Friday, December 18, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (12/18): Snow is here

The following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

NEW:

Essex Chain Lakes Complex: All publicly drivable roads in the Essex Chain Complex are now closed for the winter season.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Colden Caretaker’s Report 12/17: 2-3 inches of snow are present at base elevation with more accumulation at higher elevations.
  • A newly-installed gate at the entrance to the Cascade Lakes is now closed for the winter season. The steep roadway becomes dangerous in winter conditions and there were several instances of cars getting stuck in past years.

Camp Santanoni Historic Area: To prevent the community spread of COVID-19, the 2021 Winter Weekend events at Camp Santanoni have been canceled. Organizers determined the indoor spaces used for the events are too small to safely accommodate typical attendance numbers under current health guidelines. DEC and its partners hope to resume these popular winter events in 2022.

Last Week:

William C. Whitney Wilderness: The gate to Lake Lila is closed for the winter season.

Moose River Plains Complex: The entrance gates to the Moose River Plains Camping Area on Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road are closed. The gates will re-open for snowmobile traffic once sufficient snowpack accumulates.

Lake George Wild Forest: The gate at the beginning of Dacy Clearing Road is closed due to the road and shoulders of the road being too soft. The gate will be opened for snowmobiles once significant snowfall accumulates.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • The gate on Corey’s Road at the Raquette Falls Trailhead is closed for the winter months. The gate is expected to re-open in May 2021. Access to the Seward Range will require an additional 3 miles each way. Visitors can still hike, ski, and snowshoe the road. Users might encounter logging equipment from a private landowner’s logging operation.
  • South Meadows Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter season. Users may still walk, ski, and snowshoe the road.

Tooley Pond Conservation Easement: Allen Pond Road is closed to public motor vehicle access.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Severance Hill trailhead parking lot needs improvement. DEC will be stockpiling gravel and stone in the parking area this fall and will use it to make improvements in spring 2021. Please do not disturb the materials and park only in the remaining designated parking spaces.


Hiking Resources

Be prepared, bring the right gear, and wear the right clothes and shoes to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike. Review Hike Smart NY’s list of 10 essentials and bring those items on every hike. Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more information on planning ahead and preparing.

Bring Winter Gear: Winter conditions are present at all elevations, with deep snow and ice at higher elevations. Bring traction devices, such as microspikes or crampons, on all hikes. In the High Peaks Wilderness, snowshoes or skis are required where snow has accumulated to a depth of 8 inches or more.

Winter Conditions: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Conditions will be more severe on summits, with below-freezing temperatures, snow, and strong winds possible. Take wind chill into consideration when preparing for temperatures. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Ice Safety: Ice may be present on some waterbodies. Ice is not yet thick enough for walking or standing on. A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety. Ice thickness, however, is not uniform on any body of water. Learn more about ice safety.

Plan and Practice Navigation: Winter conditions can make navigating trails – especially lesser-used trails – more difficult. Plan and study your route using an up-to-date map published by a reliable source before you begin your hike. Take note of significant landmarks and trail intersections. Leave your planned route with a trusted friend or relative. While hiking, pay close attention to posted signage and check your map at trail intersections to confirm you are on the correct path.

Avoid Hypothermia: Hypothermia is the result of your body losing heat faster than it can produce it. To prevent hypothermia, keep yourself dry and warm, drink plenty of water, and eat high-calorie, high-protein foods to help maintain your energy. Dress in layers and add and remove layers as necessary to keep yourself warm without sweating. As sweat dries it cools, creating ideal conditions for hypothermia.

Sunrise/Sunset:

  • Approximate Time of Sunrise: 7:27 AM
  • Approximate Time of Sunset: 4:20 PM

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise throughout New York State, including in the Adirondacks. Help prevent the spread and keep yourself safe by continuing to Play Smart, Play Safe, Play Local).


General Notices

Travel: Check 511NY for road closures and travel conditions, and 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.

Weather: Check the National Weather Service or NY Mesonow for current conditions and forecasts for the locations where you plan to recreate. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Fire Danger: Never leave campfires unattended. Fully extinguish your campfire before leaving your campsite. Ashes should be cool to the touch. Learn more about campfire safety.

Seasonal Access Roads: Many seasonal access roads have closed following the end of Northern Zone big game hunting season. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information pages for updates on specific road closures. Some roads may remain open if conditions allow.

Snowmobiling: Some seasonal access roads will transition to snowmobile use once sufficient snowpack accumulates. Check local club, county, and state webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile Web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

Keep Our Environment Clean: Help preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks and protect our local wildlife by putting garbage in designated trash cans or taking it home with you. Please do not leave trash, gear, or food scraps behind. Use designated toilets when available and visit www.lnt.org to learn how you can Leave No Trace when going to the bathroom in the woods. Do not graffiti or carve rocks, trees, or backcountry structures like lean-tos or fire towers.

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NYS DEC

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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