Friday, June 17, 2022

Outdoor conditions (6/17): Hypothermia, a Year-Round Risk

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.


Ferris Lake Wild Forest: Powley Road is open. All washouts have been repaired.

Speculator Tree Farm and Perkins Clearing: All roads and campsites are now open to the public. Old Military Road has been repaired and the Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower parking area is open.

Flatrock Mountain Conservation Easement: The area south of Flatrock Mountain, including the gated logging road, will be temporarily closed to public access for timber harvesting by the landowner.


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.


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 (06/16): Be prepared for cooler temperatures this weekend. Daytime highs on Saturday are only expected to reach the mid-50s in places, with Sunday highs creeping into the mid-60s. Temperatures on mountain summits will be significantly colder, with high elevations approaching freezing. Dress in layers and bring rain gear. Take caution as stream, river, and other water crossings may swell following rain. Continue to pack bug spray, bug nets, and other methods of protecting from bites, as well as sun protection. 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 are generally average for this time of year, with select waterways measuring slightly above or slightly below average. 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.

Hypothermia: A Year-Round Risk

Hypothermia during warm weather months happens more often than one may think. Hypothermia occurs when your body’s core temperature drops. Signs of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion or drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of feeling and dexterity in your extremities
  • A negative change in attitude
  • Slurred, slowed speech

Hypothermia can happen to anyone not prepared both physically and with the proper gear, including plenty of water and food. It may be a warm day, but when you begin to sweat and the temperature decreases as you gain elevation, your body temperature can drop quickly. This combined with dehydration can make you more susceptible to hypothermia.

To avoid hypothermia:

  • Keep hydrated and snack often. Hydration and food will keep you balanced and your electrolytes in check. Don’t forget that salty snack.
  • Bring layers and stay dry. Wet clothing will cause your body temperature to drop faster as the air becomes cooler. Change out of wet clothing. Layering will help keep you warm on summits and when you’re resting or descending the mountain. A lot of heat is lost through the head, so bring a hat.
  • Always be prepared. Always pack the ten essentials. Check the weather before you go, including summit forecasts, and pack for unpredictable weather. Leave your plans with someone.

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!

Protect Rare Species

The Adirondacks are home to rare and unique plant species that can only be found on our highest peaks. Of the six-million Adirondack acres, only 40 contain this elusive alpine vegetation. Alpine vegetation comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, from vibrant purple flowers speckling the mountain to small clumps of grass poking out between the rocks. Located on the summits of 19 separate mountains, these species can only be found in the Adirondacks, making them very special and important to protect.

The plants found in our alpine areas are amazing, but they’re also extremely fragile. Here are some helpful tips you can use to help conserve Adirondack alpine vegetation:

  • Stay on marked trails or durable surfaces to avoid trampling delicate species.
  • Take lots of pictures, but never pick any of the plants that you encounter.
  • Familiarize yourself with alpine species and know which to be cautious around.
  • Take extra care when hiking, and never camp above 3,500 feet in elevation.

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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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