Friday, April 12, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (4/12): Heavy rainfall, warm temps may cause flooding, use caution at stream crossings

outdoor conditions graphicThe 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

  • Potential for Flooding: Heavy rainfall and warm temperatures are forecast for the second half of the week. Rain combined with snowmelt will result in challenging and possibly dangerous stream crossings.
  • Snow Report (4/10): The following report describes conditions as of Wednesday, 4/10. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 45cm (18in) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. Snow levels vary at higher elevations and snowshoes are required where snow depths exceed 8 inches.

LAST WEEK

  • Winter Storm Warning 4/3-4/5: Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 15 inches, locally 18 to 24 inches. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph prior to heavy snow Wednesday evening. It is strongly recommended to refrain from entering the backcountry throughout the duration of the storm and stay at low elevations to view the eclipse. Please see “Conditions” in “Know Before You Go” below for more details.
  • Snow Report (4/3): The following report describes conditions as of Wednesday, 4/3. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 34cm (13in) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. Snow levels vary at higher elevations and snowshoes are required where snow depths exceed 8 inches. The conditions are muddy, and drainages are open.
  • 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) 623-1250.
  • Campgrounds Remain Closed for Camping: Region 5 DEC Campgrounds are currently closed for all camping and overnight use. This means there are no restrooms, potable water, or other facilities at this time. Additionally, there is tree cutting and other hazardous work going on at many of the campgrounds so Fish Creek and others are likely to be gated for the safety of the public.
  • Rail Trail Construction: Phase 2 of construction from Saranac Lake to Floodwood Road began April 1st. That portion of trail is now closed for public use. The contractor will be working on a culvert near Floodwood Road this week, making that portion of the trail impassable.
  • Moose River Plains Gates Closed: The entrance gates on both sides are closed and will open for the season the Wednesday before Memorial Day, 5/22/24.
  • Hoffman Notch Trailhead South Washout: This trailhead is closed due to a washout on the access road (Lock Muller Road).
  • Mud Season Road Closures: Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Special Management Area, Powley Road which provides access to Ferris Lake Wild Forest, West River Road which provides access to the Whitehouse Trailhead of the Northville Placid Trail, and others listed on the backcountry webpage, are closed to motor vehicles for mud season.

Know Before You Go (as of 4/11):

Know Before You Go graphic

Fire Danger:

  • Adirondack Park – Low
  • Champlain Region – Low
  • Southern Tier – Low

Check the fire rating map for daily updates.

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

Weekend temperatures in the region are expected to produce highs in the low-60s and lows in the mid-30s. Saturday will have the lowest temperatures, although it will remain above freezing all weekend. The chance of rain is almost 100% Friday and gradually decreases through to about 25% Sunday. The temperatures may be high but gray will be the skies!

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: Expect runoff, mud, unstable snowpack, and the potential for flooding with current snowmelt and forecasted rain. Steep slopes may be dangerous and slippery due to the snow and ice present throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Hikers should be prepared for these varying conditions by continuing to bring microspikes or crampons when heading into the backcountry or above tree line.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:13 a.m.; Sunset = 7:38 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.

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.

Statewide Burn Ban: DEC’s annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning began March 16 and runs through May 14, to help protect communities/wildland during heightened conditions for wildfires. This only refers to BRUSH burning, so backyard fire pits and backcountry campfires less than 3ft in height and 4ft in diameter are still allowed as usual with regular fire safety rules. Check out a short video about how to build a safe campfire on DEC’s YouTube channel.

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) 623-1250.

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.

Seasonal Road Closures: See DEC’s Adirondack Backcountry Information page for specific road conditions and information.

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 mostly 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.

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!

nys dec promotional set up

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.

Summer Camps Staff Needed!

Now in its 77th year, DEC operates four residential camps for children and hires 60 seasonal employees to provide week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17.

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.

Available positions:

  • Directors;
  • Assistant Directors;
  • Health Directors (NYS certified EMT, Paramedic, LPN, RN, PA or MD);
  • Waterfront Directors;
  • Counselors;
  • Cooks; and
  • Camp Aides 1 and 2.

Learn more about camp and employmentincluding available position details and required qualifications, on DEC’s website. To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and unofficial transcript to campemploy@dec.ny.gov.

Safety and Education- Stream Crossings:

As you may have heard from earlier parts of this bulletin, rain and snowmelt may cause dangerous stream crossings throughout the backcountry this week.

Don’t underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water is enough to float a car and water moving at two miles per hour can sweep a car off a road, so imagine how easy it is for water of that power or less to affect a single person. Aside from getting misplaced by the current, even momentarily falling into water presents its own dangers as any wet clothing reduces your body heat, especially when it’s water at cold April temperatures. Keep these tips in mind when crossing a stream:

Before you cross, unbuckle your pack. The extra weight, especially from a heavy pack, can weigh you down if you do happen to fall and make it harder to get up.

While you cross, face upstream. Facing upstream helps you spot floating objects and monitor the flow of the water. It also allows you to be more in control of your balance against the force of the water to prevent your knees from buckling.

Whichever form of outdoor recreation you are embarking on, 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.

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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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