Thursday, May 7, 2020

Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (5/7): #RecreateLocal still in effect

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

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, athletic courts and sporting fields until further notice;
  • 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;

  • Golf courses: Starting Saturday, April 25, golf courses operated by State Parks may open. Operating schedules will differ across the state. Call the course directly for current information;
  • DEC is closing 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. State Parks may reduce the number of available parking spaces on high visitation days. Please avoid visiting crowded areas. 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.


Campgrounds: All DEC Campgrounds remain closed, 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.

DEC Lean-tos: Use of lean-tos should be restricted to members of a single household at a time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Primitive Camping: DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more, and for more than three days at one location on state lands.

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.

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.

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.


  • HIKE SMART NY by always being prepared for your trip, variable trail conditions, and unexpected weather when out on the trail.
  • The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has recommendations for responsible outdoor recreation during 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.
  • DEC’s Otter Creek Horse Trail Facility is temporarily closed to overnight camping to help limit the community spread of COVID-19. Day-use of the area is still allowed but water and restroom facilities are not available.
  • Adirondack Mountain Reserve (aka Ausable Club) has reduced 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 22 in response to COVID-19. Parking at Adirondak Loj Trailhead remains open to the public for a fee, but vehicles should be more than six feet apart. The restrooms on the back porch of the High Peaks Information Center are also open.
  • Whiteface Mountain Ski Area is closed to public access. This blocks public access to Bear Den Mountain Trailhead and Trail.
  • 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.
  • DEC and municipal seasonal access roads are closed for the spring mud season.
  • 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.
  • Water levels in streams and rivers are high, currents are swift, and water temperatures are extremely cold.

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

8 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    Is the road into Boreas Ponds open?

    • Hi Tim, Sorry about the delay. Saw this update on DEC’s website:
      Gulf Brook Road
      A large washout is present about a half mile from the Blue Ridge Road – the washout can be problematic to traverse but is passable.
      There are several smaller washouts along the road that are easily traversed.
      The there is some blowdown on the road but all of it is easy to pass around.

  2. Al Worthington says:

    Besides 1 sign pointing in the wrong direction, as of Sunday 5/3/20, there is no signage pointing to the alternative trailhead for the Mt. Van Hovenberg trail. Somewhat ironic given the push to get hiker parking off roads.

  3. Pufferguns says:

    Our Governor has more important issues on hand in NYC than to worry about a washed out hiking trail in the middle of nowhere.Please get a realistic outlook on issues other than your short sighted pompous upstate outdoor nonsense.Hopefully my camp in Poughkeepsie is not over run with mice until I get there.

    • Boreas says:

      Who mentioned the governor? When you live up here, the outdoors ARE relevant.

      • Balian the Cat says:


        How many times have you come to my rescue by reminding me not to feed the trolls 🙂

  4. Pufferguns says:

    Our kayak club tried to get into that supposed wilderness highlight and the only thing we received was under construction for a day,week,month.I take offense to your quibble lip bantering .As a senior citizen you should be ashamed of my vituperation that you vomit!Disrespectful .

  5. Pufferguns says:

    P.S.=Our governor determines how my/your/out of state $ $ are spent.He will take us out of this quagmire.Peace to you!