Thursday, June 11, 2015

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks (June 11)

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

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SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

BEST DAYS: On Sunday trails will be drier.

SUN AND MOON: Sunrise Saturday will be at 5:11 am; sunset at 8:41 pm. There will be no Moon Saturday night (the moon will rise and set during the day). There will be a new Moon on Tuesday. There should be good conditions for sky photography on Saturday night.

STRONG STORMS FRIDAY: The remains of the Pacific Hurricane Blanca will produce heavy rains and severe weather across the eastern Great Lakes and the Adirondacks later Friday – these fast moving storms could produce as much as 2 inches of rain, with rivers and streams rising to near bankfull, localized flash floods and ponding, and damaging winds through Friday night and early Saturday morning. Pacific Hurricanes rarely stay together into the Northeast, so this is a unique weather event – watch it carefully, and be prepared.

HUNT FOR ESCAPED KILLERS UNDERWAY: A massive search is ongoing for escaped killers, Clinton Correctional Facility inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat. The men are convicted murderers who are considered extremely dangerous. The focus of the ground search Thursday is off State Route 374, east of Dannemora and also in Cadyville in the Town of Saranac. Route 374 remains closed between General Leroy Manor Road and Rand Hill Road in the town of Plattsburgh. The public should make no hesitation to report any suspicious activity; that includes any sign of a trespass, burglary or vehicle larceny. Contact 911, your local law enforcement agency, or the New York State Police to report any information related to this investigation at (518) 563-3761 or 1-800-GIVETIP. Tips can also be sent by email to [email protected].

SPRING CONDITIONS: Temperatures have been below normal, and after considerable rains this week, waters are already running HIGH. Temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s, along with strong storms, are expected Friday, Friday night, and very early Saturday morning which could produce localized flooding and additional impassable rivers and streams. By mid-day Saturday it will be clearer and cooler, and Saturday and Sunday should be in the 70s and mostly sunny. Nighttime temperatures on Saturday are expected to be in the 40s. Expect to encounter muddy trail conditions and possibly high waters from heavy local rains. Always carry proper safety equipment, inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods. Always heck the latest weather forecasts for Adirondack region at Burlington and Albany, and the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.

WINDS: With the exception of Friday’s storms, expect winds 5 to 10 mph on Saturday, and 0 to 5 mph on Sunday. Expect higher winds on summits.

HIGH PEAKS MUDDY TRAIL ADVISORY:Due to recent heavy rain rains in the High Peaks Region the muddy trail advisory remains in effect. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging hikers to postpone hikes on 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 this weekend. You can find them here.

RIVERS AND STREAMS: Waters are running HIGH and strong storms expected Friday, Friday night, and very early Saturday morning under which could fall 2 inches of rain, could produce localized flooding and additional impassable rivers and streams. The Hudson River is running at 6.58 feet and falling only slightly on Thursday afternoon at the North Creek streamgage; the Lake Champlain gage at Whitehall is at 97.23 feet and rising. Check local streamgages on the USGS website for waters where you intend to recreate.

WATER TEMPERATURES COOL: Water temperatures are mostly in the 50s and 60s. Occupants of small boats operating on waters below 70 degrees should be prepared with cold water protective gear and wear life jackets. 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.

The following water temperatures were reported on Thursday:

Lake Champlain is about 57 degrees
AuSable River in Wilmington is about 56 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 56 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is about 62 degrees

DROUGHT CONDITIONS: The U.S. Drought Monitor is reporting that the Western Adirondacks remain ABNORMALLY DRY.

FIRE DANGER MODERATE: Recent rains have been localized and the fire danger is MODERATE in the Eastern Adirondacks and Lake Champlain Valley, and LOW in the rest of the Adirondack Park. Use care with open fires. It is illegal to leave even a smoldering fire unattended.

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 between April 1 and November 30. 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.

** Opalescent River: A 10-foot section of trail near Uphill Lean-to along the Opalescent River above Lake Colden was washed out during heavy rains last weekend. Hikers can get around it by going through the trees but should use caution when doing so.

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 is open June 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 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 Friday, June 5th.

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.

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

** Crane Mountain: DEC Wildlife staff have confirmed peregrine nesting activity on the Black Arches Wall on Crane Mountain which was first reported by a rock climber. Climbing routes are closed from Isobuttress through the Triple Buttress and the Black Arch Buttress Area (The Patio) including Isobuttress, Amphitheatre, Gun Show, Torcher, Eatin’ Tripe, Lichen It, Black Arch Arête, Parallel Passage, and Plumb Line. All other climbing routes on Crane Mountian are open.

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 now open to motor vehicles to the to the Squaw Lake Barrier. 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.

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

Prospect Mountain, Lake George: Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is open daily 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.

** Lake George Wild Forest – Shelving Rock Trails: A storm this winter that dumped heavy wet snow in northern Washington and Warren Counties left extensive damage to parts of the Lake George Wild Forest, including the Shelving Rock Area, and eastern parts of the Pharaoh Mountain Wilderness. Expect to encounter considerable blowdown and missing signs and trail markers. DEC is working to restore the trails, but it will take some time.

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): Dacy Clearing Road is open to motor vehicle traffic from the Hogtown Parking Area to Dacy Clearing. Hogtown Road and the Hogtown Parking Area are open to public motor vehicles. Shelving Rock Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic.

** Pharaoh Mountain Wilderness: A storm this winter that dumped heavy wet snow in northern Washington and Warren Counties left extensive damage to parts of the Lake George Wild Forest, including the Shelving Rock Area, and eastern parts of the Pharaoh Mountain Wilderness. Expect to encounter considerable blowdown and missing signs and trail markers. DEC is working to restore the trails, but it will take some time.

** Essex Chain Lakes Complex: The Shadow Dam Gate will be locked and Cornell/Deer Pond Road will be closed to motor vehicles for 1-2 weeks so a bridge on the road can be replaced. Chain Lakes Road South is open to the Old Gooley Club Parking Area. Chain Lakes Road North and Drakes Mill Road are open 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: 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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