Friday, July 15, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (7/15): Prepare for hot temps, busy trails this weekend

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

New This Week:

Fire Danger Reminder: Practice the utmost safety when building campfires this summer. Dry weather throughout June and July has increased the risk of fires. The majority of the state remains at a moderate risk for fires, meaning that any outdoor fire can spread quickly, especially if the wind picks up. Follow DEC fire safety recommendations for reducing risk of wildfires.

Saratoga Sand Plains Archery Range: The archery range will be closed on August 3 and 4 from 4-9 p.m. for a DEC Becoming and Outdoors Woman event. It may be used by the public up until 4 p.m. on those days.

Last Week:

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest (Town of Clifton): A trail project was recently completed which created a new 600 foot re-route of the Campground Trail: a portion of the Cranberry Lake 50 trail system. The NYSDEC Cranberry Lake Operations staff began the project by delivering materials for a new foot bridge to the work site via snowmobile in February 2022. The final week of June, a contract trail crew from Tahawus Trails installed the new 4 ‘ x 12’ foot bridge and re-routed the trail to better drained ground. The lumber from the old foot bridge will be removed by DEC Operations later this year.

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest (Town of Clifton): A trail project was recently completed which created a new 285 foot re-route of the Bear Mountain Trail, located near the DEC Cranberry Lake Campground. During the week of 6/20, a contract trail crew from Tahawus Trails installed the trail re-route and closed the former trail section which was steeply sloped and in poor condition. Significant rock work, including stone steps, were installed as part of the newly re-routed trail.


General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources.

Know Before You Go (07/14):

  • Temperatures: Be prepared for hot temperatures this weekend. Friday is expected to reach the mid-70s at base elevations, with Saturday and Sunday climbing into the low to mid-80s. Lows are expected to be in the mid-50s to low 60s. Rain and storms are possible Sunday night through Monday. Temperatures on mountain summits will be cooler than at base elevations, and weather can change suddenly even on sunny days, so bring extra layers as well as rain and wind gear.
  • Water crossings: Water levels may be elevated in some areas. Do not attempt to cross high, fast-moving water.
  • Biting insects: Black flies, mosquitos, and deer flies – oh my! Pack bug spray, bug nets, and other methods of protecting from bites.
  • Heat safety: Wear sunscreen and other sun protection. Bring plenty of water, take breaks in the shade, and eat salty foods to help with water retention and electrolyte balance. For their safety, leave pets at home.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:28 a.m., Sunset = 8:34 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Busy trails: Expect trails to be busy. 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 @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter for real-time updates on parking lot status.

Hiker Information Stations: Stop by a Hiker Information Station for information about parking, alternative hiking locations, local land use rules and regulations, safety and preparedness, and Leave No TraceTM. Please visit us at the following locations this weekend:

  • Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday:
    • High Peaks Rest Area, Northbound on Route 87, starting at 7 a.m.
    • Beekmantown Rest Area, Southbound on Route 87, starting at 7 a.m.
  • Additional stations this weekend:
    • Friday – Sunday at Marcy Field, Keene Valley, starting at 7 a.m.
    • Friday – Sunday at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Lake Placid, starting at 7 a.m.

Route 73 Hiker Shuttle: The Route 73 hiker shuttle from Marcy Field has resumed for the summer season. The free shuttle will operate 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays through October 10, 2022. The shuttle stops at Rooster Comb, Giant Mountain Ridge Trail, and Roaring Brook Falls trailheads. A full schedule and route map are available at the DEC website. All passengers are required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

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: As of 07/14, fire danger is moderate for much of the Adirondacks Forest Preserve while the High Peaks Wilderness remains low. Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are largely average for this time of year. 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

Summer is here! 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.

Clean, Drain, Dry

Help keep Adirondack waterways free of invasive plants and aquatic species!

Check: Inspect the craft, trailer, and all other gear for plants, mud, and debris. If it touched the water, give it a once over! If your craft’s hull feels rough, invasives may have attached.

Clean: Dispose of any discovered materials in an invasive species disposal station and unused bait in trash cans. Never wash debris into a body of water. Use water or steam at 140° F before removing invasives by brush or pressure washer. Decontamination stations can help with free boat washes!

Drain: Drain your craft, including ballast tanks and live wells.

Dry: The outside of your craft may dry quicker than its interior. A minimum of 5-7 days in dry, warm conditions is recommended.

Disinfect: Any gear that touched the waterbody and cannot be dried before its next use should be soaked in water of 140° F for at least 30 seconds.

New regulations require all motorized watercraft inside the forest preserve and within a 10-mile buffer of park boundaries to obtain a clean, drain, dry certification each time they launch into a new waterbody. Certifications may be obtained through a watercraft inspection station with a certified boat steward, or through a self-issuing certification (PDF) process.


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!

Camp Dining

There’s nothing better than a big meal after a long day on trail. When backpacking or camping, that may entail boiling water or cooking over a camp stove. Follow these tips and tricks for an easier, safer, and more sustainable backcountry cooking experience.

Pick Your Kitchen: Keep yourself and our wildlife safe. To avoid encounters with wild animals, cook and eat at least 70 adult steps (at least 100 feet) away from your campsite and any water source. Try to keep food in your cook pot or dishes, minimizing drips and spills as you cook and eat.

Keep it Clean: Resist the urge to jump straight into your sleeping bags after you’ve eaten – the work isn’t over just yet! Cleaning up properly after a meal is even more important in your backcountry camp than it is at home. Wash all cooking and eating utensils, and scatter the gray-water (water left over from cooking or cleaning) away from your campsite. Never wash dishes directly in a river, pond, or other water body.

Use a Bear Can: Keep all scented items in a bear proof cannister. This includes toiletries, cookware, trash, and, of course, your food. Store the bear cannister at least 100 feet away from both the campsite and your cooking location. This completes your camping triangle.

Only boil water: If possible, avoid putting messy foods into the pot that you plan to heat on the stove. This avoids unnecessary cleaning later on. Boil your water and pour that into the package of your camp meal or a dish that’s easy to clean. Lightweight, packable bowls are a go-to for many hikers.

For more information on camping responsibly in the Adirondack backcountry, check the DEC primitive camping webpage, and be sure to follow all State Land Camping Rules any time you plan to spend a night in the wilderness.

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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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