Thursday, April 30, 2015

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks (Apr 30)

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

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BEST DAY: Sunday, some areas will be overcast on Saturday; trails will also be drier on Sunday.

SUN AND MOON: Sunrise Saturday will be at 6:09 am; sunset at 8:01 pm. Moon rise Saturday will be at 6:45 pm, and Moon set at 5:59 am Sunday. Skies should be mostly clear this weekend, but the Moon will be bright. On Saturday the Moon will be Waxing Gibbous with 98% of its visible disk illuminated. There will be a Full Moon on Sunday at 11:42 pm.

SPRING CONDITIONS: Daytime high temperatures are forecast to be in the 60s and 70s. Nighttime temperatures will be above freezing in the lower elevations, but may drop below freezing at higher elevations. Wear a water and wind resistant outer layer. Snow is still present above about 2,500 feet. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry, carry proper safety equipment, inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trails are muddy and wet in lower and middle elevations where there may also be some snow and morning ice. Snow is a foot deep at 3,000 feet and 2 feet or more at higher elevations. Snow on trails in the higher elevations will be hard in the morning and soft when it warms. Carry traction devices and snowshoes and wear them when warranted. Don’t posthole; if you don’t have snowshoes, turn back when you encounter snow. Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required by regulation to use snowshoes or skis when snow depths are 8 inches or more.

FIRE DANGER ELEVATED – BURN BAN IN EFFECT: The Fire danger in the Adirondacks is MODERATE. However, the US Drought Monitor is reporting that the entire Adirondack Region is currently ABNORMALLY DRY and dry warm air this weekend could raise the Fire Danger to HIGH. Several wild fires have been reported in recent weeks. Conditions can dry quickly at this time of year, especially when there is wind and warm temperatures, so use extreme caution with campfires this weekend. Residential brush burning currently prohibited in the Adirondack Park until May 16th. New York State prohibits residential burning during the high-risk fire season to reduce the number of wildfires and protect people, property and natural resources. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. Learn more about the burn ban here.

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO: Be aware of weather conditions at all times by checking Adirondack region forecasts at Burlington and Albany, and the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.

ICE IS OUT: Ice is mostly out on all waters, although some smaller waters at higher elevations may be covered in thin ice and slush. No ice on water should be considered safe.

RIVERS AND STREAMS: Although waters are running below normal for this time of year, water levels remain high, currents are swift and water temperatures are cold. Use caution near and while crossing rivers and streams this weekend. Check local streamgages on the USGS website for waters where you intend to recreate. Rafting on the Hudson River is underway. The North Creek streamgage was at 4.84 feet and rising on Thursday afternoon; the Lake Champlain gage at Whitefall is at 97.82 feet and falling.

WATER TEMPERATURES COLD: Water temperatures are mostly in the 40s. The following water temperatures are being reported:

Mirror Lake is about 40 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 40 degrees
Lake Champlain about 39 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is 51 degrees

WEAR A LIFE JACKET: Wear life jackets – unexpected immersion in water less than 70 degrees poses a much greater risk of drowning. Wearing a properly zipped and or buckled life jacket will likely keep a person’s head above water and support their body should swimming ability fail or they become unconscious due to cold water immersion. The Coast Guard estimates that 80% of all boating deaths might have been prevented had a life jacket been worn.

LONG RANGE FORECAST: Aside from some possible rain on Tuesday, the week will be partly cloudy or sunny until Friday when unsettled weather and rain are expected. Nighttime temperatures will be above 40 for most of the region, excluding the high peaks and higher elevations. Next Saturday is forecast to be in the lower 70s and raining.

SOME CLIMBING AREAS CLOSED: Due to the presence of peregrine falcons, DEC has closed the following climbing areas: All routes at Moss Cliff, Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs in the Chapel Pond area, and Shelving Rock at Lake George. At Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, all routes on the Main Face are closed except the following routes described on pages 39-45 of Adirondack Rock – A Rock Climber’s Guide: Waterfall area, Superman Wall, Luther Wall.

WINTER SPORTS HAVE ENDED FOR THE SEASON: All winter sports have ended for the season.

DO NOT RELY ON TECHNOLOGY: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries expire quickly in cold temperatures. Plan and prepare before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass for navigation or at least as a backup – and know how to use them.

KEEP DOGS LEASHED: Dog owners are reminded that dogs must be leashed in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks when on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, everywhere above 4,000 feet, or at other areas where the public congregates. It is recommended dogs be kept leashed in most areas for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and as a courtesy to fellow hikers.


These are recent changes (within the last two weeks) to outdoor recreation roads, trails and facilities around the Adirondacks.

** indicates new or recently revised items for this week.

Including Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Garden Parking Area: The Town of Keene will begin charging for parking at The Garden Trailhead beginning Friday, April 24. The Town has reopened the road.

** NO ice should be considered safe.

** Colden Trap Dike: Water is running down the Trap Dike under and through the snow and ice.

** Route 86 Bridge Closed: The Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington, Essex County, is closed to vehicles and pedestrians for a bridge replacement project. Businesses near the bridge remain open. The new bridge is expected to be opened by June 1. Detours direct motorists to Springfield Road (Essex County Road 83) and Fox Farm Road (Essex County Road 63). More information can be found here.

** Route 73 Bridge Work: The bridge carrying Route 73 over the East Branch of the Ausable River in Keene has been reduced to one alternating lane through November. The rehabilitation of this bridge, sometimes known locally as the “Post Office” bridge, will include replacement of its superstructure, including the beams and concrete deck. The concrete approaches will also be replaced. Work will be done in two stages. During construction, traffic will be controlled by temporary traffic signals at either end of the bridge. The bridge will be open to two travel lanes in late July to accommodate the annual Ironman Triathlon Race.

