Thursday, March 20, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Mar 20)

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

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SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates active, new or revised items.

** WINTER WEATHER: Despite the official passing of the first day of Spring, Winter conditions continue, with the entire region picking-up an inch or two of snow on Wednesday night, two to four inches in the southern half of the region. Additional snow opportunities through Saturday should leave at least another inch or two of wet snow, before conditions turn colder for the second half of the weekend.  Expect temperatures this weekend to range from the single digits at night to the upper 20s and 30s during the day. 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.

** TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trail conditions are excellent for skiing and snowshoeing. Warmer temperatures and some consolidation of the snow pack was countered by additional snowfall this week, including several inches of new snow overnight. Less used, secondary trails may not be broken after last week’s large snowfall. Expect to break trails if you head in early, or are traveling on lesser used, secondary trails. Recent heavier winds have resulted in some blowdown on trails. Snowdrifts and hard ice are present on most summits. Crampons should be carried and use when warranted. Skis or snowshoes will be needed everywhere and one or the other are required in the High Peaks Wilderness.

** AVALANCHE WARNING: The threat of avalanches in the Adirondacks is high with numerous reports of dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 and 50 degrees and no vegetation. If you are going to travel into avalanche terrain be aware of the risk of avalanches: Have a basic knowledge of avalanche risk, prediction, avoidance and rescue; carry beacons, shovels and probes; and check for avalanche conditions before skiing. Always obtain your own data about avalanche risks, and remember that the presence of ski tracks on a slope doesn’t eliminate the risk of avalanche. Remember safe travel techniques, know how to self-rescue, and have a rescue plan. If you are unsure, don’t go. Avalanches occur often in the Adirondacks and they can have deadly consequences.

** CURRENT SNOW COVER: There is one to two feet of snow on the ground at lower elevations, with more in the woods and more than three feet at higher elevations. Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 44 inches of snow at the stake. Newcomb is reporting 26 inches of snow on the ground. There is 20 inches at Olmsteadville; 18 inches at Inlet; 20 inches at Big Moose and in Lake Pleasant. Skis or snowshoes will be needed everywhere and one or the other are required in the High Peaks Wilderness. Snowdrifts and hard ice are present on most summits.

** LONG RANGE FORECAST: The long range forecast is calling for a return to very cold Sunday night and Monday. There is also the possibility of a nor’ easter mid-week, but it’s still too early to tell if that will produce snow, a wintry mix, or rain.

** 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.

** RIVERS RUNNING BELOW NORMAL: Rivers are currently running below normal for this time of year, but only because the snow melt is late. Stream crossings are generally frozen and snow covered. Rivers and streams will begin to rise as warmer temperatures begin melting some of our snow pack through Saturday.

** ICE ON WATERS: Lake ice will remain in good shape. 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. Ice shanties were required to be removed by March 15.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT: Most of the region’s downhill ski areas will be open this weekend. Gore and Whiteface are will have nearly all of their terrain open. Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg will be open this weekend, as will McCauley in Old Forge and Titus. Oak Mountain near Speculator will have its last day of skiing on Saturday. Big Tupper has closed for the season and has instituted a no skinning policy.

** CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: All cross country areas are open with wet packed powder over a one to two-foot base – the groomers have been out all week.

** BACKCOUNTRY SKI REPORT: Expect to break trail and encounter some blowdown on on lesser used routes. All back-country ski routes are reported in good to very good condition with at least two to three feet of snow and coverage everywhere. Skiers may encounter wet and sticky conditions and possibly some slush at lower elevations, which should hard by Sunday. Skiers and snowshoers on trails and roadways used by snowmobiles should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage.

** SNOWMOBILE REPORT: Trail conditions remain good, but some lake trails may turn slushy this weekend. The groomers are all out, and trails everywhere are open. Use caution however, as there are reports of a few icy corners and a few spots where some obstacles are starting to show. The portion of the Warren County Bike Trail that connects snowmobilers to trails in Washington County remains open. A portion of the C7 Snowmobile Trail connecting Lake Clear to Malone will be rerouted until March 21while National Grid works to make repairs to the transmission lines the trail follows. A roughly 2-mile detour begins in Loon Lake, north of the road crossing of Franklin County Rt. 26. The detour continues north, parallel to C7, and rejoins the established trail at Plumadore Crossing, south of Wolf Pond Road and south of Mountain View. 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.

TROUT AND SALMON SEASON OPENS APRIL 1: Trout and salmon fishing season opens April 1 in New York State.

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.

** Avalanche Danger: The danger of avalanche is elevated – see the warning above.

** Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are frozen, use caution around inlets and outlets. There more than four feet of snow at Lake Colden and more at higher elevations.

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

** Trap Dike: The dike is filled with wind blow snow. Climbing the dike is extremely difficult under these conditions.

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.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
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.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Warren County Bike Trail – The portion of the Warren County Bike Trail that connects snowmobilers to trails in Washington County is open.

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.

** Eagle Cave (Siamese Ponds Wilderness): Eagle Cave is closed to the public until April 30 to prevent further stress and spread of disease to bats that hibernate there.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Sable Highlands – C7 Snowmobile Trail: A portion of the C7 Snowmobile Trail connecting Lake Clear to Malone will be rerouted until March 21while National Grid works to make repairs to the transmission lines the trail follows. A roughly 2-mile detour begins in Loon Lake, north of the road crossing of Franklin County Rt. 26. The detour continues north, parallel to C7, and rejoins the established trail at Plumadore Crossing, south of Wolf Pond Road and south of Mountain View.

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.

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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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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 [email protected]




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