Thursday, October 10, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct 10)


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

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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 report can also be found at Mountain Lake PBS.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** BUSY HOLIDAY WEEKEND: This weekend is Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend and the weather forecast is excellent. Many people will be on the trails and waters of the area. Trailhead parking lots and interior campsites will reach capacity in popular areas. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other lesser used areas of the Adirondacks. .Hikes Outside of the High Peaks provides a list of alternative day hikes in the Adirondacks.

COOLER WEATHER: Daytime temperatures are in the 50s and 60s and nighttime temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Nighttime temperatures may drop below freezing in the higher elevations. Pack and wear extra layers of clothing and a winter hat. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry.

** SHORTER DAYS: Days are growing shorter with darkness arriving earlier each day. Plan accordingly and always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra fresh batteries.

** BEAR ACTIVITY INCREASED: Black bears are active in the backcountry at this time of year. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required in the Eastern High Peaks and encouraged throughout the Adirondacks. Prevent creating nuisance bears by properly using bear-resistant canisters, by storing all food, toiletries and garbage in the canister and by following other practices to prevent attracting bears.

** ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS: Abnormally dry conditions have returned to the Adirondacks. The US Drought Monitor is reporting that abnormally dry conditions extend through all of Essex, Warren, and Hamilton counties and Northern Herkimer County. The fire danger is elevated and waters are running below normal, even for this time of year.

** FIRE DANGER LOW: The fire danger in the Adirondack region is LOW, but the ground is now littered with dry fallen leaves that pose a risk near fire. Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness at all times. It is illegal to leave a fire unattended until it is fully extinguished. Use extreme care at this time of year with open fires.

** WATERS RUNNING NORMAL LEVELS: Rivers and streams are running at normal levels (seasonably low) for this time of year.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER: Fall weather is often unsettled and can change dramatically in a short time. Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times. 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]

** TRAIL CONDITIONS: The trails are mostly dry.

** LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES: Warm temperatures have keep water temperatures steady. The water temperature of the AuSable River in Wilmington is in the 50s. The Lake Champlain water temperature is about 60 degrees; and the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 65 degrees. The water temperature of near Scout Island on Great Sacandaga Lake is 62 degrees.

** LATE SEASON MOTOR BOATERS: Shallow, danger, and channel marker buoys are being pulled from lakes around the region. Late season boaters should know the areas in which they travel and give a wide berth to dangerous areas.

** FALL FOLIAGE REPORT: Foliage has peaked throughout most of the Adirondacks, the best leaf peeping this weekend will be at the periphery of the Adirondack Park. Try the Lake Champlain and Lake George valleys, as well as Lake Sacandaga.

HUNTING SEASON: Autumn hunting seasons for small game, waterfowl and big game are open or will open shortly. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are rare, but hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and keep pets leased and on the trail.

RECENT CHANGES IN THE ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY

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.

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

** Expect High Usage Oct 11-14: Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness should be aware that trailhead parking lots and interior campsites reach capacity on Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, October 11-14. Hikes Outside of the High Peaks provides a list of alternative day hikes in the Adirondacks.

Bear Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters to store all food, toiletries and waste is required for all overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness through November 30 and encouraged throughout the Adirondacks.

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

** Aggressive Black Bears on the Northville-Placid Trail: Hikers have reported encounters with aggressive black bears on the Northville-Placid Trail between Wakely Pond and Stephens Pond in the Blue Ridge Wilderness. Hikers are advised to hike in groups, make noise as you hike (talking and clapping hands), hike only during daylight and secure food, trash, toiletries, and scented items when camping overnight. If approached by a bear DO NOT RUN – stand tall, wave you hands over your head and to your sides, yell and clap hands. If the bear doesn’t move off, throw rocks, sticks or other objects. DO NOT throw food or objects containing food. If attacked by a black bear, fight back. Use whatever items you have to punch, poke, or club the bear. As soon as possible contact the DEC Dispatch at 518-891-0235 at anytime of day or night to report the encounter.

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

** Beach Road – Lake George: Motor vehicle traffic on Beach Road in Lake George will be rerouted in the Lake George Beach area beginning Tuesday, October 15 to accommodate a road reconstruction project. The eastbound lane near Million Dollar Beach will be closed. The westbound lane of the road will be open to two-way traffic. The road will be rerouted until Memorial Day 2014, the expected completion date of the reconstruction of this section of Beach Road with porous asphalt and other stormwater management features to protect the water quality of Lake George. When the project is completed it will match the porous pavement and stormwater management infrastructure constructed by Warren County on the rest of Beach Road.

Access to Essex Chain Lakes: DEC has created an interim management plan for the Essex Chain of Lakes, part of the former Finch Pruyn lands recently acquired by New York State from the Nature Conservancy. Currently, day use is permitted, but not overnight camping. From NY 28N in Newcomb, turn south on Pine Tree Road (a short loop road), then turn onto Goodnow Flow Road. Go 4.3 miles on Goodnow Flow Road to a junction with Woody’s Road. Turn right onto Woody’s Road and go 1.5 miles to Cornell Road. Bear left and go another 4.4 miles to the parking area. After the turn onto Woody’s Road, most of the driving will be on dirt roads. The roads are often rocky. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended. The parking area is shown on the DEC map above (it is the one southwest of Goodnow Flow). There is a quarter mile portage to Deer Pond, and from there a half-mile portage to Third Lake which provides access by water to First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Lakes. Members of private hunting camps only have the right of motorized access. Read more about visiting the the Essex Chain Lakes here.

** Lake Champlain Water Level: The lake level remains above average for this time of year.

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

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: A number of new facilities and access opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands in Franklin and Clinton counties (former Domtar Industries lands near Lyon Mountain) are now available for public use including new parking lots, newly opened roads for motorized use, and informational kiosks. Roads and trails have been opened through private lease areas to provide access under sporting leases to areas open to public use. More deatils can be found here. Also, the DEC’s Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands webpage provides information about the area and its recreational opportunities.

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Campers using either of the two campsites in the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area are encouraged to park in the new Loon Lake Mountain Trailhead parking area on the other side of County Route 26.

** Loon Lake Mountain – DeBar Mountain Wild Forest: A new trail has been built to the firetower on summit of Loon Lake Mountain. A trailhead parking area is located on the west side of of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. Campers using either of the two campsites on the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area on the east side of County Route 26 in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands are encouraged to park in the new Loon Lake Mountain Trailhead parking area.

** Blue Mountain Road: The bridge over Quebec Brook on Blue Mountain Road in the Town of Waverly, Franklin County, is being replaced by a county crew and is closed (through early October). There is no detour possible. During the closure period access to the Quebec Brook Waterway Access Site will be from the south only and access to Azure Mountain will be from the north only.

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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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