Friday, June 19, 2020

Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (6/19): DEC campgrounds begin reopening

This bulletin provides only the most recent notices. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions.

DEC will open 14 campgrounds and day use areas in the Adirondacks on June 19 for the 2020 season. Three additional campgrounds are slated to open June 26, and additional DEC campgrounds and day use areas will open in the coming weeks as DEC works to safely reopen these facilities to meet guidelines in place to protect staff and visitors from the spread of COVID-19.

Editor’s note: New York State Park campsites, cabins and cottages are currently open to those with existing reservations. New reservations for all available sites – including tents, trailers, RVs, cabins, yurts and cottages — are open for camping stays beginning on June 22. Reservations are expected to fill quickly. Reservations can be made in advance by calling toll free 1-800-456-CAMP or visiting this website.)

To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of facilities and protect visitors, DEC is not accepting additional reservations or walk-in camping for the 2020 season at this time. Only existing reservations will be honored for the DEC campgrounds listed below.

Campgrounds to open June 19:

  • Alger Island Campground
  • Buck Pond Campground and Day Use Area
  • Cranberry Lake Campground and Day Use Area
  • Eagle Point Campground and Day Use Area
  • Fourth Lake Day Use Area
  • Lake Durant Campground
  • Lake George Islands Campground and Day Use Areas
  • Lake George Battleground Campground
  • Lake George Battlefield Day Use Area
  • Lake Harris Campground and Day Use Area
  • Lewey Lake Campground and Day Use Area
  • Meadowbrook Campground and Day Use Area
  • Putnam Pond Campground and Day Use Area
  • Scaroon Manor Campground and Day Use Area

Campgrounds to Open June 26:

  • Limekiln Lake Campground and Day Use Area
  • Luzerne Campground and Day Use Area
  • Nicks Lake Campground & Day Use Area

Check the current status and link to other information about DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas.

Water-access campsites at DEC campgrounds remain closed to overnight camping until the campgrounds reopen. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Saranac Lake Islands Campground;
  • Indian Lake Campground;
  • Tioga Point Campground; and
  • Forked Lake Campground

Primitive camping: DEC has resumed issuing permits for groups of fewer than 10 people who would like to stay for more than three nights at one location on state lands. DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more. Use of lean-tos should be restricted to members of a single household at a time to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Campsites along seasonal access roads that remain closed will not be accessible by motor vehicle.

DEC Boat Launches
DEC boat launches not located within DEC campgrounds are open for recreational use by individuals and households that adhere to guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • 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.

Boaters and other day users should continue to social distance on the water and on shore, and avoid crowded sites. Boaters and day use visitors should use mainland bathroom facilities before going out on the water, as outhouse facilities at DEC day use sites and campsites are not currently maintained or sanitized.

The Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program is underway. Stewards will be present at public boat launches throughout the Adirondacks to check for invasive species on water vessels and educate users about proper clean, drain, and dry techniques and other methods of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boaters are encouraged to have their boats inspected and cleaned at the Adirondack Welcome Center’s boat wash, located between Exits 17 and 18 on the Northway, before entering the Adirondacks.

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.

Fire Towers
Fire towers are closed to public access. 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.

Limit Parking
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. If parking lots are full, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available. If you’re headed to the High Peaks, check 511NY for parking lot statuses along the Route 73 corridor.

Hike within the Limits of Your Physical Abilities and Experience
Adirondack lands and forests are patrolled by forest rangers and environmental conservation police officers (ECOs) and other staff. These officers and staff respond to, and assist, local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and more. Following this guidance will prevent unnecessary burdens on, and dangers to, state resources and frontline emergency first responders during the ongoing COVID-19 response.

General Conditions

Travel: Check 511NY for road closures and travel conditions. New: If you plan on hiking in the High Peaks, use 511NY to check the status of parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. Have back-up plans in place and, if the parking lot at your desired destination is full, move on to your back-up plan. Status of parking lots is being updated throughout the day on weekend days by patrolling DEC forest rangers and forest ranger assistants.

Weather: Check the National Weather Service or NY Mesonow for current conditions and forecasts for the locations where you plan to recreate.

