This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is issued each Thursday afternoon and can be heard at North Country Public Radio on Friday mornings.
Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 5:13 am; sunset at 8:44 pm, providing 15 hours and 29 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 12:04 am Sunday morning and set at 11:47 am, Sunday. The Moon will be Waning Gibbous, 62% illuminated. There will be a Last Quarter Moon on Monday.
SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND
WEATHER THIS WEEKEND: Always check the latest weather, but expect some widely scattered showers Thursday night clearing to a sunny and warm weekend, with daytime highs in the upper 70s and 80s on Saturday, warming to the 80s to near 90 on Sunday, and nighttime lows in the 40s and 50s.
LIGHTNING 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 lightning. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should 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.
BE PREPARED! Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, extra clothing, a flashlight, and a map and compass – inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in below freezing temperatures. On waters, wear a pfd and use cold water protection when in smaller crafts. Just before entering the backcountry or launching check the latest weather forecasts for the Adirondack region at Burlington and Albany and the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.
MUDDY TRAILS: Trails are mostly dry, but there will be some wet and muddy spots, especially along water bodies, and in low lying areas. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters, remain on trails, and walk through mud and water to prevent eroding trails and damaging sensitive vegetation.
BUG SEASON HAS BEGUN: “Bug Season” has begun in the Adirondacks Now until the end of summer Black Flies, Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present and most active in the evening. Avoid their impacts by wear light-colored loose fitting clothing, with long sleeves and long pants; pack a head-net to wear when insects are thick.
FIRE DANGER ELEVATED: The fire danger is currently MODERATE, but could be raised to HIGH by the end of this weekend. There were at least two small wildfires reported in the Adirondacks last weekend. The U.S. Drought Monitor is reporting that the entire Adirondack region is Abnormally Dry. Use caution with fires this weekend and never leave even a smoldering fire unattended.
WATERS AT NORMAL OR JUST BELOW NORMAL LEVELS: Rivers and streams around the region are at mostly normal levels, or just below normal for this time of year, but will continue to fall through the weekend. The following stream gage readings were observed on Thursday afternoon. Before heading out check the streamgages on the USGS website for waters where you intend to recreate.
Moose River at McKeever – 2.34 feet
Raquette River at Piercefield – 4.35 feet
Ausable River at AuSable Forks – 1.53 feet
Hudson River at North Creek – 2.99 feet
Schroon River at Riverbank (County Route 11) – 1.90 feet
Lake Champlain at Whitehall – 95.03 feet
WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperatures rose considerably around the region, and most waters are now in the lower 60s, with a few reaching near 70. The following temperatures were recorded on Thursday afternoon:
Ausable River (West Branch) – upper 60s
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb – about 62 degrees
Hudson River at Tahawus – is about 68 degrees
Lake Abanakee / Indian River (Dam) – about 64 degrees
Lake Champlain – about 66 degrees (average)
Lake George (Warner Bay) – 70 degrees
Great Sacandaga Lake – 70 degrees
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 carefully before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass – and know how to use them.
ROCK CLIMBING ROUTE CLOSURES: Some rock climbing routes remain closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons, including all routes on Moss Cliff and Labor Day Wall in the Wilmington Notch; in Chapel Pond Pass, routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs are open, although the Lower Washbowl Cliffs remain closed; on Crane Mountain, routes within the Amphitheater on the Black Arches Wall from #86 Project to #97 Gun Show are closed as are routes #98-99, Torcher and Eating Tripe and Lichen It; East of Lake George, all routes on Sleeping Beauty Cliff have now been closed due to the recent discovery of nesting peregrine falcons; at Shelving Rock Mountain, all routes on the Main Wall are now open to climbing, but all routes on the Big Wall and Jackass Buttress are now closed, including all routes from #52 Enduro Man to #66 Winds of Change, and the approach trail that accesses these routes (use the lower approach trail that ascends the talus below the Main Wall); and all routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain between and including #26 Hang ‘Em High and #82 Piece of Snatch remain closed. Climbers on other cliffs or routes should report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office 518-897-1291 or Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
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 for overnight use elsewhere in the Adirondacks.
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 rare plants, and out of courtesy to fellow hikers.
LEAVE NO TRACE / CARRY IN – CARRY OUT: Learn and practice the seven Leave No Trace principles. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other unwanted or unneeded items at lean-tos and campsites. Do not litter.
