Thursday, June 13, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (6/13): Over half of NY’s black bears live in ADKs; tips for being bear aware

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

  • Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tracts Road Openings: All public easement roads are open.
  • Debar Mountain Wild Forest Timber Harvest: A timber harvest is occurring on private property off Debar Meadows Road; the public should use caution and expect to encounter log trucks.
  • Debar Mountain Wild Forest Trailhead Closing: The Azure Mountain Trailhead will be closed starting on June 17 so that the parking area can be resurfaced. The work should be completed and the trailhead reopened by June 21.

LAST WEEK

  • Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Route Opening: Roosevelt Truck Trail, a motorized access route for people with disabilities (by CP3 permit only), is cleared of blowdown and open for the season.
  • Boreas Ponds Tract Road Opening: Gulf Brook Road is open to the Four Corners Parking Lot. The motorized access route for people with disabilities (by CP3 permit only), is also open.

Know Before You Go (as of 6/13):

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 mid-40s and highs in the mid-70s, with rain Friday, sun Saturday, and clouds 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.

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: Water levels have returned to normal after being very low last weekend, so expect conditions to be standard with some muddy spots following the forecasted rain this Friday.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:11 a.m.; Sunset = 8:40 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.

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.

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.

General Notices:

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry page for more trip-planning resources.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve: From May 1 through Oct. 31 (2024), reservations are 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. For a list of frequently asked questions, visit AMR’s website

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.

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.

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.

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 – Be Bear Aware:

More than half of the black bears in New York State live in the Adirondacks!

For up to 5 months a year, they can remain dormant. By late spring (just about now) and up until late fall is when they’re the most active. If you’re hiking in the Adirondacks, there’s always a chance of encountering them. Despite them being the second largest NY mammal after moose—male black bears weighing around 300 pounds—they don’t tend to be nearly as aggressive as grizzly bears, and black bear attacks are very rare.

If you do see a bear and feel threatened, follow these tips to ensure your safety:

  • Do not run (black bears can outrun you at over 30 mph)—instead back away slowly.
  • Make loud noises to scare away the bear (yelling, clapping, using a whistle, banging pots, etc.).
  • As cute as baby bears are, avoid them at all costs! Mama bears are always near and a main cause of attacks are mama bears protecting their young.

Hiking in groups is helpful to prevent bears from approaching you not only because they are wearier of multiple people but also because groups tend to be louder, which alerts the bear that you’re in the area and prevents them from getting spooked. If you’re alone in the backcountry, yell out or clap every now and then for the same effect.

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.

For more information, visit our Black Bear webpage.

10 hiking essentials

Leave No Trace – Have Care for the Bear:

Black bears are an important and natural component of New York’s ecosystem. So in addition to keeping yourself safe from the bears, please help maintain and protect the bear as well.

The main way to help protect bears is by not feeding them (same goes for all wildlife).

Why you should not feed them:

  • Human food is unhealthy for bears.
  • Overeating is harmful for maintaining bear populations.
  • Feeding bears creates human-bear conflicts down the road by causing bears to become bolder and more aggressive, and more likely to be euthanized if they end up attacking someone.

How to make sure you’re not feeding the bears (even unintentionally):

  • Do not throw food scraps on the ground.
  • Do not leave packs unattended at camps or on trails with food inside.
  • Lock away all food, garbage, and toiletries in bear-resistant canisters! (Required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30.)

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

A human hand next to a bear paw print

Yup—that’s a pawprint from a black bear on the right! NYS DEC photo.

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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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