Seasonal Access Roads: Most seasonal roads are now open. Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel which can be rough. Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads. Roads may be narrow – use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles.

Water Conditions: Water levels remain lower than is typical for this time of year. Recent rains may bring water levels up this weekend, especially in the northern Adirondacks. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters.

Biting Insects: Black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, biting gnats (no-see-ums) and ticks are present. Wear light-colored, long sleeve shirts and long pants. Tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks. Pack a head net to wear when insects are plentiful and use an insect repellant – follow label directions. Additional tips for tick prevention.

Fire Danger: Moderate in the Northeastern, Eastern, and Southeastern Adirondacks and Low throughout the rest of the Adirondacks. Check the DEC Fire Danger Map for updated conditions. Be careful with campfires.


Before you hit the trail, check out DEC’s Hike Smart NY page to learn about safety, best practices, and preparedness. While recreating in the Adirondacks, please follow the Hiker Responsibility Code and avoid busy trailheads. Discover trails less traveled and visit when trails may not be as busy.

Muddy Trails Advisory: The Muddy Trails Advisory remains in effect for trails above 2,500 feet in the Adirondacks. Trails are a mixture of mud and ice as late season ice and snow melt and frost leave the ground. Trails are particularly dangerous to hikers and susceptible to damage at this time. Help protect high elevation trails by choosing hikes under 2,500 feet until conditions improve.

Be Prepared. Due to recent rains, trails in the lower and middle elevations will be wet and muddy. Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to protect trail edges. Dress in layers and be prepared for conditions to change. Temperatures will be lower on high summits, and many exposed summits will be windy. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits. If conditions become unfavorable, turn around. You can always complete your hike another day.

Use Caution. Many Adirondack trails encounter water crossings and not all of them have bridges. Use caution at crossings and on trails along fast flowing brooks and rivers. Water levels in the northern Adirondacks may be high due to recent rains.

Rock Climbers

DEC has opened several rock climbing routes and closed some routes that were previously opened. Check the status of rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks.


June 27-28 is a “Free Fishing Weekend” in New York State. All New Yorkers are encouraged to explore local fishing opportunities.

Recent Notices

Included here are notices reported in the past week. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Rockwood State Forest: The road north of Cemetery Road leading to the parking and camping area on the state forest is very rough due to significant washouts. Several cars have become stuck. Only high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles should use the road.

Saranac Lake Wild Forest: Construction of the restrooms at the Lake Flower Boat Launch resumed Monday, June 15, and is expected to be completed in the fall. The boat launch remains closed to trailered boats until the project is finished, as the size of the construction site restricts the maneuvering space and safe passage for vehicles with trailers. Trailered boats will need to be launched at the Second Pond Boat Launch to access Kiwassa Lake, Oseetah Lake, Lake Flower, and portions of the Saranac River. Car-top boats such as canoes, kayaks, row boats, and small motorboats can use the boat launch.

Siamese Pond Wilderness

  • The Town of Johnsburg has repaired washout in the road, and Old Farm Trailhead Parking Lot can once again be accessed by motor vehicles.
  • Crotched Pond Road, which provides access to Crotched Pond across the Tract 19 Conservation Easement Tract, is closed as the bridge at the entrance to the 0.2-mile road was damaged in the 2019 Halloween storm.

Lake George Wild Forest: Palmer Pond Road is closed due to a structurally unsound large culvert in danger of failing and causing the road embankment to collapse.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Hikers on the Blue Hill/Long Swing Trail report being dive-bombed by a nesting pair of an unknown species of hawk. Hikers should keep facing the birds if possible, as hawks predominantly attack from behind. The behavior will cease in a month or two when the young have fledged and left the nesting area.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Tract: Barnes Pond Road is now open to motor vehicle access for people with a permit through the Motorized Access Program for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) to access the six accessible campsites along the road. The campsites are open to all, but those without MAPPWD permits must access them by foot, non-motorized watercraft (where applicable) or mountain bike.

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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.

2 Responses

  1. Elaine Spaulding says:

    Anybody know when Fish Creek Campground is opening?

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