Thursday, October 3, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct 3)

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.

** 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 MODERATE: The fire danger in the Adirondack region is MODERATE, 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 AT BELOW NORMAL LEVELS: Rivers and streams are running at below normal levels, even for this time of year.

** 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.

** 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]

** BEAR ACTIVITY INCREASED: Black bears are active in the backcountry. 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.

** TRAIL CONDITIONS: The trails are mostly dry.

** LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES: The water temperature of the AuSable River in Wilmington is in the upper-50s. The Lake Champlain water temperature has risen to about 62 degrees; and the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is in the upper-60s. 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 in the Central Adirondacks, but is at peak at the periphery of the Adirondack Park. The next two weeks will continue to be an excellent time for leaf peeping.

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 extremely rare. 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 or revised items this week.

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

Duck Hole-Henderson Lake Trail: A new bridge has been constructed over Roaring Brook on the Duck Hole-Henderson Lake Trail.

** 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.

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.

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

** 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

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands /Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: Public access to these lands and waters from Route 458 is unavailable at this time. DEC continues to work to reopen public access to this 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 will be closed until late September or early October. There will be 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.


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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