Thursday, November 28, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Nov 28)

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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 active, new or revised items.

** WINTER WEATHER: Expect winter weather conditions with temperatures below normal, even for this time of year, and occasional snow showers on Sunday (especially north facing slopes). Friday wind chills on summits will be in the lower teens below zero – the wind should lessen on Saturday. Pack and wear winter gear, extra layers of clothing and a winter hat and gloves. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry.

** CARRY SNOWSHOES: Carry snowshoes or skis and use them wherever the snow depth is 8 inches or more to prevent “post-holing,” avoid injury and ease travel on snow. “Post-holing” ruins the trails for others and makes them dangerous to traverse.

** SNOW AND ICE: Snow and ice are present at all elevations. Expect from 2 to 4 inches of snow in most lower elevation areas, with 4 to 6 in mid-elevations, and more on summits. Snow tends to be be deeper toward the Northwest. Snowshoes will be needed in summit areas, and traction devices are recommended elsewhere. Thin ice has formed on most smaller lakes and backwaters Рsee the full Ice Report below.

** 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]

** 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.

** RIVERS AND STREAMS: Rivers and streams are running just above normal levels for this time of year. Ice has formed on most smaller lakes and backwaters. The US Drought Monitor reports Abnormally Dry conditions extend through all of Essex, Warren, and Hamilton and Herkimer counties.

** ICE ON WATERS: Thin ice has formed on most smaller lakes and backwaters. The bays on Great Sacandaga Lake are beginning to freeze but larger lakes still have areas of dangerously thin ice and open areas. No ice should be considered safe, however, some early season skating has been taking place and ice fishing will likely begin on smaller lakes this weekend. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** 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 and Gore Mountain are opening on a daily basis beginning Friday. All resorts with snowmaking are currently making snow. McCauley Mountain is hoping to open Saturday and Sunday, but call ahead to be sure. Oak Mountain near Speculator is hoping to open next weekend, weather permitting. The Almanack’s Ski Season Preview has been posted here.

** BACKCOUNTRY – CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: There is enough snow for the die-hards to cross-country ski on some of the smoother terrain in the Central and Northwestern Adirondacks. The groomer was out in Tupper Lake and the golf course loop should be skiable this weekend. The Whiteface Memorial Highway, and smoother roadway routes in the High Peaks should be skiable this weekend as well. No cross-country resorts have opened yet.

** 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.

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

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.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
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.

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 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.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
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.

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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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