Almanack Contributor NYS DEC


Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

Monday, May 23, 2022

State, local partners announce outdoor rec initiatives in Adirondacks, Catskills

adirondacks hiker shuttleNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos joined state and local community leaders to announce initiatives planned for the 2022 outdoor recreation season to protect public safety and promote sustainable recreation in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve. Many of these actions, bolstered by $8 million from the State Environmental Protection Fund specifically for Adirondack and Catskill visitor safety and wilderness protection in the recently enacted 2022-23 State Budget, support a comprehensive strategy to improve safety, sustainability, and equitable access of those enjoying the outdoors during the upcoming warm weather months.

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Kid next to water
Friday, May 20, 2022

Outdoor conditions (5/20): Muddy trails, warmer weather, cold water temps

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.


High Peaks Wilderness: Conditions, 05/19: Conditions are a mix of rotten snow and lots of mud. Dress in layers and bring extra so you can keep yourself dry. Ice may persist in places above 4,000 feet, so microspikes are still recommended. Recent rains may have swollen waterways making bridgeless water crossing difficult or even dangerous. Please avoid all trails above 2,500 feet while DEC’s muddy trails advisory is in effect.

Correction: Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Public access to the lock between Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes is tentatively set to close May 15 so work on the lock can begin. It is expected the work will be completed mid-June. There will be no boat access during this time. Canoes and kayaks can carry around the locks. DEC will continue to provide updates as they are available.

Sable Highlands Easement: D&H Road and Piney Ridge Road gates have been open for the season for access by cars and trucks. Please note that public ATVs & UTVs are prohibited on the property with the exception of Wolf Pond Road, which is a Town road.

Independence River Wild Forest (Stillwater Reservoir, Big Moose & Three Lakes Conservation Easement Tracts):

  • Water has been turned on at the Otter Creek Assembly Area.
  • All mud gates have been opened.

William C. Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Access Road is now open for public use.

Moose River Plains Complex: DEC anticipates opening the Moose River Plains gates the week prior to Memorial Day weekend.

Santa Clara Conservation Easement:

  • Public access roads are now open for public vehicles. This includes the Madawaska Road. Drivers should exercise caution on backcountry roads due to varying surface conditions.
  • A logging operation is occurring on the portion of the property south of Lake Ozonia (accessed by the Brown Track Road). Users accessing the easement should reduce speed and exercise caution both on the Brown Track Road and on the easement roads in that area. Anglers are advised not to use the northern of the 2 fishing sites on the CP3 route as trucks will soon be crossing that bridge regularly.

Speculator Tree Farm and Perkins Clearing:

  • High clearance vehicles are recommended for Jessup River Road.
  • Mud Lake Road is now open.

Township 19: O’Neil Flow and Barker Pond Road are open to the public.

Grass River Wild Forest: All seasonal access roads on Conservation Easement & Forest Preserve lands are now or will be opened in the near future. Please be aware of the recreational rights allowed on each individual property or at each area.

Raquette Boreal Complex: All seasonal access roads on Conservation Easement & Forest Preserve lands are now or will be opened in the near future. Please be aware of the recreational rights allowed on each individual property or at each area.

White Hill Wild Forest: All seasonal access roads on Conservation Easement & Forest Preserve lands are now or will be opened in the near future. Please be aware of the recreational rights allowed on each individual property or at each area.

Bog River Complex: All seasonal access roads on Conservation Easement & Forest Preserve lands are now or will be opened in the near future. Please be aware of the recreational rights allowed on each individual property or at each area.

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest: All seasonal access roads on Conservation Easement & Forest Preserve lands are now or will be opened in the near future. Please be aware of the recreational rights allowed on each individual property or at each area.


General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources, including travel information, weather resources, and seasonally-specific information about Adirondack recreation.

Know Before You Go (05/19): After frequent storms and rain in the last week, trails are wet and muddy in places. DEC’s Muddy Trails Advisory encourages visitors to continue avoiding all trails above 2,500 feet, including all High Peaks, to help prevent trail damage and erosion as those trails continue to dry and harden. Temperatures may vary significantly depending on your location, the time of day and your elevation. Waterways may be fast and swollen, making crossing difficult or dangerous. Despite warm air temperatures, water may still be extremely cold.

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. Check wind chill temperatures and prepare for colder, windier summits.

Muddy Trails: Walk straight through mud rather than around it to prevent trail widening and vegetation damage. Opt for low elevation trails until high elevations have time to dry and harden. Follow the muddy trails advisory.

Seasonal Roads: Some seasonal access roads are still closed for spring mud season. Where seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicles, the use of four-wheel drive vehicles is strongly recommended.

