Friday, October 6, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (10/6): Spruce Mt. Fire Tower Closed Until Safety Assessment Completed

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.

DEC Launches Pilot Mobile Education Station Sept. 22

Fridays through Sundays from Sept. 22 – Oct. 15, a DEC environmental educator will be stationed at a converted shuttle bus at the corner of Route 73 and Airport Road at Marcy Field. Stop by and come on in!


Notice: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Spotted: Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute reported harmful algal blooms on Upper Saranac Lake, Follensby Clear, Whey Pond, and Floodwood Pond. For more information on HABs, visit the Harmful Algal Blooms webpage on DEC’s website.

Reminder: Reservations still Required at AMR – Parking reservations are required for the AMR hiker parking lot and entry through AMR trailheads from May 1 – October 31. Reservations can be made by visiting the AMR website. For more information, view a list of frequently asked questions (PDF).

  • Adirondack Rail Trail Still Under Construction – Despite some sections appearing complete, Phase 1 of construction is still ongoing and recreational use is leading to construction delays. Please, avoid the ART and use alternative trails this fall.
  • Spruce Mountain Fire Tower Closed, Unsafe – Spruce Mountain Fire Tower is currently closed until a safety assessment can be performed on the structure. The Fire Tower on Hadley Mountain is a nearby alternative in the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest.
  • Upcoming Elk Lake Lodge Road Closure – The Gate at Clear Pond will be closed to public vehicles from October 16, 2023 until late May 2024. From the evening of October 20 until the morning of December 4, no hikers may enter the Elk Lake Conservation Easement.


  • No New Updates Last Week

Know Before You Go:

Know Before You Go Graphic

Fire Danger (as of 10/5):

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

Temperatures: These are forecast temperatures for base elevations throughout the region.

Heavy rain is expected throughout the weekend. Temperatures in the valleys are expected to drop as the weekend continues – starting with highs of 70 on Friday, low-60’s on Saturday, and reaching low-50’s during the day Sunday. Nighttime lows are expected to be in the mid to low-40’s.

Even with sunny skies, inclement weather is always a possibility and can change very quickly. Remember – hypothermia is always a risk in wet conditions, even when it’s warm outside. Be prepared with extra dry layers and keep an eye on the weather.

Conditions: Trails are still very wet and muddy. Muddy conditions on steep slopes can be unstable and slippery. The consistent wet weather has made rocks, boulders, and roots extremely slippery. Hikers should use caution on wet trails.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:58 a.m.; Sunset = 6:29 p.m. The days are getting shorter as we move into fall. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack at least one headlamp (two headlamps recommended) even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset. Phone batteries drain quickly and are discouraged.

Mount Colden Trapdike: The trapdike is considered a technical climb and not a hike. Climbers should be prepared with helmets, ropes, and climbing gear to ascend this route. Hikers looking to summit Mount Colden should do so via the hiking routes. Attempting to climb the trapdike unprepared can result in a rescue operation, serious injury, or death.

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 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.

General Notices

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

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.

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.

Hiker Information Stations: Environmental Educators will be stationed at the following locations this weekend to assist with planning, preparation, and answering questions.

Friday – October 67am-3pmMobile Education Station – Marcy Field, Keene Valley

Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex

Saturday – October 77am-3pmMobile Education Station – Marcy Field, Keene Valley

Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex

Sunday – October 87am-3pmMobile Education Station – Marcy Field, Keene Valley

Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex

Monday – October 97am-3pmMobile Education Station – Marcy Field, Keene Valley

Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex

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. Check recent notices for road closure announcements.

Water Crossings: Water levels are well below average for this time of year in the Adirondack region. Expect water levels to rise with new rainfall. 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: We do have ticks in the Adirondacks! 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.

Safety & Education – Be Tick Free in the Adirondacks

Tick next to dime

Everyone is preparing for the winter ahead, including ticks.

Despite what you may hear, deer ticks are present throughout the Adirondacks, typically living in shady, moist areas, clinging to brush no more than 18-24 inches from the ground. Some research suggests that around half of all adult ticks in the Adirondacks hosted Lyme Disease – an infectious human pathogen.

Often, deer ticks will crawl to a protected area before biting. Usually this means under clothing.

What can you do to prevent tick bites?

Wear closed toe shoes and tuck pants into your socks – This prevents ticks from getting between layers of clothes, protecting your skin.

Check frequently – Be sure to check clothes and exposed skin while outside. Perform a full body check once you are back inside.

Stay on clear trails – Avoid dense woods and brush. If possible stick to marked, clear, and maintained trails.

Consider an Insect Repellent – There are products available that contain plant-based oils or permethrin that kill ticks on contact. Read more about treating your clothing and equipment before using, and follow instructions closely.

For more information on Ticks and Vector Born Illness, visit the NYSDEC Be Tick Free webpage.

Leave No Trace™ – Leave the Leaves

A bright red tree, changing color in the Autumn.

The Autumn leaves offer amazing views, especially in the Adirondacks.

Did you know that they also play an important role in keeping our soil and ecosystems healthy?

As leaves break down, they provide important nutrients to the soil and plants around them. This helps the trees and other plants come back – giving us beautiful fall views year after year.

So, enjoy the incredible colors, but leave the leaves!

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks.

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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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