Friday, May 17, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (5/17): Many Region 5 DEC campgrounds open today; tips for stopping spread of invasive pests

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.


  • Grass River Wild Forest Trail Opening: The St. Lawrence County Multi-Use Trail, which crosses the Grass River, Long Pond, and Tooley Pond Conservation Easements, is open.
  • William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness Road Opening: Lake Lila Road is open.


  • 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.

Know Before You Go (as of 5/16):

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-50s and highs in the mid-70s. It will be mostly cloudy. Beware – it’s black flies’ favorite type of weather!

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. 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 = 5:25 a.m.; Sunset = 8:18 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.

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 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. Send your resume to to apply, or reach out there to receive more information!

Hiker Education Station

Safety and Education: Only YOU can prevent wildfires:

Did you know most wildfires are caused by people? Make Smokey Bear proud by following these safety tips when burning outdoors:

  • Check the fire danger map to make sure it’s safe to have a fire where you are. Avoid burning on windy days.
  • Use existing campfire rings when possible.
  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves. Pile any extra wood away from the fire.
  • Campfires must be less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in diameter. Only charcoal or untreated wood can be used as fuel. A good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks gives plenty of heat. Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading.
  • Be sure your match is out. Hold it until it is cold.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Always keep water and hand tools nearby to control the fire, if necessary. Even a small breeze could cause the fire to spread quickly.
  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Move rocks as there may be burning embers underneath.
  • Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt. Do not bury your coals as they can smolder and break out.
  • Consider using a small stove for cooking in remote areas vs making a campfire.

Check out the Fire Safety When Camping video on DEC’s YouTube channel.

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 – Stop the Spread:

With most Region 5 DEC campgrounds opening this Friday, May 17, make sure to gather around the campfire not only safely for you as described above but also safely for the environment! Use local firewood to protect trees from invasive pests and diseases.

Moving untreated firewood is one of the main ways invasive pests and diseases spread to new areas. Many people take wood from their properties as they head out to camp, hunt, etc., but most don’t realize their wood may be hiding the eggs, larvae, spores, adults, or even seeds of invasive species that threaten the health of our forests.

By transporting firewood, you could be spreading diseases and invasive insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. Help stop the spread by obeying the Firewood Regulation by not moving firewood more than 50 miles, and following these rules:

  • All fires must be built in the fireplaces provided for that purpose.
  • No fires are permitted except for cooking, warmth, or smudge.
  • No fire shall be started until all nearby flammable material has been removed to prevent its spread.
  • Firewood cannot be gathered on site except from dead and down trees.
  • Fires cannot be left unattended.

To read more, check out Firewood And Invasive Pests.

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Asian Longhorned Beetle (common pest spread via firewood) Photo by Joe Boggs, Ohio State University.

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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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