Thursday, September 20, 2018

Current Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Conditions (Sept 20)

CompassThis weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled each Thursday afternoon and fully updated by Friday afternoon.

Contribute Your Knowledge: Add a comment below, or send your observations, corrections, updates, and suggestions to

Learn and practice the seven Leave No Trace principles. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other items at lean-tos and campsites. Do not litter. Take the free online Leave No Trace course here.

BE PREPARED! Start slow, gain experience. Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, flashlights, space blanket, emergency whistle, first aid kit, fire making tools, extra clothing layers and socks, and a map and compass – inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods in cold temperatures. Just before entering the backcountry or launching a boat check the National Weather Service watches, warnings, and advisories here. Follow Adirondack weather forecasts at Burlington and Albany and consult the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.


BUSY WEEKEND: This is a busy weekend for the Adirondack backcountry, especially in the High Peaks. Some trailhead parking areas and popular interior campsites may reach capacity early. Consider visiting less popular areas of the Adirondack Park to avoid the crowds of this busy season. Avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highways. Be aware of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and other roadway users. Do not block driveways, roadways or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents. Plan alternatives.

LEAF CHANGE HAS BEGUN: The leaves are changing, and expected to change dramatically over the next several weeks. The season for seeing the autumn colors is beginning now begins in higher elevation areas of the central Adirondacks, and will end along the Lake George and Lake Champlain valleys some weeks from now.

SUN AND MOON SATURDAY: Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 6:43 am and sunset at 6:53 pm, providing 12 hours 11 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 6:08 pm Saturday night, and set at 4:57 am, Sunday morning. It will be about 96% illuminated.

FROST POSSIBLE: Patchy frost in the northern cold hollows Saturday night, and possibly a little more widespread in the mountains and river valleys of the north on Sunday night.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER: Expect a stormy and rainy Friday and then a dry and cooler weekend. Afternoon showers or thunderstorms are possible Friday, including the chance of severe storms. Nighttime temperatures will be in the 30s on Saturday and Sunday nights, with some frost. Before entering the back-country check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

FIRE DANGER: The fire danger for the Adirondacks has been elevated to MODERATE – use extreme care with open fires. Each year DEC responds to numerous wildfires, many started by unattended campfires. Fires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks. It is illegal to leave an even smoldering fire unattended. Consult the current New York State Fire Danger here.

INCREASED BEAR ENCOUNTERS: DEC received a higher number of bear incident reports this year in the Adirondacks. Bear encounters get more numerous at this time of year as bears have learned how to get food from humans and are bulking-up for winter (this summer’s drought in the Adirondacks is also a factor). Cook, wash, eat, and clean-up before dark. Protect garbage and other food sources in camp and at home from bears. All food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30 and recommended everywhere.


SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS: The U.S. Drought Monitor is reporting that all of the High Peaks and northeast corner of the Adirondack Park are experiencing a Severe Drought, the rest of the Central Adirondacks is in a Moderate Dry while the Southern Adirondacks, including Warren, Southern Hamilton, and Southern Herkimer Counties, are Abnormally Dry (United States Drought Monitor).

WATER LEVELS WELL BELOW NORMAL: Most waters levels are below normal, or well below normal, even for this time of year. Boaters and paddlers should be on the look-out for obstacles exposed at lower water levels, especially near launches. Avoid propellers and lower units of boat motors being damaged from striking rocks, logs, stumps, or the bottom by stay within channels and clear of hazard buoys – many buoys have been removed from local waters. Travel slow and trim motors up when traveling in shallow or unknown waters.

STREAM GAGES: The following stream gage readings were observed on Thursday afternoon. Follow the latest river forecasts here and USGS streamgages here.

Moose River at McKeever – 1.85 ft (9/20): 2.21 ft (9/13)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 2.61 ft (9/20): 2.78 ft (9/13)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 1.09 ft (9/20): 1.60 ft (9/13)
Hudson River at North Creek – 2.26 ft (9/20): 3.01 ft (9/13)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 1.51 ft (9/20): 1.55 ft (9/13)
Lake Champlain at Whitehall – 94.02 ft (9/20): 94.04 ft (9/13)

WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperatures remain mostly in the sixties, with some colder waters near 60 degrees, and warmer waters in the upper 60s, including Warner Bay on Lake George, which has been in the lower 70s. PFDs are recommended for all persons in small boats, kayaks and canoes. Water temperatures in the 60s can cause cold water shock and hypothermia which may result in death. The following water temperatures were recently reported:

