Friday, June 21, 2024

Outdoor Conditions (6/21): Risks of hiking in high temps, knowing signs of heat exhaustion & heat stroke

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

  • Road Work in Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easements, Jessup River Wild Forest and West Canada Lakes Units: During the week of 6/24, Jessup River Road will have delays due to culvert and road work near the first Miami river bridge. The road is not closed, but travelers going to the Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower, West Canada Wilderness, and Spruce Lake may experience delays as DEC crews repair the road. (6/18/24)
  • Cranberry Lake Wild Forest Easement Closure: As of Friday, June 14, the Massawepie Conservation Easement is closed to public use for the season. During this time, access to the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement is still permitted via the Massawepie/Townline Road.

LAST 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.

Know Before You Go (as of 6/20):

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 upper-50s and highs in the upper-70s, with cloudy skies and rain on Friday and Saturday turning into thunderstorms 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: With a risk of severe weather (wind and hail) this Thursday, 6/20, and thunderstorms continuing into the weekend, be prepared for potential damage to some trails/trail structures. The rain forecasted Friday-Sunday may lead to potential runoff or washouts/or cause the trails to be extra muddy. Please turn around if an area is impassable safely and walk through mud/puddles to prevent erosion.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:12 a.m.; Sunset = 8:42 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 average to slightly low 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.

Public Meetings for Visitor Use Management Projects in Catskills and Adirondack High Peaks

DEC is holding two virtual public meetings for Visitor Use Management (VUM) projects in the Catskills and Adirondack Park High Peaks this month. During the virtual meetings, the project team will provide an overview of the VUM projects currently underway, including their purpose, expected outcomes, and how DEC will use the outcomes. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas for potential management strategies and actions that could potentially close the gap between existing and desired conditions.

Kaaterskill Clove VUM virtual public meeting: Wednesday June 26, 2024 from 5:00-8:00pm. Register to attend the Kaaterskill Clove VUM virtual public meeting.

High Peaks VUM virtual public meeting: Thursday June 27, 2024 from 5:00-8:00pm. Register to attend the High Peaks VUM virtual public meeting.

Contact vum-facilitators@rossstrategic.com for any questions about the meetings, or to identify online meeting accommodation needs. For more information on the VUM projects, visit the Kaaterskill Clove project website or the High Peaks project website.

Visitors at Kaaterskill Falls.

Visitors at Kaaterskill Falls. NYS DEC photo.

‘Love Our New York Lands’ Photo Contest

DEC’s ‘Love Our New York Lands’ photo contest for the 2024 season has been launched – featuring 5 monthly themes through mid-October, with winning images receiving prizes and being featured in statewide campaigns to increase awareness for safe and sustainable use of public lands.’

June’s theme is “Pride” to highlight the importance of sharing State lands with all New Yorkers, including the LGBTQIA+ community, and ensuring a safe and welcoming space. Seven winning pictures will be chosen that represent each color of the rainbow Pride flag: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo/violet. The Pride pictures will be used next year in a curated compilation similar to this year’s image created by DEC (attached below!).

Photos will be judged on the following criteria: originality; artistic composition; technical quality; and whether the photograph showcases people enjoying New York’s outdoor activities safely and responsibly.

Pride month submissions should be emailed to social@dec.ny.gov by June 30 with the subject line “LONYL Photo Contest.” Full name, the DEC land where the image was taken (if applicable), and Instagram/social media handle should also be included. Themes for future months of the contest will be announced later this summer.

More information at New York State DEC Announces New ‘Love Our New York Lands’ Photo Contest – NYSDEC.

Safety and Education – Stay Cool:

Hiking in the heat is always risky. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Slow your pace.
  • Drink water and rest often.
  • Seek shade and avoid long periods in direct sunlight.
  • Bring at least 2 liters of water for any hike.
  • Bring a water filter, especially for longer hikes.
  • Bring salty snacks to keep your electrolytes in check.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Leave your pets at home– the heat is harder on them, especially walking on hot rocks.

Lastly…

  • Consider staying home yourself and rescheduling for another day. The mountains aren’t going anywhere, and the view will be even more spectacular when you don’t have sweat droplets blurring your vision!

And don’t forget- even if the weather is forecast to be high heat all day, there’s always a chance of hypothermia due to a sudden storm or drop in temperatures. This chance skyrockets if you’re sweating and not wearing sweat-wicking clothing (made of fabrics like wool or polyester). Many cases of hypothermia are in the summer when people least expect it.

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 – Protect Pollinators:

It’s National Pollinator Week!

Pollinators like butterflies and birds brighten our days frequently with their beautiful patterns and melodic songs, but they benefit us and the environment in so many other ways that we may not even see or beware of. And it’s not just the pretty pollinators, other species like moths or long-horned beetles are all crucial to the Adirondack ecosystem. Pollinators are little but mighty, doing behind-the-scenes work that makes a huge impact on our lives whether we see them or not.

How do pollinators help us?

  • Over a third of the world’s food crops rely on pollinators to reproduce (~one out of every 3 bites of food you eat!).

How can we help pollinators?

  • The easiest way – don’t mow your lawn as much!
  • Minimize outdoor lighting.
  • Grow native plants (like milkweed for monarchs).
  • Provide a nesting site (by leaving tree snags/course woody materials/bare batches of sandy soil on your property, making a bee house, etc.).
  • Offer a drink (a shallow dish of water does the trick).
  • Report “pollinator incidents” (situations where you observe a large number of bees/other pollinators dying) to DEC at (518) 402-8727, or through email. Please see DEC’s website for a listing of statewide office contact information.

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

More information here.

Bee near a sunflower

Photo from Pollinator Network | CALS (cornell.edu)

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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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