Thursday, March 26, 2020

Adirondack conditions (3/26): Stay close to home

This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks sent out from the NYS DEC.

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

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch, 518-891-0235.

Recommendations for Getting Outside During Covid-19

Stay home or stay local: While it can be disappointing, the best thing to do might be to stay home, especially if you are sick. Now is the time to enjoy your local trails, open spaces, and parks. Rather than travel to big name outdoor areas, see what is available in your own backyard and neighborhood.

Expect closures: As businesses limit services or direct their staff to work remotely, closures should be expected. Do your best to research before you leave home, but also be prepared for things to change quickly. Take necessary precautions like bringing extra food and water, learning how to go to the bathroom outdoors, and being ready to pack all your trash out with you.

Pack out your trash: With limited staff and services, receptacles at public facilities like the Adirondack Loj may not be emptied as often or at all. Overflowing receptacles and litter can harm wildlife. Pack all your trash and recyclables out with you all the way home and utilize your own receptacles.

Avoid times and places of high use: Social distancing definitely applies to being outdoors. To avoid creating large crowds and groups at popular trails or outdoor areas, spread out to less popular spots, and avoid times of highest use if possible. If an outdoor area is more crowded than anticipated, don’t hesitate to adjust plans.

Remember the seven principles of Leave No Trace: Our shared spaces need us to act as stewards more than ever. Remember, it is still just as important to prepare for spring weather conditions, stick to trails, dispose of our waste properly, minimize fire impacts, leave what we find and keep a safe distance from wildlife.

Be considerate of other visitors: We are all in this together. Be considerate of other outdoor visitors by washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer when hand washing facilities are not available, sneezing and coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and keeping group sizes small.

General Conditions

  • Ice is thinning. No ice should be considered safe at this time.
  • Trails are a mix of mud, ice and snow. Mud and ice are present at low to moderate elevations and there is still deep snow in the highest elevations. Trail crampons and snowshoes are still recommended for all hikes.
  • Seasonal access roads are closed for the spring mud season. The roads will reopen to public motor vehicle use once they have thawed, dried and hardened and all necessary repairs and maintenance are complete.
  • All snowmobile trail systems are closed for the season.
  • Water levels in streams and rivers are high, currents are swift, and water temperatures are extremely cold.

BURN BAN IN EFFECT: Conditions for wildfires will become heightened during this spring. Residential brush burning is prohibited March 16 through May 14 across New York State. More information on reducing wildfires can be found on DEC’s website.

Fire towers closed: To reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 during the current public health crisis, DEC is closing all DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open.

Travel: Check NY511 for road closures and conditions. 

Supplies and Amenities: Due to the current COVID-19 public health crisis, retail stores and other amenities are closed. Plan ahead before going out.

Be Prepared: Trail crampons (foot traction devices) should be carried on all hikes and used when warranted. The use of skis or snowshoes is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness – and recommended on all trails throughout the Adirondacks where snow depths are a foot or more – especially trails with pack snow which will soften as temperatures warm. 

Mountain Summits: Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits. Temperatures are much colder, and winds will be stronger on exposed outlooks and summits. Rocky summits may be scoured of snow by the winds – conditions may be icy and warrant the use of trail crampons. Otherwise, snow depths at and near summits will be much deeper than snow depths at the trailhead. Weather on mountain summits can be unpredictable. Be prepared to turn around, especially if whiteout conditions are encountered.


Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. George carrothers says:

    Very dissappointed in this report! The Corona virus outbreak requires that everyone stay put. No ifs, ands, or buts. No one should be travelling to the park from other locations for any reason! The DEC is irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox