Friday, October 1, 2021

Outdoor conditions (10/1): South Lake Reservoir closure

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. 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.

Black River Wild Forest: The boat launch, parking area, and adjacent boat launch campsites on South Lake Reservoir will be temporarily closed from 09/27 through 11/30 to allow the New York State Canal Corporation to perform maintenance work on South Lake Dam. Canoers and kayakers may still launch their boats off the shore alongside South Lake Road but should not block the travel lanes, shoulders, or park within the vicinity of the construction area. Alternative paddling opportunities can also be found at nearby North Lake, two miles before reaching South Lake.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • The trail from Lake Arnold to Feldspar Brook is experiencing extensive flooding. Crossing flooded areas on floating logs and old pieces of bridging is dangerous and should be avoided when possible. Seek alternate routes. If you must cross, be prepared to wade through deep water.
  • Per the conservation easement agreement with Elk Lake Lodge, the Gate at Clear Pond will be closed to Public Motor Vehicles as of October 12 and will not open until after mud season in May of 2022. Hikers will need to park at the Upper Elk Lake Road Parking Lot on the west side of the Elk Lake Road approximately 2.3 miles south of the Elk Lake Parking Lot and Trailhead. From the evening of October 22 until the morning of December 6, no hikers may enter the Elk Lake Conservation Easement.

Boreas Ponds Tract: Gulf Brook Road will temporarily close to pedestrians starting Friday, September 24, while culvert repair work is underway. The road is expected to reopen to pedestrians by the end of November 2021. The road has been closed to motor vehicles since the 2019 Halloween Storm, which damaged culverts and caused washouts on the road. DEC has repaired several ditches and culverts to date. Additional roadwork is anticipated to ensure the road is resilient to damage from future storms.

Grass River Wild Forest:

  • There is an active logging operation on the Long Pond Conservation Easement. Recreationists should use caution.
  • The St. Lawrence County Multi-use Trail, which crosses the Grass River, Long Pond, and Tooley Pond Conservation Easements, closed for the season on September 15.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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 – Low
  • Champlain Region – Low
  • Check the fire rating map for daily updates.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from average to slightly above average for most of the region, with select waterways measuring lower than average in the Plattsburgh, South Colton, and Oswegatchie areas. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. 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.

Wet and Muddy Trails: Following rain and storms, trails are likely to be muddy. Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to help protect fragile trail edges. Gaiters help keep feet dry, and trekking poles provide added stability. Mountain bikers are encouraged to avoid riding in muddy and wet conditions as biking on wet trails can significantly contribute to erosion and trail widening. As with hiking, ride through the center of the trail to avoid impacting trailside soils and plants.

Route 73 Hiker Shuttle: A pilot Route 73 Hiker Shuttle system is now operating, providing safe, sustainable visitation along the busy Route 73 corridor in the High Peaks region. The free shuttle system operates 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays through Monday, October 11. Park at Marcy Field and ride to the Rooster Comb, Giant Mountain/Ridge Trail, and Roaring Brook Falls trailheads. Parking is still available at the trailheads themselves. Masks are required. Pets are not permitted. View a map of the route (PDF), the shuttle schedule (PDF), and browse a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (PDF).

NYSDEC & AMR Pilot Reservation System: A no-cost pilot reservation system is now in effect at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). No-cost reservations are required 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

Sharing the Woods During Hunting Season: Hunting and trapping seasons are beginning to open throughout New York State. These activities are enjoyed by many as forms of recreation and a means of providing for their families. They can also benefit forest ecosystems and are critically important for wildlife management. Recreationists and hunters alike have a responsibility to keep each other safe during hunting seasons. Dress in bright colors such as hunter orange, put bright colors and bells on pets and equipment and keep pets leashed to discourage roaming. Avoid interfering with hunters and trappers, and never harass hunters or trappers. Not only is it disrespectful, it is illegal. Visit DEC’s website for more safety tips before heading into the woods this hunting and trapping season.

Trap Dike on Mount Colden: The Trap Dike route up Mount Colden in the High Peaks Region is not an official trail. It is classified as a rock-climbing route and should be avoided by those who do not have rock climbing experience and equipment like a climbing rope and helmet. Without the proper equipment, this route can be life threatening. Portions of the Trap Dike are “no fall zones” meaning that an accidental fall could result in serious physical injury or death. Consider utilizing an experienced licensed guide to safely assist in enjoying the Trap Dike and only climb when the route is dry.

No Overnight Camping at Trailheads: 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.

Bear Canisters Required: NYSDEC requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. NYSDEC 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.

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.

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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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