Thursday, June 16, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 16)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH WATERS
Some waters have returned to normal levels, but Lake Champlain is still above flood stage (see below) and the Hudson and Raquette Rivers remain very high, and the Indian, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon, Saranac, Independence, and Oswegatchie Rivers remain above normal. Water temperatures is still low throughout much of the park. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to river than continue to be high may still be flooded. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon (6/16). A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Port Henry, Westport and Willsboro Bay (Plattsburgh Dock is operational). Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, Malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred this spring and combined with saturated soils have contributed considerable blowdown in some areas; expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. A hiker had to be rescued by helicopter this week from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers will ticket violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE
Spring is the best time to remember that wild animals belong in the wild. All too often, well-meaning people pick up animals, particularly white-tailed deer fawns and young birds, mistakenly believing that these animals have been orphaned or abandoned. This is almost never the case. The parent animals are nearby, waiting for the human threat to leave, so that they may resume caring for their offspring. The best advice is: “If you care, leave them there.”

INCREASED INVASIVE SPECIES BOAT INSPECTIONS
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed at Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Fulton Chain of Lakes, Cranberry Lake, Meacham Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Flower, Upper St. Regis Lake, Lake Placid, Rainbow Lake, Osgood Pond, Second Pond, Tupper Lake, Lake George, and Saratoga Lake. Stewards inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary. More than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

PRACTICE ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BE PREPARED
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Showers, thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 76.
Friday Night: Showers likely, thunderstorms possible; low around 53.
Saturday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, high near 75.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 44.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 71.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep. The Wakely Dam Camping area is closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels remain high and water temperatures low, especially on the Raquette and Hudson Rivers and in the Lake Champlain watershed. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks,

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: The 7th Annual Great Adirondack Trail Run will take place on Saturday in Keene Valley. Expect heavy use by trail runners in the Giant Mountain Wilderness along the North Trail to Giant Mountain between the Route 9N Trailhead / Owl’s Head Lookout area, and the turnoff for Hopkins Mountain and the Mossy Cascade Trail down to the Mountaineer on Route 73. The 11.5 mile run will begin at 9 AM, with runners starting one per minute at the Route 9N trailhead. A second race will be held from Baxter Mountain Tavern to Keene Valley along the Baxter Moutain Trail from the Baxter Mountain Tavern on Rte 9N between Keene and Elizabethtown to the finish area at Riverside in Keene Valley. This shorter 3.5 mile run will begin at 10 AM, also with a staggered start. NOTE: There will be no support–participants are on their own from start to finish, and will need their own water, food and all other supplies. Anyone caught littering will be immediately disqualified.

** Wilmington Whiteface Bike Trails: The second Wilmington/Whiteface Bike Fest, a four-day event which also includes the Whiteface Uphill Road Race, the “Brainless Not Chainless Gravity Ride,” and for the first time a 57-mile qualifier for the Leadville 100. The Bike Fest is expected to bring an additional 4,000 bike enthusiasts to the Wilmington area. Expect heavier than normal traffic on the Flume, Whiteface, Beaver Brook, and Hardy Road Mountain bike trail systems and along the Whiteface Memorial Highway. Sunday’s race starts at the Whiteface Mountain bridge and heads toward Jay and Saddleback Mountains along Jay Mountain Road and Barlett Road. Racers can still register for the WW100 online.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

Bear Resistant Canister Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is nearly impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons due to washouts and blowdown.

SOUTH-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

** Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished and significant damage from flooding to the Cedar River Road and the camping area has forced the closure of the Wakely Dam Area. It’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

** West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Lake Champlain Flooding: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon (6/16). A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Port Henry, Westport and Willsboro Bay (Plattsburgh Dock is operational). Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, Malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** Chazy Lake: Floating docks have not yet been installed.

** Upper Chateaugay Lake: Floating docks have not yet been installed.

** Great Sacandaga Lake Beaches Closed: All six public beaches in Fulton and Saratoga counties remain closed. Broadalbin’s beach on Lakeview Road, adjacent to the state boat launch, will not open this year after the Town Council voted to end funding. Officials have told local reporters that people who use the beach do so at their own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty, but they aren’t being considered trespassers because the area hasn’t been posted. The town park and beach in Edinburg has been closed since last summer for the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge; it’s expected to reopen in 2013. The Northville beach on Route 30 is scheduled to open for Fourth of July weekend, but the beach is still under water. The beach on South Shore Road in Providence, near Fish House, also is under water, but is expected to be opened by July 1. The beach in the Northampton Day Use area is under water, but also expected to open by the end of the month. The water level of the Great Sacandaga Lake has stayed above median and target levels since the end of April. It’s believed the lake will return to normal in the next week if there are no big storms.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year (see High Waters warning above).

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

** Thirteenth Lake: A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: The Dacy Clearing Park Area and Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts. Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 9)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HEAVY SHARED ROADWAY USE
Expect to encounter bicyclists, runners, and motorcycles on area roads, sometimes in large numbers. Americade and Warrensburg Bike week will fill Warren County roads, especially those near Lake George with motorcycles. Communities hosting foot and bike races that use local roads include Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Inlet and Indian Lake including the Moose River Plains.

** HIGH WATERS
Larger rivers in the Western Adirondacks have returned to normal levels for this time of year, with the exception of the those in the St. Lawrence watershed where the Raquette River remains high, and in the Hudson and Champlain watersheds where the Hudson, Indian, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon and Saranac Rivers remain well above normal. In the eastern Adirondacks water levels are high, but water temperatures is still low throughout the park. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may be flooded in the Eastern Adirondacks. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon. A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are still flooded and due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time; The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

LANDSLIDE UPDATE
Recent heavy rains expanded a slide on Whiteface and exacerbated a slide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley, that NYS geologists say is the state’s largest ever. Several weeks of heavy rain contributed to the Whiteface slide which is believed to have occurred during a storm Friday evening. The slide expanded the existing backcountry area’s Slide 3 so that it left tons of debris at the base of Slide 1, also known as Slide Out. A meeting was held this week and covered by the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred over the past week. Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers will ticket violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE
Spring is the best time to remember that wild animals belong in the wild. All too often, well-meaning people pick up animals, particularly white-tailed deer fawns and young birds, mistakenly believing that these animals have been orphaned or abandoned. This is almost never the case. The parent animals are nearby, waiting for the human threat to leave, so that they may resume caring for their offspring. The best advice is: “If you care, leave them there.”

