Friday, May 10, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (5/10): Ways to prevent black fly bites

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.


  • Lost Lake Trail Damage: The Lost Lake Trail bridge over the Middle Branch Lake outlet in Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness has several deck boards that are damaged – please exercise caution.
  • Pine Lake Trail Flooding: The bridge on Pine Lake Trail at the Pine Lake inlet in Independence River Wild Forest is currently flooded.
  • Essex Chain Lakes Complex Re-Opening: All access to the Essex Chain (Chain Lakes Road North and Cornell Road) are now open following the closures due to washouts last week. The Deer Pond CP3 route is passable; high clearance vehicles recommended.

  • Cedar River Road Opening: Cedar River Road in the Blue Ridge Wilderness/Wakely Mountain Primitive Area is open to the Cedar River Flow/Wakely Dam area.
  • Perkins Clearing Road Opening: Perkins Clearing Road in Jessup River Wild Forest is expected to be open Friday, 5/10 with access to Mason Lake. All conservation easement roads in Perkins Clearing and the Speculator Tree Farm will remain closed for mud season. Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will not be accessible by motor vehicles.


  • Clear Pond Gate Opening: The gate at Clear Pond is now open for the season. The public is allowed to drive to the Elk Lake parking lot and trailhead to park for access to the Hunters Pass Trail (to the Dix Mtns) and the Elk Lake Marcy Trail. Parking is limited to the capacity of the parking lot. No parking is permitted along the Elk Lake Road or in any other pull-offs. If the parking lot is full, hikers must park at the Upper Elk Lake Road parking lot on the west side of the Elk Lake Road approximately 2.3 miles south of the Elk Lake parking lot and trailhead. Please respect the parking rules to help ensure this access is maintained and there are no impacts to fire and rescue access.
  • Saranac Lakes Wild Forest Work Zone: The second pond boat launch area is an active work zone still. Boaters looking to use locks should expect substantial delays Monday through Saturdays, and are able to launch only on the upstream “left” side of the dock.
  • Essex Chain Lakes Complex Washout: The Cornell Road to Deer Pond Road gate will remain CLOSED. There is a substantial washout on the Cornell Road, prior to the new Gooley Club access gate. There is a smaller washout along the Deer Pond CP3 route. The Chain Lakes Road North is also closed for now.
  • Independence River Wild Forest Washout: A washout has occurred near the beginning of Big Otter Lake Road. The road is currently passable by high clearance/four-wheel drive vehicles only.

Know Before You Go (as of 5/9):

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 lows in the low-40s and highs in the upper-50s. Skies will be cloudy all weekend, with the potential for rain every day but especially on Sunday.

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 trails to be variable with muddy conditions at lower elevations, and melting ice and snow at higher elevations. With rain in the forecast, anticipate runoff that may make it difficult or unsafe to pass water crossings. It’s still winter conditions on some summits, so 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 traction devices/snowshoes when heading into the backcountry or above tree line at high elevations.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:32 a.m.; Sunset = 8:11 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.

See below for a video on how to build a safe campfire.

YouTube video

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 a little lower than 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 and Education: Black Flies:

The trails are thawed out (mostly), and so are the black flies! While black flies are not in full force quite yet, they are about to be in the next couple of weeks. Black flies are most commonly found near running rivers and streams at dawn and dusk on cloudy, humid days with low wind.

In the U.S., black flies are not known to transmit disease agents to people that would make them a real safety concern, but they do have the potential to cause painful swelling or allergic reactions. If nothing else, they surely have the power to annoy and distract someone during their time outside, or even deter someone from going outside at all! But it doesn’t have to be that way.

These pests typically target people’s hairlines or backs of necks, so wearing a hat with netting can be a solution in areas where the black flies are really prominent. They are more likely to bite on/around people’s heads because they are attracted to the carbon dioxide we breathe out.

Here are some other ways to prevent black fly bites:

  • Wear long sleeve pants and shirts
  • Wear light colors
  • Use insect repellent made to repel black flies
  • Avoid sweet-smelling perfumes, detergents/fabric softeners, toiletries, or snacks
  • Opt for windy days
    • Bring a fan if possible as black flies are weak fliers (a portable necklace fan is an ideal option to simultaneously keep them away from your head)

Whether you are hiking, mountain biking or paddling, 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

Leave No Trace – Stocked Up on Trout:

Spring has sprung like yearlings from a bucketwith a force and spreading fast! That means trout fishing season has begun and, with it, stocking of Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout in waterways around the Adirondacks. Fun Fact—The Brook Trout is the official state fish of New York! It’s native to the headwaters of many of our streams, lakes, and ponds.

Trout stockings usually begin in March and continue through early June. If you’re interested in estimated stocking totals in your branch of the river, check the DEC Spring Trout Stocking webpage.

As with any activity, it’s important to know the rules of the game before you play. Stay up to date on regulations around catch sizes, limits, and season dates as well as special regulations to protect our inland trout stream populations.

Also, consider your fellow angler as you head out on the water. Avoid startling pods of feeding fish by entering the water slowly and at a reasonable distance from other anglers. Remember – not everyone has a lifetime of fishing experience. Many are getting out for their first times. Give gentle reminders to new and learning anglers. Offer words of advice and encouragement and share the waters for all to enjoy. There’s plenty of fish in the river.

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.

One Response

  1. David Franklin says:

    I enjoy reading the updates that you post, lived and visited the APA my entire life. Thank you for your current updates

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