Arbutus Lake, Newcomb (average) – about 62 degrees (9/19)
Lake Champlain (average) – about 69 degrees (9/20)
Lake George (Warner Bay) – 73 degrees (9/20)
Ausable River (Wilmington) – about 64 degrees (9/17)


BUSY SEASON: This remains a busy time of year for the Adirondack backcountry, especially in the High Peaks. Trailhead parking areas and popular interior campsites can reach capacity early at this time of year, especially during good weather. Consider visiting less popular areas of the Adirondack Park to avoid the crowds of this busy summer season. Avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highways. Be aware of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and other roadway users. Do not block driveways, roadways or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents.

CAMPGROUND & DAY USE AREAS CLOSED: The following DEC campgrounds and day use areas are now closed: Alger Island & Fourth Lake Day Use Area, Brown Pond Tract, Buck Pond, Caroga Lake, Golden Beach, Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area, Lake George Battlefield Day Use Area, Lake George Beach Day Use Area (Million Dollar Beach), Limekiln Lake, Lincoln Pond, Long Island (Lake George), Meadowbrook, Narrow Island (Lake George), Nick’s Lake, Paradox Lake, Point Comfort, Rollins Pond, Sacandaga, Sharp Bridge, Taylor Pond, and Tioga Point. Eagle Point, Hearthstone Point, Little Sand Point, and Sacroon Manor closed September 9. Lake Harris closed September 16.

CAMPGROUND & DAY USE AREAS STILL OPEN: The following campgrounds and day use areas remain open to October 8th: Cranberry Lake, Crown Point, Eighth Lake, Glen Island (Lake George), Indian Lake Islands, Lake Durant, Lake Eaton, Lake George Battlefield, Lewey Lake, Meacham Lake, Moffitt Beach, Northampton Beach, Putnam Pond, Rogers Rock, Saranac Lake Islands, and Wilmington Notch. AuSable Point will close October 9 and Fish Creek will close October 21st.

BUG SEASON: Black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies and/or midges are active, especially in the evening. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

AVOID MINES AND CAVES WHERE BATS ARE PRESENT: DEC has urged outdoor adventurers to suspend exploration of cave and mine sites that may serve as seasonal homes for hibernating bats. Human disturbances are especially harmful to the State’s bat population since the arrival of the disease known as white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than 90 percent of bats at hibernation sites in New York. All posted notices restricting the use of caves and mines should be followed. If you encounter hibernating bats while underground, DEC encourages you to leave the area as quickly and quietly as possible. Anyone entering a northern long-eared bat hibernation site from October 1 through April 30, the typical period of hibernation for bats, may be subject to prosecution. Learn more here.

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.

KEEP PETS LEASHED: Keep your pet under control. Restrain your pet on a leash when others approach. Collect and bury droppings away from water, trails and camp sites. Keep your pet away from drinking water sources. 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. Dogs should be kept leashed everywhere in the Adirondack Park for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and rare plants, and out of courtesy to fellow recreationists.

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 (which now includes the former Dix Mountain 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.


* indicates new or recent items.

Including Dix Mountain, Giant Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, Jay Mountain, McKenzie Mountain, Sentinel Range Wildernesses, Lake Placid, and Wilmington
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Bear Nuisance – Canisters Required: Nuisance bears have been active in Eastern High Peaks recently and has been approaching hikers and campers in attempt to obtain food, especially in the Slant-Rock Lean-to and Bushnell Falls areas. Pack all food, toiletries, and garbage in a bear resistant canister as required by regulation. If approached by a bear: Do not throw your pack at them, if they are rewarded with food, they will continue this behavior; Raise your arms over your head to look bigger, yell loudly at the bear as you slowly back away – do not run; If available, bang rocks or metal objects together for noise. Learn how to avoid negative encounters with bears. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the High Peaks Wilderness. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters and other practices to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks. (8/30)

Mud: Be prepared to encounter mud, even during dry periods as some trails cross wet areas. Avoid widening trails and damaging sensitive areas by traveling through – not around – mud on trails. Wear water-resistant hiking boots and expect them get dirty.

Route 73 Parking: Parking areas along Route 73 are now striped. Park in the designated parking spots between the striped lines. Do not park in hash marked areas or where No Parking signs are posted. Try some of these less crowded hikes.

