Thursday, September 5, 2019

Current Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (Sept 5)

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

Contribute Your Knowledge: Add a comment below, or send your observations, corrections, updates, and suggestions to adklmanack@gmail.com.

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. Carry proper safety equipment and weather protection and bring plenty of water and lights, and a map. When on the trail, stay together, monitor the time, and be prepared to turn back. Accidents happen to the most experienced people. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods in cold temperatures. Always carry food, a space blanket, emergency whistle, first aid kit, fire making tools, extra clothing layers and socks, a map and compass, and the knowledge to use them. Inform someone of your itinerary and 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.

September 5th, 2019 – SPECIAL NOTICES

HAZARDOUS WEATHER: Expect seasonably cool weather, with temperatures dropping into the 30s on Thursday night. There is a chance for a passing shower each day this weekend, and nighttime low temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40s Friday and Saturday night. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather warnings, watches and advisories here.

HIGH PEAKS PARKING / SHUTTLE INFO / PLAN ALTERNATIVES: State Route 73 between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead has been closed to roadside parking making access to popular climbing areas and hiking trailheads in that area more restricted, especially at the climbing areas north of Chapel Pond and near the AMR and Roaring Brook Parking Areas. Plan alternatives before you arrive. Access to the Garden Trailhead is by shuttle only. The Town of Keene operates a shuttle for hikers between the Marcy Field Parking Area and the Garden Trailhead, 7 am to 7 pm. The Town of Keene website has the most up to date shuttle schedule. More information about the closure can be found HERE. The Porter and Little Porter Trail from the Garden in Keene remains closed by the landowner – approach Porter Mountain via the trail from Marcy Field.

AVOID THE CROWDS / LIMIT OVERUSE: The High Peaks are experiencing a notable increase in visitor-ship, which is exacerbated at this time of year and through Columbus Day Weekend. You can avoid the crowds and parking difficulties, and help protect the Adirondack Park, by visiting one of the many less busy places, or by visiting on weekdays when there is less demand. Hikes Outside the Adirondack High Peaks and Adirondack hikes under 2,500 feet list a variety of alternate hikes. The Adirondack Almanack publishes regular suggestions for less visited hikes and paddles here.

LIGHTNING: Thunderstorms can occur unexpectedly at this time of year. There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms. You should never be above treeline or on water when there is lightning. 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. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

MUD: Expect to encounter mud – many trails and back country roads remain muddy in places. Protect trails and trail-side vegetation by walking through mud on the trail, not around it. Wear waterproof boots and pack extra wool socks. Expect to get your feet wet and muddy.

TICKS & OTHER BITING INSECTS: Biting insects, such as ticks, black flies, and mosquitoes, are active. People and pets are especially susceptible to ticks anytime temperatures are above 40 degrees. Ticks can carry Lyme disease as well as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Powasson virus. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: Wear light colored 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 head net to wear when insects are abundant; and use an insect repellent. More tips to avoid getting bit can be found here. While tick bites can happen year-round, even on 40-plus degree days in the winter, both people and pets are especially susceptible in mid-May through July, when nymphs are out seeking a host. The young ticks are small and more difficult to spot. More information on tick borne diseases can be found here.

SEASONAL ACCESS ROADS: Nearly all seasonal roads typically open at this time of year are open. Roads that are closed, or recently reopened, are listed below in the Recent Changes by region. Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel roads that can be rough. Roads may be narrow – use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles. Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on seasonal backcountry access roads.

BEAR ADVISORY: While preparing for your camping or hiking trip, check area notices below for active bear advisories. If there are active bears present where you are planning to go, either choose an alternative trip or thoroughly educate yourself on how to reduce your chance of a bear encounter with proper food storage, disposal of food waste, and then what to do if you happen to encounter a bear. Learn more about avoiding bears.

LAKES, RIVERS AND STREAMS

WATERS LEVELS: Waters are well above the normal summertime lows we typically experience at this time of year, and last year hikers were stranding overnight due to rising waters following rains. Waters are generally still low however, and low water paddle routes remain may be more difficult or impassable around the region; all boaters should use extra caution in shallow areas. The following streamgage readings were observed on Thursday afternoon. Follow the latest river forecasts here and USGS stream gages here. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here.