Fire Danger: Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are mostly average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Water temperatures will be very cold. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn. Where bridges are not available, do not attempt stream crossings during periods of high, fast-moving water.

Hiking with Dogs: DEC warns pet owners to avoid bringing their dogs hiking with them in the summer. Dogs hiking in warm temperatures are at risk of experiencing heat exhaustion and death. If your dog does collapse, quickly move to create shade for the dog and cool their feet and stomach – this is the most effective way to help an overheated dog. The best way to protect your pet is to leave them at home.

 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.

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.

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) 623-1240.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve: Parking reservations will be required May 1 through Oct. 31 for single-day and overnight access to the parking lot, trailheads, and trails located on the privately owned, 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the High Peaks region. For a list of frequently asked questions and to register, visit AMR’s website.

Safety & Education

Spring is in full swing. Whether you’re going for a hike, a bike, a paddle, or fishing, 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.

Buy It Where You Burn It

Campfire season is upon us, which means it’s time to review best practices for sourcing our firewood.

While all firewood may seem safe, it’s important to remember that bugs, bacteria, and other organisms can be transported in, on, and around the logs we bring camping. These species can become invasive and are extremely harmful to our forests.

To have a safe and enjoyable fire this summer, remember to:

  • Buy it where you burn it: purchase or collect your firewood within 50 miles of where you plan to have your fire.
  • Purchase treated firewood: make sure that any firewood you purchase is treated to neutralize any dangerous plants, bugs, or pathogens.
  • Leave yours at home: save your own wood for a campfire at home. Even seasoned wood can be home to many invasive species.

Learn more about Firewood and Invasive Pests page on DEC’s website.


Leave No Trace™

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks. Use proper trail etiquette to ensure an enjoyable experience for yourself and others and tread lightly!

Trash Timeline

We all know how important it is to keep our favorite outdoor places litter-free. We pack out what we bring in, minimize our impact, and pick up litter when we see it. Have you ever wondered how long that trash can remain in our ecosystem if it’s not picked up?

Many common items can take much longer than expected to decompose. Consider how long on average it takes these items to biodegrade:

  • Orange or Banana Peel – Up to 2 Years
  • Cigarette Butts – 1 to 5 years
  • Leather or wool – 1 to 5 years
  • Food wrappers – 5 years
  • Aluminum Cans – 80 to 100 years
  • Disposable Diapers – 450 years
  • Fishing Line – 600 years

All of this trash sticks around for quite some time. Even items that are often considered “natural” or “biodegradable” can impact the plants, animals, and people that use the land for several years. During that time, that waste is more than likely to find its way into the diet of an unsuspecting animal, provide abnormal nutrients to plants and water bodies, or impact the wilderness experience of a passing hiker.

Visit the Leave No TraceTM website for more information on how to minimize the impact of trash and other waste on our wild spaces.

Friday, May 20, 2022

DEC Urges New Yorkers to Leave Fawns and Other Young Wildlife in the Wild

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from a distance and resist the urge to pick up newborn fawns and other young wildlife.

“When young wildlife venture into the world, they may have a brief inability to walk or fly on their own, making some people believe they might need help,” Commissioner Seggos said. “However, young wildlife belongs in the wild and in nearly all cases, interaction with people does more harm than good to the animals.”

If You Care, Leave it There

When people encounter young wildlife, they are likely not lost or abandoned, but purposely left there by their parents to keep them hidden from predators while the adult animal is nearby collecting food for the newborn.

White-tailed deer fawns are a good example of how human interaction with young wildlife can be problematic. Fawns are born during late May and early June, and although they can walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their first several days lying still in tall grass, leaf litter, or sometimes relatively unconcealed. During this period, a fawn is usually left alone by the adult female (doe), except when nursing.

Human Interactions Do More Harm than Good to Wild Animals

People occasionally find a lone fawn and mistakenly assume it has been abandoned, which is rare. A fawn’s best chance to survive is to be raised by the adult doe. If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay its next visit to nurse.

Fawns should never be picked up. A fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain motionless help it to avoid detection by predators and people. By the end of a fawn’s second week of life, it begins to move about, spend more time with the doe, and eat on its own. At about 10 weeks of age, fawns are no longer dependent on milk, although they continue to nurse occasionally into the fall.

The more serious cases of animals being abandoned are due to injury. Anyone that encounters a young wild animal that is obviously injured or orphaned may wish to call a wildlife rehabilitator. Wildlife rehabilitators are trained volunteers licensed by DEC. They are the only people legally allowed to receive and treat distressed wildlife because they have the experience, expertise, and facilities to successfully treat and release wild animals once rehabilitated.