** Route 73 – Roaring Brook Falls Parking: Parking will be prohibited on the shoulders of both lanes of State Route 73 near the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead starting Friday, Sept. 21. Parking will be prohibited on the shoulder of the northbound lane from the entrance to the Roaring Brook Trailhead Parking area north to the bridge over Putnam Brook and on the shoulder of the southbound lane between the guiderails south of Putnam Brook Bridge. The New York State Department of Transportation is installing “No Parking” signs along these sections of the road. Read more about the closures here.

** Cascade – Pitchoff Trailhead Parking Closure: The trailhead parking lots and the shoulders of State Route 73 near the Cascade Mountain and Pitchoff Mountain Trailhead will be closed to public parking beginning in the late afternoon on Thursday, October 4, through Columbus Day. Hikers will be directed to the Cross Country Parking Lot at ORDA’s Olympic Sports Complex beginning Friday morning and throughout the holiday weekend. Only designated shuttles from the Sports Complex will be allowed to enter the Cascade Mountain Trailhead area. From the Olympic Sports Complex parking lot visitors can take the Cascade – Pitchoff Trailhead Shuttle (see below), hike Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and utilize the Olympic Sports Complex amenities. Overnight parking is prohibited at the Olympic Sports Complex, but DEC says the entrance gate will remain open until the last vehicle exits the complex. You can read more about the changes here.

** Cascade – Pitchoff Shuttle – Shuttles to the Cascade and Pitchoff Trailhead are scheduled to leave from the Olympic Sports Complex parking lot on the half-hour – beginning at 7 am, October 5-8, 2018 – to transport hikers to the trailhead. Shuttles will transport hikers from the trailhead back to the parking lot until 7 pm. The last shuttle to carry hikers to the Cascade trailhead is scheduled to leave the parking lot at 3 pm. After this time, the shuttles will only be transporting hikers from the trailhead back to the parking lot, ensuring hikers have enough time to reach the summit of Cascade Mountain and return to the trailhead before 7 pm.

Garden-Porter Mtn. Trail – Cascade Mtn.: The Porter and Little Porter Trail from the Garden in Keene are closed this 2018 hiking season due to the decision of a private landowner. A reroute is being planned, but will not be completed this hiking season. As this will limit access to Cascade via Porter – further crowding the Route 73 Cascade trailhead – approach Porter Mountain via the trail from Marcy Field until the reroute is complete.

** More Cascade Mountain Trail Changes Coming: Recently approved amendments to the High Peaks Wilderness Area Unit Management Plan include changing access to Cascade Mountain. A new trailhead will be located at the Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg. This will increase the length of a round-trip by four miles to 8.8 miles total. The estimated completion date for this project is Columbus Day, October 14, 2019. According to the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Trails, the current trail was constructed in 1974 to replace an older steeper badly eroded trail.

** Adirondak Loj Trailhead: The parking lots at the Adirondak Loj Trailhead will fill early each day during the holiday weekend Columbus Day Weekend. A variable messaging board at the beginning of the Adirondak Loj Road will inform hikers when parking is no longer available and recommend alternate places to hike.

South Meadow Lane: DEC piled materials for improving campsites along South Meadow Lane in the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Trailhead Parking Area. Vehicles should park in the nearby pull-offs along South Meadow Lane until the work is complete. (8/2)

The Garden Trailhead: Through the month of October parking at the Garden Parking Lot costs $10 ($13 Canadian) per day. A town of Keene attendant will be at the lot from 7 am until 7 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Paying the fee is a self-serve process during the week. The town of Keene’s shuttle between Marcy Field parking lot and the Garden Trailhead will be operating from 7 am to 7 pm this weekend. There is a $10 ($13 Canadian) round trip fee to use the shuttle.