GROUP SIZE RESTRICTIONS: Large groups have significantly more impact on the trails, natural resources and other users. DEC regulation restricts group size in the High Peaks Wilderness to no more than 15 hikers (day users) or 8 campers (overnight users) and encourages this practice to be followed in other areas. Outside the High Peaks Wilderness, DEC regulation requires a temporary permit be issued to authorize organized events of more than twenty people; camping at the same location for more than three nights; or camping in groups of more than 10 people.
VOLUNTEER FOR TRAIL WORK: No matter what your sport, if you’re a trail user consider contributing your efforts to one of the many organizations dedicated to maintaining the region’s network of thousands of miles of trails.
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, Newcomb
** Blueberry Horse Trail: The Blueberry Horse Trail between the Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Horse Trail in the Western High Peaks contains extensive blowdown, is grown in with vegetation and is poorly marked. The trail is impassable to horses making it impossible to complete the Cold River Horse Trail Loop. DEC intends to work on the trail this fall.
** Route 73 Bridge Work: Bridge work is underway on three bridges in Keene and Keene Valley. Traffic is reduced to one lane at these bridges. Expect delays during busy times.
** Jackrabbit Trail Closure: The Jackrabbit Trail from Jones Pond Road to Route 86 in Paul Smiths is temporarily closed to foot traffic while Paul Smith’s College logging operations are underway. The log landing will be located next to the Jackrabbit trail on the south side of Jones Pond Road, about a mile east of Route 86. Questions or concerns about the timber harvest can be directed to PSC Forest Manager David Falkenham at (518) 327-6437.
** Bear Canisters Required: 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. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.
** Garden Trailhead Parking: The Town of Keene is operating The Garden Trailhead Parking Area and a fee is being charged for parking. The Town is operating the shuttle between the overflow parking area at Marcy Field and The Garden Trailhead on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, through October 16th.
** Phelps Trail: The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook on the Phelps Trail between the Garden and Johns Brook Lodge is broken and unusable.
** Giant Mountain Wilderness: Construction work on the Route 73 bridge over the East Branch Ausable River near the Mossy Cascade Trailhead prevents the use of the trailhead during the week when work is occurring. The trailhead may be used on weekends or when workers are not present.
** Lake Placid / Wilmington Area Mountain Bike Trails: With the exception of Lake Placid’s Craig Wood Trails mountain biking trails are open in the Lake Placid/Wilmington area. BETA will have a trail work day at Craig Wood this Sunday, June 26, beginning at 9 am. Current trail conditions for BETA managed trails can be found here.
** Climbing Routes: Some rock climbing routes remain closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons, including all routes on Moss Cliff and Labor Day Wall in the Wilmington Notch; in Chapel Pond Pass, routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs are open, although the Lower Washbowl Cliffs remain closed. Climbers on other cliffs or routes should report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office 518-897-1291 or Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
** Whiteface Landing Trail: Construction is occurring on the State Route 86 Bridge over the West Branch Ausable River about three miles northeast of Lake Placid. Construction is expected to continue unit November 1st. Parking near the bridge will be restricted. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing are discouraged from using the parking areas near the bridge. Paddlers using that section of the river are advised to find an alternate takeout. Paddlers are discouraged from paddling under the bridge during the construction period. Entering the construction site or staging area are not allowed. Anyone parking near the bridge should use caution when pulling out of the parking area. Pedestrians crossing the road should use the marked crosswalk. The Whiteface Landing Trail has been rerouted to avoid private camps on Connery Pond. The new trail route starts at the small parking area just before the private gate. Please respect the private property and stay on the trail.
Long Lake, Indian Lake, Fulton Chain, Speculator, West Canada Lakes
** Long Lake: Volunteers from Lean2 Rescue will be moving and restoring a leanto at Plumley Point on the north end of Long Lake this weekend.
** Black River Wild forest: The third bridge on the Otter Lake – Brandy Lake Trail (approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead on State Route 28) has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge and the trail on either side of it are under nearly two feet of water.
Boreas Ponds: New York State has acquired the Boreas Ponds Tract from the Nature Conservancy. The gate at Gulf Brook Road is closed and expected to remain closed, at least until the end of mud season. While DEC develops an interim recreation plan, access to the tract will be limited to foot traffic only beyond the closed gate. Motor vehicles, bikes and horses are prohibited. Additionally, the public is prohibited from trespassing in and around the lodge on Boreas Pond and the leased hunting camps. You can learn more about the purchase of Boreas Ponds here.
