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 active, new or revised items.
** HIGH WIND WARNING: Be prepared for the possibility of power outages. A High Wind Warning has been issued through 8 PM Friday for the entire Adirondack Region, with the strongest winds expected to the north and west of the Adirondack Park. Expect strong and gusty southwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 65 mph, and 75 mph on higher summits. A Gale Warning has been issued for the St. Lawrence River and a Wind Advisory has been issued for Lake Champlain. Both are in effect through Friday.
** COLD WEATHER, RAIN & SNOW: Winds, rain and snow showers, and some temperatures in the 20s are in the forecast for this weekend. A couple of days of warmer wetter weather will be followed by cooling temperatures and mixed precipitation to snow. Nighttime temperatures may drop below freezing on Saturday night and temperatures are not expected to rise out of the 20s during the day Sunday. 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.
** HIGH WINDS ON SUMMITS: Summits will be very windy (20-75 mph) and wet this weekend. Winds 35 to 45 mph will increase to 50 to 65 mph Thursday evening. Temperatures will fall on Friday and winds will increase to 60-75 mph. Snow and ice are present above 3,000 feet with depths approaching 6 inches. Snow will become less deep and found higher up the mountains by Friday and Saturday – though Sunday may bring additional snows to the higher elevations. 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]
** TRAILS WET AND MUDDY: Trails will be muddy and wet, and may become a mix of snow, ice, mud and water as the weekend progresses. Snow and ice are present above 3,000 feet with depths approaching 6 inches. Snow will become less deep and found higher up the mountains by Friday and Saturday – though Sunday may bring additional snows to the higher elevations. Carry traction devices and wear when warranted on icy summits and other locations. 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 REMAIN 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.
** FIRE DANGER LOW: The fire danger in the Adirondack region is LOW. 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.
** ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS: Although it may change with rains and snow this weekend, the US Drought Monitor currently reports abnormally dry conditions extend through all of Essex, Warren, and Hamilton counties and Herkimer counties.
** WATERS RUNNING MOSTLY NORMAL: Rivers and streams are running at mostly normal levels (seasonably low) for this time of year, with the exception of the southeast part of the Adirondacks where waters are running unusually low, even for this time of year.
** LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperature fell dramatically this week. The water temperature of the AuSable River in Wilmington is in the 40s. The Lake Champlain water temperature has fallen to about 52 degrees; the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 51 degrees. The water temperature of near Scout Island on Great Sacandaga Lake is in the upper 40s.
** 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) NOW REQUIRED: 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.
** FIRST SKIING ON WHITEFACE HIGHWAY: Cold weather and snow made it possible for a few die-hards to do some skiing on the Whiteface Highway this past week, but rains today and tomorrow will probably put an end to that, although cold weather and the possibility of more snow on Sunday means that we could see another chance for a little skiing on the Whiteface Highway on Monday, but it will be wait and see.
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 for this week.
HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
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.
** Algonquin and Iroquois Peaks: In June the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Professional Trail Crew built over 400 feet of bog-bridges on both sides of Boundary Peak to protect the alpine vegetation between Boundary, and Algonquin and Iroquois Peaks.
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
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.
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila
** Blue Mountain Road: The Quebec Brook Bridge on the Blue Mountain Road in the Town of Waverly, Franklin County has reopened. Azure Mountain may be accessed from either end of the road again.
** Madawaska Flow / Santa Clara Easement: Public access to the Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands and Madawaska Flow from Route 458 is unavailable at this time. DEC continues to work to reopen public access to this area.
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.
** Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower: The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower (Taylor Pond Wild Forest) is closed until next summer. Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine who provided interpretation and public access to fire tower.
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.