* Marcy Dam: SCA Adirondack Corps will be working on the Marcy Dam removal project from beginning Monday, 9/10 with a planned completion date of Wednesday 9/19. Hikers are asked to stay away from rigging areas and follow flagging and signage for minor detours around the work site. This is the 4th year of a 5-year project to lower the dam spillway and allow Marcy Brook to return a natural condition. (9/6)

* Boreas Ponds Tract: Gulf Brook Road is closed during the week while DEC completes ditching and repair work on the portion of the road between the Fly Pond Gate and the Four Corners. The road will be open to public motor vehicle access each weekend from 5 p.m. Friday through sundown on Sunday. (9/13) During that time Gulf Brook Road into the Boreas Ponds is open to the Fly Pond Gate (Parking Lot #8 on Interim Access Plan Map) which is approximately 3.2 miles from Blue Ridge Road, 2.5 miles from LaBier Flow, and 3.5 miles from Boreas Ponds. (2018)

Dix Mountain Wilderness: Group size regulations are now in effect on the lands in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness. Groups should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than eight campers. The lands of the Dix Mountain Wilderness are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness. DEC will be changing signs, web pages, and regulations to eliminate the Dix Mountain Wilderness and transition to the High Peaks Wilderness.

Owls Head: Owls Head in Keene is open to hikers mid-week only again this 2018 hiking season. The public is prohibited from parking on the private road leading to the trailhead between 4 pm Friday and 7 am Monday. The trail to the summit of Owls Head is not an official DEC trail nor is there an easement for public use of the trail. Public use of the trail is at the landowner’s discretion.

* Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike and fat bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake ask riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

Cedar Point Lean-to: Cedar Point Lean-to has been repaired and relocated by Lean2Rescue volunteers. The lean-to is now located on southeastern shore of Lake Colden, off the trail about .2 miles from the Opalescent River. Camping is prohibited at the former lean-to site. (7/26)

Slide Brook: A primitive campsite with two tent pads has been developed in the Slide Brook Area south of Dix Mountain by volunteers from NOLS Northeast Adirondack Service Expedition. The site is west of the trail just before the crossing of slide brook. (7/26)

Kagel Lean-to: Kagel Lean-to has been relocated and reroofed by the Adirondack 46er Volunteer Trail crew. The lean-to is located a few hundred feet away from its previous location on sustainable site away from the brook. (7/26)

Boquet Lean-to: Camping is prohibited at the former location of the Boquet Lean-to north of Dix Mountain and the open area adjacent to the trail. (7/26)

Bradley Pond Trail: A new section of Bradley Pond Trail to Sanatanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings which had unusable bridges. The new trail section crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge and then joins the old trail a short distance later. (2018)

Bradley Pond: Bradley Pond Lean-to has a 3ft by 6ft hole in the roof. The lean-to can still be used but should be avoided if it’s raining. DEC is developing a temporary fix for the 2018 season and will fully repair the roof during the off season. (6/15)

Ouluska Brook Bridge: The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Crossing the brook is possible only during low water conditions.

Including Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, Bog River Complex, Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds & Pepperbox Wildernesses, Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest, William C. Whitney & Round Lake Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Lows Lake: DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with New York Dam Safety Regulations. Work is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday and is expected to last through the summer of 2018. Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Lows Lake, as well as private landowners and users of the Sabattis Boy Scout Camp. Members of the public wishing to access Hitchins Pond and Lows Lake will continue to launch at Low’s Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421. Recreational users should continue to use the existing designated portage around Low’s Upper Dam. From Hitchins Pond, travel northwest past the old homesite; Stay within the designated traffic area (delineated with orange construction fence) at all times as you make your way through the work area. Continue to the dock on the right side of the Bog River Flow.

Five Ponds Wilderness: A ten-mile section of the Oswegatchie River from High Falls downstream to the Inlet Hand Launch (Inlet Road) has numerous fallen trees across the river which may make passage difficult. Paddlers should portage around downed trees whenever possible. (5/31)

Five Ponds Wilderness: An 800-foot portion of the High Falls Loop (part of the Cranberry 50) has been rerouted to avoid a dangerous log crossing of a beaver dam. The new route has been signed and blowdown has been removed. It is located approximately 0.6 mile east of High Falls. (5/31)

Pepperbox Wilderness: Jakes Pond Trail has reopened. Logging on the private property the trail crosses has ended (7/2).

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: There is an area with significant blowdown on the Norridgewock Trail about 1.5 miles south of Beaver River Station. A rough and temporary reroute has been flagged with pink flagging. All users should exercise caution when traveling through this area (7/5).

