Thursday, April 30, 2020

Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (4/30): Look for trails less taken

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

General Conditions

  • HIKE SMART NY by always being prepared for your trip, variable trail conditions, and unexpected weather when you go out on the trail.
  • Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has recommendations for responsible outdoor recreation (leaves DEC website) during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
  • Town of Keene now prohibits non-residents from parking on Johns Brook, Market, and Adirondack Streets in Keene Valley during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Violators will be towed.
  • Issuance of backcountry camping permits for groups of 10 or more, and for more than 3 days at one location is temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
  • DEC’s Lake Flower Boat Launch in Saranac Lake is closed to trailered boats due to construction at the site.
  • Adirondack Mountain Reserve (aka Ausable Club) is immediately reducing the parking capacity on its lot near the intersection of Ausable Road and State Route 73 to a maximum of 28 vehicles in response to COVID-19. Parking is not permitted along Ausable Road, on Ausable Club lands, or along the nearby stretches of State Route 73.
  • Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center will remain closed through May 14 in response to COVID-19. Parking at Adirondak Loj Trailhead remains open to the public for a fee. The restrooms on the back porch of the High Peaks Information Center are also open.

  • DEC-controlled fire towers are closed to the public to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 during the current public health crisis. Trails to the towers and the summits remain open.
  • 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.
  • Trails are a mix of mud, ice and snow. Mud and ice are present at low to moderate elevations. Ice and deep snow are present in the higher elevations. Trail crampons should be carried on all hikes and snowshoes should be carried on high elevation hikes.
  • Ice is thin if it is present at all. No ice should be considered safe at this time.
  • Water levels in streams and rivers are high, currents are swift, and water temperatures are extremely cold.

For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density:

  • Closing all playgrounds;
  • Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields;
  • Canceling all public programs and events at state parks, lands, forests and facilities until further notice;
  • Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;
  • State Parks has closed all State Parks golf courses;
  • DEC has closed access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and
  • Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.
  • New Yorkers are required to wear masks in public when appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.

DEC Boat Launches

DEC boat launches are open for recreational use by individuals and households provided strict adherence to the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19 is followed:

  • Try to keep at least six feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as rails, posts, and tie off cleats.
  • Wear a mask when appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.

Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures

DEC has closed certain rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Status of rock climbing routes:

  • Chapel Pond Area
    • Upper Washbowl Cliffs – CLOSED
    • Lower Washbowl Cliffs – CLOSED
    • Spider’s Web – OPEN
  • Wilmington Notch Area
    • Moss Cliffs – OPEN
    • Notch Mountain – CLOSED
  • Poke-O-Moonshine – The climbing routes between and including Opposition and Womb With View are OPEN, all other routes are CLOSED.
  • Crane Mountain – All climbing routes are OPEN, except the Amphitheater section of the Black Arches Wall is CLOSED including Torcher, Eatin Tripe and Lichen It, Hang Time, and Black Arch Arete
  • Shelving Rock – All routes on the Main Wall are CLOSED which includes routes #11 Lunar Manscape through #37 Princess Bride. All other routes on Shelving Rock are OPEN.
  • Potash Mountain – All routes are CLOSED.
  • Sleeping Beauty Mountain – All routes are CLOSED.

Once peregrine nest sites are determined, climbing routes that will not disturb nesting will be reopened. We anticipate reopening by the beginning of May although in some years it has taken longer to confirm nesting. Routes that remain closed will reopen after the young have fledged. Thank you for your cooperation. For more information please contact the Bureau of Wildlife at (518) 623-1240.

DEC Campgrounds

All DEC Campgrounds remain closed at this time, including campsites, bathrooms, playgrounds, pavilions, picnic sites, beaches, and other day use areas and facilities. The public may enter DEC campgrounds to access trails on the Forest Preserve or to walk or bike on the campground roadways. Motor and motorized vehicles are prohibited from entering DEC campgrounds. Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members and practice social distancing.

Trailhead Registers

Trailhead registers provide vital information, so please continue to sign in and out. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, special precautions should be taken while using trailhead registers to minimize spread of the virus through commonly touched surfaces, such as pencils and the registers themselves. Follow these guidelines when using trailhead registers to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

  • Only one person per group should register. Others in the group should stay away from the register.
  • If someone is at a register when you approach, stand at least six feet away and wait for them to leave before you approach.
  • Bring your own pencil or pen.
  • Minimize touching surfaces.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and use it immediately before and after using the register.
  • Don’t cough or sneeze while at the register. If you must cough or sneeze, move away from the register and hand sanitize before returning.

Related Stories


NYS DEC

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.




One Response

  1. James M Schaefer says:

    Most ADKers miss the most untravelled hiking adventure which is mostly bushwacking within the Blue Line…..The Long Path of New York begun in 1931 by Vincent J Schaefer was designed to celebrate the Eastern New York highlands from the George Washington Bridge to the top of Whiteface Mtn. In the 1960s several members of the NJNY Trail Conference, against the wishes and hiking philosophy of Schaefer, turned the Long Path into a blazed trail up the Palisades, the Shwangunks, Catskills and more recently up the Schoharie to the Helderberg Hills. The blazes rest at Thacher Park, but in the early 2000s with the Landmarks of Long Path North, authored by Vince Schaefer in 1991, a series of day hikes to 84 “landmarks” featuring geologic, historic, cultural, vistas can be achieved with “a compass, map and good woods sense.” The Long Path North Hiking Club moved the LP across populous counties of Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga using numerous off-road sections and low volume roads, connecting to many of the “Landmark” areas. The LP blue blazes take the hiker to the Batchellorville Bridge near Edinburgh and across the Blue Line. From there the hiker needs to follow the LPN Guide to various destinations — up the Eastern Sacandaga drainage, across Crane Mountain, through Indian Pass (avoiding the herd trails of High Peaks) into the Whiteface Mountain area. The LP is not for the fainthearted. It requires persistence, good maps, soon GPS coordinates for each location. Very few LP hikers will walk the same path because there is no trail, no blazes, just a destination, then another, and another, challenging one to woodsmanship and their imagination on how to get there. Just what Vince Schaefer (1906-1993) would have appreciated. And the wilderness would not know hikers had been there…..

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