Moose River at McKeever – 3.31 ft (9/5): 2.51 ft (8/29)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 5.15 ft (9/5): 3.30 ft (8/29)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 2.11 ft (9/5): 1.46 ft (8/29)
Hudson River at North Creek – 3.87 ft (9/5): 2.77 ft (8/29)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 2.24 ft (9/5): 2.18 ft (8/29)
Lake Champlain North of Whitehall – 94.53 ft (9/5): 94.51 ft (8/29)

WATER TEMPERATURES: Most waters are in the mid-60s to lower-70s, with the warmest waters reaching near 75 degrees and the coldest waters nearer 60 degrees. Wear a personal flotation device.

The following water temperatures were recently reported:

Arbutus Lake, Newcomb (average) – about 62 degrees (9/3)
Lake Champlain (average) – about 66 degrees (9/5)
Lake George (Warner Bay) – 72 degrees (9/5)
Ausable River (Wilmington) – about 68 degrees (8/22)
Mirror Lake (Lake Placid) – 68 degrees (9/5)

PADDLERS & BOATERS: Although recent rains have raised the levels of rivers and streams to above normal for this time of year, most waters remain at summertime lows. Low water paddle routes may be more difficult or impassable around the region; all boaters should use extra caution in shallow areas. Follow the latest river forecasts here and USGS stream gages here. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) (required before May 1, and for all children under 12 at all times).

SEASONAL AND SAFETY NOTICES

SUN AND MOON SATURDAY: Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 6:25 am and sunset at 7:21 pm, providing 12 hours and 57 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 3:45 pm Saturday afternoon, and set at 12:53 am, Sunday morning. It will be about 69% illuminated.

FIRE DANGER: The fire danger is LOW across the Adirondacks. Conditions may continue to dry raising the fire risk higher in some areas by Sunday. Use care with open fires this weekend, never leave an even smoldering fire unattended, and check the DEC Fire Danger Risk Map for the latest fire conditions.

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 can expire quickly. Plan and prepare carefully before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass – and know how to use them.

BIKE TRAILS: Stewards for the region’s bike trails are asking riders to follow trail reports closely and stay off wet trails. Reports of mountain bike trail conditions in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and networks in the Adirondack Tri-Lakes Region are reported by BETA on TrailForks.com.

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.

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.

REPORT MOOSE SIGHTINGS: DEC is asking the public to report moose sightings and observations. DEC and its research partners use these public sightings as indices of moose distribution and abundance in New York. This is part of a multi-year research project to obtain information on the status of New York State’s moose population, health of the moose, and the factors that influence moose survival and reproductive rate. Use the moose sighting form.

RECENT CHANGES IN THE ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY

* indicates new or recent items.

HIGH PEAKS REGION
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 Activity On Marcy Trail (8/29): There has been increased bear activity at Marcy Damand through Avalanche Pass and along the Marcy Trail from Lake Colden at the Opalescent River, including near the Up-Hill and Feldspar Lean-tos. Avoid problems with bears: Cook early, Secure canister immediately after taking food out, and Consider bear spray for unexpected close encounters. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Bear Canisters Required: Overnight visitors to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness are required to use bear canisters between April 1 and November 30. These can be rented or purchased at the High Peaks Information Center, or at the Mountaineer in Keene Valley. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks. For more information visit the DEC website.

Bike Trails: Stewards for the region’s bike trails are asking riders to follow trail reports closely and stay off wet trails. Reports of mountain bike trail conditions in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and networks in the Adirondack Tri-Lakes Region are reported by BETA on TrailForks.com.

Route 73: Parking is prohibited, and tickets are being issued, on a four-mile section of State Route 73 between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead, especially near the AMR and and Roaring Brook Parking area (trailhead for Giant), and the climbing areas north of Chapel Pond. Parking will still be allowed at trailheads and other designated pull-offs. Hikers can discover and visit numerous hiking opportunities in the area or visit on weekdays when there is less demand. Hikes Outside the Adirondack High Peaks lists a dozen alternate hikes.

