Thursday, June 4, 2015

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks (June 5)

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

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SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

BEST DAYS: Sunday will be warmer (in the 70s).

SUN AND MOON: Sunrise Saturday will be at 5:13 am; sunset at 8:36 pm. Moon rise Saturday night will be at 11:36 pm, and Moon set at 10:30 am Sunday morning. On Saturday night the Moon will be Waning Gibbous with 81% of its visible disk illuminated.

SPRING CONDITIONS: Temperatures have been below normal, and after some rain showers early and isolated thunderstorms later in the day on Friday, forecasts are calling for a cool Saturday, mostly in the 60s, and a warmer Sunday with daytime highs in the 70s; nighttime lows will be in the 30s on Saturday night, and near or below freezing in the High Peaks. Expect muddy trail conditions, especially on Saturday, and morning ice on Sunday. 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.

WINDS: Expect winds 5 to 10 mph on Friday and Sunday, and 10 to 15 mph on Saturday. Expect higher winds on summits: 10 to 25 mph this weekend.

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 this weekend. You can find them here.

FIRE DANGER LOW: The fire danger is LOW . Use care with open fires. It is illegal to leave even a smoldering fire unattended.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS: The drought situation has eased some this week, but the western Adirondacks remain ABNORMALLY DRY according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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 unsettled weather on Monday and Tuesday with rain and thunderstorms possible, and daytime temperatures in the 70s. Beginning Wednesday skies with clear and temperatures rise into the upper 70s and lower 80s by Saturday, which is currently forecast to be in the low 80s and rainy.

RIVERS AND STREAMS: Waters are generally running normal, or above normal for this time of year, and the Hudson River well running well above normal. The North Creek streamgage was at 5.63 feet and falling on Thursday afternoon; the Lake Champlain gage at Whitefall is at 96.60 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 54 degrees
AuSable River in Wilmington is about 56 degrees
Mirror Lake is about 65 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 60 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is about 61 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 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.

** Marcy Dam: As a result of heavy rains last weekend, some campsites around Marcy Dam may have water ponded on them.

** 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.

** Wilmington Bike Fest Weekend: This is Wilmington Bike Fest weekend – expect temporary and intermittent road and trail closures. Motorists should be on the lookout for bicyclists. Non-racers should avoid the trails while races are underway. Expect higher numbers of users at the Flume Trails, the Hardy Road trail system, the Whiteface Mountain bike park, and throughout the towns of Wilmington, Jay, Keene, Lewis and Elizabethtown including Route 86, Route 9N, the Whiteface Memorial Highway, and Jay Mountain Road. Road closures are listed here; call the Whiteface Region Business & Tourism Center at 518-946-2255 for specific details on times and locations. – See more at: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2012/06/adirondack-fish-and-game-report-june-14.html#sthash.wICloo3q.dpuf

** Whiteface Memorial Highway Open: The Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway is open June 6, 7, 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 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.

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.

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

** Americade Underway: The Americade motorcycle event is underway in Lake George. Expect very busy roads in and around Lake George and be on the look-out for motorcyclists.

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 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.

** Essex Chain Lakes Complex: Beginning Monday, June 8, 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 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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