Friday, March 25, 2022

Outdoor conditions (3/25): Roads closed for mud season

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.

New:

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snowshoes or skis are now required to be worn as snow depths exceed 8 inches.
  • Snow report as of 03/16: There is almost 3 feet of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen. Rivers are crossable but hazardous. Channels with high flow are soft or melted. Ice is currently falling off rock faces. People should take care around Avalanche Lake. Note: Conditions may have changed since the last report.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: All snowmobile trails are closed.

Debar Mountain Wild Forest: All snowmobile trails are closed.

Wilmington Wild Forest: The Wilmington Snowmobile Trail is now closed.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: All snowmobile trails are closed.

Lake George Wild Forest:

  • Jabe Pond Road and Lily Pond Road are closed to vehicle traffic for spring mud season.
  • Dacy Clearing Road in Shelving Rock is closed to vehicle traffic for spring mud season.

Adirondack Rail Trail: The trail is now closed to snowmobile use for the season.

Region 6 is closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands due to spring thaw and muddy conditions.

Kushaqua and Sable Highlands Easements: Mud locks will be in place by April 1st to protect the integrity of the roads until further notice.

Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest (Croghan & Oswegatchie Conservation Easement Tracts): All mud gates in Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest as well as those on the Croghan Tract and Oswegatchie Conservation Easement will be shut starting the week of 3/21/2022.  Roads will be reopened when they are dry and firm enough to support motor vehicle traffic.

Independence River Wild Forest (Stillwater Reservoir, Big Moose & Three Lakes Conservation Easement Tracts): DEC staff will begin shutting mud gates in the Independence River Wild Forest the week of 3/28/2022.  Roads will be reopened when they are dry and firm enough to support motor vehicle traffic.

All snowmobile gates on Macomb State Forest, Taylor Pond Campground, and Taylor Pond Wild Forest have been closed for the season.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: Powley Road is closed for mud season until further notice.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest:

  • The entrance gates to the Moose River Plains are closed for mud season until further notice.
  • The seasonal portion of Cedar River Rd. which accesses the Wakely Mtn Trailhead is closed for mud season. The road is closed where the pavement ends, approx. 7 miles from Route 30.
  • A 200’ section of the West Mtn Trail is flooded due to beaver activity at the Beaver Brook crossing in Moose River Plains Wild Forest. Until the flooding is addressed, it is recommended to access the West Mtn summit from the Constable Pond trailhead off Higby Road (Pigeon Lake Wilderness).

Silver Lake Wilderness: West River Rd. that provides access to Whitehouse/Northville Placid Trail is closed for mud season until further notice.

All snowmobile trails in the town of Newcomb are closed (C8A & C7B)

Essex Chain Lakes: All mud gates are closed.

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: The Campsite Road gate is closed for mud season

Corinth Edinburg Conservation Easement: Snowmobile trails in the western Saratoga County area are now closed. (Saratoga Snowmobile Club)

Speculator Tree Farm Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement, Jessup River Wild Forest: Snowmobile trails in the Speculator region are closed as of Saturday, March 19.


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.

Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind

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.

Spring Conditions: Be prepared for a mix of winter and spring conditions. Snow and ice are still present throughout the region, but warmer temps have brought high waters and muddy trails in low elevations. Be prepared with warm, waterproof layers, extra layers, and proper gear for snow and ice, including snowshoes, microspikes and crampons. In the High Peaks Wilderness, snowshoes or skis are still required to be worn where snow depths exceed 8 inches. Remember that conditions will change as you gain elevation, and cold, wet weather poses a significant risk of hypothermia.

Avalanche Advisory: Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and all outdoor adventurers who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions. If you are planning a trip to avalanche-prone territory, research the route ahead of time and contact a local DEC Forest Ranger for specific safety and conditions information, or contact a local guide. Before going into the backcountry, be equipped with avalanche safety tools and knowledge, such as participation in an avalanche safety course. Additional information on avalanche danger, preparedness, and safety precautions is available on DEC’s website.

Muddy Trails & Monorails: As snow begins to melt on lower elevation trails, be prepared for mud and monorails. Monorails are thin strips of hardpacked snow and ice in the center of trails, surrounded by minimal or no snow on the sides. Monorails can create difficult walking conditions. Microspikes and trekking poles can assist with traction and balance. Where trails are muddy, walk directly through mud instead of around it to help minimize trail widening and trailside damage.

Seasonal Roads: Some seasonal access roads are beginning to close for spring mud season, while others are still open for snowmobile use only. Where seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicles, the use of four-wheel drive vehicles is strongly recommended.

Snowmobiles: Be prepared for variable conditions. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and check local club, county, and state webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

Pack & Prepare: Winter hikes can be lots of fun, but they can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Take a moment to watch DEC’s How To Pack and Prepare for a Winter Hike video for a review of what gear to pack and the steps to take as you plan your hike.

Layer Up: Temperatures can change significantly depending on your location, the time of day and your elevation. Stay safe and warm by wearing non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers, insulating layers, and waterproof, windproof outer layers. Wear a hat, mittens or gloves, and a buff. Gaiters can help keep your lower legs warm and prevent snow from getting in your boots. Bring additional layers. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in. Learn more about layering for cold weather by watching DEC’s How To video.

Share the Trails: Many multi-use trails are enjoyed by a variety of users in the winter. Be respectful of everyone’s experience by following winter trail etiquette. Wear snowshoes to prevent postholing and keep ski and snowshoe tracks separate when possible. Move to the right to let faster users pass and yield to downhill traffic. When stopping, step to the side of the trail to make way for other users. Snowmobiles should ride single file, keep to the right, pass on the left only when the trail is clear, and yield the right-of-way to skiers, snowshoers and other non-mechanized forms of travel as well as those passing or traveling uphill.

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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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