Garden Trailhead Parking Lot Closed (Until Lake Septemeber 2019): The Garden Parking Lot at the Garden Trailhead – one of the main access points to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and the nearest trailhead to Johns Brook Lodge is closed to replace the Johns Brook Bridge, construction is expected to be completed in early September. No vehicles or pedestrians are able to cross the bridge. Hikers and backpackers should gain access to the Garden Trailhead by parking at Marcy Field Parking Lot and using the Town of Keene Shuttle between the Marcy Field Parking Lot and the Garden Trailhead. This will be the only means for accessing the Garden Trailhead during the closure. Public use of the private detour is prohibited. The Town of Keene plans to operate the Shuttle from 7 am to 7 pm, weekends only. The cost will be $10 round-trip per person ($13 Canadian). However, due to the current lack of bus drivers this schedule may be reduced. The town’s website has the most up to date shuttle schedule. More information about the closure can be found HERE.

Garden-Porter Mtn. Trail – Cascade Mtn.: The Porter and Little Porter Trail from the Garden in Keene are closed due to the decision of a private landowner. A reroute is being planned. 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.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve / Ausable Club: Parking is prohibited along the Ausable Club Road and at the trailhead. Hikers planning to use the AMR parking lots and hike any of the nearby trails should identify alternate hikes before arriving as the lots will fill quickly.

Owls Head: Owls Head in Keene is open to hikers mid-week only. 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.

** Mt. Van Hoevenberg Summit Trail: The new Mt. Van Hoevenberg Summit Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness (accessed from the Olympic Sports Complex), has been temporarily rerouted for this summer due to construction. The trail starts at the Biathlon building just past the overpass, goes over the overpass and then winds its way up through the cross-country ski trails before joining the new Mt. Van Hoevenberg Summit Trail (a.k.a. the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail). The distance is currently about .7 longer to the summit – 2.4 miles rather than the 1.7 miles it was before construction got underway. The trail climbs about 920 feet to the 2,940-feet summit in the High Peaks Wilderness. Hikers may also reach the summit using the traditional 2.2-mile (4.4-mile round trip) Mt. Van Hoevenberg West Trail which begins at the trailhead on Meadows Lane.

Upper Works Improvements Planned: The Open Space Institute has announced improvements at Tahawus and the Upper Works Trailhead which provides southern access to the High Peaks from Newcomb. Plans include expanding the Upper Works Trailhead parking area; renovating the now stabilized MacNaughton Cottage, built in 1845; providing space for guide equipment; adding additional interpretive signage, and continuing preservation efforts at the blast furnace. You can read more about OSI’s effort to increase High Peaks access from Newcomb at Adirondack Explorer. Read about the history of the area here at Adirondack Almanack and learn what’s been happening over the last few years here.

** Boreas Ponds (9/5): Beginning Friday, September 6, Gulf Brook Road will be open to motor vehicle use to the Four Corners Parking Lot. Hikers and horseback riders may travel one mile between the parking lot to the Boreas Ponds dam. Hikers and horseback riders may also travel on any of the roadways. Bicyclists may ride on Gulf Brook Road and the roadway to Boreas Ponds as far as the gate which is located 500 feet from the Boreas Ponds Dam. Paddlers may carry one mile to access the water near the Boreas Ponds Dam or drop off canoes/kayaks, and equipment at a waterway access site on LaBier Flow, 0.1 mile away from the Four Corners Parking Lot before parking. Paddlers may paddle halfway down LaBier Flow and carry 0.3 mile to access the water near Boreas Ponds dam. Camping is allowed more than 150 feet from any road, trail, or surface water.

* Bradley Pond Lean-to (8/22): The roof of the Bradley Pond Lean-to has recently been repaired by volunteers from the Adirondack 46ers.

