Friday, June 10, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (6/10): Recent heavy rain, variable trail conditions

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.


Muddy Trails Advisory: DEC has lifted the Muddy Trails Advisory for trails above 2,500 feet in elevation. Some trails may still be muddy, especially at higher elevations. Please help reduce trail widening and erosion by walking through mud instead of around it.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The access road to Saint Germain and Meadow Ponds has been repaired and is open.


Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The lock between Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes is now open for public use.

Boreas Ponds Tract: Gulf Brook Road is now open to public motor vehicle traffic as far as the Fly Pond Parking Area.

Independence River Wild Forest (Stillwater Reservoir, Big Moose & Three Lakes Conservation Easement Tracts): The Independence River Trail (Otter Creek Horse Trails) has caved in near two culverts. These areas are marked with flagging, but riders are advised to avoid the Independence River Trail until the trail is fixed.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: West Mountain and Shallow Lake trails are impassable at Beaver Brook due to beaver activity. Maintenance is scheduled for this summer.


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.

Know Before You Go (06/09): Recent rainfall will make for soft and potentially muddy trails. Take caution as stream, river, and other water crossings may continue to swell this week. Make sure to pack bug spray, bug nets, and other methods of protection from bites. Remember that high elevation summits will be significantly cooler and windier than at base elevation. Trailheads are starting to fill up early, so plan on arriving at your destination early and have several back-up plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full.

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.

Fire Danger: Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from at to above average for this time of year depending on the waterway. 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.

Hiking with Dogs: Dogs hiking in warm temperatures are at risk of experiencing heat exhaustion and death. If your dog does collapse, quickly move to create shade for the dog and cool their feet and stomach – this is the most effective way to help an overheated dog. The best way to protect your pet is to leave them at home.

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.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve: Parking reservations will be required May 1 through Oct. 31 for single-day and overnight access to the parking lot, trailheads, and trails located on the privately owned, 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the High Peaks region. For a list of frequently asked questions and to register, visit AMR’s website.



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.

Dressing for the Spring

As summer approaches, it can be easy to underestimate the importance of the clothes we pack and wear on our hike. Even as temperatures warm up, it is important to properly prepare for a day in the wilderness.

Bring an extra layer – Even in warmer weather, hypothermia is still a threat. Cooler temperatures at high elevations, wind, and wetness from rain or water crossings can quickly drop your body’s temperature.

Prepare for the weather – Bring a waterproof rain layer, no matter the forecast. Adirondack weather can change rapidly and doesn’t always follow the forecast. Be prepared for whatever you encounter.

Light-colored clothing – Wearing light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks that you may have picked up along your hike. Tuck your pants inside your socks to make it harder for ticks to access your skin.

Moisture-wicking materials – Synthetic fabrics and other wicking materials help keep your skin dry and regulate your body temperature.


Leave No Trace™

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace™ to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks. Use proper trail etiquette to ensure an enjoyable experience for yourself and others and tread lightly!

Stick to the Trail!

Spring weather in the Adirondacks can vary drastically, and so can the conditions of the trail. Heavy rainfall causes mud patches, high water, and other sub-optimal trail conditions. When this happens, stick to the trail to help protect our paths from widening and impacting the plants and wildlife around them.

Here are some tips to help you travel wet trails safely and responsibly:

  • Do the rock hop – rocks are durable surfaces and make for great natural bridges across muddy sections of trail.
  • Bring trekking poles – trekking poles can give you the support and balance you need when navigating mud puddles and water crossings.
  • Embrace the mud – it’s going to happen eventually, so get those boots dirty and walk right through to avoid trail creep.

This is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors, as long as we do it safely and responsibly. Be sure to check the weather before starting your hike, pack your ten essentials, and visit the Leave No Trace™ website for more information about traveling and camping on durable surfaces this spring.

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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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