Thursday, January 9, 2020

Rain, Ice Storm Cometh: Current Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (Updated Jan 10)

adirondack conditions 1-9This 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 adkalmanack@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.

January 10th, 2020 – SPECIAL NOTICES

2 inches of rain adirondacksHAZARDOUS WEATHER: On Friday, a Flood Watch and a Winter Storm Watch are in effect for most of the Adirondack Region and Northern New York.  A complex storm system is expected to produce a widespread moderate to locally heavy precipitation event across the region Saturday and Saturday ninht, including the possibility for 1 to 2 inches of rain and overnight icing.  Temperatures will be rising well above freezing in the Adirondacks on Friday with rain showers moving in by the afternoon. Some very high rainfall totals are forecast, especially the Western Adirondacks, and in the St. Lawrence Valley. Everywhere, rain and snow melt will lead to rising rivers and streams with the potential for minor river flooding as early as Saturday, with waters expected to crest on Sunday. There should be temperatures mostly in the high 40s Saturday, with periods of rain turning to freezing rain, sleet and moderate to significant icing across the Northern Adirondacks and St. Lawrence Valley Saturday night, including the Northern Champlain Valley. Sunday will return to the 40s, with mixed precipitation tapering off, and colder temperatures Sunday night.  Check the latest National Weather Service local weather warnings, watches and advisories here. Check mountain forecasts here and here.

GENERAL TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trails are covered in snow and ice and are very icy, snow will be crusted in the mornings and softened to spring-like conditions during the day. There 10 to 12 inches of layered snow covering most of the Central Adirondacks, with 3 to 6 inches in the lower Ausable and Champlain Valleys, and in the Southeastern Adirondacks, including most of Eastern Warren County, but much deeper snow above about 2,500 feet, as much as 2-4 feet in some areas of the High Peaks and Central Hamilton County. Stream crossings may be dangerous  – many waters and stream crossings are not yet frozen and will be rising with rain and snow melt into Sunday, some, especially in the Northern Adirondacks, could reach bank full or minor flood stage by Saturday.   Most water bodies have skimmed over with ice, some ice fishing has begun, but ice remains dangerously thin on many waterbodies, some waters remain open, and rain and thawing temperatures will increase the danger of thin ice, and leave many water covered in slush and water. Lakes are generally not yet frozen enough for snowmobiles or other vehicles. Numerous vehicles have been reported to have gone through the ice this week around the Adirondacks.

SUMMIT CONDITIONS: Summit winds Friday morning are expected to be in the 50s-60s mph, diminishing to 45 to 50 mph Sunday afternoon. Expect mixed precipitation on summits through the weekend, with moderate to heavy rain possible Friday afternoon.  Temperatures on summits are expected to be mostly in the 30s through the weekend, although falling into the 20s Sunday afternoon. High winds will keep wind chills mostly below freezing through the weekend, and near zero on Sunday.  Waters will be high, peaking on Sunday afternoon, and some stream crossing dangerous or impassable beginning Saturday. There two to three feet of snow above about 3,500 feet, and more at higher elevations where there can also be found exposed areas of ice on the highest summits. All hikers should carry traction devices for use on icy trails, above treeline, and at water crossings, and snowshoes above about 2,500 feet. 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

SNOW, SKI AND SNOWMOBILE REPORT (1/9/2020)

SNOW COVER: There 10 to 12 inches of layered snow covering most of the Central Adirondacks, with 4 to 6 in the lower Ausable and Champlain Valleys, and in the Southeastern Adirondacks, including most of Eastern Warren County, but much deeper snow above about 2,500 feet, as much as 2-4 feet in some areas of the High Peaks and Central Hamilton County.  There is about a 18 inches of snow at Lake Colden (2,764 feet) in the High Peaks, and 2 to 3 feet of snow at higher elevations, with areas of ice on the highest summits, and some pockets of deeper snow. The most recent snow depths in inches reported in around the Adirondacks can be found here.