** INCREASED INVASIVE SPECIES BOAT INSPECTIONS
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed at Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Fulton Chain of Lakes, Cranberry Lake, Meacham Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Flower, Upper St. Regis Lake, Lake Placid, Rainbow Lake, Osgood Pond, Second Pond, Tupper Lake, Lake George, and Saratoga Lake. Stewards inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary. More than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.

PRACTICE ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BE PREPARED
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Mostly sunny, high near 70.
Friday Night: Increasing clouds, low around 41.
Saturday: Showers likely, cloudy, with a high near 63.
Saturday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, low around 50.
Sunday: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 68.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL & REGIONAL CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette and Lake Champlain watershed rivers, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Wilmington, Lake Placid, High Peaks, Long Lake

** Lake Placid Marathon: The Lake Placid Marathon will take place on Sunday, June 12, and will attract athletes and spectators to roadways in the Lake Placid area. Both races will start on Main Street in front of the Olympic Speedskating Oval at 8:00 a.m. in mass start. Runners will proceed along historic Main Street past the Post Office and through the center of town for the first half mile. Everyone will then proceed clockwise around Mirror Lake on Mirror Lake Drive to join Parkside Drive at the National Sports Academy. The course proceeds out Route 73 to the Horseshow Grounds before doing a 2.8 mile out and back on River Road for the first loop. For those completing the Half Marathon, after the River Road turnaround, runners will continue back through the Horseshow Grounds and continue to the finish at the Olympic Speedskating Oval. The marathon includes 28 aid stations over the course’s 26.2 miles. The half marathon will have 15 aid stations over 13.1 miles. For more information and a complete master schedule, visit www.lakeplacidmarathon.com.

** Wilmington-Whiteface & Saranac Lake Road Races: Team Placid Planet, a cycling and multisport club based in Lake Placid and the High Peaks Region, is hosting the 4th Annual Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race on Saturday, June 11th and the 3rd Annual Saranac Lake Downtown Criterium (NYS Criterium Championships) on Sunday, June 12th. Both races are sanctioned by USA Cycling, the national cycling sanctioning body, and provide opportunities for men, women, and youth of a variety of experience levels as well as first-time racers to participate. The Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race starts at the Wilmington Town Park and takes Bonnie View Road to a 13.7 mile loop on back roads in the town of Black Brook before returning to Wilmington and finishing 1.6 miles up Whiteface Mountain to the Santa’s Workshop entrance. The Saranac Lake Downtown Criterium is a multi-lap event around Main Street, Broadway, Dorsey St, and Rt 3. Registration is online at BikeReg.com or on site on race day. More information, including sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can also be found online or by emailing jameslwalker3@yahoo.com.

** Wilmington – Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems: Mountain bikers are asked to avoid using all bike trail systems in the Wilmington area – including the Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems – to prevent rutting and damaging trails.

** Isolated Snow On The Ground: Snow may be found in a few isolated areas.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons due to washouts and blowdown.

SOUTH-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

** Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished following heavy damage during this spring’s flooding; it’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

** Black Fly Challenge Mountain Bike Race: The 16th running of the Black Fly Challenge bicycle race will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2011. Affected roads between Inlet and Indian Lake include Routes 30 and 28, Cedar River Road, Limekiln Road in the Moose River Plains, and Otter Brook Road in Inlet. Over half the 40 mile course traverses the Moose River Recreation Area on backcountry roads. The race changes direction every year with the start alternating between Indian Lake and Inlet, with Indian Lake hosting the start this year. The top racers finish the race in about two hours while the rest of the field may take four hours or more.

** Hamilton County Birding Festival: Hamilton County is hosting the 7th Annual Adirondack Birding Festival this weekend, June 10-12th, with John and Pat Thaxton and Joan Collins guiding many of the trips and a variety of events, including driving safaris, walks, hikes and canoe trips, as well as evening presentations. This year, Joan Collins will present a beginning birding talk on Friday, June 10th evening. John Thaxton will give a talk, “The Usual suspects”, about the boreal species in the Adirondacks, at the Indian Lake Theatre, in Indian Lake. The final event of the festival, will be a luncheon cruise aboard the W.W. Durant up the Marion River, with a tribute to Gary Lee, for his participation in the Festival, as well as in his general promotion of birding. Most of the birding guides for the weekend will be aboard to celebrate and recap the weekends events. Information for the festival can be found at www.adirondackbirds.com. All of our events are free, but registration is requested.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Creek and West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail have been washed away.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead. The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open, the public may access to the Pillisbury Mountain trailhead with motor vehicles.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Hudson River, Schroon Lake, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga Lake

** Lake Champlain Flooding: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon. A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are still flooded and due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

** Warren County Roads: Americade and Warrensburg Bike Week are taking place through Sunday, June 12th. These annual events bring thousands of riders to Adirondack roadways, especially in Warren County. Drive safely and be aware of motorcycles sharing the road. Many secondary roads have not yet been cleared of the winter accumulation of sand and dirt, making it especially hazardous for motorcycles on curves and corners. The Hague Volunteer Fire Department has already responded to the first motorcycle accident on Tongue Mountain, and two Americade attendees have already be killed in an accident in Lake Luzerne. Use caution and share the roadway.

