Thursday, May 28, 2015

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks (May 28)

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

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SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

BEST DAY: Severe weather, including thunderstorms are forecast for Saturday afternoon, rain for early Sunday, which will also be considerably cooler.

SUN AND MOON: Sunrise Saturday will be at 5:16 am; sunset at 8:31 pm. Moon rise Saturday night will be at 5:28 pm, and Moon set at 4:11 am Sunday morning. On Saturday night the Moon will be Waxing Gibbous with 91% of its visible disk illuminated. There will be a Full Moon on June 2, 2015 at 12:19 pm.

SPRING CONDITIONS: Above average temperatures are expected to reach into the 80s on Saturday before a line of strong storms associated with a cold front moves across the region late Saturday / Saturday night. Sunday will be only in the 50s and 60s, with a lingering chance of rain in the morning. Low temperatures Saturday night will be in the 40s. Always check the latest 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.

LIGHTENING SAFETY REMINDER: A line strong thunderstorms are forcast for Saturday afternoon / evening. There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms. Hundreds of people are killed or permanently injured each year by being struck by lightening. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance so seek safe shelter immediately. If you are caught outdoors away from the safety of cars or buildings, then avoid open fields, hill-tops, and isolated trees, and stay away from water. You should never be above treeline or on water when there is lightning.

WINDS: Expect winds mostly 10 to 15 mph this weekend, with heavier winds associated with the line of storm expected to pass through the area on Saturday. Expect winds on summits as high as 35 to 45 mph on Saturday.

AVOID MUD SEASON IN THE HIGH PEAKS: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 3,000 feet until mid-June. DEC is asking hikers to avoid trails above 3,000 feet, particularly high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, and High Peaks Wilderness Areas, due to muddy conditions and the potential damage hiking can cause to vegetation and soft ground. If you must hike in muddy conditions, stay on the trail, and walk through – not around – mud and water on the trails. The DEC has listed several trails that should be avoided and alternate hikes that would be better choices over the next few weeks. You can find them here.

FIRE DANGER MODERATE: The fire danger is MODERATE and numerous wildfires have been reported around the region over the past several weeks. Use extreme care with open fires.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS: The US Drought Monitor continues to report the entire Adirondack Region as ABNORMALLY DRY, and the periphery of the Adirondacks as MODERATE DROUGHT.

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.

LONG RANGE FORECAST: The upcoming week’s forecast is calling for drier and cooler weather, with daytime temperatures warming through the week withe 60s on Monday and upper 70s by Wednesday. Overnight lows Monday night may produce some light frost.

RIVERS AND STREAMS: Waters are below, or well below normal for this time of year. The North Creek streamgage was at 3.85 feet and falling on Thursday afternoon; the Lake Champlain gage at Whitefall is at 96.34 feet and falling. Check local streamgages on the USGS website for waters where you intend to recreate.

WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperatures are mostly in the 50s and 60s. The following water temperatures were reported on Thursday:

Lake Champlain is about 53 degrees
AuSable River in Wilmington is about 60 degrees
Mirror Lake is about 70 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 65 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is about 62 degrees
Great Sacandaga Lake is about 60 degrees

BITING INSECTS: Black flies and mosquitos are present. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: wear light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants; tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks; pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick.

USE BEAR-RESISTANT CANISTERS: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness through November 30th. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks.

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.

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 recently revised items for this week.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Including Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Avoid Areas Over 3,000 Feet: DEC is asking hikers to avoid trails above 3,000 feet, particularly high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, and High Peaks Wilderness Areas, due to muddy conditions and the potential damage hiking can cause to vegetation and soft ground. Please use trails at lower elevations during the spring mud season. The Muddy Trail Advisory press release has additional information and a list of alternate trails.

Marcy Field Overflow Parking: The overflow parking area at Marcy Field is open. The shuttle will be running between the parking area and the Garden Trailhead from 7 am to 7 pm each day this weekend.

South Meadow Lane: South Meadow Lane near Adirondac Loj has reopened to public motor vehicle traffic providing direct access to the trailheads for the South Meadows/Marcy Dam truck trail, Mt. Van Hoevenberg and Klondike Notch.

Garden Parking Area Fee: The Town of Keene has begun charging for parking at The Garden Trailhead.

