Friday, September 2, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (9/2): Boreas Ponds Tract area bridge work to prevent access beyond LaBier Dam

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

Boreas Ponds Tract: On Tuesday, September 5, work will begin on a temporary bridge over LaBier Dam that will restore motor vehicle access to the Four Corners Parking Area. To prepare the work site, the pedestrian bridge currently in place over the dam will be removed starting Thursday, September 1. This will temporarily prevent all access beyond LaBier Dam for both motorists and pedestrians. Motor vehicle and pedestrian access will remain open as far as the Fly Pond Parking Area. Visitors should use caution on Gulf Brook Road due to construction equipment also using the road. Work on the temporary bridge is expected to be complete by mid-fall.

Grass River Complex: Road improvements are being conducted on the Long Pond Conservation Easement. Expect delays/obstacles in the direction of Long Pond itself.
Five Ponds Wilderness Area & William C. Whitney Wilderness: The Remsen Lake Placid Travel Corridor (Railroad) is considered an active railroad. The railroad is undergoing maintenance adjacent to the Five Ponds Wilderness Area and William C. Whitney Wilderness Area. There is an increase in traffic from trains and equipment working on rehabilitation of the railroad through this section. Users are reminded that the railroad tracks between Harrington Brook and the carry to Clear Pond and Bog Lake (Five Ponds Wilderness) are not a DEC trail and should not be used as a canoe carry when the railroad is active.

Last Week

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 NoticesKnow Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (09/01):

  • Temperatures: Forecasts are calling for high temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees during the day, dropping into the low to mid-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, so 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 = 6:18 a.m.; Sunset = 7:32 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 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. 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.
    • High Peaks Rest Area, Southbound on Route 87, 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 7a.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 and schedule.
  • 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, and 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 09/01, fire danger is MODERATE 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 to above 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.

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 & EducationHike 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 Sustainable Trails

DEC uses sustainable trail building methods to help improve the visitor experience and reduce erosion of trails and other natural resources. A recently completed example of a sustainable trail is the new Mount Van Hoevenberg East Trail. But what makes a sustainable trail different?

A sustainable trail is a pathway designed and constructed to minimize future maintenance while impacting the surrounding habitat as little as possible. Trails are mapped out to follow the contours of the landscape, rather than cutting up a hill in the most direct line to the summit. As a rule of thumb, sustainable trails are built with an average trail grade, or slope, of 10%. This allows water to drain off the trail without creating a slope steep enough to further erosion. Steeper sections are allowed, but care is taken to limit the trail’s grade to less than half the total grade of the hillside.

In addition to managing the trail grade, the trail tread itself is hardened with native materials and obstacles such as rocks and roots are cleared. While the goal is to create a trail that appears as natural as possible, some manmade conveniences, such as rock steps, may be included. In short, sustainable trails are built to be more resilient, blend into the natural surroundings, and be enjoyable to walk.

Interested in experiencing a sustainable trail first-hand? Visit the Mount Van Hoevenberg East Trail and enjoy the hike just as much as the spectacular view at the summit.

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!

Taking Man’s Best Friend Out on the Trails

Adventures in nature are a fun and healthy way for dogs and their owners to spend time together. However, it’s just as important for pets to follow Leave No Trace as it is for their humans.

  • Plan and prepare before you go. Know whether dogs are allowed, what the terrain will be like, and what route you will take with your pet. Be prepared to carry out your dog if they sustain an injury.
  • Pack out or bury your dog’s poop. Dogs don’t eat the same foods as wild animals do. Preservatives, chemicals, and bacteria in their stool can mix with run off and contaminate nearby waterways. It can also make wild animals sick if they consume it.
  • Pack fresh, clean water and a water bowl for your dog. Make sure they stay hydrated on the trail, too.
  • Protect wildlife, minimize impacts to trailside plants, and be respectful of other visitors by keeping your pet on a leash. Leashing also protects your dog from animal encounters and other potentially dangerous situations.

Recreation Highlight: How To Plan a Hike

Looking out at the horizon at the summit of a hike

By properly planning and preparing, you can ensure a safe, fun and sustainable hike. Check out DEC’s How To Plan a Hike video for a step by step guide to planning your next Adirondack adventure.

  • Step One: Choose an appropriate hike
  • Step Two: Learn your route
  • Step Three: Make a timeline
  • Step Four: Check the weather
  • Step Five: Pack the essentials
  • Step Six: Share your plans

Once you’re on the trail, make safe, smart choices. If you encounter bad weather, conditions you’re not prepared for, or are generally feeling unsafe, turn around. You can always return and try your hike again a different day.

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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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