** Great Sacandaga Lake Beaches Closed: All six public beaches in Fulton and Saratoga counties are closed. Broadalbin’s beach on Lakeview Road, adjacent to the state boat launch, will not open this year after the Town Council voted to end funding. Officials have told local reporters that people who use the beach do so at their own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty, but they aren’t being considered trespassers because the area hasn’t been posted. The town park and beach in Edinburg has been closed since last summer for the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge; it’s expected to reopen in 2013. The Northville beach on Route 30 is scheduled to open for Fourth of July weekend, but the beach is still under water. The beach on South Shore Road in Providence, near Fish House, also is under water, but is expected to be opened by July 1. The beach in the Northampton Day Use area is under water, but also expected to open by the end of the month. The water level of the Great Sacandaga Lake has stayed above median and target levels since the end of April. It’s believed the lake will return to normal in the next two weeks if there are no big storms.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

** Thirteenth Lake: A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: The Dacy Clearing Park Area and Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts. Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper Lake, Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. This summer DEC and SCA will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 2)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
Due to additional rains again this past week, many waters remain well above normal, notably the Raquette, Beaver, Hudson, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon and Saranac Rivers. Water levels are high and water temperatures are low, rivers and streams are running swiftly. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may still be flooded. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN REMAINS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here.

** MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

** LANDSLIDES CONTINUE
Last weekends heavy rains expanded a slide on Whiteface and exacrebated a slide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley, that NYS geologists say is the state’s largest ever. Several weeks of heavy rain contributed to the Whiteface slide which is believed to have occurred during a storm Friday evening. The slide expanded the existing backcountry area’s Slide 3 so that it left tons of debris at the base of Slide 1, also known as Slide Out.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests (see below). Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time; The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open, the public may access to the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead with motor vehicles; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROADS OPENED
The Moose River Plains road system in Hamilton County was partially opened last Friday. The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road has been opened to motor vehicles from the Limekiln Lake gate at the western end near Inlet and to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake. The opening of the Moose River Plains roads is due to the hard work of the local highway department staff and the successful partnership between DEC, the Towns of Inlet and Indian Lake and Hamilton County.

** SNOW AT ELEVATION
A foot or more of snow is present in elevations from 4000 feet to tree line. Snow may be found below 4000 feet on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** FLUME AND HARDY ROAD BIKE TRAIL SYSTEM
Mountain bikers are asked to avoid using all bike trail systems in the Wilmington area – including the Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems – to prevent rutting and damaging trails.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

** FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers will ticket violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

** BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events and very windy days have occurred over the past week. Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

INLET’S WOODS & WATER OUTDOOR EXPO
Inlet’s Woods and Waters Outdoor Expo will share information about outdoor recreational opportunities and products on Saturday and Sunday June 4th and 5th 2011. The event will be held on the Arrowhead Park Lakefront. The free public event is expected to be a multi-themed outdoor recreational event hosting booths containing products for power sports, paddling, mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and more. Not for profit Organizations from the many fitness events, environmental organizations, and tourism councils throughout the Adirondack Park are expected to attend.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, high near 62. North wind with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Friday Night: Patchy frost, clear, low around 28. North winds gusting to 23 mph.
Saturday: Sunny, high near 68. South wind at 5 mph becoming west.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers, mostly cloudy, low around 46.
Sunday: Chance of showers, partly sunny, high near 69.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette and Oswegatchie rivers, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

** Snow at Elevation: A foot or more of snow is present in elevations above 4000 feet and at lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

Dix Mountain Wilderness / Elk Lake Road: Elk Lake Road has reopened.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Corey’s Road Open: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, has reopened.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

** Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: Mountain bikers are asked to avoid using all bike trail systems in the Wilmington area – including the Flume and Hardy Road Bike Trail Systems – to prevent rutting and damaging trails.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System was opened late last Friday (see above for details).

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Creek and West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail have been washed away.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The Powley-Piseco Road in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest has reopened.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open, the public may access to the Pillisbury Mountain trailhead with motor vehicles.

** Perkins Clearing / Speculator tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road remains closed due to washouts and soft spots.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

Lake Champlain: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open. The Dacy Clearing Park Area is open, however, the Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

NORTHERN-NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Lake Champlain Islands: The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites, access points and portions of trails are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches.Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch.

Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Madawaska Flow Road has reopened to public motor vehicle access.

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Pinnacle Road has reopened.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Both the Upper and the Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain are open.

Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Moose Pond Road: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

Corey’s Road: The Town of Harrietstown has opened the Corey’s Road.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. This summer DEC and SCA will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

** Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Astronomy: The June Night Sky With The Naked Eye

Here are some naked eye objects for the month of June. All of these objects, although small, should be visible without the help of binoculars or a telescope, so long as you have clear dark skies.

Light pollution is a killer for seeing these objects with your naked eye. To find out how dark your location is, use the Google Map Overlay of light pollution. If you are in a blue, gray or black area then you should have dark enough skies. You may still be able to see some of these objects in a green location. If you aren’t in a dark sky location you may still be able to see these objects with a pair of binoculars or telescope.

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com [pdf – if you get an error, hit reload]. The map shows what is in the sky in June at 11 pm (for early June; 10 pm for late June).

If you are not familiar with what you see in the night sky, this is a great opportunity to step outside, look up, and begin learning the constellations. The sky is beautiful and filled with many treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Once you have looked for these objects go through the list again if you have a pair of binoculars handy, the views get better!

Scorpius
Messier Object 7 (M7) is an open star cluster near the stinger of Scorpius is a small, hazy patch known since antiquity. Visible enough that the Greek astronomer Ptolemy cataloged it. M6 an open star cluster is nearby to the north of M7 and is a little smaller and fainter. M6 is also known as the Butterfly Cluster.

Sagittarius
M8 is an open star cluster and nebula complex, also known as the Lagoon Nebula. Visible to the naked eye as a small hazy patch. Bright enough that it is visible even in suburbia. It may look small with the naked eye, but it is actually quite large nearly two moon diameters across.
Not sure if any of the other objects are visible to the naked eye, although Sagittarius is a beautiful sight as it lays in the Milky Way.

Aquila
The Great Rift is a non-luminous dust cloud that can be seen splitting the Milky Way in two separate streams. It stretches from Aquila to the constellation Cygnus although it is more prominent in the constellation Aquila.

Hercules
Messier Object 13 (known as M13) is a globular cluster. It will have a small hazy glow to it.

Virgo
Saturn is in Virgo, it will be the orange “star” you see directly next to the star Porrima. They are very close at the moment and if you are looking in Virgo you can’t miss it’s orange glow. Don’t get Saturn confused with the star Arcturus in the constellation Boötes (pronounced boh-‘oh-tees).

