Thursday, June 25, 2015

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks (June 25)

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

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SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

BEST DAY: There will be a lesser chance of rain on Saturday.

SUN AND MOON: Sunrise Saturday will be at 5:14 am; sunset at 8:44 pm. Moon rise Saturday will be at 4:14 pm and Moon set at 2:44 am Sunday. On Saturday night the Moon will be Waxing Gibbous with 79% of it visible surface illuminated. There will be a Full Moon on Tuesday.

NORTHERN LIGHTS: There was another long duration X-ray flare Wednesday night. This flare peaked at level R2 on the NOAA Space Weather Scales for X-ray events. Space forecasters are currently analyzing the data to determine if the Cornoal Mass Ejection from this X-ray event will impact the Earth and produce Northern Lights in our region.

HUNT FOR ESCAPED INMATES UNDERWAY: A massive search is ongoing for escaped Clinton Correctional Facility inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat, convicted murderers who are considered extremely dangerous. Law enforcement officials are currently conducting a search focused in Franklin County, primarily in the town of Bellmont, and near the town of Malone. If you plan to recreate on the lands and waters in that general area, you may want to consider recreating elsewhere. Otherwise expect to encounter roadblocks and possibly armed law enforcement officials on trails. 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: Expect rain, wet and muddy trails, and high waters. The current forecast calls for rain showers and possibly some heavy rain this weekend, especially Saturday night and Sunday. This could raise to the levels of rivers and stream to flood stage and make crossings impassable. The exact track of a storm moving into the region Saturday night will greatly define the amount of rain and could leave the Northern Adirondacks drier. Daytime temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s; nighttime temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s.

ENTER THE BACKCOUNTRY PREPARED: Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, and extra clothing – inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods. Just before entering the backcountry check the latest weather forecasts for Adirondack region at Burlington and Albany, and the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.

WINDS: Expect winds 5 to 10 mph throughout the weekend; 10 to 20 mph on Summits. Expect some stronger, gusty winds on late Saturday night, and into Sunday, especially along the Northern Adirondacks.

LIGHTENING SAFETY REMINDER: The possibility of encountering thunderstorms is elevated at this time of year. 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.

EXPECT MUDDY TRAILS:Heavy rains in the Adirondacks have left muddy trails, especially in low-lying areas. When hiking 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 RUNNING HIGH: Waters are running HIGH and rain expected Saturday night and Sunday could cause some minor or moderate flooding in the Adirondacks. Waters will be swift, currents strong, and some crossings impassable. The Hudson River is running about 7.09 feet on Thursday afternoon at the North Creek streamgage and falling – there should be outstanding whitewater this weekend. The Lake Champlain gage at Whitehall is at 98.46 feet and rising. Check local streamgages on the USGS website for waters where you intend to recreate.

SWIMMING DANGERS IN RIVERS AND STREAMS: Use extreme caution at local swimming holes, and near raging rivers and streams. Fast moving rivers and streams can pose great dangers. Swimmers and waders should avoid swift currents, especially near waterfalls and rapids. Do not underestimate the force of moving water and strong currents. The high, fast water the Adirondacks is experiencing due to recent heavy rains was the cause of four deaths in treacherous currents in the Adirondacks and Vermont in recent weeks. A Whitehall man was swept under while swimming with family in the Mettawee River in Granville. Also, a Franklin County man, a father of three, went over Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne on an inflatable raft. More information and additional safety advice can be found here.

HIGH WATER PADDLING ADVISORY: Water levels are running HIGH; water temperatures are generally in the mid-60s. Rivers and streams have fast, powerful currents, and high waters can also wash logs, docks and other floating objects into rivers and lakes, creating potential hazards. Don’t paddle alone or above your experience, and always wear a personal floatation device (PFD).

WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperatures continue to rise slowly, and are now mostly in the 60s, with some warmer, more shallow waters in the 70s. 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 61 degrees
AuSable River in Wilmington is about 60 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 62 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is about 74 degrees

BITING INSECTS: Black flies and mosquitos are present. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: wear light-colored loosing-fitting 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

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 this weekend and every weekend & holiday through October 18th.

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 Resurfaced: Resurfacing of the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway is nearing completion and normal hours of operation will resume on Saturday, June 20th. The Highway is open from 8:45 am to 5:30 pm; the cost is $11 for car and driver and $8 for each additional passenger; cyclists are $8.

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: The Rock Dam Road remains closed.

Jessup River Road: 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.

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.

** O’Neill Flow Road/Blue Mountain Wild Forest/Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands: The O’Neill Flow Road is open to the Barker Pond Road, but Barker Pond Road is impassable by motor vehicle due to beaver activity and the Barker Pond Parking area is inaccessible. Township 19 Tract Easement lands, Barker Pond and the designated primitive tent sites remain open to the public. Motor vehicles can park at the beginning of Barker Pond Road, but be sure not to block the gate. 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.

** 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 / Dacy Clearing area. Expect to encounter considerable blowdown, missing signs and trail markers, and indistinguishable trails. DEC is working to restore the trails, but it will take some time. Suggested trails which are cleared and in good shape in that area include those at Buck, Sleeping Beauty, and Shelving Rock mountains. Heavy blowdown is present above 1,200 feet on Erebus Mountain Trail, Fishbrook Pond to Lake George Trail and other lesser used trails in the area.

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.

** Essex Chain Lakes Complex: The bridge replacement on the Cornell Road is complete and the road, which accesses the Deer Pond Parking Area, is open to motor vehicle traffic. The road is a little soft around the bridge but in fairly good condition beyond. 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.

** Hudson Gorge Wilderness – Ross Pond Trail: The Ross Pond/Whortleberry Pond/Big Bad Luck Pond Trail is extremely wet and muddy after the intersection with the OK Slip Falls Trail. Wear proper footwear – gaiters are suggested.

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

** Dangerous Convict Search Underway: A massive search is ongoing for escaped Clinton Correctional Facility inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat, convicted murderers who are considered extremely dangerous. Law enforcement officials are currently conducting a search focused in Franklin County, primarily in the town of Bellmont, and near the town of Malone. If you plan to recreate on the lands and waters in that general area, you may want to consider recreating elsewhere. Otherwise expect to encounter roadblocks and possibly armed law enforcement officials on trails. 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].

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.

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: 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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