Additionally, DEC reminds the public that young wildlife are not pets. Keeping wildlife in captivity is illegal and harmful to the animal. Wild animals are not well-suited to life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be harmful to humans. DEC also advises New Yorkers to keep pets indoors when young wild animals are present. Many fledgling birds cannot fly when they first leave the nest and are easy prey for a domestic cat.

Anyone who observes wildlife that appears to be sick or behaving abnormally should contact their DEC regional wildlife office.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about young wildlife, visit DEC’s website.

Photo at top: A resting fawn. DEC photo. 

Kid next to water
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tracking Timberdoodles

woodcockThe American woodcock, or Timberdoodle, is a migratory upland bird, whose numbers have been declining for several decades. Since 2018, DEC has been a partner in the Eastern Woodcock Migration Research Cooperative, led by the University of Maine. The goal of the larger collaborative is to understand the woodcock’s migration ecology. During this study, 40 woodcock have been marked in New York and over 500 for the project overall. This year, DEC is expanding its efforts by partnering with SUNY Brockport and the University of Maine to better understand woodcock’s habitat usage during the spring breeding and summer brood rearing seasons. As part of the expanded effort, DEC biologists and technicians will be out trying to capture woodcock in early May. The information from this study will help guide habitat management on state and private lands in New York to benefit woodcock and other species that rely on early successional forest habitats. Check out a video about this interesting research.

Photo by M. Noome

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Missing 3-year old boy found by logger in Lewis County, rangers assist in search and rescue efforts

forest ranger reportTown of Watson
Lewis County
Missing Child Found:
 On May 11 at 10:18 a.m., Ranger Hanno overheard radio traffic about a missing three-year-old boy with two dogs, possibly in the woods behind a property in the town of Watson. Upon arrival, Rangers and sheriff’s deputies confirmed the child was not in the residence or outbuildings on the property.

The family regularly walks the trails behind the home, so crews began searching that area. Searching also took place across the street, where the child was last seen on a resident’s camera at 9:47 a.m., and a diaper was found further north of the home. At 1:45 p.m., a logger found the child approximately 1.29 miles from the family’s home, drove the child out to the road, and alerted a Ranger and deputy the child had been found.

The child was evaluated by Lewis County Search and Rescue and released to his parents. Resources were clear at 3 p.m.

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Kid next to water
Saturday, May 14, 2022

Give crossing turtles a brake

turtleEach May and June, Motorists Should be on the Alert for Turtles Crossing the Road  

Our native turtles are on the move in May and June seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs. In New York, thousands of turtles are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles as they migrate to their nesting areas.

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (5/13): Tips for hiking with dogs, being prepared for sudden inclement weather while hiking

outdoor conditions logoRecent Notices

The following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.


High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snow Conditions, 05/12: There is persistent packed snow on trails above 4,000 feet, especially on north aspects. Trails are very muddy above 3,000 feet. There is high fire danger at the moment. Temperatures may reach hazardous highs this weekend, and thunderstorms are forecast. Please avoid all trails above 2,500 feet while DEC’s muddy trails advisory is in effect.
  • The gate on Corey’s Road is now open.
  • The gate at Clear Pond, on the Elk Lake Conservation Easement, 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 Slide Brook 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.

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Kid next to water
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spring Beauties of the Forest Floor

trout lillies in springHave you spotted some of the first wildflowers in the forest? Late April into early May is when the famously fleeting flowers we call the spring ephemerals bloom – but only for a brief period of time! Known for bringing the first signs of the season to the forest floor, this group of perennials has only a short window of time to grow, flower, be pollinated, and produce seeds before the towering trees above them leaf out and steal their access to sunlight.

Beyond being beautiful, spring ephemerals are a source of nectar and pollen for many pollinators in a time when food is scarce. In return, pollinators help the plants reproduce and some (like ants) also spread their seeds, inadvertently helping to plant the next generation.

Just a few of the species you may spot include bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), trout lily (Erythronium americanum), red trillium (Trillium erectum), and spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). Many of these flowers are protected species, meaning it is illegal to pick or trample them. If you notice any in your yard, enjoy their brief beauty with only your eyes and camera.

Pictured: A mixed patch of spring ephemerals including trout lily (yellow flower) and spring beauty (pink flower).

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Rangers respond to brush fire in Forestport, wilderness rescue in North Elba

forest ranger report

Town of Forestport
Oneida County
Brush Fire:
 On May 1 at 5:45 p.m., Forest Ranger Lieutenant Hoag and Ranger McCartney responded to a brush fire near Round Lake Road in the town of Forestport. The fire burned an estimated nine acres of private land. By 8:20 p.m., the fire was put into patrol status and declared out on May 4.

New York’s annual statewide brush burning ban is in effect through May 14. Since 2009, DEC has enforced the ban to prevent wildfires and protect communities during heightened conditions for wildfires each spring. Backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed.