Cygnus
North America Nebula (NGC7000) – The unaided eye sees only a wedge-shaped star-cloud which may be quite dim, or not visible at all. In dark skies it should pop out a bit. Located near the star Deneb. M39 an open cluster patch of stars northeast of the star Deneb. The Northern Coalsack spans across the sky between the stars Deneb, Sadir, and Gienah in the northeastern portion of Cygnus. If you don’t know which stars of Sadir and Gienah just find Deneb with the map and look to the east northeast.

Ursa Major
Mizar and Alcor is a double star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Was once used as a test of good eyesight before glasses. Mizar resolves into a beautiful blue-white and greenish white binary (double star system). They are labeled on the map I linked to above.

Photo: The North America Nebula in a Wikipedia photo that reveals how its appearance can change dramatically using different combinations of visible and infrared observations by telescope.

Michael Rector is an amateur astronomer with his own blog, Adirondack Astronomy.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 26)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HEAVY USE – MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
A larger number of visitors can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and the Memorial Day Holiday. Popular parking lots, camping sites, motels and hotels may fill to capacity, especially in the High Peaks region. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the park. For suggestions, pick up a copy of The Other 54.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
Due to additional rains again this past week, many waters remain well above normal, notably the Raquette, Oswegatchie, St. Regis, Saranac, Salmon, and Hudson Rivers. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may still be flooded. Some low-lying waterfront properties remain submerged by high waters. Many boat launches in the region remain flooded or nearly so, making it difficult to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN REMAINS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Hikers should be prepared mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests (see below). Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time; Old Military Road and Jessup River Road, preventing motor vehicle access to the Pillsbury Mountain and Spruce Lake trailheads; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant. The Adirondack Explorer has posted the DEC’s list of currently closed roads.

** MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROADS OPENED [Late Update]
The Moose River Plains road system in Hamilton County was partially opened Friday. The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road has been opened to motor vehicles from the Limekiln Lake gate at the western end near Inlet and to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake. The opening of the Moose River Plains roads is due to the hard work of the local highway department staff and the successful partnership between DEC, the Towns of Inlet and Indian Lake and Hamilton County.

** SNOW AT ELEVATION
A foot or more of snow is present in elevations from 3700 feet to tree line. Snow may be found below 3700 feet on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** MOST DEC FACILITIES ARE OPEN
43 of the DEC’s 44 Adirondack Campgrounds and related day use areas, including Prospect Mountain Highway and Lake George Beach will be open this weekend. The Ausable Point Campground is closed due to flooding on Lake Champlain. Also, a third of the campsites at the Northampton Campground are not available for use due to high waters on Great Sacandaga Lake. All campgrounds are expected to be full. DEC has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and public intoxication. Fireworks are illegal in New York State and quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am. DEC staff will be patrolling campgrounds throughout the weekend. Black bears are plentiful in the Adirondacks. Food and coolers should be stored securely and out of sight in either a car trunk or the passenger area of truck with the windows closed.

** FLUME BIKE TRAIL SYSTEM
The Flume Bike Trail System in Wilmington is wet and muddy. Bikers are asked to avoid using the trail system to prevent damage to the trails.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

** FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers will ticket violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

** BLOWDOWN
Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. The large storms expected Thursday afternoon will add to the problem. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

** KEENE VALLEY LANDSLIDE
NYS geologists have told North Country Public Radio that the massive 82-acre landslide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley is the state’s largest ever. A half-dozen homes are threatened and the slide has moved 150 feet downhill. The town is urging hikers and people curious about the slide to stay away as the situation is dangerous. Dry weather is expected to slow the slide, but the hillside could begin moving again next spring.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

** ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
All routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff have been closed due to active peregrine falcon nesting. Rock climbing routes have reopened on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch but the Labor Day Wall has been closed. At Chapel Pond the Upper Washbowl has reopened, but the Lower Washbowl remains closed as does 54 routes on the Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Occasional showers and thunderstorms, high near 70.
Friday Night: Occasional showers and possible thunderstorm; low around 55
Saturday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, high near 75.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 54.
Sunday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 79.
Sunday Night: Chance of showers; mostly cloudy, low around 59.
Monday – Memorial Day: Partly sunny, with a high near 80.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** LIGHTENING SAFETY
The possibility of encountering thunderstorms at this time of year means it’s a good time to review lighting safety. There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms. Hundreds of people are killed or permanently injured each year by being struck by lightening. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance so seek safe shelter immediately. If you are caught outdoors away from the safety of cars or buildings, then avoid open fields, hill-tops, and isolated trees, and stay away from water. Hikers should never be above the treeline when there is lightning.

HUNTING AND FISHING REPORT

** Spring Turkey Season Ends Tuesday
The Spring Turkey Hunting Season end Tuesday, May 31st. DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

** Freshwater Fish Regulation Changes
DEC is considering changes to current freshwater fishing regulations. The proposed changes are available for public review and feedback. Changes being considered include modifications to the current seasons, size limits, and creel limits on certain waters for popular game fish species such as trout, salmon, walleye, black bass, pickerel, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge. Additional suggested changes pertain to ice fishing on certain waters, as well as for establishing specific gear requirements for certain angling practices. The proposed changes are on the DEC website which provides instructions on how to submit input and quick email links to easily submit comments online. Comments will be accepted through June 24, 2011, regulation changes would become effective on October 1, 2012.

** 2010 Fish Stocking Numbers Available
The 2010 Fish Stocking List which provide the numbers of freshwater fish stocked by county for last year’s fishing season is now available online. The fish are stocked to enhance recreational fishing and to restore native species to waters they formerly occupied. Each year, DEC releases over one million pounds of fish into more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state.

Trout Season Open
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Warmwater Sportfishing Season
The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) is open in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette and Oswegatchie rivers, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

** Busy Memorial Day Weekend: A higher number of people can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and the Memorial Day Weekend. Popular parking lots, camping sites, motels and hotels may fill to capacity, especially in the High Peaks region. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the park. For suggestions, pick up a copy of The Other 54.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

** Snow at Elevation: A foot or more of snow is present in elevations above 3700 feet and at lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

** Dix Mountain Wilderness / Elk Lake Road: Elk Lake Road has reopened.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Corey’s Road Open: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, has reopened.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

** Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water.

** Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Connery Pond Road is open, but in rough condition. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System was opened late Friday (see above for details).