* Wilmington Notch Campground Closed (9/5): DEC has closed the Wilmington Notch Campground and Day Use Area early to install a new well and water system and to provide for additional time to complete repairs and maintenance work before the onset of winter. Nearby Meadowbrook Campground and Day Use Area remains open until Columbus Day. Campers with reservations to the Wilmington Notch Campground between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14 are being notified through ReserveAmerica of the planned closure. These reservations will be canceled and fees refunded. These campers will be informed of the opportunity to reserve a campsite at the Meadowbrook Campground or any of the other nearby DEC campgrounds.

Bradley Pond Trail – Upper Works (5/23): The roadway on the Bradley Pond Trail has been washed out by the Harkness Lake Outlet approximately a half mile from the parking lot. Hikers will be unable to cross the outlet when water levels are high.

Rock Climbing Routes Reopened: All rock climbing routes on the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs have reopened.

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.

WESTERN ADIRONDACKS
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 Lower Dam (8/29): A major dam rehabilitation project is currently being planned for the Lows Lower Dam (aka Bog River Dam) – the paddlers access site for Hitchens Pond and Lows Lake. The project will likely begin in Spring of 2020. Possible impacts to public access include: Temporary road and access closures; Traffic controls including flag persons, construction fence, etc.; Shared road/parking areas with construction vehicles; Different parking, drop-off, and launching schemes; Increased informational signage. More details will be provided as they become available.

Aldrich Pond Wild Forest (6/13): All seasonal access roads, including Streeter Lake Road, are open to public motor vehicle access.

Bog River Complex (6/13): All seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicle use including the access road to Lows Lake/Hitchens Pond Waterway Access Site.

NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
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.

Grass River Complex: The roads are in reasonable but no maintenance has been done at this time. Only high clearance vehicles are appropriate for use at this time. Caution should be used when driving on the roads. The Pleasant Lake Access Road on the Grass River Conservation Easement Tract and the Allen Pond and Spruce Mountain Access Roads on the Tooley Pond Conservation Easement are all open to public motor vehicle use.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS
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.

Bike Trails: Stewards for the region’s bike trails are asking riders to follow trail reports closely, and stay off wet trails. Reports of mountain bike trail conditions in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and networks in the Adirondack Tri-Lakes Region are reported by BETA on TrailForks.com.

** 90-Miler Adirondack Canoe Classic / 90 Miler: The annual Adirondack Canoe Classic, known locally as the 90-Miler, will be held Sept. 6-8. This three-day flat water race follows the original highways of the Adirondacks from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. Expect very heavy use along the paddle route and at the Lake Eaton and Fish Creek campgrounds. The race starts on Friday at Old Forge. The route includes the Fulton Chain of Lakes, the Raquette Lake, the Marion River and the Eckford Chain of Lakes ending in Blue Mountain Lake at the end of day one. Saturday begins at Bissell’s on Long Lake continues down Long Lake and into the Raquette River to the state boat launch on Routes 3 & 30 (about five miles east of the village of Tupper Lake). Sunday begins at Fish Creek Campground proceeds down Upper Saranac Lake through the carry to Middle Saranac Lake and on to the Saranac River, into Lower Saranac Lake across Oseetah Lake and Lake Flower to the finish at Prescott Park in the village of Saranac Lake. The best opportunities to watch the race is at the starts in Old Forge (Friday, 8 am); at Bissell’s Field in Long Lake (Saturday, 8:30 am); Fish Creek Campground (Sunday, 8 am); or the finish on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake, beginning around noon.

Kushaqua Tract (7/3): Mountain Pond Road is open for motor vehicle use.

Spider Creek – Route 30 Culvert: The Department of Transportation is replacing the culvert on State Route 30 at Spider Creek. Spider Creek is the waterway that flows out of Follensby Clear Pond to Fish Creek Ponds. During the construction watercraft will not be able to pass through the culvert. A temporary canoe carry to bypass the culvert may be established, but people visiting the area should consider using existing canoe routes that avoid this culvert entirely. Parking will be available at the nearby water access site, but the northern entrance will be blocked. The parking area may be congested on holiday and weekends. The culvert may be closed for the entire 2019 construction season. When construction is complete, the culvert can be used once again for paddling. For information on alternate paddling routes, visit the DEC website.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
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.

