Friday, September 23, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (9/23): No overnight camping permitted at trailheads, roadside locations lacking camping disc designations

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

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) through Friday, Sept. 23, to facilitate the replacement of a 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.

Please Note – No Overnight Camping at Trailheads: Please note that overnight camping is not permitted at trailheads or other roadside locations where a camping disc is not present. This includes individuals sleeping in cars, vans, and campers. Campers should seek out designated roadside campsites marked with a camp here disc or campgrounds.

Last 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.

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 will begin 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.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (09/22):

  • Temperatures: Forecasts are calling for cool temperatures moving into the High Peaks Region this weekend. Highs during the day are expected to range from 50 to low-60’s, while the nighttime lows will range from the mid-30’s to high-40’s. Showers are expected to move into the region toward the end of the day Sunday. 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.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:42 a.m.; Sunset = 6:53 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.
  • Other Stations this Weekend:
    • Marcy Field, Keene Valley, starting at 7 a.m.
    • The Garden Trailhead, Keene Valley, 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 (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, 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 09/22, fire danger is low in the Adirondacks. Please use 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 extremely 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.

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

Fall 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.

Mountain Point & River Forecasts

Before venturing out on any hike, always check the forecast for your destination. When hiking mountains, the go-to forecast for base elevation might not give you all the information you need to prepare for what you may encounter. That’s where Mountain Point Forecasts come in!

Even on good days, temperatures can fall an average of 3.3°F per 1,000 feet of elevation you gain. When you factor in other variables such as wind and rain, the difference widens even further. Through the National Weather Service, you may find mountain point forecasts for select summits in your region. If summit forecasts for your destination aren’t available, try to find a mountain near where you are headed with a similar elevation.

Rainfall and its effect on stream crossings is also an important aspect of weather to consider. Check the National Weather Service River Forecasts for helpful data. Gauges stationed in counties across NY state provide readings and subsequent forecasts of water level activity via the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Using the models provided, determine if your anticipated stream crossing will be safe or if you should plan a detour or choose an alternate trail.

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!

Keeping Our Trees and Plants Healthy

Trees are more than a source of fall beauty. Trees and plants clean our soils and water; they produce the oxygen we breathe and filter the air. Healthy forests support thriving communities and local wildlife. Help keep our forests healthy with these Leave No Trace tips:

  • When hiking and camping, stay on the trail and camp at designated sites;
  • Dispose of waste properly, both in the woods and at home, and recycle what you can;
  • Leave trees and plants the way you find them – don’t pick wildflowers or carve tree bark;
  • Minimize campfire impacts by building small fires in designated fire rings and extinguishing them completely;
  • Trees and plants need clean water, as does local wildlife, so avoid swimming in waterways while wearing sunscreen, bug spray, or other products;
  • Aquatic plants are important too, so clean, drain, and dry your boats and water equipment between each use; and
  • Help avoid the spread of invasive species by using local firewood, planting native species, and cleaning boots and bike tires before you leave the trailhead.

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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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