Small cooking fires are allowed, but only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned. People should never leave these or any fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round. For more information about fire safety and prevention, go to DEC’s FIREWISE New York webpage.

Brush fire in Forestport. DEC photo.

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Kid next to water
Monday, May 9, 2022

DEC Shares Safety Tips on Spring Recreation in the Adirondacks

Mud Season Muddy Trail Adirondacks (Adirondack Mountain CLub Photo)The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds visitors to recreate responsibly in the Adirondacks this spring to help protect State lands for future generations. Spring is an excellent time to get outdoors and enjoy warming temperatures, but it can also pose many risks to outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife, and natural resources. DEC encourages visitors to public lands to recreate responsibly to protect themselves and the resource.

Practice the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM: Leave No Trace™ principles provide a framework for safe and sustainable recreation. Based on outdoor ethics rather than rules, the principles provide guidelines that can be tailored to a variety of outdoor activities and an individual’s specific experience. Before heading out to visit State lands, DEC encourages outdoor adventurers to review and familiarize themselves with these principles to help be prepared, stay safe, and minimize damage to shared lands and waterways.

Follow the Muddy Trail Advisory: Hikers are advised to avoid hiking on high elevation trails above 2,500 feet until further notice. Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. Sliding boots destroy trail tread, damage surrounding vegetation, and erode thin soils, increasing the likelihood of washouts; rotten snow and monorails are a safety hazard even with proper equipment; and high elevation and alpine vegetation are extremely fragile during this time.

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Friday, May 6, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (5/6): Blowdown on hiking trails to be cleared as staff increases

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.


High Peaks Wilderness: Snow Conditions, 05/05: Snow depths remain significant at high elevations, with areas reaching 2-3 feet in depth. Snowshoes are required to be worn wherever snow accumulations are greater than 8 inches. Crampons and microspikes are still essential – many trails are still icy above 3,000 feet. Be prepared to encounter mud at lower elevations. Check summit weather forecasts for more accurate predictions at higher elevations. A mid-April snowstorm caused significant blowdown, making navigation more challenging. Carry a paper map and compass or GPS and know how to use them. Please avoid all trails above 2,500 feet while DEC’s muddy trails advisory is in effect.

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Kid next to water
Thursday, May 5, 2022

A chance to give input on inclusivity, accessibility in outdoors

accessibilityTwo Virtual Public Forums on Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Sustainability in the Outdoors Scheduled for May

DEC, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), will be hosting a two-part webinar series on integrating inclusivity, accessibility, and sustainability in providing access to state lands.

In each session, Janet Zeller, a national expert on accessibility of outdoor recreation for people with disabilities, will give a presentation, followed by a discussion facilitated by the DEC/APA Accessibility Advisory Committee. The committee consists of representatives of people with disabilities who are focused on improving the accessibility of outdoor recreation across New York State.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Rangers conduct wilderness rescue in North Elba, respond to brush fire in Lake Luzerne

forest ranger report


Recent NYS Forest Ranger actions:

North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 30 at 10 p.m., Essex County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance for a hiker suffering from an unstable knee injury on Algonquin Peak. Ranger Evans made contact with the 25-year-old from Vermont and instructed her partner to make a brace so the pair could continue moving downhill.

When Rangers Evans and Lewis reached the hiker at 1:30 a.m., they re-splinted the knee and helped the hikers out of the woods. At 6 a.m., the subject went to Glens Falls Hospital for further treatment.

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Kid next to water
Monday, May 2, 2022

I Love My Park Day set for May 7

The 11th Annual I Love My Park Day will be held on Saturday, May 7. I Love My Park Day is hosted by Parks & Trails New York in partnership with DEC and New York State Parks will host events at 145 state parks, historic sites, and public lands across the state.

Volunteers will celebrate New York’s public lands by cleaning up debris, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitats, removing invasive species, and working on various site improvement projects.

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

ECOs crack down on fishing violations

Recent actions from Adirondack-region Environmental Conservation Officers

fishing violationFishing Violations – Warren County

On the morning of April 15, Lieutenant Higgins and ECO Brassard patrolled a small trout pond in Queensbury and discovered several anglers catching freshly stocked trout without incident. However, some anglers also possessed out-of-season chain pickerel. In addition, two fishermen had failed to buy a fishing license, resulting in tickets to the offenders.

Later that afternoon, ECO Lapoint patrolled stocked streams in Lake George and located two anglers, one of whom exceeded the limit of trout he could legally catch and the other who did not have a valid fishing license. ECO Lapoint issued tickets to both anglers and educated the pair about daily limits and how purchasing a fishing license supports fish stocking in New York State.

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Kid next to water

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