DOWNHILL FACILITIES: Downhill conditions are fast in the mornings, but will be spring-like in the afternoons this weekend: Whiteface (53 trails open, 9 lifts, 59% terrain open, about nine inches of new snow over the last week); Gore Mountain (55 trails open, 8 lifts, 70% of terrain, about nine inches of new snow over the last week); Lower and some Middle Mountain terrain is open at Titus  (3 trails open, 3 lifts, about seven inches of snow over the last week). Oak Mountain in Speculator has been making snow, call ahead for this weekend. McCauley Mountain Ski Area in Old Forge has plenty of snow, (20 trails open, 2 lifts, more than 2 feet of new snow this past week). Mt Pisgah and West Mountain are open for the season, but may be forced to close after the rain.

CLASSIC CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: Conditions were generally very good to excellent this week, but will take a hit with rain, icing, and warm temperatures this weekend. The best bet will be Sunday, when there should remain some limited skiing at Cascade and Mount Van Hoevenberg, and possibly at Dewey Mountain. Call ahead at the Paul Smiths VIC. No report from Tupper Lake, but skiing is unlikely there. The big winners this week were Garnet Hill which picked up more than  a foot of new snow this week and should be skiable Sunday (less rain is predicted there) and also Lapland Lake, which picked up about 6 to 8 inches and should have some terrain open Sunday.

BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: Most early season smoother terrain will remain skiable through the warm-up, but conditions will be crusty in the morning, and sticky by the afternoon. Newcomb Lake Road, Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hays Brook should remain skiable. Beyond the early season backcountry routes, skiing to or above Marcy Dam can not be recommended this weekend.  Some stream crossings are not yet frozen and high waters are expected around the region. 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: To the West in Hamilton and Herkimer County conditions have been good this week, but east of there most snowmobile trails remain closed, are too thin to ride, or will have considerable water holes and blowdown this weekend on a thin base. Where there is riding, except to encounter icy and wet conditions this weekend, with soft snow in the afternoons.  The Webb and Inlet Trail System is open with good conditions and grooming underway. West of there snow in Herkimer County snow is deeper and conditions were excellent this week, the route to Big Moose and Brantingham Lake is open with good conditions; St. Lawrence County trails trails are currently closed, with the exception of those north of Cranberry Lake. The Moose River Plains road is open, and there has been riding to Indian Lake and up to Newcomb. The trails in Long Lake remain closed, but the Raquette Lake trails are open, although thin. Trails remain closed in Warren County and most of Essex and Clinton. 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 for snowmobiles. Detailed snowmobile reports are located by region below.

LAKES, RIVERS AND STREAMS REPORT (1/9/2020)

HEAVY RAIN EXPECTED SATURDAY: Rainfall becomes widespread over the area Saturday afternoon and night and will be heavy at times. Much of our snowpack will also be melting as temperatures rise above freezing Friday and are expected to stay warm through early Sunday. The greatest concern for flooding is smaller rivers and streams, low lying areas and fields, and some minor flooding of main stem rivers. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather warnings, watches and advisories here.

HIGH WATERS, FLOODING POSSIBLE:  Rivers and streams will be running high this weekend and water crossings may be dangerous. Many river and stream crossings are not yet frozen and will be rising with rain and snow melt into Sunday, some, especially in the Northern Adirondacks, could reach bank full or minor flood stage by late Saturday.

THIN ICE, COVERED IN SLUSH & WATER: Most lakes and ponds are at least skimmed over with ice, some ice fishing has begun, but ice remains dangerously thin on many waterbodies. Some waters remain open, and rain and thawing temperatures will Friday through early Sunday will increase the danger of thin ice, and leave many lakes and ponds covered with slush and water. Lakes are generally not yet frozen enough for snowmobiles or other vehicles. Numerous vehicles have been reported to have gone through the ice this season around the Adirondacks.

