Friday, July 17, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (7/17): Prospect Mountain trail closed

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.

Lake George Wild Forest: Prospect Mountain Trail is now closed due to construction on the summit. The summit area, above the parking lot, has been closed to the public and signs at the trail informed hikers the summit area was not open. However, many hikers entered the construction zone, so DEC has closed the trail. The summit of the mountain and the trail will remain closed until late August while 500 feet of mortared stone border wall that is crumbling along summit lookout areas is removed and replaced with individual cut stone blocks. Due to the grades, the moving of the stone blocks is difficult and dangerous, especially with heavy equipment. The road and the path from the parking lot are blocked.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Lost Lake Trail has been flooded by beaver activity a half mile east of Lost Lake.

Independence River State Forest: Overnight camping is available at the Otter Creek Horse Trail Facility.

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 Scouts of America whether scouts are present at the camp or not.

High Peaks Wilderness: There has been an increase in nuisance black bear activity resulting in several incidents of campers losing food to the bears. Avoid losing your food and gear to a hungry bear by following these tips:

  • Store all food, trash, toiletries, and anything else with a scent in bear resistant canisters at least 100 feet from your tent, lean-to, or sleeping area.
  • Immediately secure the lid on your bear canister after adding or removing items.
  • Cook & eat at least two hours before dark in an open area. Never cook or eat in a tent, lean-to, or sleeping area.
  • If you see a bear, group up, raise and wave your arms, speak in a loud voice, make loud noises by banging pots or clapping, and warn others that there is a bear nearby.
  • Carry bear spray, keep it readily accessible on your person at all times, and know how to use it.
  • Report food and gear loss and close encounters to DEC.
  • Learn more about properly handling bear encounters.

DEC Campgrounds: DEC is currently not accepting walk-in camping at our campgrounds.

Backcountry Camping: 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.

Trailhead Registers: Trailhead registers provide vital information, so please continue to sign in and out. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, please socially distance at trailhead registers and sanitize your hands before and after signing in or out.

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.

Warm Weather: Take precautions to prevent heat distress and dehydration. Carry plenty of water; stay in the shade as much as possible; drink and rest often.

Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms can pop up even if they are not forecast. Watch for darkening skies, increased winds, lightning flashes, and the rumble of thunder. Avoid summits and other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm move to lower elevations and seek shelter (when boating or paddling get to shore). If caught outside in a thunderstorm find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks. Make yourself as short as possible by sitting on your pack or sleeping pad with your knees flexed and hugging your knees to keep your feet together to minimize the ground effect of a near-by lightning strike.

Fire Danger: Moderate, except for the High Peaks Region where it is LOW. Check the DEC Fire Danger Map for updated conditions. Be careful with campfires.

Water Conditions: Water levels in many streams and rivers are within seasonal average range, but many in the Lake Champlain drainage remain lower than average. 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.

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.


Hiking Blueberry Hill

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 a mixture of dry and mud following recent storms and rain. Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to protect trail edges. Temperatures will be lower on high summits, and many exposed summits will be windy. Pack extra layers of clothing. 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.

Hiking with Dogs: DEC warns against bringing dogs hiking in the summer, especially in warm to hot temperatures and on bright sunny days. Dogs hiking in warm temperatures are at risk of experiencing heat exhaustion and death – especially older, larger, and overweight dogs and dogs who are not use to strenuous physical activity. In addition to air temperature, scalding rocks on exposed hikes can quickly raise a dog’s body temperature. If your dog does collapse, quickly move to create shade for the dog, cool their feet and stomach, and give them time to rest and rehydrate. If you do bring your dog hiking, bring lots of water for them, give them frequent opportunities to rest and hydrate, monitor them closely, and turn around if they start to show signs of distress.

Rock Climbers

Several rock climbing routes remain closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Check the status of rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks.


Help protect heat-stressed trout and salmon during summer months. During the hot days of summer, it is important to remember that trout and salmon experience serious physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70° Fahrenheit.

Anglers can help protect New York’s trout population by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid catch and release fishing for heat-stressed trout. Trout already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled.
  • Don’t disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers. It is likely these fish are recovering from heat stress in a pocket of cold water.
  • Fish early. Stream temperatures are at their coolest in the early morning.
  • Be prepared with a backup plan. Have an alternate fishing plan ready in case water temperatures are too high at the intended destination. Consider fishing a water body that is less prone to heat stress or fishing for a more heat-tolerant species like smallmouth bass.

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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.

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