Friday, April 19, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (4/19): Recreationists can help limit spread of invasive species

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 (4/17): The following report describes conditions as of Wednesday, 4/17. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is less than 10cm (4in) of snow at the Lake Colden Stake. Conditions are wildly variable ranging from mud, ice, and multiple feet of rotten snow in the area around the lake. Avi Pass can be accessed without snowshoes. Snow levels vary at higher elevations and snowshoes are required where snow depths exceed 8 inches. Like last week, there will be a possibly dangerous increase in stream levels with the rainfall/snow melt combo.

  • AMR Parking Reservation System 2024: New bookings for 2024 began April 17. From May 1 through Oct. 31, reservations will be required to access the parking lot, trailheads, and trails located on the privately owned 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks region.
  • Cobble Hill Trail Closure: Technical trail work has begun on Cobble Hill and the trail will be closed weekdays from April 15 through May 3. The crew will be using a highline to move large boulders, making it unsafe for hikers.

LAST 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.

Know Before You Go (as of 4/18):

Know Before You Go graphic

Fire Danger: 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 mid-50s and lows in the low-30s. Friday will be the warmest, with a chance of rain in the afternoon/into the night. Saturday and Sunday will be cloudy with slightly lower temperatures than Friday, but still mostly above freezing except potentially dropping to 31 degrees in the nights.

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, and unstable snowpack. 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 = 6:02 a.m.; Sunset = 7:46 p.m. 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.

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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!

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.

nys dec promotional set up

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 – Gear to Put a Spring in Your Step:

It’s that time of year where we officially have swapped out the Winter Hiking Essentials for the generic, year-round Hiking Essentials below! But don’t put all your winter hiking gear away just yet! As spring is in the air and you’ve got that spring in your step, ensure each step is safe by remembering to have snowshoes and traction devices on hand in case you need them at high elevations.

At lower elevations, your heavy snow/ice gear can now be swapped out for something lighter—sun and insect protection! As the UV rays are increasing, so are the bugs. Thankfully, it’s not quite black fly season (that starts mid-May), but other insects have emerged. For example, adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November.

There are two classes of products that can protect you from bugs:

  1. Products that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are repellants. These products interfere with the host-finding abilities of insects, making you hard to find.
  2. Products containing permethrin and some plant-based oils are pesticides that kill bugs on contact. They should only be used on clothing, hats, shoes, or gear.

Make sure whichever product you choose is labeled clearly as a tick repellent.

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.

Leave No Trace – Invasive Species:

Along with beautiful plants, remarkable wildlife, and everyone’s favorite—ticks and mosquitoes, something else is also becoming more active this time of year: invasive species. Did you know that seeds of invasive plants can get stuck to your clothing and on the bottom of your boots? Or that certain invasive insects lay their eggs on cars and inside firewood? These are all common ways that invasive species spread.

Tips for outdoor recreators:

  • Opt for layers made of smoother materials like nylon over wool/fleece/Velcro or other fabrics that seeds easily cling to.
  • Avoid wearing footwear with deep tread, which collects plants, mud, and other debris.
  • Clean footwear thoroughly.
  • Remove any seeds from clothing, boots, and equipment before and after you go outdoors.
  • Dispose of debris at designated cleaning stations or in a garbage can. If these areas are unavailable, clean in parking lots or driveways where invasive pests are unlikely to spread. Avoid cleaning near waterways; invasive species can easily spread to new areas downstream.
  • Stay on marked trails.
  • Invasive insects and diseases spread through the movement of firewood. Before bringing wood with you when camping or vacationing, check NYS’s firewood regulation.

As boating season picks up, remember to clean your boat too!

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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