Thursday, December 12, 2019

Current Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (Dec 12)

adirondack conditions 12-12This 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. Plan ahead and prepare. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other items at lean-tos and campsites. 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. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods in cold temperatures. Accidents happen to the most experienced people. 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.

December 12th, 2019 – SPECIAL NOTICES

HAZARDOUS WEATHER EXPECTED: Expect to encounter mixed precipitation, including rain, freezing rain, and snow this weekend. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather warnings, watches and advisories here. Check mountain forecasts here and here.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trails are covered in snow and ice and may be very icy, or covered in deep snow in higher elevation areas. All hikers should carry traction devices for use on icy trails and at water crossings.  There is about 4 to 6 inches of snow in Hamilton County, Northern Warren County and into Western Essex County, including in the High Peaks Region at lower elevations. There are deeper snows – 8 to 12 inches, and more than a foot in some areas – at highest elevations of Hamilton and Essex Counties. Carry snowshoes for use when necessary. No ice should be considered safe, and stream crossing are generally not yet frozen. There will be dangerously thin ice on waterbodies this weekend, and many waters remain open. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather warnings, watches and advisories here. Check mountain forecasts here and here.

BACK COUNTRY ACCESS ROADS: Many back country access are closed around the region. Expect all backcountry and seasonal roads to be snow covered and icy. Roads that are closed, or recently reopened, are listed below in the Recent Changes by region. Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel roads and now covered with several inches of snow. Four-wheel drive vehicles are highly recommended for driving on seasonal backcountry access roads

HUNTING SEASONS: The Northern Zone (which includes all the Adirondacks) regular big game, small game, and waterfowl hunting seasons are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails, who have a legal right to participate in these activities on Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are rare, but hikers can wear bright colors as a precaution.

SNOW, SKI AND SNOWMOBILE REPORT

SNOW COVER: There is about 4 to 6 inches of snow in Hamilton County, Northern Warren County and into Western Essex County, including in the High Peaks Region and Tri Lakes areas at lower elevations. There are deeper snows – 8 to 12 inches, and more than a foot in some areas – at the highest elevations of Hamilton and Essex Counties. There is about six inches in Northville, at Great Sacandaga. Four inches at the Conklingville Dam, at Warrensburg, and Olmsteadville, and down near Inlet and Old Forge. There is little snow at Indian lake, Gabriels, or Tupper Lake, or in the Ausable Valley and Northern Adirondacks. The most recent snow depths in inches reported in around the Adirondacks can be found here.

DOWNHILL FACILITIES (12/12): Whiteface (26 trails, 4 lifts) and Gore Mountain (18 Trails, 4 lifts) are now open seven days a week, on early season machine groomed conditions. Titus is making snow and hoping to open this weekend, but call ahead. Oak Mountain in Speculator is planning to open Saturday for the season (2 trails, 3 lifts). McCauley Mountain Ski Area is open for the season (everyday except Tuesdays, 9 am to 4:00 pm). At Mt Pisgah the ticket office and locker rooms are open Tues-Thurs. West Mountain mountain will be open Thursday, Friday, and closed Saturday. The hope to reopen on Sunday if weather permits.

CLASSIC CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: Cascade and Mount Van Hoevenberg may have a trail or two worth recommending on Sunday. There has been no skiing to speak of at Cascade, and Mt. Van Ho is down to the inner loop for this weekend.  Skiing has ended at Dewey Mountain until more snow arrives, and snowshoes are recommended at Paul Smiths. There is no skiing at the Tupper Lake trails. The best bets this weekend remain Garnet Hill, near North Creek, which has a better base and a few open trails and Lapland Lake which has about 16 Kilometers open, and some recent fresh snow. They’ve picked up 20 inches there so far this season, most of it in a single storm last week.

BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: The only recommenable backcountry skiing this weekend will be in Warren, and Southern Hamilton and Herkimer Counties, including the trails around Inlet and Northville. Elsewhere trails are too thin to recommend, more snow is needed. Stream crossings are not yet frozen. Updates with more detailed conditions in the Tri-Lakes and High Peaks area can be found here, courtesy the Adirondack Ski Touring Council / Barkeater Trails Alliance.

SNOWMOBILE REPORT: Most snowmobile trails remain closed, or too thin to ride. It’s Snodeo weekend and the Webb and Inlet Trail System is open but conditions are very thin, and not recommended. Some grooming is underway but covered trails are limited and marginal. Do not ride on closed trails. If you do ride, trails are very thin, water crossing may not be frozen, and no lake ice is safe. Trail #10 remains closed during repairs to the flood-damaged bridge. Repairs should be completed within days.

LAKES, RIVERS AND STREAMS REPORT

THIN ICE; WATERS MOSTLY ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS: Waters are mostly at above normal levels for this time of year. Water crossing generally remain open and unfrozen, no ice should be considered safe. Water temperatures are very cold, skim ice is developing on most lake and ponds and some are covered by dangerously thin ice. Avoid the inlets and outlets. There will be dangerously thin ice on waterbodies this weekend however, and many waters remain open. Most boat launch docks have been removed for the season.

The following streamgage readings were observed on Wednesday afternoon. Streamgage readings can be affected by snow and ice. 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 – 4.45 ft (12/12): 3.57 ft (12/5)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 5.85 ft (12/12): 6.33 ft (12/5)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 2.07 ft (12/12): 1.98 ft (12/5)
Hudson River at North Creek – 4.61 ft (12/12): 4.38 ft (12/5)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 3.71 ft (12/12): 3.88 ft (12/5)
Lake Champlain North of Whitehall – 96.86 (12/12): 97.08 ft (12/5)

SEASONAL AND SAFETY NOTICES

CHECK THE WEATHER: 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.

SUN AND MOON SATURDAY: Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 7:23 am and sunset at 4:17 pm, providing 8 hours and 54 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 6:49 pm Saturday night, and set at 10:25 am, Sunday morning. The moon will be about 95% illuminated.

BEAR ADVISORY: The Bear Canister regulation remains in effect until November 30th in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. 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.

FIRE DANGER: The fire danger is LOW. An unattended campfire is suspected of being the cause of a small wildfire recently in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. Use care with open fires, never leave an even smoldering fire unattended. 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.

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.

DRONES: Drones are motorized equipment and the operation of drones on lands classified as Wilderness, Primitive, or Canoe is prohibited.

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.

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.

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 (Updated 11/14/2019)

* 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.

* Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden (12/12): Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden may not be safe. When they are safe to cross, avoid the inlets and outlets, especially the outlet of Avalanche Lake.

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-Porter Mtn. Trail – Cascade Mtn.: The Porter and Little Porter Trail from the Garden in Keene remain 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.

Ausable Club / Adirondack Mountain Reserve: 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 this weekend.

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 (9/19): The new Mt. Van Hoevenberg Summit Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness (accessed from the Olympic Sports Complex), has been temporarily rerouted 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 (2020): 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 (10/10): A new ADA accessible lean-to has been constructed on a site overlooking Boreas Ponds at the location of the Former Finch Lodge. This was a combined effort of DEC Staff, DOCCS Moriah Shock Camp Crew, and members of Lean2Rescue.

* Boreas Ponds (12/12): Gulf Brook Road is closed to public motor vehicle use until after the spring mud season and necessary repairs are made.

* Corey’s Road (12/12): Corey’s Road is open for winter access to the Seward Trailhead. Only Four-wheel drive vehicles should use the road. Do not block the road when parking. Bring a shovel and be prepared to shovel out off-road parking spots and your vehicle when you return from your hike or ski.

* East River Trail (11/7): Opalescent Bridge has been washed out along the East River Trail to Allen/Hanging Spear Falls. River is impassable at this time.