** West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Creek and West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail have been washed away.

** Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The Powley-Piseco Road in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest has reopened.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road. The Old Military Road and Jessup River Road remain closed due to washouts and soft spots. The Pillsbury Mountain and Spruce Lake trailheads cannot be accessed by motor vehicles at this time.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

** Lake Champlain: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are restricted to day use only at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution. The Jabe Pond Road and River Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area are open, however the latter is muddy and rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the road at this time. Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest Road Closures: Gates on Gay Pond Road and Lily Pond Road remain closed for mud season. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open. The Dacy Clearing Park Area is open, however, the Dacy Clearing Road remains closed due to washouts.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. A bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail is out. DEC will be replacing the bridge with a natural log bridge. The 11th Mtn/Siamese Ponds to Old Farm Road Trail has been brushed out in the area of the Sacandaga lean-to. The old trail will no longer be maintained and the marked trail will go to the bridge/lean-to intersection with the Siamese Ponds Trail.

NORTHERN-NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Lake Champlain Islands: The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites, access points and portions of trails are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches.Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch.

** Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Madawaska Flow Road has reopened to public motor vehicle access.

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Pinnacle Road has reopened.

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Both the Upper and the Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain are open.

** Connery Pond Road: Connery Pond Road is open, however hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

** Moose Pond Road: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

** Corey’s Road: The Town of Harrietstown has opened the Corey’s Road.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. This summer DEC and SCA will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond.

** Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 19)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND
A higher number of people can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and Canada’s Victoria Day Holiday. Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness should be aware that trailhead parking lots and interior campsites will often fill to capacity on Victoria Day weekend. Please plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the park.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
Due to additional rains this past week, most waters remain well above normal. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may be flooded. Some low-lying waterfront properties remain submerged by high waters. Many boat launches in the region remain flooded, making it risky to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN REMAINS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

**BLOWDOWN
Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
This is a good time to stay off wet trails. While snow is still present above 3,500 feet, lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** SNOW AT ELEVATION
A foot or more of snow is present in elevations from 3500 feet to tree line. Snow may be found below 3500 feet on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** ADIRONDACK PADDLEFEST IN OLD FORGE
Adirondack Paddlefest 2011 will be held in Old Forge from Friday to Sunday, May 20-22. Now in its 13th year, Paddlefest is the largest on-water Paddlesports Show and Sale in the US. Thousands of paddlers will be in Old Forge to test paddle hundreds of different models of canoes, kayaks and whitewater boats. Paddling industry representatives and experts from companies such as Current Designs, Dagger, Ocean Kayak, Oxbow SUP, Wave Sport, Delta and Pyranha will be on hand to answer questions. Waterfront venues will be offering presentations, including Choosing the Perfect Kayak Paddle and Easier Paddling for All Skill Levels. There will also be classes on Tandem Canoe Paddling, Basic Kayak Strokes and a Kayaking clinic for kids. Other events will include live music, a concert on Saturday night, plus an art show. Admission is free for kids 12 and under, $5 for adults (per day) with a $20 test paddle fee that will be applied to admission fees and any boat purchases.

** AUSABLE RIVER TWO-FLY CHALLENGE
Now in it’s 12th year Now in its 10th year, Ausable River Two-Fly Challenge tournament brings together fly fisherman from across the United States, who want to test their skills on the acclaimed river, while at the same time promote the 35-mile long river as a fishery and raise money to protect it. Rules for the catch and release tournament are simple. Anglers are allowed to bring two barb-less hook flies, of any combination or patterns and once the flies are lost or unusable – you’re out. The tournament starts noon on Friday, May 20th and runs through Saturday evening. More information, including times and costs, is available online.

** 19th ANNUAL HORICON MILL POND CHILDREN”S FISHING DERBY
The town of Horicon will host Barney Barnhardt children’s fishing derby at Mill Pond on Route 8 in Brant Lake (which includes a new handicapped accessible fishing pier) Warren County fish hatchery will stock the pond with several hundred rainbow trout. The derby is open to all kids 15 and under. Last year, nearly 250 kids took part; Fishing is banned in the pond after it is stocked until the derby.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Intermittent showers and thunderstorms, mostly cloudy, high near 65.
Friday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms, mostly cloudy, low around 49.
Saturday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms, partly sunny, high near 68.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms, mostly cloudy, low around 45.
Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 66.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch and the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond remain closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. DEC has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on the Nose on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain and 54 climbing routes remain closed including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Warmwater Sportfishing Open
The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) is open in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

** Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

** Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

** Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Spring Turkey Season Opened May 1
DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

** West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette River, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

** Busy Victoria Day Weekend: A higher number of people can be expected in the backcountry and on the waters this weekend due to the weather forecast and Canada’s Victoria Day Holiday.

** No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

** Snow at Elevation: A foot or more of snow is present in elevations above 3500 feet and at lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear (NO running shoes or shorts) and expect it to take much longer to traverse trails with snow.

** Porter Mountain / The Garden: Both the lower (old) and the upper (new) bridges on the Porter Mountain Trail from The Garden are unusable. The lower bridge is completely gone and the new bridge is severely damaged.

** Dix Mountain Wilderness / Elk Lake Road: Elk Lake Road is closed at the Clearn Pond gate for mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Corey’s Road Closed: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

** Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is impassable due to mud and water.

** Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

** Connery Pond – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is unaccessible by motor vehicle due to washouts. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Western high Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System remains closed for mud season. Gates have been closed at the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake. The road system will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

** West Canada Lakes Wilderness: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail has been washed away.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Gates have been closed on all roads for the mud season. The roads will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Lake Champlain: During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground is closed, as is the campground access road. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are flooded. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. The pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: In the Hudson Recreation Area, the two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach were damaged by flooding and unusable at this time. The water access paths at Darlings Ford and the Gay Pond Road intersection were damaged by flooding but can be used with caution.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Lake George Wild Forest: Gates on the following roads are closed for mud season: Gay Pond Road, Prospect Mountain, Lily Pond Road, and Jabe Pond Road. The following ADA-accessible roads have been closed for mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, and the Huckleberry Mountain and Palmer Pond access routes. The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open. The gates on the Dacy Clearing and Shelving Rock trails are closed.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

NORTHERN-NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Madawaska Flow Road is closed to public motor vehicle access due to a washout in the road.

