Thursday, February 6, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 6)

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 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.

** SNOWY WINTER CONDITIONS: This will be an outstanding weekend for wintertime outdoor recreation. The entire region received at least 6-10 inches of new snow this week and daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits and teens with nighttime temperatures in the single digits to below zero. Some more snow is being forecast for Sunday afternoon. 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.

** ELEVATED POTENTIAL FOR AVALANCHES: The threat of avalanches in the Adirondacks is elevated. 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 picked up at least 6-10 inches of snow this week, with more along the Southern Adirondacks. Inlet picked up about a foot and half. Northville received about 15 inches. Paul Smiths picked up about 15 inches. Northern Warren County got about a foot. Indian Lake about nine inches. Lake Placid received about nine inches; Keene about seven.  Lower elevations around the Adirondack Park have about 12-16 inches of snow, with as much as two feet in Herkimer and Southern Hamilton counties.  In the High Peaks, the Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 33.5 inches at the stake and more at higher elevations. Backcountry skiing conditions are now good everywhere, although care should be taken as some obstacles remain lightly covered. Snowshoes are recommended everywhere required in the High Peaks Wilderness.

** LONG RANGE FORECAST: The long range forecast remains bright for winter sports enthusiasts with colder temperatures and the possibility of a few inches of new snow around Sunday and Wednesday. Daytime temperatures should remain in the teens or twenties; nighttime temperatures around zero.

** 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. Most streams are frozen.

** ICE ON WATERS: Ice is solid, although layered with a layer of slush between the ice and new snow. 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:  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.

** CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: All cross country areas are open, and conditions are very good everywhere and excellent at Paul Smiths, Garnet Hill, and Lapland Lake.

** BACKCOUNTRY SKI REPORT: All popular back-country ski routes are skiable, although care will be necessary on the downhills, as some obstacles are still not completely covered. The hiking trail from Adirondac Loj to Marcy Dam is reported to be rough. Outstanding backcountry skiing opportunities in the Newcomb area and the Essex Chain Lakes. Slides and glades have a thin base covered with powder. 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 will be open everywhere with plenty of snow and good conditions at least through the weekend. Groomers are out. Be aware that pent up demand will mean that lots of snowmobiles will be on the trails, so use caution.  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.


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 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 33.5 inches at the stake.

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

** Slides and Glades Skiers: Slides and glades have a thin base covered with powder. Obstacles may be hidden but not covered – use caution. Skiing, snowshoeing and other travel is prohibited on Avalanche Pass Slide. Be aware of possible presence of avalanche conditions on slides and glades: Know how to assess avalanche conditions; Plan travel and escape routes; Carry a beacon, probe and shovel.

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: 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.

Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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