* Calamity Brook Trail (11/7): Calamity Brook Trail has several bridges out. Some sections may be impassable.

* Elk Lake Conservation Easement (12/12): Trails through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement to the Dix Mountain Range and Panther Gorge are open to public use. Elk Lake Road is open to the Clear Pond Gate. This will add four miles round trip to hikes. Plan accordingly.

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.

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.

** C7 Snowmobile Trail Closed: The C7 trails along the tracks from the Tupper Lake train station to Floodwood Road will be closed to snowmobile use until further notice. Efforts are underway to repair three washouts.

* William C. Whitney Wilderness (11/21): Due to snow and poor road conditions Lake Lila Road is closed for the season.

Lows Lower Dam (2020): 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: All seasonal access roads, including Streeter Lake Road, are open to public motor vehicle access.

Bog River Complex: 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 Saranac 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.

Kushaqua Tract: Mountain Pond Road is open for motor vehicle use.

* Spider Creek – Route 30 Culvert (11/21): NYSDOT has completed replacing the Spider Creek Culvert on State Route 30. Paddlers will once again be able to travel between Follensby Clear Pond and Fish Creek Ponds using the culvert in 2020.

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.

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.

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.

* Powley Road (12/9): Powley Road remains closed to snowmobiles while the Town of Arietta completes road and bridge repairs. It’s expected to reopen to snowmobiles before Christmas.

* Ferris Lake Wild Forest (11/6): Powley Piseco Road has severe washouts on either end and is closed for the foreseeable future. Edick Road is closed.

* Town of Wells (11/6): West River Road is closed until further notice due to flooding and washouts.

* Black River Wild Forest (12/12): All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle use until after the spring mud season. Designated snowmobile trails will open as snow allows.

* Wolf Lake Landing Road (11/4): The Wolf Lake Landing Road in McKeever has sustained some erosion from the October 31, storm. It is passable with high clearance 4wd vehicles. The roadway may still be soft in places, stay in the center of roadway surface.

* Fulton Chain Wild Forest (11/6): The Safford Pond Snowmobile Trail has experienced a large beaver dam failure approximately one-quarter mile north of Safford Pond Road, at the Safford Pond inlet. The trail is impassable there.

** Big Otter Lake East Trail (12/12): DEC has removed the culvert on the Big Otter Lake East Trail and constructed a food bridge over Indian Brook. Beaver activity has ceased at South Inlet Flow and the trail is no longer flooded.

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, Cedarland Conservation Easement, Jessup River Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Speculator Tree Farm/Perkins Clearing (12/12): All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicles until after the spring mud season. All designated snowmobile trails are open for use except for the north end of Perkins Clearing Road which will be use as a haul road for timber operations this winter. Access from the north can be had from the Mason Lake Parking area and the S82C/Old Telephone Line Trail (also known as Old Indian Lake Road). A east-west bypass has been built between Carpenter Hill Road and C4/C8 Big Brook Trail.

* Speculator Tree Farm (12/9): Gates to Cave Hill Road (C4 snowmobile trail) are open.

* Speculator Tree Farm/Perkins Clearing (12/12): The Brister Brook Parking Area is closed this winter due to damage from the Halloween Storm. The Town of Lake Pleasant has created a larger parking area off NYS Rt 30 near the turn for Jessup River Road.

* West Canada Lakes Wilderness (12/12): All seasonal access roads on adjacent private, Wild Forest, and Conservation Easement lands are closed.

* Northville-Placid Trail (11/6): The Northville Placid Trail trailhead on Haskell Road in Piseco is open. However, be advised that an assessment of backcountry facility damage has yet to be conducted. Given the level of damage on the periphery of the unit, it is likely backcountry facilities, notably stream crossings, will be impacted.

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: The O’Neill Flow and Barker Pond Roads are open for public motor vehicle use.

Township 19 Conservation Easement Lands (12/12): Logging operations will continue this winter on the Township 19 Conservation Easement Lands. Snowmobilers will be sharing the roads with logging trucks and other equipment. Be alert and proceed with caution.