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Pinnacle Trail is open for public access, however, the gate is closed and motor vehicle access is prohibited for mud season.

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Connery Pond Road is unaccessible by motor vehicle due to washouts. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road is open, but due to the condition of the road, until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road remains closed for mud season. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened. Non-motorized access is allowed on the road, however, trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 12)

The Almanack’s web platform went down this week on Thursday and this week’s conditions report was lost. You can still hear this week’s report (which aired Friday morning) online at WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and North Country Public Radio.

What follows is a transcript of this week’s radio report.

While waters have receded in the central Adirondacks some areas downstream of the region’s major rivers and along Lake Champlain are still experiencing flooding and more rain is expected this weekend.

Most waters are still above normal and impassable river, stream and brook crossings, and flooded trails and campsites are still a problem in many areas of the backcountry.

Many docks, boat launches, water access points, and low-lying waterfront properties also remain affected by high waters.

Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards that are normally easily seen and avoided. Rivers running above normal include the Hudson, Sacanadaga, Beaver, Raquette, Saranac, AuSable, and Bouquet.

Expect higher than normal traffic on the Grasse River which is playing host to the 50th Annual Canton Canoe Weekend from Friday through Sunday. Races start and finish at Canton’s Taylor Park.

In the backcountry, trails and campsites may be flooded or covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown due to saturated soils.

This is a good time to stay off wet trails in the High Peaks, and to stick to the lower elevation mountains along the Southern Adirondacks, including in the Lake George basin.

Snow is present at elevations above 3000 feet on north facing slopes and snowshoes will be needed at elevations above 3500 feet.

Lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to avoid widening the trails.

The gates are shut on roads typically closed during mud season, including those in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests, the Perkins Clearing and Elk Lake easement lands, the unpaved section of the Corey’s Road in the Western High Peaks, and the Lake Lila Road in the Whitney Wilderness.

Looking at some local conditions, in the High Peaks the first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away and high waters make crossing there risky, the first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole is now impassible, as is the Opalescent Cable Bridge on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail. The high water crossing bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed.

On the Northville Placid Trail in West Canada Lake Wilderness the bridge over West Canada Creek has gone out during the recent floods.

The Wakely Dam Area remains closed due to significant damage from flooding

Finally this week a reminder that all rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch, the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond, and 54 routes on Nose of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain between and including Garter and Mogster remain closed through the nesting season.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (May 5)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
The worst is now over in the central Adirondacks but areas downstream of the the region’s major rivers are still experiencing significant flooding. Most waters are well above normal and a significant number of closed roads, impassable river, stream and brook crossings, and flooded trails and campsites plague the backcountry. Docks, boat launches, and low-lying waterfront property across the region’s lakes and reservoirs are submerged by high waters. Lake Champlain is currently at the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington. Most boat launches in the region are flooded, making it risky to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. DEC is recommending that paddlers and boaters consider staying off larger rivers such as the Raquette, Saranac, Hudson, and Schroon. Paddlers consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution. A complete report of the Adirondack Floods of 2011 can be found here.

**EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding. DEC has closed most roadways for mud season. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
This is a good time to stay off wet trails. While snow is still present above 3,000 feet, lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** SNOWSHOES STILL REQUIRED
The use of snowshoes is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case on some trails above Lake Colden. Using snowshoes prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

** HUDSON RIVER WHITEWATER DERBY
The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and other races from North River to Rapairus.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Carry Extra Winter Gear
Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW
NOTE: We’re currently in the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance of rain and snow showers; partly sunny, high near 59.
Friday Night: Slight chance of showers; mostly cloudy, low around 38.
Saturday: Chance of showers; mostly cloudy, high near 61.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers; mostly cloudy, low around 33.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Snow Cover
Snow is gone outside the High Peaks where there is still snow cover above 3,000 feet. Conditions still require snowshoes above Lake Colden on some trails.

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is no longer suitable for backcountry skiing.

** Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch and the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond remain closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. DEC has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on the Nose on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain and 54 climbing routes remain closed including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Warmwater Sportfishing Opens Saturday
The first Saturday in May marks the beginning of the fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie, valued for their tasty flesh. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

** Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

** Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

** Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Spring Turkey Season Opened May 1
DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

** Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud.

** West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

** Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

** Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

** Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are very high, especially on the Raquette River, flooding is occurring on most rivers and streams, and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters – Flooding Warning Above.

HIGH PEAKS

** Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

** Snow at Elevation: Snow is present in elevations above 3000 feet, and snowshoes may be warranted in elevations above 3500 feet.

** Corey’s Road Closed: Corey’s Road is closed at Stony Creek Ponds, there is no access to the trailheads for the Western High Peaks. The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

** Day Glow South Camping: Campsites in the Day Glow South camping area below the Lake Colden Dam, including the McMartin and Opalescent lean-tos, are once again available for use, though the area may be wet and muddy.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Western high Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

** Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed, the trail remains impassable to horses and wagons.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Wakley Dam: The Wakely Dam Area is closed due to significant damage from flooding.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System is closed for mud season. Gates have been closed at the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake. The road system will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Gates have been closed on all roads for the mud season. The roads will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Western Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: The two designated campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are flooded by 2-4 feet of water.

** Lake Champlain Islands: Lake Champlain is at record levels. Access points, campsites and trails on Valcour and other islands may be flooded.

Shelving Rock Road: The Town of Fort Ann has reopened Shelving Rock Road.

