Friday, May 24, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (5/24): Beavers flood areas of Avalanche Pass Trail, French Louie Trail

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.


  • Avalanche Pass Trail Damage: The Avalanche Pass Trail, near Marcy Dam, has a temporary route for Hiker Safety flagged with yellow. This route brings hikers around an area where beavers have flooded the trail and a bridge has been damaged. DEC is developing a Work Plan to reroute this section of trail to minimize impacts to the Natural Resources and Hiker Safety.
  • West Canada Lakes Wilderness Flooding: There is significant beaver flooding west of the Pillsbury Lake lean-to on the French Louie Trail.
  • Siamese Ponds Wilderness Washout: The bridge at Diamond Brook on the East Branch Trail is washed out.
  • Lake George Wild Forest Repair Closures: The 13 primitive tent sites in the Shelving Rock Special Management Area will be closed June 3-7, 2024, for hazard tree removal. Jabe Pond Road will also be closed to motor vehicles the week of June 3-7, 2024, for culvert replacements and road upgrades. Users will need to park at the parking lot before the gate on Battle Hill Road and walk the 1-mile road to access Jabe Pond.

  • Independence River Wild Forest Camping Loops Openings: Water has been turned on and gates to camping loops 2 and 3 have been opened at the Otter Creek Horse Trail Assembly Area.
  • Multiple Road Openings: Multiple roads have been opened, including:
    • High Peaks Wilderness – Corey’s Road
    • Santa Clara Conservation Easement Tract – All roads except Madawaska Road (due to a washout)
    • Blue Mountain Wild Forest – O’Neil Flow Road in Township 19 Conservation Easement, and Minerva Club Road and Pickwickett Pond Road (access to Fishing Brook) in Township 20 Conservation Easement. High clearance vehicles recommended on Barker Pond Road (Township 19) and Minerva Club Road (Township 20)
    • Moose River Plains Complex – Moose River Plains entrance gates (Rock Dam Road remains closed until further notice. Road shoulders may be soft in areas.)
    • Essex Chain Lakes Complex – seasonal gates on Chain Lakes Road South (which provides access to Pine Lake Primitive Area)
    • Jessup River Wild Forest – Perkins Clearing Road, Military Road, and Jessup River Road are open (allowing access to Mason Lake, Pillsbury Lake Trailhead, and Spruce Lake Trailhead)
    • Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tracts: Perkins Clearing Road and Elm Lake Road, Cave Hill Road, Pine Lakes Road and Fly Creek Road are open. All other easement roads will remain closed for mud season and for repairs
    • Ferris Lake Wild Forest – Powley Road (which provides access to Ferris Lake Wild Forest)
    • Silver Lake Wilderness – West River Road (which provides access to the Whitehouse Trailhead of the Northville Placid Trail)


  • 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.

Know Before You Go (as of 5/23):

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 high-70s, with it getting progressively warmer Friday through to Sunday. It will be mostly cloudy.

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 = 5:19 a.m.; Sunset = 8:26 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 somewhat below 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. Please read the posting for more information and instructions on where to send your application.

nys dec promotional set up

Safety and Education – Thunderstorm Safety:

If you’re outside and suddenly see darkening skies, increasing wind, or a drop in temperature, be aware that a thunderstorm may be looming. Thunderstorms are most common in the spring and summer months during the second half of the day but can happen any time.

Keep in mind these tips if you do hear that first rumble of thunder signaling lightning not too far behind, and can’t reach shelter quickly:

  • Avoid open spaces (#1 most dangerous place), or bodies of water.
  • Stay away from trees (#2 most dangerous place).
  • Find the lowest point in the area and curl up into a ball instead of laying flat.
  • If you are in a group, spread out to minimize the chances of everyone being struck.

It may seem contradictory to avoid open spaces and trees, but the reason is because lightning strikes the tallest object. So if you’re in an open, empty space, the tallest “object” could be you. But if you’re in the woods, the tallest object is likely a tree. If you’re standing close to a tree that is struck, the electrical current can travel through the ground to you. So the key is to be among the trees but not directly next to them, especially not tall ones.

Standing tall and brave may work when encountered by a black bear, but not a thunderstorm!

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 – If You Care, Leave It There:

Principle 6 of Leave No Trace is to Respect Wildlife. Luckily, it’s simple; the most respectful way to interact with wildlife is often by not interacting with them at all! This is pertinent this time of year as spring’s warm weather leads to more encounters with wildlife, especially young birds and other animals.

Rest assured that if you see a young animal without its parents, it most likely was not abandoned. There are a couple common scenarios where you may see young wildlife alone:

  • The young’s parents are putting them somewhere they deem safely hidden from predators while they are off collecting food.
  • The young are in the stage of their life where their parents are teaching them survival skills so they are intentionally receiving little to no parental care.

Both of these scenarios are perfectly normal and healthy, and human interference typically causes more harm than good. For example, if human presence is detected by a doe (which is typically left alone for the first several days of its life by the mother except when nursing), the doe may delay its next visit to nurse.

The more serious cases of animals seemingly abandoned are due to injury. Anyone who encounters a young wild animal that is injured or orphaned should call a trained and licensed DEC wildlife rehabilitator. Similarly, if a nestling is found on the ground and cannot be easily and safely returned to the nest, refrain from approaching and call a wildlife rehabilitator.

But the general rule of thumb is: if you care, leave it there!

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.

2 Responses

  1. Gary N. Lee says:

    Those dam beavers are at work again, it is their life work, the more you take down the more they will build overnight.

    • Gary, I have a humorous anecdote about “those dam beavers” that you might appreciate. So, back in the day, my dad & I hiked up through Avalanche into Colden quite frequently. “Brownie” was still Interior Headquarters Caretaker then. One day as we approached the beaver dams at the far end of Avalanche Lake, Dad started one in his seemingly endless series of educational monologues. He started talking about the beavers, and how “This was their territory. The beavers live here. This is High Peaks Forest Preserve, for Christ’s sake!” He went on about how he had specifically instructed staff to “Stop tearing down the dams & just move the dam trail! The next guy I catch tearing down those beaver dams is going to have to deal with me directly!” Just then, we looked left towards the dam. Sure enough, there was Brownie, crouching down in the brush, in the process of tearing out a new beaver dam. Well… Let’s just say we had quite the lively visit at the Interior HQ THAT day!

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