** Stay On Trails On Summits: Stay on trails or deep snow when on summits. Exposed and ice covered sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged under winter conditions.

** Lake Colden – Avalanche Lake: Lake Colden and Colden and Avalanche lakes may be crossable, but it is not reccommended – both are covered in water and slush.

** Wilmington Notch Campground: DEC’s Wilmington Notch Campground will open for the season Friday, May 1.

** Elk Lake Trails and Clear Pond Gate: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This will add four miles to a round trip – plan accordingly.

Avalanche Pass Slide: The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to public recreation of any type through the winter.

** South Meadow Lane near Adirondac Loj remains barricaded and closed to motor vehicles until the end of the spring mud season. The trailheads for the South Meadows/Marcy Dam truck trail, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and Klondike Notch remain open, but the closure adds just under a mile.

Connery Pond Road: The Connery Pond Road and its gate have been closed until the end of the spring mud season. Skiers and snowshoers may still use the road to access trails to Connery Pond and Whiteface Landing on Lake Placid.

** Corey’s Road Gate Closed: The gate on Corey’s Road is closed until the end of the spring mud season. Those seeking to access the Calkins Brook and Ward Brook Trails must park at the Raquette Falls Trailhead and traverse the 3 miles to the summer parking lot.

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

Eagle Cave: Eagle Cave in the Siamese Pond Wilderness is closed from October through May to protect hibernating bats.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: All roads are closed for mud season. Seventh Lake, Eighth Lake and Raquette Lake are free of ice.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: The Town of Lake Pleasant has closed & locked the gate at the north end of the Perkins Clearing Road at Mason Lake and the Village of Speculator closed and locked the gate at the end of blacktop on Elm Lake Road. These roads will remain closed through the end of mud season. All other roads also remain closed to public motor vehicle traffic through the end of mud season.

Blue Mountain Wild Forest/Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands: The O’Neill Flow Road and its gate and the Barker Pond Road are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season.

** Lake Durant – Blue Mountain Lake: Lake Durant and Blue Mountain Lake still had ice on their surfaces, but will likely be free of ice by the weekend.

** Ferris Lake Wild Forest: Beavers have caused flooding problems. The Fall Stream Trail from Piseco towards the Big Brook trail has one bridge flooded out; the Hurrell Vly Trail in Morehouse has a bridge flooded out.

** Jessup River Wild Forest: The two designated primitive tent sites at the northern end of Fawn Lake have been closed for rehabilitation. Two new tent sites will be designated this summer. The southern portion of Indian Lake is open but there is still ice on the northern portion.

** Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: Waters in the State Route 28 corridor are free of ice. The amount of ice on interior waters is not known.

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

** Lake George Wild Forest (Western): Gates are closed on the following roads until the end of mud season: Lilly Pond Road, Long Pond Trail, Palmer Pond Road, Gay Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road, and Buttermilk Road Extension.

** Lake George Wild Forest (Eastern) The town of Fort Ann has reopened the Shelving Rock Road to motor vehicle traffic. Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed to motor vehicles for spring mud season. They will be opened when they dry and are suitable for motor vehicle traffic. Dolph Pond Road in the Dolph Pond State Forest is open to public motor vehicle traffic. Hunters may use the road to access the state forest for turkey hunting. Notch Lane at the nearby Mt. Tom State Forest is open.

** Essex Chain Lakes Complex: all roads are closed until the end of the spring mud season.

Black Mountain: The Black Mountain Trailhead gate off Pike Brook Road remains closed, but only adds 15 minutes to hike up Black Mountain or other destinations.

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

** Fish Creek Pond Campground Open: The DEC’s Fish Creek Pond Campground in Franklin County has opened for the season.

** Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch: The Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch is closed for major reconstruction. It is scheduled to reopen before Memorial Day Weekend 2015.

** Round Lake Wilderness: Round Lake is free of ice.

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The Connery Pond Road and its gate remain closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Hikers may use the road to access trails to Connery Pond, Lake Placid and Whiteface Landing. The Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road (aka the St. Germain Pond Road) is open to motor vehicles. All ponds off the Floodwood Road are free of ice including: Polliwog Pond, Middle Pond, Floodwood Pond, and East & West Pine Ponds. All ponds off State Route 30 are free of ice including: Square Pond, Rollins Pond, Whey Pond, Little Square Pond, Horseshoe Pond and Follensby Clear Ponds.

Kushaqua Tract Easement Lands: The Mountain Pond Road is closed to motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season.

** William C. Whitney Wilderness: Little Tupper Lake is free of ice. Other ponds in the area are likely free of ice or will be by the weekend. The Lake Lila Road and its gate are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Hikers may use the road but must not trespass on adjacent private lands.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Barnes Pond Road and its gate are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the beginning of the 2015 hunting season. The D&H Road and its gate are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season.

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Taylor Pond, Silver Lake and Union Falls Pond are free of ice.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: The following waters are free of ice: All ponds off the Floodwood Road: Polliwog Pond, Middle Pond, Floodwood Pond, and East & West Pine Ponds; All ponds off State Route 30: Square Pond, Rollins Pond, Whey Pond, Little Square Pond, Horseshoe Pond and Follensby Clear Ponds; and Long Pond, Pink Pond, Ledge Pond, Mountain Pond, Slang Pond, Turtle Pond and Little Long Ponds.


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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