Ausable Point Campground & Day Use Area: The entry road to the Ausable Point Campground and Day Use Area is closed until further notice due to flooding. DEC has placed barricades at the end of the road and will be patrolling the area to ensure the public is abiding by the closure. The road will be reopened once the waters have receded and it is determined the road can handle motorized traffic without further damage.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The following roads have been closed for spring mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford in the Hudson River Special Management Area, Palmer Pond Access Route, Gay Pond Road, Lily Pond Road, Palmer Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: See the High Waters – Flooding Warning Above. Water levels are high and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. DEC is recommending staying off the Hudson River at this time.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Update: Dealing With Flood Waters

This winter’s deep snow pack combined with heavy rains last week and this week continue to leave lakes and ponds brimming, and rivers and streams swollen with cold and fast water. All major rivers are at or above flood stage and flooding continues to occur and is expected to continue through Friday. Except for the Tug Hill Plateau, Flood Warnings continue to be in effect across the region. Roads and trails around the region have been reported closed, several roads and bridges have collapsed, and major flooding has forced evacuations along the Hudson, Schroon, Ausable, Bouquet, Saranac, Moose, Black and Raquette Rivers, and along Lake Champlain and many other water bodies around the Adirondacks.

The NYS Department of Environmetnal Conservation has issued the following announcement about continued flooding and the environmental risks associated with flooding.

Gasoline and Oil Spills

DEC is warning homeowners and building owners with flooded basements to check for sheens or odors from gasoline, oil or substances that may have leaked from fuel oil storage tanks, furnaces or motorized equipment before pumping out water. If a sheen or odor is present, contact the DEC Spills Hotline immediately at 1-800-457-7362.

If pumping is already occurring when sheens or odors are discovered, cease pumping immediately. A mixture of gasoline or oil and water can impact the surface water, ground water and soils when pumped and released into the environment. It is best to collect and remove spilled gasoline and oil while it is still contained in a basement. DEC Spills staff will work with home and building owners to determine the most effective means to address the spill.

Repairing Flood Damaged Streambanks and Lake Shorelines

Property owners who have streams or shorelines which have been eroded or otherwise damaged by flooding should check with the DEC Environmental Permits Office before undertaking repair work to determine if a permit or emergency authorization is required. Depending on the situation, work immediately necessary for the protection of life, health, general welfare, property or natural resources may be authorized under emergency authorization procedures. Projects for the purpose of shoreline restoration and erosion protection are subject to a permit application process.

DEC provides a number of documents on its website to assist in developing a shoreline stabilization project:

Stream Crossings

Stream Crossings: Guidelines and Best Management Practices


Shoreline Stabilization

Shoreline Stabilization Techniques

Applying for a Protection of Waters Permit

Sample General Site Plans for a Protection of Waters Permit

Sample General Project Plans for a Protection of Waters Permit

Locks

Both the Lower Locks, located between First Pond and Oseetah Lake and the Upper Locks, located between Lower Saranac Lake and Middle Saranac Lake, are closed to public usage until further notice. High waters and large amount of debris are still preventing the operation of the locks.

Boat Launch Sites

Most boat launches in the region are flooded, making it risky to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters not familiar with the location of the various structures on around the boat launch (ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc.) that are now underwater risk damaging trailers and boats when launching or retrieving boats.

Water Recreation

Paddlers and boaters should continue to stay off of rivers and streams. Water levels are high and water temperatures are low, rivers and streams are running swiftly. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water.

Waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided.

Backcountry Recreation

The previous warning to keep out of the backcountry has been rescinded. However, hikers and campers should be aware of the conditions they can expect to encounter in the backcountry. Streams are still high and extra caution should be used at stream crossings without foot bridges.

Trails are muddy and wet. Hikers should be prepared for these conditions by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may be flooded.

Blowdown may be found on trails, it is expected that large trees may have been blown over due to winds and saturated soils. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes still exists, particularly if the forecasted rain occurs.

Snow is present in elevations above 2900 feet, and snowshoes are required in elevations above 3200 feet.

The full weekly Adirondack Conditions Report will run Thursday afternoon here at the Almanack, and Friday morning on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

Photo: A snowmobile sits in flood waters on the Schroon River in Chestertown. Photo courtesy John Warren.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (April 28)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** DEC DISCOURGING BACKCOUNTRY USE
As of 3:30 pm on 4/28 only the trailheads for the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness located along Route 73 south of Keene can be reached by motor vehicle. DEC is discouraging the public from entering the woods or accessing the waters of the Adirondacks due to significant number of closed roads, impassable river, stream and brook crossings, flooded trails and campsites, and the High Wind Warning that has been issued for Thursday afternoon and evening. Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** HIGH WATERS – FLOODING
This winter’s deep snow pack combined with heavy rains this week have left lakes and ponds brimming, and rivers and streams swollen with cold and fast water. All major rivers are above flood stage and major flooding is occurring and expected to continue through Friday. More than 75 roads around the region have been reported closed, including several major connecting routes. Several roads and bridges have collapsed, and major flooding has forced, or may soon force evacuations along the Hudson, Schroon, Ausable, Bouquet, Saranac, and Raquette Rivers, and along Mill Brook in Moriah, which has been hard hit. Docks, boat launches, and low-lying waterfront property across the region’s lakes and reservoirs are submerged by high waters. Lake Champlain set the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gage at almost two feet above flood stage. Most boat launches in the region are flooded, making it risky to launch and retrieve boats. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that waters are cold and swift and may contain logs, limbs and other debris. High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Paddlers consult the latest stream gage data and use extreme caution. A complete report of the Adirondack Floods of 2011 can be found here.