STREAM GAGES: The following streamgage readings were observed on Thursday 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 – 4.69 ft (1/9): 3.94 ft (1/2)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 6.07 ft (1/9): 6.17 ft (1/2)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 1.52 ft (1/9): 1.84 ft (1/2)
Hudson River at North Creek – 4.14 ft (1/9): 4.20 ft (1/2)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 3.53 ft (1/9): 3.63 ft (1/2)
Lake Champlain North of Whitehall – 96.43 ft (1/9): 96.45 ft (1/2)

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 7:30 am and sunset at 4:37 pm, providing 9 hours and 8 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 5:41 pm Saturday evening, and set at 9:04 am, Sunday morning. The moon will be about 99% illuminated.

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

* 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.

* Whiteface Uphill Skiers (1/11): Due to the current projected weather forecast Whiteface will not be allowing uphill traffic Saturday, January 11th – Monday, January 13th. Normal uphill operations are expected to resume on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Note: There have been instances of guests not following the designated daily uphill route, skiers are required to stay on the designated routes.

dec high peaks region* Snowmobile Trails (1/9): Snowmobile trails remain closed in Warren and Essex Counties, there is early season snowmobiling at Indian Lake.

* Deep Snow (1/9): In the High Peaks, snow depths range from 24-36 inches above 3,000 feet, and more at some higher elevations, requiring the use of snowshoes. Ice is present on exposed outlooks and summits above tree line.

** High Waters (1/9): Stream crossings may be dangerous  – many waters and stream crossings are not yet frozen and will be rising with rain and snow melt into Sunday, some, especially in the Northern Adirondacks, could reach bank full or minor flood stage by Saturday. Many bridges were already washed out or damaged in the High Peaks during the Oct. 31 storm leaving some streams impassable.

** Lake Colden Caretaker Report (1/9): 26 inches (65 cm) of snow is present at the stake at the cabin. 3 to 4 feet (60 to 90 cm) in the higher elevations and on summits – snowshoes are required to worn above above 2,500 feet (762 m) and where ever snow exceeds 8 inches (20 cm). Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen but use caution around outlets and inlets. Meadows Lane and South Meadows Truck Trail are in good condition for skiing. VanHoevenberg Trail from the Loj Trailhead to Marcy Dam is in fair condition for skiing. Skiing conditions will worsen as the weekend progresses.

* Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden (1/9): Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are being crossed, 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.

** 2020 High Peaks Hiker Shuttles Planned: Plans are in the works to create two new hiker shuttle routes connecting parking lots and trailheads in the High Peaks during the coming hiking season. The exsisting Marcy Field – Garden Trailhead Shuttle will also operate.  The new shuttles will also begin at Marcy Field. One is expected to Southeast on Route 73 to the junction of Route 9 (Dysfunction Junction), presumably with stops at Adirondac Loj and the Garden Trailhead. The second shuttle will connect with the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sporting Complex encompassing the trail heads for Cascade, Porter, Giant, the Dix Range, at Roaring Brook, PItchoff and Rooster Comb.  The shuttles are expected to run most days from the end of the school year in June through Labor Day, and then weekends and holidays until about Columbus Day

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 (1/9): Gulf Brook Road is closed to public motor vehicle use until after the spring mud season and necessary repairs are made. It is skiable, but there are washouts.

* Corey’s Road (1/9): Corey’s Road is open 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.

** Johns Brook Lodge (12/26): There is significant area of blowdown on the trail between Johns Brook Lodge and Mount Haystack. It is difficult to get through the blowdown. DEC is working to get more details on the location and to clear the blowdown.

* Giant Mountain Wilderness (12/26): There is a large tree across the Rocky Peak Ridge Trail. It is easy to step or slide over the tree trunk.

* Big Slide via the Brothers (12/26): There are 4-5 mid-size trees down at various locations on the Big Slide via the Brothers Trail. It is easy to get around, over, or under them.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement: 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.

DEC western adirondacks* St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Trails (1/9): With the exception of those north of Cranberry Lake, St. Lawrence County trails are closed. St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Association provides trail conditions reports here.