** Crane Mountain: On Crane Mountain, climbing routes within the Amphitheater on the Black Arches Wall from #86 Project to #97 Gun Show are closed as are routes #98-99, Torcher and Eating Tripe and Lichen It. Climbers on other cliffs or routes should report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office 518-897-1291 or Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
** Moose River Plains: The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road (aka Moose River Plains Road) is open for public motor vehicle use. Workers from the towns of Indian Lake and Town of Inlet are continuing to work on the road through the month of June. Drivers are asked to use caution approaching and passing workers. Otter Brook Road is open to public motor vehicle use up to the bridge over the Moose River. The road remains closed to motor vehicles beyond the bridge but is open for hiking and biking. Rock Dam Road remains closed to public motor vehicle use and will remain closed until further notice.
** Caroga Lake Campground: 51 of 161 campsites at the Caroga Lake Campground have been closed in order to replace a wastewater system. Campers with reservations to these campsites will be given a full refund and offered an opportunity to reserve another available campsite at Caroga Lake Campground or reserve a campsite at another nearby DEC campground. Nore information can be found here.
Sacandaga, Lake George, Champlain, Washington Co
** Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Lake George: DEC has extended the closure of climbing routes on Sleeping Beauty to include all routes.
** Shelving Rock – Lake George Wild Forest: A black bear recently raided a campsite in the Shelving Rock Area and took the camper’s food from coolers. Campers must follow these practices to prevent attracting bears: Secure food in vehicles, food hangs or bear canisters at all times except when cooking and eating; Prepare and eat food away from tents; Do not eat or store food in tents; Do not leave food or dirty dishes out overnight in campsites; and Campers and day users should not feed or otherwise provide food to a bear for any reason.
** Poke-O-Moonshine: All climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain between and including #26 Hang ‘Em High and #82 Piece of Snatch are closed. Climbers on other cliffs or routes should report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office 518-897-1291 or Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
** Lake George Wild Forest: Lily Pond, Jabe Pond and Palmer Pond Roads are now open to public motor vehicle use. Gay Pond Road is open, but the road is heavily rutted from illegal use by four-wheel drive vehicles during the snowmobile season. Only high clearance vehicles should be used to traverse the road and even those should be used with caution.
** Shelving Rock Climbing: At Shelving Rock Mountain east of Lake George, all climbing routes on the Main Wall are now open, but all routes on the Big Wall and Jackass Buttress are now closed, including routes from #52 Enduro Man to #66 Winds of Change, and the approach trail that accesses these routes (use the lower approach trail that ascends the talus below the Main Wall). Climbers on other cliffs or routes should report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office 518-897-1291 or Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
** Lake George Boat Launch: Lake George Boat Launch on Beach Road in the town of Lake George, Warren County, is now open to the public. The boat launch will then be open daily from 6 am to 8 pm through Labor Day. There is a $10 fee to launch a boat during the summer season. There is limited parking for vehicles and trailers at the boat launch. These are available on a first come first serve basis. Overnight parking is prohibited.
** Million Dollar Beach, Lake George: Lake George Beach is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. There is a $10 per car fee for parking and $50 per bus. Seniors, 62 and older, with New York State license plates may park for free Monday through Friday, except on holidays. Overnight parking is prohibited.
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila
** Saranac Locks: The Upper Locks on the Saranac Chain of Lakes have reopened. The Lower Locks on the Saranac Chain of Lakes are staffed and operated seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Black River Wild Forest: All mud gates and seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicle use. Nick’s Lake Outlet Trail to Remsen Falls may be rough and grown in. Nelson Lake Loop Trail has several blowdown trees. Bear Lake Trail is wet and muddy for the first mile from the trailhead on Wolf Lake Landing Road. Gull Lake Road (the jeep road) impassable to motor vehicles at this time because it is very rutty and rocky. ATVs use is prohibited. Haskell/West Creek Road is a rough road, and 4-wheel drive trucks, SUVs and other high clearance vehicles are recommended. Seabury Brook Bridge has been replaced and construction is complete. Travel beyond Seabury Brook is challenging as road conditions are poor. The road is closed beyond the Honnendaga Outlet Bridge because the bridge is in disrepair. Herkimer Landing Road is not open to public motor vehicles. Flansburg/Black Creek Road is open to public motor vehicle use. However, travel beyond Mill Creek Lake will be limited by poor road conditions and snowmobile bridges not designed to support vehicles.
Nelson Lake Access: Watch for trains when crossing the rails to the Nelson Lake Access Hand Launch off State Route 28 on the banks of the Middle Branch Moose River. There is an active railroad present in the summer. Camping is prohibited in and around the hand launch site during June, July and August.
