Friday, September 9, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (9/9): Microburst in Westport & Essex causes significant damage, blowdown in Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest

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

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 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.

Last Week

Boreas Ponds Tract: On Tuesday, September 5, work began 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. 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.

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 (09/08):

  • Temperatures: Fall is quickly approaching, and with it the weather is becoming increasingly temperamental. Plan for cold weather, even on hot days this weekend. Days are expected to be sunny and reach the low-80’s. Evenings and nights will reach lows in the mid to high-50’s. 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 = 6:26 a.m.; Sunset = 7:20 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:

  • Friday & 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.
    • Please note that Hiker Information Stations will be closed on Saturday. Staff will be assisting with a First-Time Camper program.

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-served 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 09/08, 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 range from low to 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 & 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.

Picking the Right Trail for You

Hiking is all about having fun, and the best way to ensure a good time on the trail is to pick a hike that fits your group’s experience and fitness level.

At 6 million acres, the Adirondacks have infinite opportunities for outdoor activities. Whether you’re looking for a peak with a view, a walk in the woods, waterfalls, rivers, or roadside attractions, there’s sure to be a trail that’s perfect for you. Here are some ways to find one:

  • Be realistic about your goals: Oftentimes the best hike isn’t the one you’ve seen photos of on social media. It’s not the highest or the most remote. It’s the one that has the right amount of adventure for you and your group. So, be realistic about your group’s experience level, and pick something that isn’t dangerous or out of reach.
  • Get some advice: Reach out to someone that knows the area and trails better than you do. NYSDEC hosts Hiker Information Stations every weekend during the summer hiking season. For more immediate information, check in with local guide shops and outdoor stores.
  • Be open to new ideas: It can be hard to change plans when our minds are set on a particular goal. Be open to trying a different trail, have a backup plan, and don’t be afraid to turn around if your hike becomes unsafe. Your destination will always be there, and you can always come back another day.
  • Get a map: With so many peaks, ponds, and other wilderness destinations, it’s impossible to remember them all. Having, and knowing how to use, a good map of the area can help you find tons of hidden gems and trails you never knew existed.

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!

Dispose of Trash & Litter Properly

Don’t be trashy – dispose of waste properly! Many backcountry adventurers are familiar with the phrase “pack in, pack out”, but what does that mean? It means that anything you bring into the backcountry with you should leave with you, too.

Litter: Before you leave your campsite, lunch spot, fishing site, etc, scan for trash. Litter left behind can be harmful to wildlife as well as unsightly for other visitors.
Organic Litter: Not all litter comes from man-made materials. Food waste such as banana peels and peanut shells can take years to break down if they’re not snatched up by a local critter first. Pack out organic litter, too.
Pack a Baggie: Bring a small bag with you to store your trash until you can pack it out.
Lend a Hand: If it feels safe to do so, picking up other people’s trash helps leave the area better than you found it. Be sure to sanitize your hands after handling litter.
Don’t Burn It: Fires will not reduce your trash to ash, and half-burned or buried garbage will still attract animals. When camping, pack out all kitchen waste, including grease accumulated from cooking.

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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.

3 Responses

  1. Beverly Stellges says:

    Road closure on Rt. 86 in Raybrook has been changed to 9/18 – 9/23.

  2. Steve B. says:

    I was not aware that any sections of the Adirondack Rail Trail had opened. Anybody know the status of this trail ?. The website states opening fall of 23.

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