and hike through muddy areas to avoid widening the trails or creating herd paths.

** AVOID TRAILS ABOVE 3,000 FEET: The Muddy Trail Advisory remains in effect. Recent rains have kept high elevation trails wet and muddy. Hikers are advised to avoid trails above 3,000 feet to protect the trails and surrounding vegetation which are very vulnerable at this time of year. Hikers can cause severe erosion of trails and significant damage to vegetation. Steep, wet and muddy trails are also very slippery. Hikers are asked use low and mid-elevation trails at this time. A list of trails to avoid is located here.

** WATERS RUNNING WELL ABOVE NORMAL: Waters are currently running well above normal, even for this time of year. Low water crossings may not be accessible and some water crossings may be difficult and intimidating to some hikers. Localized afternoon storms this weekend could quickly raise the level of rivers and streams even more – watch weather reports closely.

** PADDLING ADVISORY: Water levels are running well above normal, even for this time of year; water temperatures are generally in the  upper 50s to low 60s. Paddlers should use caution, and be on the lookout for debris carried by recent freshets. Don’t paddle alone or above your experience, wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry, and always wear a personal floatation device (PFD).

** LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES: The temperature of Mirror Lake is in the mid-60s. The Ausable River at Wilmington is in the lower 60s; Lake Champlain water temperature is in the about 57 degrees; and the temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George remains about 67 degrees.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN ALGAE BLOOMS REPORTED: Reports are starting to be received about blue-green algae blooms. No toxin testing has been conducted at this time, however, weather conditions for the next few days may lead to additional blooms.  Anyone on the water or along shorelines of Missisquoi Bay on Lake Champlain should watch for and avoid algae blooms.

** 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: Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness at all times. Numerous wildfires burned around the Adirondack region this spring. It is illegal to leave a fire unattended until it is fully extinguished. Use care with open fires.

SOME CLIMBING ROUTES REMAIN CLOSED: DEC has closed all climbing routes on Moss Cliff in the Wilmington Notch, at the Lower Washbowl cliffs in the Chapel Pond area, routes on the Main Face of Pok-O-Moonshine between and including Shark Week and Lichenstorm, and routes on the Main Wall of Shelving Rock from Snake Charmer to Infinity Crack. 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. Closed climbing routes will reopen once the young falcons have fledged which is typically by August 1.

** NEW STATE LANDS INPUT SOUGHT: The Adirondack Park Agency continues to hold hearings around the state to explain options and gather opinions for managing up to 46,400 acres of former Finch, Pruyn/Nature Conservancy and adjacent Forest Preserve lands in the Upper Hudson River region.  All of the Almanack’s coverage of the new state lands, including the debates over wilderness and wild forest classifications, the maps, hearings, and more can be found here.  Details and maps of the several proposed classification schemes can be found here.

** FREE FISHING DAYS NEXT WEEKEND: During the last full weekend in June (June 29-30 this year), anyone may fish the fresh waters of New York State without a fishing license. This is the perfect opportunity to try fishing for the first time or take a friend or relative fishing. New York State includes more than 7,500 lakes and ponds and 50,000 miles of rivers and streams.


INCREASED BEAR ACTIVITY: Bears are becoming active in the backcountry. The use of bear-resistant canisters to store all food, toiletries and waste is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and encouraged throughout the Adirondacks.

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

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT: Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. 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.

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.


These are recent changes (within the last two weeks) to outdoor recreation roads, trails and facilities around the Adirondacks.

** indicates new or revised items this week.

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Muddy Trails Advisory: Recent rains have kept high elevation trails wet and muddy. The Muddy Trail Advisory remains in effect. Hikers are advised to avoid trails above 3000 feet to protect the trails and surrounding vegetation which are very vulnerable at this time of year. Hikers can cause severe erosion of trails and significant damage to vegetation. Steep, wet and muddy trails are also very slippery. Hikers are asked use low and mid-elevation trails at this time.

** Route 73 Road Construction: Road construction on Route 73 along the Cascade Lakes continues through Monday, June 24, with alternating one- way traffic through the construction zone controlled by temporary traffic lights. The two easternmost parking areas for Cascade and Pitchoff Mountains remain closed during the construction. The other three are fully or partially open, however hikers are advised to seek other places to hike during this period, especially on the weekends.

** Bradley Pond Trail: The first foot bridge on the Bradley Pond Trail is unusable. The stream can be forded /rock hopped most of time on the down stream side of the bridge site.

** A new foundation has been built for the Orebed Lean-to by Lean2 Rescue who had previously made repairs on the lean-to.

** Wilmington Wild Forest / Beaver Brook Trail System: The map of the Beaver Brook Trail system has been updated to include the a new 3.0 mile trail on the east side of Hardy Road. See the Beaver Brook webpage for more information and a link to the map.

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

Inlet and Raquette Lake Community Connector: The 12.8-mile Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail connecting the communities of Inlet and Raquette Lake is open. The trail provides four seasons of recreational opportunities for the public to snowmobile, hike and bike. The southwestern end of the trail is at the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road in the Town of Inlet and the northeastern end is at the Sagamore Road in the Town of Long Lake. A Trail Map is available online.

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Excavation and concrete work on the second of the three stone bridges (3.2 miles from the trailhead) on the Newcomb Lake Road through June 26 will require that visitors use a small foot bridge to bypass the site. Horse drawn wagons will not be able to pass the bridge and individual horses may also not be able to pass. Work to reconstruct the stone walls of this culvert will begin in late June and continue into the fall of 2013. This work should not impact movement along the Newcomb Lake Road significantly. As part of the construction work on the stone bridge steel plates will be laid on the surface of the Honeymoon Bridge located about 1.2 miles from the trailhead. This may create a slippery, unsafe surface for bikers and horses. Other work this summer at Camp Santanoni will include: Repairing the roof and framework of the New Farm Manager’s Cottage on the Farm; Stabilizing and restoring the birch bark wall coverings in the Great Room of the Main Lodge on Newcomb Lake; and Re-glazing windows, painting and other site maintenance tasks. Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is providing a tour of Camp Santanoni on Friday June 28. See here for more information. Management, maintenance, restoration and interpretation of Camp Santanoni Historic site is accomplished through a partnership of DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the Town of Newcomb and volunteers.

** Former Finch Lands: Public access to 7,200 acres of land, the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake, the lower reaches of the Cedar River and the lands and ponds south of the Cedar River is available for the first time in 100 years through an Interim Access Plan for the Former Finch Lands (PDF). DEC has developed a webpage with information about the area and descriptions and maps of the interim public access facilities. Updated information will be provided here as roads are opened and trails, landing sites and other infrastructure are developed.

** Hoffman Notch: Blowdown has been removed from the Bailey Pond, Marion Pond and Hoffman Notch Trails.

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Route 73 Road Construction: Road construction on Route 73 along the Cascade Lakes has begun. There will be alternating one way traffic through the construction zone through Monday, June 24. Also the two easternmost parking areas for Cascade and Pitchoff Mountains will be closed during the construction. The other three will remain fully or partially open, however hikers are advised to seek other places to hike during this period, especially on the weekends.

** Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower / Taylor Pond Wild Forest: The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is open for the season. The Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine will once again have students providing interpretation Thursdays through Mondays from 9am to 5 pm through Friday, August 23rd.

** Whitney Wilderness: A State Supreme Court Justice has ruled on the navigability of the waterway that flows through privately owned land between Lilypad Pond and the boundary of State lands on Shingle Shanty Brook. These include Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and Shingle Shanty Brook downstream from Mud Pond Outlet to the boundary of State lands. The court held that the waterway is navigable-in-fact and thus subject to the right of public navigation, meaning that members of the public may travel through the waterway. The right of navigation also includes the right to portage around obstacles, such as the shallow rapids flowing out of Mud Pond. The right of public navigation does not allow use of the private lands for other purposes, such as hiking, picnicking, or camping.

General warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Additional detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

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

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3 Responses

  1. Caitlin Conley says:

    How are the black flies right now in the Tupper/Saranac area?

    • John Warren says:

      Hi Caitlin,

      I’m not in that area, but I can say this. It has been very wet recently and is very mugging now. The black flies are out. Much depends on how exposed the area is where you’ll be, the time of day, what you’re wearing, etc.

      If I were camping I would bring a head net, just in case. Be sure to wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing. Black flies are attracted to body heat. The cooler you keep yourself, the better off you are.

      I hope that helps. Normally the black flies are really only a problem for an hour or so in the evening – the perfect time to go for a swim!

      John Warren

  2. Alan Senbaugh says:

    I camped at Lake Colden last weekend and they were very bad. I wore a head net when sitting or was in the tent.