Thursday, May 7, 2015

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks (May 7)

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

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BEST DAY: Saturday; there is higher chance for rain and scattered thunderstorms on Sunday.

SUN AND MOON: Sunrise Saturday will be at 5:36 am; sunset at 8:09 pm. Moon rise Saturday night will be at 1:05 am Sunday morning, and Moon set at 11:30 am Sunday. On early Sunday morning the Moon will be Waning Gibbous with 58% of its visible disk illuminated. There will be a Last Quarter Moon on Monday at 6:36 am.

SPRING CONDITIONS: Daytime high temperatures are forecast to be in the 70s and lower 80s. Nighttime temperatures will be in the 40s or 50s. There is currently forecast a chance for showers over the Northern Adirondacks on Saturday and a chance of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday. Expect muddy trail conditions, especially at mid and upper elevations, a high fire danger, and some lingering snow on the ground above about 2,700 feet. Ice is present in certain locations on trails above 3,000 feet; snow is a foot deep at 3,500 feet and snow is 2 feet or more at higher elevations, especially on north and east facing slopes. 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.

SNOWSHOES & TRACTION DEVICES: Carry traction devices for hikes above 2,500 feet and snowshoes for hikes above 3,500 feet. Snowshoes are required in the Eastern High Peaks when snow depths exceed 8 inches.

AVOID MUD SEASON IN THE HIGH PEAKS: Trails are muddy and wet at this time of year, especially in the High Peaks which only recently lost most of its snow pack. Consider hiking in other areas of the Adirondack Park at this time of year to avoid contributing to the widening of trails, and the ecological damage mud season hiking can do. If you must hike in muddy conditions, stay on the trail, and walk through – not around – mud and water on the trails.

FIRE DANGER HIGH – BURN BAN IN EFFECT: Use extreme caution with campfires this weekend. The Fire danger in the Adirondacks is HIGH and numerous wildfires have been reported around Northern New York. The US Drought Monitor is reporting that the entire Adirondack Region is currently ABNORMALLY DRY which will contribute to the potential of campfires burning out of control. 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 MOSTLY OUT: Ice is now out on all waters, except for a few higher elevation ponds – no ice is safe.

RIVERS AND STREAMS: Although waters are running below normal for this time of year, currents are swift and water temperatures are cold. Use caution on and near 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 feet and falling on Thursday afternoon; the Lake Champlain gage at Whitefall is at 97.29 feet and falling.

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

AuSable River in Wilmington is about 45 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 48 degrees
Lake Champlain at Burlington is about 50 degrees
Lake Champlain at Diamond Island is about 37 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is about 55 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: The upcoming week’s forecast is calling for 70s and 80s with a chance afternoon thunderstorms through Wednesday and then the possibility of rain in the forecast for the rest of the week into Saturday. Nighttime temperatures will be above 40. Next Saturday is forecast to be in the lower 70s with a chance of rain.

SOME CLIMBING AREAS 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. At Shelving Rock near Lake George climbing routes on the Main Wall (left of the Wake and Bake Buttress) from the Snakecharmer Corner to Infinity Crack remain closed, all other routes are open. At Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, all routes on the Main Face are closed except routes 1-26 on pages 38-45 of Adirondack Rock – A Rock Climber’s Guide.

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

** 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.

** NO ice should be considered safe.

** 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.

Wilmington Notch Campground: DEC’s Wilmington Notch Campground has opened for the season.

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.

** 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; the closure adds just under a mile of hiking.

Connery Pond Road: The Connery Pond Road and its gate have been closed until the end of the spring mud season.

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.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: The Town of Lake Pleasant has closed and 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.

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

** Lake George Wild Forest (Western): Jabe Pond Road has reopened to motor vehicles. The road is rough so use caution. 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, and Buttermilk Road Extension.

** 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.

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

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

** Poke-O-Moonshine: All rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain remain closed to climbers to allow peregrine falcons to establish nest sites except for climbing routes #1 Opposition through #24 Womb with a View as described on pages 38-45 of Adirondack Rock – A Rock Climber’s Guide.

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.

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.

** 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: 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.

** 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.


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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