Thursday, October 24, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct 24)

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.


** indicates new or revised items.

** COLD WEATHER, RAIN & SNOW: Expect cold temperatures, wind, snow and rain this weekend throughout the region. At lower elevations, daytime temperatures in the lower 50s and 40s dropping into the 30s and 20s at night should be expected. Nighttime temperatures may drop below freezing. Pack and wear rain gear, extra layers of clothing and a winter hat and gloves. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry. Summit conditions will be more extreme, see Summit Conditions below.

** SNOW & ICE: The entire region experienced some snow on Thursday, more along lake effect snow areas in the South Central and Western Adirondacks, and at higher elevations in the High Peaks. Old Forge received about 2-3 inches of snow, so trails there will be wet and icy in places.

** SUMMIT CONDITIONS: Summits will be obscured by clouds this weekend. Winds 30 to 45 miles per hour will drop the windchill values into the upper teens during the day and lower teens at night. Some snow and ice is present above 3,000 feet – traction devices should be carried and worn when necessary. Stay on trails and bedrock surfaces – don’t trample sensitive vegetation on summits.

** 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]

** GENERAL TRAIL CONDITIONS: With the exception of lake effect snow areas in the South Central and Western Adirondacks which received a good deal of precipitation on Thursday, trails at lower elevations are mostly dry, with some wet and muddy areas in low spots and near water and seeps in the lower elevations. Some snow and ice is present above 3,000 feet – traction devices should be carried and worn when necessary. Stay on trails and bedrock surfaces – don’t trample sensitive vegetation. Wear proper footwear and walk through (not around) mud & water to prevent further eroding and widening of trails.

** BLACK BEARS ACTIVE: 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 through the end of November 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: Despite some rains and snow this past week, the US Drought Monitor continues to reporting that abnormally dry conditions extend through all of Essex, Warren, and Hamilton counties and Herkimer counties.

** FIRE DANGER MODERATE / LOW: The fire danger in the Adirondack region is LOW west of the Hudson River, and MODERATE east of the Hudson River. Everywhere 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 AT NORMAL LEVELS: Rivers and streams are running at normal levels (seasonably low) for this time of year.

** LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperature fell dramatically this week. The water temperature of the AuSable River in Wilmington is now in the 40s. The Lake Champlain water temperature has fallen to about 55 degrees; the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 59 degrees. The water temperature of near Scout Island on Great Sacandaga Lake is about 51 degrees.

** LATE SEASON MOTOR BOATERS: Docks at businesses, marina, and boat launches along with 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 potentially unmarked underwater dangers.

** LIFE JACKETS (PFDs) REQUIRED AFTER NOV 1: State law requires life jackets be worn by anyone on a boat less than 21 feet in length between November 1st and May 1st. Cold water temperatures can cause hyperventilation, hypothermia and weakening of limbs all which could lead to drowning if a person is not wearing a Personal Floatation Device.

** HUNTING SEASONS OPEN: Saturday marks the beginning of regular deer season and hunting seasons for small game, waterfowl and big game are now open. 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.


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

** indicates new, important, or revised items for this week.

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

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.

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

** Snow and Ice: Although the entire region experienced some snow on Thursday, lake effect snow areas in the South Central Adirondacks received a good deal more. Old Forge received about 2-3 inches of snow, so trails there will be wet and icy in places.

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.

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

Beach Road – Lake George: Motor vehicle traffic on Beach Road in Lake George is being rerouted in the Lake George Beach area to accommodate a road reconstruction project. The eastbound lane near Million Dollar Beach is closed. The westbound lane of the road is 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.

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

** Saranac Lake Wild Forest: The traditional roadside parking area to access to the McKenzie Pond Boulder Field has been posted with no parking signs by the Essex County Highway Department. A location a short distance away on the other side of the road is now designated with signs for roadside parking. DEC plans to develop a parking area for the McKenzie Pond Boulder Field after the Saranac Lake Wild Forest UMP is finalized, until then boulderers should use the designated roadside parking.


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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