Thursday, November 21, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Nov 21)

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

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** indicates active, new or revised items.

** EARLY WINTER WEATHER: Expect the coldest weather of the season this weekend with daytime temperatures below freezing on Saturday and Sunday. Snow is expected through the weekend though no significant accumulation is forecast. Pack and wear winter gear, extra layers of clothing and a winter hat and gloves. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry. High Peaks summits can expect winds 25-45 mph on Saturday with wind-chills in the single digits above zero.

** SNOW AND ICE: Snow and ice are present in the higher elevations. There is 1-2 inches of snow at Marcy Dam with up to 6 inches above 3,000 feet. Snowshoes are not required at this time, but boots with traction devices are recommended.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER: Early winter 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 ARE HARD – SOME ICE: Trails are hardening up. Ice, snow and frozen mud are present on trails in the lower elevations. Carry traction devices and use them when necessary.

** BLACK BEARS REMAIN ACTIVE: Black bears remain active in the backcountry. 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: The US Drought Monitor reports abnormally dry conditions extend through all of Essex, Warren, and Hamilton and Herkimer counties.

** WATERS RUNNING NORMAL: Rivers and streams are running at normal levels for this time of year (seasonably low). Ice may be forming overnight at higher elevation backwaters.

** LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES COLD: Water temperatures of smaller lakes around the region are in the 30s and ice has begun forming on most waters. Smaller, higher elevation waters and waters protected from wind and sun have thin ice. No ice is currently safe. PFDs must be worn by all people at all times in boats less than 21 feet in length until May 1. Lake Champlain water temperature remains around 45 degrees. Lake George remains in the lower 40s. Great Sacandaga Lake water temperture is about 36 degrees.

** LIFE JACKETS (PFDs) REQUIRED: State law requires life jackets be worn by anyone on a boat less than 21 feet in length through 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.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT: Whiteface will be open Friday through Sunday with limited services and no beginner terrain until Saturday when they expect to open Mixing Bowl. Gore Mountain will be open Saturday and Sunday. The Gondola will be running in addition to lift 3, with 9 trails. Snowmakers there are hoping to have 2 miles of skiing from the Gondola on down. Both mountains will have a packed machine groomed base. Daily Operations at both mountains are expected to begin next Friday, November 29, weather permitting. All resorts with snowmaking are currently making snow.

** BACKCOUNTRY – CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: The Whiteface Memorial Highway was plowed and sanded this week so there is no longer skiing there and no backcountry or cross-country skiing elsewhere.

** HUNTING SEASONS OPEN: 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 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.

** East River Trail Reopened: The new bridge on the East River Trail over the Hudson River is complete and the trail is reopened. The East River Trail is the trail off the east side of the Tahawus Road, south of Upper Works, used to access Mount Adams, Flowed Lands and Hanging Spear Falls.

** Elk Lake Easement Lands: The Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands, including the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail into the High Peaks Wilderness and the Dix-Hunter Pass Trail into the Dix Mountain Wilderness, is closed to all public access through the big game hunting season.

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

** Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Route: Ice is forming in backwaters, bays and shorelines of stillwater stretches and lakes. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs, aka life jackets) must be worn by all people at all times in boats less than 21 feet in length until May 1.

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

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Dacy Clearing Road has received some much needed maintenance. Materials has been added to fill holes and cover rocks, and the road was raked and smoothed.

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

** Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Route: Ice is forming in backwaters, bays and shorelines of stillwater stretches and lakes. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs, aka life jackets) must be worn by all people at all times in boats less than 21 feet in length until May 1.


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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