** indicates active, new or revised items.
** SNOWY MID-WINTER CONDITIONS: This will be another outstanding weekend for wintertime outdoor recreation. The entire region is forecast to receive at 5-10 inches of new snow tonight and tomorrow morning. Temperatures will warm ever so slightly this weekend into the upper 30s during the day with continued cold at night from 10 above to 10 below. There is a good chance of additional snow showers on Saturday. Wear a cold weather 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. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
** AVALANCHE WARNING: The threat of avalanches in the Adirondacks is elevated. Additional reports have come in warning of avalanche conditions – notably on Angel Slides. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 and 50 degrees and no vegetation. If you are going to travel into avalanche terrain carry a shovel, probe, and transceiver, and know how to use them. If you are unsure, don’t go. Avalanches occur often in the Adirondacks and they can have deadly consequences.
** CURRENT SNOW COVER: The entire region has at least 6-10 inches of snowcover at lower elevations, with another 5-10 inches of light snow expected. There are 15 to 20 inches of powdery snow over a thin, icy base at mid-elevations. In the High Peaks, the Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 31 inches at the stake and more at higher elevations. Be prepared to break trail in new snow especially on lesser used trails. Breaking trail will slow progress and increase the energy exerted – plan accordingly. Backcountry skiing conditions are now good everywhere, although care should be taken as some obstacles remain lightly covered. Snowshoes or skis are recommended everywhere and required in the High Peaks Wilderness.
** LONG RANGE FORECAST: The long range forecast is mixed with a potential for some more snow on Monday-Tuesday, but then the possibility of a warming into the 30s later in the week and into the 40s next weekend.
** BLOWDOWN: Winter storms and recent 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 NORMAL: Rivers are running at normal levels for this time of year.
** ICE ON WATERS: All lakes are iced over, some smaller lakes have a foot of ice or more. 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: All the region’s downhill ski areas will be open with nearly all of their terrain open. Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg will be open again this weekend, as will Big Tupper, which will open through Presidents Day week.
** CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: All cross country areas are open, and conditions will be excellent this weekend everywhere. All areas have at least a 4-6 inch base going into this storm.
** BACKCOUNTRY SKI REPORT: All popular back-country ski routes are skiable, although care is still necessary on the downhills, as some obstacles are still not completely covered. Some trees can be found across the ski trail between Marcy Dam and Indian Falls. Marcy Dam Truck Trail and the Old Marcy Trail provide the best skiing. The trail from the Adirondack Loj to Marcy Dam has exposed or barely covered rocks and roots; conditions should improve with the expected additional snow. Obstacles may be hidden but not covered – use caution. Skiers and snowshoers on roadways used by snowmobiles should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage.
** SNOWMOBILE REPORT: Trails are open everywhere and conditions remain generally good with more frequently used trails, and village trails in fair condition. Conditions should improve some with today’s storm, but its light snow and we need another sizable storm to move to very good conditions everywhere. Best bet: stay to lesser used trails for the best ride. The C8 Snowmobile Corridor in the towns of Duane and Franklin has reopened (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.
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
** Snowshoes or Skis Required: Snowshoes or skis are required the High Peaks Wilderness. 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 31 inches at the stake.
** 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: The second of three Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends is scheduled for this weekend, February 15 to 17 (the final weekend will be 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: The Debar Trail between Debar Meadows to Meacham Lake Campground Trail has reopened for snowmobile use. The C8 Snowmobile Corridor is now open throughout this area. DEC and Franklin Snowmobilers unclogged culverts and completed other work to make the trail safe for public use.
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.