Friday, April 22, 2022

Outdoor conditions (4/22): Renewed snow conditions, muddy trails

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.

This Earth Day, Give Back by Getting Involved

Earth Day, April 22, is a wonderful time to assess how we interact with our natural world. Do you Leave No Trace while recreating outdoors? Do you pick up trash along trails or your street? Our outdoor spaces give us so much – fresh air, a place to recreate, an opportunity to slow down and disconnect – just to name a few. We rely on the earth for everything, so it’s important that we also consider how we can give back to it.

This Earth Day, find out how getting involved with Leave No Trace can help you give back. Whether it’s participating in a volunteer day, attending an event, taking a training, or supporting a program – there are many ways to join Leave No Trace in making a positive difference for our outdoor spaces as well as current and future visitors.

Recent Notices

High Peaks Wilderness: Snow Conditions, 04/18: Snowshoes are still required for most higher and north-facing trails where snow remains deeper than 8 inches. Crampons and microspikes are still essential – many trails are still icy, especially above 3,000 feet. Trails are extremely muddy at lower elevations. Please avoid all trails above 2,500 feet while DEC’s muddy trails advisory is in effect.

Terry Mountain State Forest: Motorized public access via the Mud Pond Road is closed for mud season.

General Notices

Know Before You Go (04/21): This week’s spring snowstorm brought renewed winter conditions to many trails. Continue to prepare for wet spring conditions at lower elevations, with some snow accumulation in places, and winter conditions at higher elevations, including deep snow and ice. Expect high, fast-moving water at crossings – do not attempt to cross high, fast waters where there is no bridge. The forecast is calling for a warmer weekend but remember that temperatures will vary significantly depending on your location, the time of day, and your elevation. Be prepared with warm, waterproof layers, extra layers, and, depending on the elevation of your hike, proper gear for snow and ice, including snowshoes, microspikes, and crampons. Cool, wet weather poses a significant risk of hypothermia, so learn how to recognize and avoid it. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in.

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.

Muddy Trails: Walk straight through mud instead rather than around it to prevent trail widening and vegetation damage. Opt for low elevation trails until high elevations have time to dry and harden. Follow the muddy trails advisory.

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.

Seasonal Roads: Most seasonal access roads are closed for spring mud season. Where seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicles, the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles is strongly recommended.

Fire Danger: Check the fire rating map.

  • Adirondack Park – Low
  • Champlain Region – Low

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are mostly average for this time of year, with select waterways slightly above or below average. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Water temperatures will be very cold. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are required to be worn until May 1. 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: 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.

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.

Safety & Education

Spring is in full swing. Whether you’re going for a hike, a bike, a paddle, or fishing, 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.

Snow Today, Sun Tomorrow

This week’s snowstorm was a great reminder of how rapidly conditions can change during the spring season. That’s why it is important that you check the weather for the day before, the day of, and the day after your planned outing. By checking the weather for the day before your trip, you will gain a better understanding of the conditions you may encounter on the trail. Knowing the forecast for the day informs what gear and layers you need to bring. Checking the weather for the night of your outing and the day after will tell you the extra items you may need in case of an unexpected overnight.

Keep in mind that forecasts are predictions, not promises. Weather may change from the original forecast, so it is best to be prepared with extra layers and rain gear no matter the weather report. Conditions, including temperature and wind speeds, will also change as you gain elevation or break above tree line.

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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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