Including Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, Whitehill Wild Forest, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest,
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Raquette Boreal Complex: DEC has improved access and recreational opportunities at Jamestown Falls on the Raquette River along State Route 56. Improvements include: Rehabilitated access road, A hand launch on the river, Information kiosk, and ADA compliant primitive campsite with the following accessibly designed feature: hardened tent pad, picnic table, fire ring, and privy. (8/2)

Including the Saranc Lake and Paul Smith’s Area, DeBar Mountain Wild Forest, Kushaqua Tract, Santa Clara Tract, Saranac Lakes and the St. Regis Canoe Area
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

*  Saranac Chain of Lakes: Work has been completed on the Upper Lock on the Saranac River between Lower and Middle Saranac Lakes. Boaters are once again able to pass through the lock to access. The repairs have made the lock much easier to operate. (9/20)

* Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: DOT contractors are conducting maintenance washing of the bridge on State Route 3 over the waterway between First Pond and Second Pond on the Saranac River. Wash will be raining down from the bridge into the waterway below during these activities. (9/13)

Lake Flower / Saranac Lake: The Lake Flower Boat Launch is open but due to a clean-up project to remove contaminated sediments from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay no parking is available on site. Parking for vehicles with boat trailers is available in the parking lot across the road from the boat launch through the 2018 boating season (at the former Nonna Fina’s restaurant), from 7 am to 9 pm. Limited parking has been designated for vehicles with boat trailers only, which must travel through the lot in one direction. Overnight parking is prohibited. Car top boats users can use the Ampersand Bay Hand Launch on Lower Saranac Lake or Lake Colby Hand Launch. (2018)

* Saranac Lakes Nuisance Bear Activity: Black bears have been active around campers in DEC Saranac Lake Islands Campground (which includes Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes). Bears have entered campsites while campers are present in an effort to steal food. All food, trash and toiletries should be kept in bear resistant containers. Cook, eat, and clean-up before dusk. Wash dishes away from camp. A bear was recently euthanized at the Saranac Lakes Islands Campground. (8/30)

* Saranac Lake Wild Forest: Water levels are very low in the Saranac Chain of Lakes, the Saranac River, and connected waters. Numerous propellers and lower units of boat motors are being damaged when striking rocks, logs, stumps, or the bottom. Boaters should stay in the channel and clear of all hazard buoys. Travel slow and trim motors up when traveling in shallow or unknown waters. (9/6)

Debar Mountain Wild Forest: Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program Crew Members installed drainage structures and repaired badly eroded sections of the Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trail. (7/5)

Loon Lake Mountain Trail: Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, the private landowner of the Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, is conducting a timber harvest in the area of the Loon Lake Mountain Trail. Be prepared to encounter logging trucks and heavy equipment at any time on the trail and the easement lands in the area during this active harvest operation. Contact the DEC Ray Brook Office at 518-897-1291 for questions regarding this harvest operation. (2018)

Including Chazy Highlands Wild Forest, Lake Champlain Islands Complex, Sable Highlands Tract, Taylor Pond Complex, Wilmington Wild Forest, Five Mile Conservation Easement Tract, Gold Mine Conservation Easement Tract
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Wilmington Wild Forest: An additional 0.5 mile of single track trail has recently been added to the Hardy Road (Beaver Brook) Bike Trails. (7/13)

Sable Highlands Tract: The gate on Barnes Pond Road is closed and road is closed to public motor vehicle use until the opening of big game season.

* Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike and fat bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake ask riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

Including the Old Forge Area, Black River Wild Forest, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, Independence River Wild Forest, Pigeon Lake Wilderness

These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Nick’s Lake Campground: Nick’s Lake Campground in Old Forge is closed to the public (including during early bear season) while the infrastructure is being upgraded and a new D-Loop comfort station is being constructed. DEC anticipates these improvements will be complete in 2019. (9/6)

Bald Mtn-Rondaxe Fire Tower: DEC is reminding people to practice Leave No Trace Principles when visiting Bald Mountain’s Rondaxe Fire Tower in near Old Forge. Leave No Trace Principles include: planning and being prepared for hiking; disposing of waste properly (pack it in, pack it out); leaving rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them; and respecting wildlife, flora and fauna. Bald Mountain’s easily accessible location draws roughly 1,000 visitors on a summer weekend. In an emergency or, to report vandalism of natural resources call DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch office at (518) 891-0235.

Black River Wild Forest: Loop Road at North Lake is open for public motor vehicle use to Campsite #18. The road remains closed beyond this point due to a major washout at Golden Stair Creek. (7/12)

Black River Wild Forest: Stone Dam Trail north of Stone Dam Lake to its intersection with the Chub Pond Trail is overgrown and can be hard to find and follow.

