Friday, February 23, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (2/23): Make your location known, sign into trail register before hiking

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.

NEW THIS WEEK

  • Snow Report (2/21): The following report describes conditions as of Wednesday, 2/21. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 84cm (33in) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. There is 8in at Marcy Dam. Snow levels vary at higher elevations. The Avalanche Pass ski trail is in good shape.

LAST WEEK

  • Snow Report (2/14): The following report describes conditions as of Wednesday, 2/14. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 67cm (26in) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. Snow levels vary at higher elevations. Conditions now require snowshoes to be worn at Avalanche Pass. The lakes are still in.

  • Adirondack Rail Trail Closure to Snowmobiles: The gates are closed between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake on the Adirondack Rail Trail which is currently closed to snowmobiling due to a lack of snowpack. Like many trails in the Forest Preserve, current trail conditions are variable, consisting of snow, ice, and bare pavement/stone dust. Be cautious of frozen ruts and uneven terrain along the trail.

Know Before You Go (as of 2/22):

Know Before You Go graphic

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

Weekend temperatures in the region are expected to produce highs in the upper-40s and lows in the lower-20s, with Saturday being the coldest. It will remain mostly above freezing all weekend, even in the evenings (except for Saturday night). Showers are expected Friday.

Check the National Weather Service’s Mountain Point Forecast for more accurate forecasts at elevation on or near your intended route.

Reminder: These forecasts are for low elevations. Anticipate losing 5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Snow and ice have accumulated throughout the High Peaks, and will likely remain throughout the weekend.

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 feels warm outside. Be prepared with extra dry layers and keep an eye on the weather.

Conditions: With another thaw this weekend, expect snowpack to become unstable or missing in certain areas. Nonetheless, snow and ice are present throughout much of the High Peaks Wilderness and surrounding areas. This can make steep slopes unstable and slippery. Hikers should bring microspikes or crampons when heading into the backcountry or above tree line.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:38 a.m.; Sunset = 5:40 p.m. With shorter days this time of year, it’s crucial to pick 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.

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.

Watch for Moose: Motorists should be aware that moose are rutting at this time of year. Moose will be wandering around looking for mates and walking into roads without paying attention to vehicles. Take precautions to avoid colliding with moose.

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 open 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. Check recent notices for road closure announcements.

Water Crossings: Water levels are 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.

Snowmobiles: As of 2/8, snowmobile trails in certain areas of the Adirondacks have been CLOSED due to inadequate trail conditions; but visitors are advised to plan ahead and check local club, county, and state webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information. As always, snowmobile access is dependent on conditions and can change quickly.

Trailhead Parking: Remember, many Adirondack trailhead parking areas are not maintained or plowed in winter. Please be prepared to encounter unplowed, snowy and icy conditions at parking areas, and anticipate possible snow accumulation around your vehicle.

Summer Employment Opportunities:

Would you like to work in New York State’s beautiful High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Forest Preserve this summer?

Environmental Educators Needed!

Join our Region 5 Outreach Team and become an integral part of the High Peaks Information Station Program this summer. Educators will spend the summer educating on safe and sustainable recreation in the High Peaks. Your role as an educator is vital in protecting the Adirondack’s natural resources while enhancing the safety, experience, and wellbeing of our communities and visitors. Positions are based out of the Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook, NY but educators will spend much of their time at their designated information station. The application period will open in April but you can send your resume anytime to info.R5@dec.ny.gov.

Environmental Educator station set-up.

Summer Camps Staff Needed!

Would you like to gain job and life skills while backpacking, camping, and canoeing?

We’re seeking nature loving staff for the Summer Camps Program. Summer Camps combine environmental education, hunter education, and outdoor recreation to create an adventurous experience for campers 11-13 years old or 14-17 years old. Working at a NYSDEC camp is a great opportunity to gain practical outdoor, naturalist, teaching, leadership, and many other transferrable skills while living in a beautiful setting. Working with youth is an incomparable experience that will stick with you for a lifetime.

There are four camps:

  • Camps Colby—Adirondacks;
  • Pack Forest—Adirondacks;
  • Camp DeBruce—Catskills; and
  • Camp Rushford—Western NY.

Learn more about camp and employment. To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and unofficial transcript to campemploy@dec.ny.gov.

Safety and Education – Don’t Hike in Secret:

A simple yet often forgotten safety tip is to let someone else know when you’re going on a hike.

Whether it be a roommate, friend, or family member, it’s important that another person knows your whereabouts and what time you expect to return. If there are multiple routes, make sure you tell them your specific intended route/what trailhead you are leaving from. That way, if you get lost or injured and are stuck in the backcountry without cell service past the anticipated time, that person can notify authorities to search for you.

It may not seem like it, but although this step only takes a few seconds, it can save you many crucial hours of being stuck in the backcountry in the event of an emergency. The difference in that time can save your life.

Hiking with a group has major safety benefits, but group members don’t count in this scenario. Make sure you tell someone else ALL your group members’ names AND contact info.

Whether you’re going for a snowshoe, ski, or out on the ice, 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.

10 hiking essentials graphic

Leave No Trace – Trail Registers:

In addition to telling someone about your hiking plans, don’t forget to sign in at the trail register!

This is important not only for your safety, but also for DEC to monitor recreation by providing a record of how many visitors there were to each trail. Trail register counts get added up when the book is full and saved by DEC Foresters. This is helpful for ensuring that trails are not unexpectedly facing damages from being overused; and that busy, vulnerable trails can be on DEC’s radar to ensure they are maintained adequately.

Trail registers can also serve as a way to warn others about extra information, like current hazards or missing gear left on the trail. Feel free to neatly add in a little note for others to see on the side, so long as you appropriately fill out the boxes as directed. If hiking with a group, only one person should sign and write down the total number of all group members.

hikers sign into a trail register

Signing in keeps you AND the resources of the trail safe!

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM 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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