Bike Trails: Stewards for the region’s bike trails are asking riders to follow trail reports closely, and stay off wet trails. Reports of mountain bike trail conditions in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and networks in the Adirondack Tri-Lakes Region are reported by BETA on TrailForks.com.

** Boquet River Nature Preserve (9/9): The Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has opened a new half-mile trail connecting Willsboro’s Main Street with the Boquet River Nature Preserve’s existing trail network. The natural dirt and stone trail, which features 60 stone steps, is the latest improvement the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter has made to the preserve. A new trailhead kiosk, additional interpretive signs, and educational materials to further enhance the visitor experience are slated to be installed by next spring.

Sable Highlands Tract (5/23): Piney Ridge Road and D&H Road are open to public motor vehicle use. Both roads have some minor washouts, but should be passable by four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles. There also some trees bent or handing over the road. Drivers should use caution and proceed slowly

Sable Highlands Tract: The gate on Barnes Pond Road is closed until the 2019 Big Game Hunting Season. Hikers may still use the road to access the six campsites along the road.

Rock Climing Routes Reopened (7/25): All climbing routes on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, including those on the Main Face, are open.

Terry Mountain State Forest (8/1): Terry Mountain Road in the Terry Mountain State Forest remains closed.

SOUTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
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.

** Nicks Lake Campground (9/5): DEC has announced the completion of major upgrades to Nicks Lake Campground on Bisby Road in Old Forge. The campground features a modern, ADA-accessible playground, volleyball, horseshoes, basketball, and more than three miles of paved roads for bikers and joggers. The campground will be open until Oct. 14, 2019.

John Brown Tract (8/13): The southern end of the Browns Tract Trail on the John Brown Tract Conservation Easement has reopened. The trail was temporarily closed earlier this summer to allow the owners of the land to harvest timber.

Black River Wild Forest Trails (5/30): Wolf Lake Landing Road which provides access to Bear Lake and Woodhull Lake is open to public motor vehicle use to the gate just before Woodhull Lake. Beaver Lake had flooded and damaged the road. Roadway may still be soft in places, stay in the center of roadway surface. The bridge across the inlet to Bear Lake on the Bear Lake Trail is currently out, all users should be prepared to ford the stream or cross elsewhere. 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 Trails: The Erie Canal Trail Bridge over Otter Creek has been damaged and is closed indefinitely. Horses may ford Otter Creek at the old bridge site.

WEST CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
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.

New Northville-Placid Spur to Long Lake: A new 2.2-mile spur trail connects the Northville-Placid Trail to the hamlet of Long Lake. The spur trail provides ease of access to food, supplies, and lodging for backpackers through-hiking the NPT and enhances the local economy. Located in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest, the spur trail connects with the NPT approximately 1.9 miles south of Route 28N. The connection is marked with yellow trail markers. The trail terminates at a gravel parking lot at the intersection of State Route 30/28N, South Hill Road, and Pavilion Lane. Overall, using the spur trail eliminates an estimated 1.4 miles of hiking, including 1.3 miles of hiking on the shoulder of the state highway. In the winter, cross-country skiers can ski from Long Lake to the Three Brook Ski Loop Trail along the NPT and back for a pleasant 5.5-mile round trip ski.

Blue Mountain: The access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain is a private road. The use of the road by people other than authorized personnel with administrative duties is prohibited and is considered trespassing.

Blue Mountain Wild Forest (8/1): The O’Neill Flow and Barker Pond Roads are open for public motor vehicle use.

Moose River Plains Complex (7/25): Rock Dam Road is open to public motor vehicle access. The shoulders of the road remain soft. Use caution when using the road. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.

Northville-Placid Trail (1/3): A logging operation is occurring on the conservation easement lands along the Northville-Placid Trail south of Tirrell Pond. Logging equipment will be crossing the Northville-Placid Trail at one location. There is a 100-foot buffer on either side of the trail outside of that crossing. Be attentive for logging activity when on that section of trail. A broken foot bridge spanning Lamphere Brook in the West Canada Wilderness was replaced with a new 35-foot bridge in the fall of 2018.

