Friday, September 16, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (9/16): St. Lawrence County multi-use trail closed for season

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

Grass River Complex:

  • The St. Lawrence County Multi-use Trail, which crosses the Grass River, Long Pond, and Tooley Pond Conservation Easements, closed for the season on September 15.
  • There is an exclusive rights period on the Cranberry Forest Conservation Easement until December 16. The only public uses allowed during this time are the year-round use of the Windfall Road and Buckhorn Road for the sole purpose of accessing the river corridor, and the year-round use of the Dillon Pond Public Use Area.

Last Week

Saranac Lake Wild Forest: Sections of the Adirondack Rail Trail between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear will be closed starting the week after Labor Day to allow the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to remove leftover railroad ties from the corridor. Work began on Tuesday, September 6. DOT will then incrementally close sections of the trail to allow for the safe movement of equipment and materials. Work is expected to continue through September.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: On August 30, the towns of Westport and Essex experienced a microburst that caused a tremendous amount of storm damage, including significant blowdown in the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest. Many trails are completely impassable at this time. DEC staff and Forest Rangers are working to clear blowdown from trails.

Upcoming Road Closure: As you plan upcoming trips, please note that State Route 86 in Ray Brook in the Town of North Elba, Essex County, will be closed just west of the intersection of McKenzie Pond Road (County Route 33) from Sunday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. until Friday, Sept. 16, at 4 p.m., to facilitate the replacement of large culvert over the Little Ray Brook. During the closure, a detour will be posted for motorists to use McKenzie Pond Route (County Route 33), which becomes Pine Street and River Road in the Village of Saranac Lake, and Route 86.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (09/15):

  • Temperatures: Forecasts are calling for moderate temperatures of mid 60’s to low 70’s during the day, cooling off significantly into the low 40’s and 50’s at night in the High Peaks region. Showers are expected to move into the region starting as early as Saturday night. Weather changes quickly in the mountains, particularly as we approach the fall season. Carry extra layers, rain gear, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Water crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or storms.
  • Biting insects: While the worst of bug season is behind us, there are still many mosquitos, gnats, and flies. Pack bug spray, bug nets, and other methods of protecting from bites.
  • Heat safety: Bring plenty of water, take breaks in the shade, and eat salty foods to help with water retention and electrolyte balance. Start hydrating before your activity begins. Wear sunscreen and other sun protection. Know the signs of heat illness and, if you begin to experience them or see them in a member of your party, take immediate action. Learn more on DEC’s Hike Smart NY webpage. Bring plenty of water for pets and consider leaving pets at home on hot days.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:35 a.m.; Sunset = 7:05 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Travel: Expect trails to be busy. Plan on arriving at your destination early and have several backup plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full. Check @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter for real-time updates on parking lot status. Consider taking a shuttle (more information below).

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.
  • Other Stations this Weekend:
    • King Phillips Parking Area, Route 73, starting at 7 a.m.

High Peaks Hiker Shuttles: The following shuttles provide safe, free transportation to popular trailheads in the Adirondack High Peaks region.

  • Route 73 Hiker Shuttle: Runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays through Columbus Day from Marcy Field in the town of Keene to the Rooster Comb, Giant Mountain Ridge Trail, and Roaring Brook Falls trailheads. The shuttle is free and available on a first-come first-serve basis. Masks are required. Only certified service animals are permitted. Check the map (PDF) and schedule (PDF).
  • October Foliage Shuttle: Runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 2 and again over Indigenous Peoples’/Columbus Day weekend on Oct. 8, 9, and 10. The shuttle departs from the Frontier Town Gateway, dropping off and picking up at the Giant Mountain, Roaring Brook Falls, Rooster Comb trailheads, and the Marcy Field Parking Area. Seating is available on a first-come first-served basis. Dogs are not permitted and masks are required.
  • Garden Shuttle: The Town of Keene shuttle from Marcy Field to the Garden Trailhead operates Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • 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 09/15, fire danger is low in the Adirondacks. Please use extreme caution, follow local guidelines, and avoid open fires if possible. Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are wide ranging from below average to high for this time of year depending on the body of water. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended.

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 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

Hike Smart NY Poster Summer

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.

The Importance of Planning Your Hike

If you have ever been a passenger in a car staring out your window as you ride down an Adirondack road, you know how thick the forests are. The Adirondacks contains vast, dense wilderness where planning your hike is essential for your well-being and safety.

Your Adirondack adventure begins at home. Learning and studying about your destination, routing the trail/trails on your map, and reading your guidebook are not only fun but important.

Take these steps when planning your hike:

  • Plan in detail so you know what gear to bring in addition to your 10 essentials.
  • Refer to trusted sources and guidebooks when deciding where to park and what trail to take.
  • Use your paper map to determine what the elevation gains and losses will be throughout your hike, where water sources will be, and how many total miles you will hike.
  • Check the weather for the area where your hike is located as well as summit forecasts for more accurate predictions of precipitation, temperature, wind chill, wind speed, and sky cover at elevation. Take into account that weather can change rapidly, especially on high summits.
  • Learn the regulations for the area where you will be hiking.
  • Leave your plans with a family member or trusted friend. Include your destination, what trail you will be on, where you will park, how many miles you will be hiking, and what time to call the emergency dispatch number if they haven’t heard from you.

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace 2021 Partner Logo

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!

Principle 6: Respect Wildlife

Whenever you recreate outdoors there is the possibility of encountering native wildlife. Just like people, each animal has a different personality and temperament. Follow these tips to help keep you and the wildlife you encounter safe, no matter the critter:

Do Not Approach: It may seem like common sense, but in the moment excitement may take over, leading you to venture out of safety for a better look. DON’T. Instead, use the “rule of thumb.” With your arm fully extended, make a thumbs up and move until the entire animal is obscured from view by your thumb.

Don’t Stress It: Loud noises and quick movements make animals feel as though you are chasing them, which can cause them to behave erratically and even become a danger to you and themselves. Stress can also make animals more susceptible to the elements. To avoid stressing animals, don’t pursue, feed, pick up, or chase off an animal.

Share the Water Hole: When choosing a backcountry campsite, maintain a 200-foot buffer from any water source so animals can take advantage of them without feeling threatened. Many animals are nocturnal, so it’s good to avoid water holes at night.

If You Care, Leave It There: If you ever encounter an animal in trouble, don’t take it upon yourself to help them. Instead, contact DEC Dispatch and notify the proper authorities.

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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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