Thursday, January 23, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 23)

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

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** indicates active, new or revised items.

** VERY COLD WINTER CONDITIONS: Temperatures remain very cold. Expect daytime highs in the teens this weekend with nighttime lows in single digits to teens below zero. Light snow and snow showers are being forecast, with a total possible accumulation over the weekend of three or four inches. Wear a waterproof outer shell and bring winter gear, extra layers of clothing and a winter hat and gloves. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.

** ICY AND SNOWY TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trails, parking lots, and other access points remain icy under light snow. Traction devices are recommended. Crampons should be carried for use on icy areas, especially in steep terrain, on summits and in other open areas. There is 2-3 feet of snow at higher elevations. Snowshoes or skis are required above Marcy Dam, and anywhere in the High Peaks Wilderness where snow depths are 8 inches or more. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 22 inches at the stake this morning. The use of snowshoes or skis eases travel through snow, avoids injury and prevents “post-holing”, which ruins the trails for others and makes them dangerous to traverse.

** SNOW COVER REPORT: Lower elevations at the periphery have about 6-8 inches. There is more snow in the central and Northern Adirondacks, about 8-12 inches, and more in higher elevations. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 22 inches at the stake this morning and more than two feet above there. Skiing conditions are fair in the lower elevations and good in the higher elevations.

** LONG RANGE FORECAST: Expect very cold weather to continue next week, unfortunately, aside from the possibility of a few inches this weekend, there is little or no snow forecast in the coming week. Through the end of the month we can expect the occasional clipper to move through, bringing a small amount of snowfall.

** BLOWDOWN: Recent storms and high winds have left blowdown on trails, especially secondary, lesser used trails.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER: Adirondack weather 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 JUST ABOVE NORMAL: Rivers and stream are at or just above normal for this time of year.

** ICE ON WATERS: Ice is solid and growing. All lakes are iced over, some smaller lakes have as much as a foot of ice. Always check the depth of ice before and during crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. Always use extreme caution on ice over water.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT: Most of the region’s downhill resorts will be open this weekend with a few inches of fresh snow over a very firm base. Whiteface is reporting about 70% of their terrain open and Gore about 80%. McCauley and Oak Mountain will be open this weekend, but are still relying on the snow makers, so they have about 40-50% of their terrain open. Big Tupper and Hickory remain closed; Mount Pisgah will be open.

** CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: All cross country areas are open, but expect with a firmly packed somewhat thin base and limited trail selection, with the usual exception of LapLand Lake which has considerably more coverage and good skiing. The best bets this weekend would be either their or on the smaller lake and ponds.

** BACKCOUNTRY SKI REPORT: Backcountry skiing is possible in the High Peaks above Marcy Dam, but conditions are better at higher elevations and only fair below there. Everywhere, be sure to use caution and be aware of obstacles, thin cover, and fast downhills. Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are frozen but use extreme caution around inlets and outlets. Flowed Lands and river crossings are also frozen. The Jackrabbit Trail is skiable, but thin. The best bets are the smoother terrain of the Peninsula section. Backcountry skiing remains marginal elsewhere, although there is a good report on the Hays Brook Truck Trail and Burns Road near Little Tupper. Cranberry Lake and the Inlet – Old Forge corridor are also ski-able. The Fish Pond Truck Trail is skiable, although some blowdown remains. The best bet continues to be in Newcomb and the Essex Chain which has gotten more snow this week.

** SNOWMOBILE REPORT: Trails are generally thin, but rideable. Expect to encounter some icy turns, some very thin spots, and some obstacles. The best bets are in the Perkins Clearing and Moose River Plains areas. Trails in the Town of Webb are in Fair condition. The C8 Snowmobile Corridor in the towns of Duane and Franklin is currently closed (see below). The Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail is open for its whole length (DEC crews added ramps to the bridges that had been missing them). Cranberry Lake Lodge is closed for the 2013-2014 Winter season and no gas is available in and around the Cranberry Lake area. Do not ride on closed trails. On February 16, historian and Adirondack Almanack founder and editor John Warren will present a talk at the Adirondack Museum tracing the history of snow machines in the Adirondacks from the early 1900s through the development of the personal sled.


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

** Snowshoes or Skis Required: Snowshoes or Skis Required: Snowshoes or skis are required above Marcy Dam, and anywhere in the High Peaks Wilderness where snow depths are 8 inches or more. The use of snowshoes or skis eases travel through snow, avoids injury and prevents “post-holing”, which ruins the trails for others and makes them dangerous to traverse.

** Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are frozen, but use caution around inlets and outlets. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 22 inches at the stake this morning.

** Flowed Lands and River Crossings: Flowed Lands and river crossings are frozen.

Ausable Lakes: The public easement agreement for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) only allows for hiking, snowshoeing or skiing on the designated trails and roads. Traversing the Lower or Upper Ausable Lakes is prohibited.

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

** The Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail: The trail is now open for its whole length. DEC crews added ramps to the bridges that had been missing them.

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

** Camp Santanoni: Two more Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends are scheduled this winter – February 15 to 17 and March 15 and 16. Skiers and snowshoers will be able access and learn about the historic buildings and warm up in the Artist Cabin with a fire and hot beverages. Find out more here.

Former Finch Lands – Essex Chain Lakes Tract: The Town of Newcomb is plowing Goodnow Flow Road. The public can park in the designated plowed area along the Goodnow Flow Road just before the Chain Lakes Road entrance – this is the road used in the summer to access the Hudson River at the Polaris or Iron Bridge. The public can access the Essex Chain Lakes Tract to ski, snowshoe or otherwise traverse the roadways and the lands. Interim winter public access will be limited this year as no plowed parking areas have been designated on the Essex Tract itself. The plowed parking area on the Goodnow Flow Road is used by the Gooley and Polaris Club members to park vehicles and snowmobile trailers – it is likely to be crowded on weekends. The Deer Pond and Chain Lakes Road gates have been closed and locked. The roads beyond are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Members of the Gooley and Polaris Clubs will be able to use snowmobiles on the roadways to get to and from their camps.

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

** Cranberry Lake: Cranberry Lake Lodge is closed for the 2013-2014 Winter season. The restaurant, tavern, and hotel lodging are closed, and there is no gas available on the premises. There is no access to Cranberry Lake from the Lodge property. At present, there is no gas available in and around the Cranberry Lake area.

** C8 Connector – Debar Wild Forest / Sable Highlands: Due to public safety concerns DEC and the Franklin Snowmobilers have agreed to temporarily close the Debar Trail between Debar Meadows to Meacham Lake Campground Trail. This is a section of the C8 Snowmobile Corridor in the towns of Duane and Franklin. Flooding due to clogged culverts resulting from the earlier thaws and heavy rains has occurred in three locations. The water and ice at the three sites combined with the lack of snow make for treacherous conditions for snowmobilers. The Hatch Brook Gate off County Route 26 on the eastern end of the trail and the Debar Mountain Trailhead Gate in the Meacham Lake Campground are closed. DEC and the Franklin County Snowmobilers are working together to fix the problem as quickly as possible, though a good foot or more of moist snow will provide the best solution. DEC will reopen the gates and the trail as soon as the work is complete and the trail is no longer a safety hazard.

** DeBar Mountain Wild Forest/Kushuqua Conservation Easement Lands: DEC has released a draft Recreation Management Plan for the Kushuqua Conservation Easement Lands. A public meeting regarding the plan has been scheduled for February 5 at Paul Smiths College.


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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