Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Wet, Dangerous Conditions in the Adirondacks and Catskills

Winter hiking

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today advised recreationists in the Adirondacks and Catskills of wet and dangerous conditions following recent mild temperatures and heavy rain.

The warmer weather and extensive rain melted much of the existing snowpack, swelling waterways and making water crossings dangerous with fast and strong currents. DEC advises visitors not to attempt stream crossings where bridges are not available. Water temperatures will be extremely cold and full or partial submersion can quickly lead to hypothermia. Waterways are not yet frozen and crossing of ponds or lakes should not be attempted. Avoid getting too close to stream and riverbanks as they may be icy.

The Adirondacks are experiencing extensive trail washouts and dangerous high water. Both backcountry and front country areas are affected, and a high-water advisory is now in effect. Severe washouts even in front country areas have been reported, including the Adirondack Rail Trail 0.5 miles north of the parking area on Washington Street in Tupper Lake. Other sections of the trail may be impassible and have the potential for washout. The return to colder temperatures will result in re-freezing along trails, making for icy and dangerous trail conditions.

DEC is working to assess the extent of flooding damage and will continue to provide current trail and infrastructure notices on the Backcountry Information for the Adirondack Park webpage.

If hiking in the Catskills, please be advised that the trails are wet and easily susceptible to damage and erosion. Hikers should travel in the middle of the trail, even if it is muddy, to prevent trail widening and visitor-created trails. DEC encourages hikers to park in designated parking areas and avoid parking along edges or roadsides where the ground is saturated and soft.

Additional information on safety precautions is available on the Adirondack Backcountry webpage and the Catskill Backcountry webpage.

Photo at top: NYS DEC photo.

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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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