Middle Branch Moose River: A new access road has been constructed to the Middle Branch Moose River Canoe Take-out Parking Area and register booth at the McKeever Bridge.
** Fulton Chain Wild Forest: Safford Pond Trail is flooded by beaver activity near the Safford Pond Inlet. The Scenic Mountain (aka Vista) Trail contains several blown downs.
** Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Brown’s Tract Trail has been flooded by beavers between Tamarack lake and Bare Mountain, the trail is difficult to traverse. A culvert is washed out on the Big Otter Lake East Trail near Indian Brook. Also Big Otter Lake East Trail is flooded at South Inlet Flow but the trail remains passable. Moose River Mountain Trail has heavy blow down and is difficult to follow at times. Middle Settlement Lake Trail is flooded due to beaver activity between the Cedar Pond Trail and Middle Settlement Lake. East Pond-Lost Creek Trail between East Pond and the Big Otter Lake East Trail is rough, grown in and may contain blowdown. The trail is difficult to follow at times.
** Independence River Wild Forest: Big Otter Lake Road is in very poor condition – wet, muddy and rutted. Only 4 wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high clearance vehicles should attempt to use the road. Little Otter Lake Road is wet, muddy, and thickly vegetated. Only 4 wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high clearance vehicles should attempt to use the road. DEC plans to make improvements in November 2016. The southern half of McCarthy Road is rocky and muddy in some places. Only 4 wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high clearance vehicles should attempt to use the road. Florence Pond Road south of Little Otter Creek has some mud holes. Only 4 wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high clearance vehicles should attempt to use the road. Access to Catspaw Lake Road and Catspaw Lake should be done from the Van Arnum Road not the Patridgeville Road as the road is wet and rutted on that side. There is a mud hole on the east end of the Mt. Tom Trail (old route of both snowmobile and foot trails) near intersect with Silvermine Dam Trail/10 mile Crossing Road. Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower on Big Moose Tract Easement is being renovated and is not open to the public. The fire tower and access trail will be open later in summer 2016. Summer public access on the Big Moose Tract Easement is restricted to the fire tower trail which will open later this summer.
Otter Creek Horse Trail System: Roads and trails in the Otter Creek Horse Trail System are in good condition. The Otter Creek Assembly Area is open for use and the water has been turned on. Icicle Trail is wet, muddy, and may not be passable for some horses. An alternative north-south route is available via the Confusion Flats Road. Some horses will not cross the bridge over Otter Creek on Erie Canal Trail – they may ford the stream parallel to the bridge. The foot trail to Old Hotel campsite along the west side of Big Otter Lake is muddy and rutted from illegal vehicle use.
** Pigeon Lake Wilderness: Approximately half of the Twitchell Lake Trail (7.5 miles to Beaver River Station) at the Twitchell Lake end has been cleared of blowdown. The bridge crossing over the Oswego Pond Outlet on the Twitchell Lake Trail has washed out. An old beaver den can be used to cross the outlet. Cascade Lake Trail is wet and very muddy on the north-west section of the trail around Cascade Lake. Be alert of trail reroutes. Chub Lake Trail between Constable Pond and Queer Lake Trail is rough and grown in.
Five Ponds Wilderness: Red Horse Trail has been cut out and is in good shape.
Bog River Complex: The seasonal access Otter Brook Road which provides access to the Otter Brook Trailhead is open to motor vehicle use. The seasonal access Lower Dam Road which provides access to the Low’s Lake Lower Dam Hand Launch Site and Parking Area is open to motor vehicle use.
** Watson’s East: Bear Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle access as are all designated seasonal access road on the Croghan Tract and Oswegatchie Tract Easements. Access to the Oswegatchie Tract Easement via the Bryant Bridge Road is limited to those paddling on the easement lands. All others should use the Bald Mountain Road.
Mount Pisgah: Mountain bike trails at Mount Pisgah are open. Current trail conditions for trails at Mount Pisgah can be found here.
** Dewey Mountain [UPDATED]: Dewey Mountain mountain bike trails are now open. Check the latest trail conditions for mountain bike trails at Dewey Mountain here.
Lake Lila Road – William C. Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic. The public must stay on the road and not trespass on adjacent lands. DEC’s Whitney Headquarters is open for the season. Callers can once again contact the local Forest Ranger at 518-624-6686.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. Check the Adirondack Almanack Outdoor Conditions Reports each Thursday afternoon. A map of the Adirondack Park can be found here.
The NYS 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 help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.
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