Otter Brook Truck Trail: Crews from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Corps cleaned and brushed out an approximate seven-mile section of the Otter Brook Truck Trail from the gate off the Otter Brook Road to a mile east of the intersection with the trail to Lost Pond. DEC expects to clean and brush out the remainder of the trail between the trail to Lost Pond and the Moose River Plains Road in the summer of 2019. (9/27)

EAST CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
Including 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.

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest (6/13): The new Wolf Pond Trail and Wolf Pond Lean-to are open to public use. The 2.3-mile Wolf Pond Trail may be access from Boreas River/Wolf Pond Parking Area on the Blue Ridge Road near the bridge over the Boreas River.The gently rolling and easy to navigate trail crosses Wolf Pond Brook and proceeds northeast. The trail ends at the outlet of Wolf Pond and the new lean-to is located up a short spur trail on the south-western side of the pond. Wolf Pond provides scenic views of the High Peaks and surrounding mountains as well as excellent fishing opportunities. The 59-acre pond is home to stocked wild strain brook trout.

Goodnow Flow Road: Goodnow Flow Road is a private road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North and should not be used by the public.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The former site of the 55 foot bridge over the East Branch of the Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail is now a foot crossing (rock hopping). Hikers may have trouble crossing during times of high water following heavy rain or during spring snow melt. Wear trail crampons and use hiking poles with steel or carbide tips when traversing ice covered rocks. A 30-foot bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail over a tributary to the Thirteenth Lake south of the lake has collapsed and cannot be crossed (2018).

EASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Hammond Pond Wild Forest, North Creek, Schroon Lake, 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.

Rock Climbing Routes Open (8/15): All rock climbing routes are open.

** Lake George Boat Launches (9/5): DEC will begin closing the gates overnight at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Lake George on Friday Sept. 6 as part of a pilot program to increase protection from aquatic invasive species on the lake. Boat launch stewards will open the gates at the boat launches as follows: 9/6 – 9/20 from 5 am to 8 pm; 9/21 – 10/11 from 6 am to 7 pm; and 10/12 – 10/31 from 7 am to 6 pm. More information is available online.

Lake George Wild Forest (8/8): Gay Pond Road remains closed due to the large amount of blowdown on the road caused by a recent wind event.

Shelving Rock Road: Shelving Rock Road is open.

Dacy Clearing Road: Dacy Clearing Road is open.

* I-87 Essex County Northway Bridge Construction; Oversize Truck Detour: Motorists are advised to watch for reduced lane widths on the southbound bridge carrying the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) over Underpass Road in the town of Chesterfield, Essex County, between Exit 34 and Exit 33. As part of this bridge rehabilitation project, southbound oversized trucks will be detoured off the Northway at Exit 34 through mid-July. Southbound oversized trucks should then follow the detour from Route 9N northbound to Route 9 southbound, where they can re-enter the Northway at Exit 33. Also, Underpass Road underneath the Northway will be closed through October, with a signed detour posted. Motorists are urged to slow down and drive responsibly through the work zone and to avoid distractions while driving. For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit the 511NY website.

SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS
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.

Crane Mountain Climbing Routes Open: Rock climbing routes on Crane Mountain are open.

* Wilcox Lake Wild Forest (8/8): Pumpkin Hollow Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: Powley Road is open and passable. It is still soft in spots – some soft spots are marked hazardous. Drivers should use 4-wheel drive vehicles and use caution.

Jockeybush Lake Trail: Hikers on the Jockeybush Lake Trail may have difficulty crossing the Jockeybush Lake Outlet during high waters following periods of rain.

Northville-Placid Trail: A new lean-to has been constructed by DEC staff along the trail just north of the West Stony Creek crossing. (2018)

Northville Placid Trail: The trail is brushy between Silver Lake and Mud Lake and may be difficult to follow in areas. This section is scheduled to cleaned and brushed out in Summer 2019.

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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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Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices. To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.




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