Whiteface Memorial Highway Open: The Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway will be open May 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 from 8:45 am – 5:30 pm; the cost is $11 car and driver, and an additional $8 for each additional passenger; cyclists are $8. The Cloudsplitter Gondola and other Whiteface base area activities will be opening June 5th.

** Route 86 Bridge Reopened: The Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington, Essex County has reopened. The bridge will be reduced to one lane during workdays to finish the project into July.

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.

Corey’s Road Reopened: The gate on Corey’s Road has reopened.

Some High Peaks Climbing Routes Closed: Although all routes at the Upper Washbowl Cliffs in the Chapel Pond Area have reopened, routes on the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and all routes at Moss Cliff in the Wilmington Notch remain closed due to the presence of peregrine falcons.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
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 Roads Open: The Moose River Plains (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River) Road is open to motor vehicles its whole length from the Limekiln Lake gate near Inlet to the Cedar River Gate near Indian Lake. The Otter Brook Road is open to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. The Rock Dam Road remains closed.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: All roads designated for public motor vehicle traffic on the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement are open with a some soft spots. Motorist should stay in the center of the roads as much as possible. The section of the Jessup River Road, in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement, leading to the Spruce Lake Trailhead is soft and should only be traveled by four-wheel drive trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles. All roads designated for public motor vehicle traffic on the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement are open and in good condition.

** Blue Mountain Wild Forest/Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands: The O’Neill Flow Road is open to the the Barker Pond Road, and the Barker Pond Road is open to the parking lot. The lands south of the O’Neill Flow Road are open for public use, lands north of the road are closed to public trespass. Expect to encounter trucks and other logging equipment on the O’Neill Flow Road this summer and fall. Use caution when traveling on the road and do not block the gate at Barker Pond Road.

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.

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

** Prospect Mountain, Lake George: Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is open through October 25th.

** Lake George Wild Forest (Western): Gay Pond, Jabe Pond, and Lily Pond roads are open to motor vehicles. Be cautious the roads are rough. The use of four wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high axle vehicles is recommended. Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic.

Shelving Rock Road: Shelving Rock Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic.

Shelving Rock Climbing Routes: Climbing routes on the Main Wall (left of Wake and Bake Buttress) from the Snakecharmer Corner to Infinity Crack in the Shelving Rock area are closed to climbers due to the presence of peregrine falcons.

** Lake George Wild Forest (Eastern): Hogtown Road and the Hogtown Parking Area are open to public motor vehicles, but due to severe erosion during the spring melt Dacy Clearing Road remains closed to motor vehicles. Those planning to camp at Campsites #1-7 can hike from the Hogtown Parking Area to the campsites. This will require a hike of 1.5 miles to reach Campsite #7.

** Essex Chain Lakes Complex: The Shadow Dam Gate is open and motor vehicles may use the Cornell/Deer Pond Road to access the Deer Pond Parking Area. Chain Lakes Road South is now open for motor vehicle access to the Old Gooley Club Parking Area. Chain Lakes Road North and Drakes Mill Road are open to allow for public motor vehicle access to the the Hudson River/Polaris Bridge Parking Area.

Black Mountain: The gate and access road for the Black Mountain Trailhead are closed to motor vehicles until the end of the spring mud season.

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

** Poke-O-Moonshine Climbing Closures Adjusted: All rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain have reopened, with the exception of routes from #106 Sharkweek to #167 Lichenstorm, as described in Adirondack Rock – A Rock Climber’s Guide.

Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch Reopened: The newly renovated Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch is open for the launching and retrieving of boats.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The Connery Pond Road has reopened. The Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road (aka the St. Germain Pond Road) is open to motor vehicles.

Kushaqua Tract Easement Lands: The Mountain Pond Road has reopened to public motor vehicle traffic.

William C. Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road will open to public motor vehicle traffic.

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.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: The roadway and gate for access to Little Green Pond and the Little Clear Pond Hand Launch Site are open to motor vehicles. Floodwood Road is open to motor vehicle traffic. Campers on Little Green Pond no longer are required to get a permit from the Adirondack Fish Hatchery. Regular state land camping regulations now apply – a permit is only required if campers will be camping four or more nights. This permit can be obtained from the local forest ranger.

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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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Stories written under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

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