Friday, July 2, 2021

Outdoor conditions (7/2): Beware aggressive raccoons

outdoor conditions logoThe 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.

Moose River Plains Complex: Rock Dam Road and Indian Lake Road are now open. Otter Brook Road remains closed at Falls Pond Outlet.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: A bridge on the Pharaoh Lake Trail from the Pharaoh Lake Road trailhead was damaged by a fallen tree. The railing was damaged, but the bridge remains in usable condition. Please use caution.

High Peaks Wilderness: Visitor parking at the Upper Works trailhead transitioned to a new lot on Friday, June 18. The new lot is adjacent to MacNaughton cottage approximately one tenth of a mile before the old lot on Upper Works Road. The lot is located on land owned by the Open Space Institute. Parking at the old lot is no longer permitted.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: The trailhead sign for the Baxter Mountain trailhead on Route 9N in Keene has been stolen. DEC is working to replace the sign.

Trail Closure on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain

The Ranger Trail, Observer’s Trail, and summit of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain will be closed on July 6 & 7 to allow for the safe aerial delivery of materials for an ongoing trail maintenance project. Please explore other hiking opportunities during this time. Alternate hikes in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest include Catamount Mountain (3.6 miles RT,1,540 feet elevation gain) and Silver Lake Mountain (1.8 miles RT, 900 feet elevation gain). You can find additional hikes in the nearby Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest.

DEC periodically runs backcountry material stocking efforts for upcoming or ongoing trail maintenance projects. Materials are packaged and staged in a large open area that is easily accessible by helicopter and are then picked up and flown to a designated backcountry drop zone. DEC staff ensure the drop zone is clear of hikers before slowly lowering the materials onto the drop zone. Once the materials have arrived, trail crews can go to work building or repairing backcountry infrastructure. If you happen to be on a trail when a helicopter is lowering material, stay clear of the drop off zone and listen to DEC staff.

Aggressive Raccoon Warning

DEC is investigating a developing raccoon issue in the Upper St. Regis Lake area. Incidents of unusual raccoon activity, including aggressive behavior, have been reported. The affected area extends from Ward Island along the west shoreline of Upper Saint Regis Lake to Bog Pond. Campers, paddlers, and other visitors are encouraged to avoid this area for the time being.

If you or any other person or pet is attacked or bitten, please contact the Franklin County Health Department – they are the lead on rabies and will provide instructions on next steps. If the animal that caused the attack is killed or otherwise captured, the health department will also direct where the animal should be taken for testing. Please report any incidents of attack or unusual animal behavior to DEC Dispatch at 518-897-1300.

General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources, including travel information, weather resources, and seasonally-specific information about Adirondack recreation.

Fire Danger:

  • Adirondack Park – Moderate
  • Champlain Region – Moderate
  • Check the fire rating map for daily updates.

No Overnight Camping at Trailheads: DEC is receiving increased reports of people camping at trailheads in the Adirondacks. Please note that overnight camping is not permitted at trailheads or other roadside locations where a camping disc is not present. This includes individuals sleeping in cars, vans and campers. Campers should seek out designated roadside campsites marked with a camp here disc or campgrounds. When camping, always carry out what you carry in and dispose of trash properly. Use designated bathroom facilities, pack out human and pet waste, or dig a cat hole.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from average to below average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Water temperatures are still cold in many places. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn by all anglers, boaters, and paddlers. Where bridges are not available, do not attempt stream crossings during periods of high, fast moving water.

Ticks: Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily. Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants. Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors. Consider using insect repellent. Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails and walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas. Additional tips for tick prevention.

Bear Canisters Required: DEC requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 And November 30. DEC encourages campers to use bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack backcountry. Bear canisters should be used to store all food, food garbage, toiletries, and other items with a scent. Canisters should be stored a minimum of 100ft from tents, lean-tos and cooking sites and kept closed whenever they are not being accessed. Learn more about bear canisters and avoiding human-bear conflicts.

Adirondack Rock Climbing Closures: DEC closes certain rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect nesting peregrine falcons. For a full list of closures, visit Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures. Once peregrine nest sites are determined, climbing routes that will not disturb nesting will be reopened. 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.

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is now open for the 2021 season. Please note the shuttle to the summit of Prospect Mountain is not available at this time. Until shuttles become available, admission fees will not be charged to access the highway. The accessible parking at the summit is currently under construction. Limited accessible parking spots will continue to be available during construction, but temporary closures of some areas may occur. Call (518) 668-5198 for current accessibility information.

NYSDEC & AMR Pilot Reservation System: A no-cost pilot reservation system is now in effect at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). The pilot program addresses public safety at a heavily traveled stretch on Route 73 in the town of Keene. AMR is a privately owned 7,000-acre land parcel that allows for limited public access through a conservation easement agreement with DEC. The pilot reservation system does not apply to other areas in the Adirondack Park. No-cost reservations are required May 1 through Oct. 31, 2021 for parking, daily access, and overnight access to trails through the AMR gate and the Noonmark and Round Mountain trailheads accessed through the AMR property. Reservations are available for dates a maximum of two weeks out. Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted. For a complete FAQ list, and to make a reservation, please visit

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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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