Friday, April 28, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (4/28): Upper locks on Saranac Lake closed to boat traffic May 2 – 4

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


High Peaks Wilderness:

    • Mud Season: Hikers are advised to avoid trails above 2,500ft for the duration of the muddy trail advisory for several reasons:
      • sliding boots destroy trail tread, can damage surrounding vegetation, and erode thin soils causing washouts;
      • rotten snow and monorails are a safety hazard even with proper equipment; and
      • high elevation and alpine vegetation are extremely fragile in spring months as they start their regrowth after winter.
      • Until conditions improve, hikers are encouraged to responsibly explore low-elevation trails or enjoy other forms of recreation.

Closures: Temporary closures of the Upper Locks on Saranac Lake and Lake Placid Boat Launch occurring over the next two weeks for routine maintenance and cleaning.

  • The upper locks on Saranac Lake will be closed to all boat traffic May 2 to 4. Canoes and kayaks can carry around the locks.
  • Lake Placid will close May 8 to 12

Know Before You Go Graphic

Know Before You Go:

Fire Danger (as of 4/27):

  • Adirondack Park – LOW
  • Champlain Region – LOW
  • Southern Tier – MODERATE
  • Check the fire rating map for daily updates.

Temperatures & Conditions: These are forecast temperatures for base elevations throughout the region.
Weekend temperatures are in the 50’s with a chance of p.m. rain Saturday night. Overnight temperatures throughout the weekend will be in the high 30’s, low 40’s but expect colder temperatures near freezing in higher elevations. Pack the appropriate layers and gear in case your trip goes longer than planned or an unexpected overnight occurs.

Conditions: Conditions will be colder and windier on summits and at higher elevations. Carry extra layers and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Bring microspikes or crampons and snowshoes. If you find yourself unprepared for the conditions, or weather worsens, turn back to the trailhead. Hike with a buddy or in a group and know the signs of hypothermia.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:53 a.m.; Sunset = 7:55 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.

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.

Bear Canister

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

Cold Water Advisory: Water temperatures are freezing and falling in can lead to immediate hypothermia. Use caution when paddling and hiking. Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or significant snowmelt. If there is precipitation forecast during the day, be mindful of how water crossings might swell between your first crossing and your return trip. Use extreme caution in areas of moving water, such as inlets, outlets, and streams. Banks will be icy and currents are swift.

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.

General Notices

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

No Overnight Camping at Trailheads: 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. When camping, always carry out what you carry in and dispose of trash properly. Use designated bathroom facilities, pack out human and pet waste, or dig a cat hole.

Travel: Plan on arriving at your destination early and have several back-up plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full. Some seasonal roads may be closed for the winter season and not all parking areas are plowed. Check recent notices for road closure announcements

Seasonal Roads: Many seasonal access roads are closed for mud season. Check the Recent Notices for specific closure announcements and be prepared to turn around and take an alternate route.

Water & Ice Crossings: Water levels range from average to above average for this time of year in the eastern and central portions of the Adirondack region and below average in the western part of the region. 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.

Statewide Burn Ban in Effect: The annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning began March 16 and runs through May 14. The annual brush burning ban helps prevent wildfires and protects communities during heightened conditions for wildfires. Backyard fire pits and campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed, as are small cooking fires. Only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned. People should never leave these fires unattended and must extinguish them. For more information about fire safety and prevention, go to DEC’s FIREWISE New York webpage.

Safety & Education

Hiking Essentials

Whether you’re going for a hike, a ski, or out 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.

Spring Water Safety

With longer days, warmer temperatures, and open water, canoes, kayaks, and SUPs are calling us to begin summer paddling adventures. It’s important to remember, however, that spring water conditions can pose serious risks. Lakes and rivers are still extremely cold this time of year and falling in can quickly cause cold shock, loss of consciousness, and hypothermia. Consider wearing a wetsuit or drysuit until water temperatures increase.

Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are required to be worn through May 1 and are strongly recommended to be worn in personal watercraft year-round. Between snowmelts and spring rains, be prepared for high, fast-moving waters. This can make paddling more challenging and pose significant risks to non-boaters at water crossings. Check water levels before you head out, and if the water seems risky when you arrive, make plans to return on a different day.

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!

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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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