Independence River Wild Forest: The Erie Canal Trail Bridge over Otter Creek has been damaged and is closed indefinitely.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Moose River Mountain Trail has heavy blow down and is difficult to follow at times. 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.

Including Blue Mountain Wild Forest, Township 19 Easement, Township 20 Easement, Blue Ridge Wilderness, Moose River Plains Complex, Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Easement, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, West Canada Lakes Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Blue Ridge Wilderness: DEC and others have completed a two-year project to address wet and muddy areas on the Sagamore Lake Trail within the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area adjacent to Great Camp Sagamore. DEC staff, Camp Sagamore Trail Stewards and volunteers: installed bog bridges, culverts, and puncheons; cleaned and rehabilitated drainage ditches; and reconfigured trails to shed water. (7/5)

O’ Neil Flow Road/ Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Be on the lookout for logging operations (6/14).

Long Lake Village Paving: The Long Lake Highway Department has begun a paving project along Dock Road, Keough Road and Becker Road. A gravel surfaced road will be in place until work is complete in 2019. This includes areas from the Long Lake Town Hall to the State Boat Launch. It also includes Dock Road along the stretch from the Long Lake Marina and Hardware Store to the NYS State Boat Launch and Keough Road. Note that cars parked illegally will be towed at the owner’s expense. (2018)

Wakely Mountain Fire Tower: Wakely Mountain Fire Tower has reopened. (7/10)

Including North Creek, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Camp Santanoni, Essex Chain Lakes, Hoffman Notch, Hudson Gorge, Jessup River, Siamese Ponds and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Essex Chain Lakes Complex: Three bridges have been replaced with improved bridges and public access to the western portion of the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, including the Deer Pond Parking Area, the Fifth Lake MAPPWD route, and the campsites along Cornell and Deer Pond Roads, are once again open. (8/23)

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Two foot bridges have collapsed. The 55-foot bridge over the East Branch Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail has collapsed and cannot be crossed. Do not attempt to scramble over it. During low water, rock hopping is possible. A 30-foot bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail over a tributary to the Thirteenth Lake south of the lake collapsed earlier this year and cannot be crossed.

Jessup River Wild Forest: The Oxbow Trail has reopened.

Including Hammond Pond Wild Forest, the Lake George Valley, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Lake Champlain, Split Rock Wild Forest, and Champlain Area Trails Society Trails
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Lake George Bears: Due to number of residents still feeding birds and failing to secure their garbage, and the amount of nuisance bear activity in the Town of Lake George, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says it is shifting from an educational mode to an enforcement mode. Residences with bird feeders and other bear attractants will be given a written warning according to DEC, if they fail to heed the warning they will be issued a ticket that could result in a maximum penalty of $250 fine and 15 days in jail. DEC regulation prohibits the indirect or incidental feeding of black bears. Avoid indirect or incidental feeding of black bears (and a written warning and ticket) residents and businesses should follow these directions: Eliminate or secure any material that may attract bears; Properly store and manage garbage; Do not feed animals outside; Prevent bears from obtaining human food. (9/6)

Climbing: All climbing routes and access paths are now open at Potash, Shelving Rock and Sleeping Beauty Mountains. (7/27)

Including Ferris Lake Wild Forest, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Silver Lake Wilderness, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

** Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The water access site at Garnet Lake has been gated to prevent the launching of trailered boats. Canoes, kayaks and small boats can be easily carried over the gate and to the water’s edge for launching. The gate was installed for several reasons according to DEC: In the Adirondacks, trailered boats may only be launched at designated boat launches on lakes 1,000 acres or larger. The site on 330-acre Garnet Lake is a designated waterway access site (aka hand launch). Use of the lake by larger motorboats has increased in recent years exceeding the capacity of the small lake. Eliminating the use of trailers access to the water decreases the threat of the spread of aquatic invasive species into the lake. (8/30)

Crane Mountain Climbing Routes: All climbing routes on Crane Mountain are open. (7/13)


DEC Trail Supporter PatchBe 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.

This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled by Adirondack Almanack founder and editor John Warren for publication each Thursday afternoon. John’s condensed version for radio can be heard Friday mornings on WSLP Lake Placid, and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

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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One Response

  1. Ron Dobson says:

    Bears are out and about, no doubt.

    Went and put down some of my deer attractant – sure enough, plenty of pictures of black bears on my trail cam when I checked it a week ago.

    Be smart, carry spray.

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