Saturday, May 19, 2018

DEC Issues Mud Season Advisory for Adirondacks

Adirondack Mud SeasonSpring conditions are present throughout the lower elevations of the Adirondacks but trails in the highest elevations are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow.

Steep trails with thin soils can become a mix of ice and mud as the ice melts and frost leaves the ground, making the trails slippery and vulnerable to erosion by hikers.

DEC is encouraging hikers to protect Adirondack trails by doing the following:

Avoid damaging hiking trails and sensitive trail side vegetation and habitats;
Wear waterproof hiking boots and clothing that can withstand mud and water;
Walk through – not around – mud and water on trails; and
Walk single file directly down the center of the muddy trail to protect the integrity of the trail.

Walking around the mud and not directly through results in trail creep. Trail creep or trail widening is when the trail slowly erodes away the surrounding vegetation which is used as habitat, food, and survival for wildlife. As the trail continues to erode and widen, roots and boulders appear causing the trail to become slippery and less defined, making the trail more dangerous for recreating.

In addition, DEC is urging hikers to hike on lower elevation trails that are typically drier and less prone to damage. DEC suggests the following alternative trails for hiking, subject to weather conditions, that can withstand higher impact during the muddy trail season:

High Peaks Wilderness:
Van Hoevenberg

Giant Mt. Wilderness:
Giant’s Washbowl
Roaring Brook Falls
Owl Head Lookout

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness:
The Crows
Hurricane Mountain from Rt 9N

Jay Mountain Wilderness:
Jay Mountain

McKenzie Mt. Wilderness:
Baker Mountain
Haystack Mountain
McKenzie Mountain

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest:
Panther Mountain
Scarface Mountain
Floodwood Mountain

Taylor Pond Complex:
Catamount Mountain
Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain
Silver Lake Mountain

DEC encourages hikers to practice “Leave No Trace” principles. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. For more information, visit the Leave No Trace website.

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; active alerts are updated by noon Friday here.

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16 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    It doesn’t matter. They can tell these hikers to avoid spots. They won’t. Close the trails or lose them.

  2. Paul says:

    In the past we used to close “the woods” – not just some trails – when fire danger was high. It didn’t require lots of rangers to enforce. People just had different values I guess. Like they cared? I think that if you close things up (like after Irene) most people will obey. You will at least have fewer people since ‘some’ people will abide by the rules. You will always have to deal with the “don’t fence me in jumper types” and the “you can’t post the land and stop me from what is mine crowd” but some people are reasonable.

    • Boreas says:

      The 46rs could also disallow peaks registered during official closures.

      • Paul says:

        Couldn’t hurt but isn’t it just an honor system thing now?

        • gebby says:

          True, but it would mean you could not submit a peak during a mud season advisory and it count for credit, just like they would not accept peaks during the closures of the Dixes after Hurricane Irene. That’s up to the 46ers. Not sure why someone would take credit for something on the honor system Paul that they had not earn, but I’m sure some do.

        • Boreas says:

          Yes, but it would make a strong statement if indeed they are concerned about trail damage. Plus Grace H. looks over us all now. I wouldn’t want to piss her off!

          • gebby says:

            I do not disagree with you Boreas. If you are a 46er, I suggest you bring it up within the organization. I know that I have been burned out with social media discussions on the topic and will no longer engage in them, until the 46ers decide to make a strong statement on the subject. I am just one 46er and I am not in charge.

            • Boreas says:


              I am on the 46r roster, but am too decrepit to climb. I no longer pay dues because I became upset when they showed no interest to cap their membership (to minimize damage). At that time, it was only around 3000…

              • gebby says:

                I am sorry to hear that Boreas. I do think the 46ers do many great things. I was heartened to see Pete Fish in the 46er movie express very positive thoughts about them. At this point, since they are well past 10K members, perhaps we’ll see numbers disappear akin to the AMC and the 48 in NH, but I am sure the ardor to do the 46, number or not, will not fade away. I hope that the desire to help make things better for all, starts to become more of a thing, rather than become an afterthought after the 46 are done and it’s on to the next hiking challenge. I thought it was very sad to see in the recent PEEKS magazine, that there were over 700 finishers again last year and there were only 100 names or so for people that volunteered for trail projects. That’s a bit pathetic.

                • Boreas says:


                  I was a trail volunteer once. Only ONCE. Myself and 1-2 others spent all day trying to dig and move a boulder out of a hole to be placed as a step. We got it done, but I guess I am to much of a wimp for hard work. It certanly isn’t for everyone. Plus, keep in mind, many of those pre-5000 members live far away, are old farts like me, or are just plain dead. It would be interesting to know how many LIVING members there are.

                  But hey, why not just Trail Stewards that just hike/snowshoe the trunk trails to help educate people about mud, latrines, cold weather, and litter like Pete used to do? Give them radios so they can talk to a dispatcher in case of problems.

                  • gebby says:

                    You may not be aware, but there is just such a program! It started last year and we are manning(and “womanning”) the Cascade/Porter Trailhead on summer weekends! Started last year. Think about it! 🙂

                    • Boreas says:

                      Yes, I was aware of that! A great start, but I was talking about volunteers actually patrolling at least the trunk trails. But it may not be practical.

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