Friday, December 17, 2021

Outdoor conditions (12/17): Stillwater fire tower reopens Dec. 20

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.

Big Moose Conservation Easement (Independence River Wild Forest): The Stillwater Mountain trail and fire tower will reopen for public use on December 20.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snow report as of 12/10: 2-3 feet of snow at tree line on Algonquin. Both the Van Hoevenberg and South Meadows trails have light snow but are not yet skiable. Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are frozen but with weak margins and visible outlets. There is 15 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost. Note: An updated snow report will be available tomorrow on the High Peaks Adirondack Backcountry Information page.

William C. Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road has been closed for the winter.

Lake George Wild Forest: Palmer Pond access road is closed starting at the snowplow turnaround due to a failing culvert. Winter parking is allowed before the snowplow turnaround on the right side of the road facing downhill (east side). Please do not park in the snowplow turnaround or block driveways.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • The gate on Coreys Road will remain open this winter but will close in early spring mud season. The road may or may not be plowed and vehicles cannot block access to Ampersand Park staff. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.
  • The Bridge over South Meadow Brook on the Klondike Trail was removed due to a broken stringer and unsafe conditions. Hikers can follow the South Meadow Trail to the Mt Van Ski Trail to gain access to the Klondike Trail.
  • The gate on the access road to the Cascade Lakes Day Use Area is now closed for the winter. DEC installed this gate in 2020 to allow seasonal closure of the unmaintained access road after several motor vehicles became stuck on the hill.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: Due to icy and impassable road conditions, the entrance gates to the Moose River Plains Camping Area at the Cedar River Flow and Limekiln Lake Road entrances have been closed. The gates will be re-opened for snowmobile season when there is adequate snowpack for snowmobiles to safely use the trails.

Essex Chain Lakes Complex: The gates on Chain of Lakes Road South, which provides access to the Pine Lake Primitive Area, have been closed for the winter season.

Fulton Chain Wild Forest: The Third Lake Creek Trail, also known as the Lake Crossover Road, will have log truck activity on it through the winter of 2021/2022. This trail is the legal right of way access for a private inholder who is having timber management performed on their property.

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.

Check the Weather: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for select summit forecasts. Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures and remember that temperatures will drop as you gain elevation. Check wind chill temperatures and prepare for colder, windier summits.

Winter Conditions: Be prepared for winter conditions. Snow and ice are present on many high summits. Be prepared with warm, waterproof layers, extra layers, and proper gear for snow and ice, including microspikes and crampons. In the High Peaks Wilderness, snowshoes or skis are required where snow depth exceeds 8 inches. Remember that conditions will change as you gain elevation and cold, wet weather poses a significant risk of hypothermia.

Wet and Muddy Trails: Not all trails are covered in snow yet. 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.

Ticks: Ticks may still be present despite colder temperatures. Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily. 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.

One Response

  1. Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower says:

    From the DEC website: “The trail and summit are closed to public use from the second Tuesday in October through December 20 annually.”

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