* C7 Snowmobile Trail Closed (12/26): 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 (12/26): Lake Lila Road is closed to motor vehicles 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
DEC northwestern adirondacksIncluding 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.

* St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Trails (1/9): With the exception of those north of Cranberry Lake, St. Lawrence County trails are closed. St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Association provides trail conditions reports 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
DEC northern adirondacksIncluding 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.

* C8 Snowmobile Trail (1/9): Gates have been closed and locked on the C8 Snowmobile Trail between Debar Meadows and the DEC Meacham Lake Campground. The gate will be reopened once there is enough snow.

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.

DEC northeastern adirondacksBike 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.

DEC southwestern adironacks* Webb and Inlet Snowmobile Trail System (1/9): The Town of Webb & Inlet Snowmobile Trail System has GOOD conditions overall on up to 8” of packed base. Be aware of soft surface conditions and wet areas. Riding lake ice is not safe. Webb and Inlet snowmobile trail conditions reports are located here.

* Big Moose & Brantingham (1/9): West of  the Webb and Inlet Trail System is open with good conditions and grooming underway. Snow in Herkimer County snow is deeper and conditions were excellent this week, the route to Big Moose and Brantingham Lake is open with good conditions

* Powley Road (1/2): Powley Road has been closed to snowmobiles while the Town of Arietta completes road and bridge repairs, but it was 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 (1/9): The bridge across Little Woodhull Creek on the Stone Dam Trail has washed out, likely due to Halloween flood.

* 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.

DEC west central adirondacks* Webb and Inlet Snowmobile Trail System (1/9): The Town of Webb & Inlet Snowmobile Trail System has GOOD conditions overall on up to 8” of packed base. Be aware of soft surface conditions and wet areas. Riding lake ice is not safe. Webb and Inlet snowmobile trail conditions reports are located here.

* Speculator Tree Farm/Perkins Clearing (12/19): All designated snowmobile trails are open, but thin and rough, 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 (1/9): The main road through the Moose River Plains is open to snowmobiles. The 7th Mountain Lake Snowmobile Trail cannot be recommended at this time.

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.

DEC east central adirondacks* Snowmobile Trails (1/9): There has been riding from the Moose River Plains Road to Indian Lake and up to Newcomb. The trails in Long Lake remain closed, but the Raquette Lake trails are open, although thin.

* 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.

** Great Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends: The grounds of Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb will be host to three designated Winter Weekends, when the rustic historic site is staffed with guides offering tours, and snowshoes are provided at the gate for the ten-mile round trip: Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend (Jan. 18-20); Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, February 15-17; and the weekend of March 14 and 15.  A 9.8-mile round trip cross-country ski or snowshoe requires moderate physical activity. More information about Great Camp Santanoni and the upcoming winter weekends is available online.

* 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 (1/9): Warren County has completed replacing a washed-out culvert with a bridge. Motor vehicle access to the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead is once again available via the road.

* 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).

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.

DEC eastern adirondacks* Snowmobile Trails (1/2): Snowmobile trails remain closed in Warren and Essex Counties.

* 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. They 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.

* Crane Pond Road Closed (1/9): The Halloween storm has made Crane Pond Road impassable. There are numerous major washouts, destroyed culverts and trees over the road. Crane Pond is not open to public motor vehicle use, but was nonetheless open to motor vehicle access.

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

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Parkway: Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Parkway is closed for the season.

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 (12/20): is closed to automobile traffic at the Hogtown Parking Lot.

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.

DEC southern adirondacks* Shaker Mountain Wild Forest (1/9): Tolmantown Road is a seasonal road and is unmaintained 12/1 through 4/1.

* Shaker Mountain Wild Forest (1/2): Green Lake Road which accesses Kane Mountain Trailhead is temporarily closed due to downed trees and powerlines from the recent icy weather.

* 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. This is a seasonal road and is not maintained 12/1 through 4/1.

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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