* Blue Ridge Wilderness: The bridge across Rock Pond is out. Cascade Pond and the Cascade Pond Lean-To can now only be accessed via the Wilson Pond and Crossover Trail or via the Northville-Placid Trail.

* Moose River Plains (12/12): The seasonal access road system is closed to public motor vehicle use. Designated snowmobile trails will open as snow allows. The Town of Indian Lake has been repairing and replacing bridges on the C8 Trail connecting Indian Lake and the Cedar River Road Gate. The C8 cannot be recommended at this time.

* Moose River Plains Complex (11/4): Otter Brook road is closed at the gate at Otter Brook. There is severe washout beyond the gate.

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. (2018)

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.

* Indian Lake (11/6): There is damage to roads and infrastructure on Crotched Pond Road in Indian Lake. The road may be difficult or impassable.

* Newcomb Trail (12/9): The Town of Indian Lake has made repairs to the trail washouts as afar as the Essex County line. There is not expected to be logging this winter along the Newcomb Trail.

* Essex Chain Lakes Complex (12/12): All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle use until after the spring mud season.

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 (12/13): A culvert was washed out on Thirteenth Lake Road during the Halloween storm. The wash out will not be repaired until spring when a bridge will be installed. The public can still access Thirteenth Lake Trailhead by detouring on Harvey Road and meeting back up with Thirteenth Lake Road beyond the washout.

* Siamese Ponds Wilderness (11/21): Elm Lake Road is rough but passable to the Cisco Brook Trailhead. The use of four-wheel drive vehicles is recommend. Barton Mines Road is now passable by most passenger vehicles. DOT work is still continuing on Route 8 but there are fewer stoppages of traffic.

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. During winter 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).

* Jessup River Wild Forest (11/6): Watch Hill and Snowy Mountain trails are closed due to the closure of Route 30.

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.

* Elizabethtown (11/25): New York State Department of Transportation has announced that the intersection of Routes 9 and 9N and Water Street in the town of Elizabethtown, Essex County, has been converted to require traffic to stop in all four directions. The project added stop signs for all four directions of the intersection, replacing a traffic pattern that previously directed travelers approaching the intersection to stop only if they are traveling eastbound on Water Street or westbound on Route 9N (River Street). Work also: Moved the southbound Route 9 (Maple Street) crosswalk and sidewalk curb ramps closer to the intersection to improve pedestrian visibility; Added stop signs for northbound and southbound travelers to complement existing signs for eastbound and westbound travelers, which themselves were enhanced in 2012; “All Way” was added to the stop signs on all four legs of the intersection to enhance motorist awareness; Applied “stop ahead” markings to the pavement; Installed a “stop ahead” warning sign with flashing beacons above and below the sign on the northbound Route 9 and 9N (Court Street) approach to the intersection. The changes are expected to improve visibility for pedestrians and reduce collisions, thus improving safety for all users and boosting pedestrian mobility.

* Ticonderoga Ferry: The Ticonderoga Ferry is closed for the 2019 season.

* Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Parkway (11/14): Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Parkway is closed.

* Lake George Wild Forest (12/12): All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle use. Designated snowmobile trails will open as snow allows.

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 (11/7): 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.

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.

* Shaker Mountain Wild Forest (11/14): Tolmantown Road, which provides access to the Benson Tract, is closed from the Mayfield end. The Bleecker end is still open to the Big T.

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

* Wilcox Lake Wild Forest (12/12): Spruce Mountain Trail is open for public use.

* Ferris Lake Wild Forest (11/7): Powley Piseco Road and Edick Road have severe wash outs and are closed for the foreseeable future.

* Silver Lake Wilderness (11/21): West River Road has reopened. Road conditions are rough, but passable. The use of four-wheel drive vehicles is highly recommended.

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: 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 (2018).

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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.

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 93-3 /102.1 The Mix 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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