Friday, June 26, 2020

Outdoor Conditions: Fire towers reopen; campground update

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.

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.

DEC Campgrounds
Updated: Many DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas in the Adirondacks are open this weekend and most others are scheduled to open July 1. Check the current status
of DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas.

To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of facilities and protect visitors, DEC is currently not accepting additional reservations or walk-in camping for the 2020 season – only existing reservations will be honored at DEC campgrounds. Only reservations for the 2021 season may be made now.

Backcountry Camping
DEC is issuing permits for groups of fewer than 10 people who plan to stay for more than 3 nights at a primitive campsite. 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.

Due to dry conditions, nuisance bear activity is high in the front country and the backcountry. Please take steps to prevent attracting bears in the backcountry. The use of bear resistant canisters by overnight campers is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks.

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.

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 guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus while using trailhead registers.

Fire Towers
Updated: DEC-controlled fire towers are open to visitors. Only one household group should be in the fire tower cab at a time, groups should social distance on the summit while waiting to climb to the cab, sanitize hands before and after being on the fire tower, and wear masks.

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: 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. 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. Check the DEC Fire Danger Map for updated conditions. Be careful with campfires. DEC has issued a Fire Danger Warning due to the lack of rain.


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.

Be Prepared. Trails are mainly dry but muddy spots may be present in low areas and along waterways. 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.

Rock Climbers

Several rock climbing routes remain closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons. 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.

Massawepie Conservation Easement Tract: The tract is closed to public access from June 15 through August 31 pursuant to the easement agreement with the Boy Scout of America, whether scouts are present at the camp or not.

High Peaks Wilderness: There has been an increase in nuisance bear activities resulting several incidents of campers losing food to bears. Please take steps to prevent attracting bears in the backcountry. The use of bear resistant canisters by overnight campers is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. More details and prevention tips can be found in the section below.

Moose River Plains: The Rock Dam Road is now open to public motor vehicle use.

Lake George Wild Forest:

  • Beginning this weekend, Lake George Beach will be open seven days a week from 10 AM to 6 PM. Following Department of Health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a maximum of 500 people are allowed on the beach, half its normal capacity.
  • On July 1, Prospect Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway will be open seven days a week from 10 AM to 6 PM. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC is taking the following precautions:
    • The shuttle will not operate;
    • Picnicking will be prohibited, and the picnic pavilions will not be available to rent;
    • Restrooms will remain closed; and
    • View scopes at the pull-offs and on the summit have been dismantled.

Related Stories

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

One Response

  1. Charlie S says:

    “If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put.”

    And herein the problem lies…. people panic and they don’t stay put they keep moving, even though their camp or trail is just yards away. Everything looks the same in them woods, trees are trees and when you’re surrounded by a million of them…what to do? Have a compass and know how to read it for one, don’t panic for two. Also know that camp or trail is just yards away, or whatever the short distance is. Get you bearings and use your head…stay put and figure it out!

    Jack Coloney comes to mind the most, the photographer who went missing in Moose River in 2006. That was the year I moved back to New York. He disappeared in the Moose River Plains never to be seen again. I always felt his disappearance odd probably because that area was the first I had come to know in the Adirondacks back in my early teen years. I have always thought…who really knows what happened to him? Was he abducted by aliens via a UFO that went passing over in them remote woods? Did a Bigfoot come along and snatch him away? Or was it felonious humans with a sinister nature who came along? Truth be told we’ll never know unless his remains are found and even then……

    In reality I have a fruitful imagination and the odds are ‘it’s all in my head,’ but…you never know! Coming back down to Earth (not that I ever left) I recall the time I was in the woods on my way to the Tirrell Pond lean-to which is 3-miles into the woods from Rt. 28 south of Durant Road in Blue Mountain Lake. This was not long after that big blowdown in 1995 when those strong winds came through from the northwest and bent many trees in the opposite direction, hints of which are still very evident to this day in those sections of the Adirondack woods which were effected by this major event.

    As I was going along that lonesome trail about a mile and one-half in, or so, I suddenly became aware of no trail markers nailed to trees as is par for the course. That’s because many trees were downed due to those strong winds, there was no clear outline of a trail, or a marked path in them woods, there was a confusion of fallen timber throughout instead. I recall an urgency at a moments notice, but also I didn’t panic. Immediately I knew the trail was paces away at most, so I froze, got my senses together, and my bearings, and figured it out. For some brief moments I was of the mind to head back to the trailhead so as not to take a chance but I went along anyway and made my way to the Tirrell Pond lean-to eventually which I am grateful for when thinking about it now all these years later as that was my last visit to Tirrell Pond I haven’t been there since. Time sure does fly and O’ how precious the moments are!

    So there I was for some brief moments thinking I was lost and I froze, I dared not step another hiking boot forward along that trail because I knew not to panic. Panic is why most likely Jack Coloney has never been found, unless perchance a UFO really did come along…or Bigfoot carried him off. Nobody will ever really know for sure. Just as nobody can ever prove God exist.

    In regards to that big blowdown of 95, so as to preserve some individual, historical moments which otherwise would be lost, my dad, Gerard P. Stehlin, shared with me incidentals some years back relative to. He said that my brother Greg, his son, was at the beach (Blue Mountain Lake) on that July ‘blowdown’ morning early about 5 AM I believe it was, he said that Greg came racing home on his bicycle because he felt strongly things were amiss weather-wise the way the dark clouds suddenly appeared, the way the atmosphere suddenly changed. This was when those two old utility log structures still stood near that beach. Greg knew something was different so he got on his bike and hurried home. My dad was on the porch on Durant Road enjoying the early morning summer air as he always did back then, when Greg raced up on his bicycle. Dad told me that not a minute after Greg rode up on his bike a tempest came roaring though, fierce winds out of nowhere wreaked havoc on Durant Road, and along a wide swath in that region, on a whim back then…………..
    They’re both gone now Greg and dad, but those downed trees still remain!

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