**HIGH WIND WARNING – EXPECT BLOWDOWN
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning until 8 pm Thursday, for Saint Lawrence and Franklin Counties. Winds are expected to be southwest 25 to 35 mph wurth gusts to 65 miles per hour. Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** ROAD CLOSURES
Numerous major highways and secondary roads have been closed due to flooding and washouts. Any bridge over a major stream or river, and any road running near open water currently has the possibility of closure. Roads that have been recently or are now closed include: Route 28 north of North Creek; Route 28N between Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake; Route 30 at the bridge over Long Lake and at the bridge over the Cedar River north of Indian Lake; Route 86 in Wilmington Notch between Wilmington and Lake Placid; Route 73 at the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River near the ski jumps outside of Lake Placid; Route 73 at the bridge over the East Branch of the Ausable River in Keene; Route 9N between Keene and Upper Jay; Route 9 where it crosses the South Branch of the Boquet River and near Split Rock Falls between Elizabethtown and Exit 30 of the Northway; Thirteenth Lake Road in Johnsburg; Route 28N between Long Lake and Tupper Lake; Schroon River Road at Riverbank; Route 8 between Route 28 in Poland, Route 12 and Route 28 in Deerfield, and Route 10 in Piseco; Route 28 over West Canada Creek between Route 29 and Route 169 in Middleville; Route 5 between Route 5B and Route 233 in Kirkland; Route 922E (River St) between Route 49 and Route 69 in Whitestown and Marcy and the village of Whitesboro; and Route 315 between Route 12 and County Route 9 (Shanley Rd) in Sangerfield. DEC has closed most roadways for mud season. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** THIN ICE SAFETY
No ice on water is safe.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
DEC is discouraging the public from entering the woods or accessing the waters of the Adirondacks due to closed roads, impassable river, stream and brook crossings, flooded trails and campsites, and the High Wind Warning that has been issued for Thursday afternoon and evening. Lower and mid-elevation trails, those below 2,500 feet, are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

SNOWSHOES OR SKIS
The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case above Marcy Dam. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Carry Extra Winter Gear
Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW
NOTE: We’re entering the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance morning rain and snow, then rain showers. High near 53.
Friday Night: Chance of rain and possibly snow showers, with a low around 30.
Saturday: Sunny, high near 57. North wind between 6 and 8 mph.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 29.
Sunday: Chance of afternoon showers after 2pm. Mostly sunny, high near 67.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Snow Cover
Snow is all but gone outside the High Peaks where there is still 15 inches of slushy wet snow on the ground at Lake Colden and more in higher elevations. Conditions there still require snowshoes or skis above Marcy Dam.

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is no longer suitable for skiing below Marcy Dam, and above snow cover is starting to wane and get patchy, there remains about 15 inches to two feet and more at higher elevations. Avalanche Lake should no longer safe for crossing. The bridge is out on the trail to Marcy, see below for details. Phil Brown skied Mount Marcy last weekend and noted that the approximately four miles from the Summit to Phelps Brook still has plenty of snow. “I expect diehards will be able to ski this stretch for a few weeks more,” Brown reported, “but they’ll have to carry their skis 3.5 miles on the ascent and on the descent.”

** Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch and the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond remain closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. DEC has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on the Nose on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain and 54 climbing routes remain closed including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Migrating Birds
Thousands of birds are currently undertaking their seasonal journey along the Atlantic Flyway from their southern wintering grounds. Flocks of migratory waterfowl like geese, ducks and swans are among the first to arrive, as songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, Eastern meadowlark and American robin take up residence and build their nests. Over the next few weeks, grab your binoculars to watch the spectacle of birds arriving this spring. Visit DEC’s Watchable Wildlife site to find a place near you for great bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Whitewater Rafting Season Has Begun
The whitewater rafting season has begun on the Moose, Black and Sacandaga rivers. The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and more.

** Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season open April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. Trout stocking was suspended in Warren County because of cold waters and widespread flooding that has brought streams to record levels. We’ll need at least one dry week to get local waters back to fishable levels. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

** Spring Turkey Season Opens May 1
DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: Just north of the Mud Lake lean-to there has been significant blow-down in several areas across the trail that happened sometime in early December that requires several bushwhacks to get around.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are high, major flooding is occurring on most rivers and streams and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. See High Waters – Flooding Warning Above.

** Personal Flotation Devices Required: Users of small boats are reminded that state law still requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) until May 1.

HIGH PEAKS

** Visits to High Peaks Di scourged: DEC is discouraging the public from entering the woods or accessing the waters of the Adirondacks due to significant number of closed roads, impassable river, stream and brook crossings, flooded trails and campsites, and the High Wind Warning that has been issued for Thursday afternoon and evening. Saturated soils could result in numerous trees being toppled and tails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees and other blowdown. The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is currently high.

** Limited Access: As of 3:30 pm on 4/28 only the trailheads for the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness located along Route 73 south of Keene can be reached my motor vehicle.

** Opalescent Lean-to: The Opalescent Lean-to is once again available for use.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

Johns Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Snowshoes or Skis: The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks when snows are at least 8 inches deep, as is the case above Marcy Dam. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Marcy Brook Bridge: The Marcy Brook Bridge, below the junction of the Avalanche Pass and Lake Arnold trails, was damaged by ice during the recent thaw. The bridge is still usable but one of the railings is bent making the path over the bridge narrow. Skiers may have some problems crossing.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in. Finding the trail may be difficult after fresh snows. Skiing will be frustrating as there are so many trees down. Past the cabin site the trail is good but snowshoes and crampon are needed.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: Much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed. The trail is open for hikers but remains impassable to horses and wagons. DEC crews continue to work to open the trail.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System is closed for mud season. Gates have been closed at the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake. The road system will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Gates have been closed on all roads for the mud season. The roads will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: DEC Forest Rangers and trail crew have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: Shallow Lake Trail (well-marked with some minor blow down), West Mountain Trail (well-marked, some blowdown remains on section east of the summit), and Sucker Brook Trail

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Lake Champlain Fish Kill: Crews are cleaning up the thousands of dead fish that have washed up along the shoreline of Lake Champlain. Thousands of nonnative alevives that died during the winter have washed up near campgrounds and beaches preparing to open for the season. Officials in Moriah told the Press-Republican that workers, including inmate work crews, are hoping to reduce the possibility of a stench from the rotting fish researching public areas. The fish are being hauled to a local landfill.

** Shelving Rock Road: The Town of Fort Ann has reopened Shelving Rock Road.

Ausable Point Campground & Day Use Area: The entry road to the Ausable Point Campground and Day Use Area is closed until further notice due to flooding. DEC has placed barricades at the end of the road and will be patrolling the area to ensure the public is abiding by the closure. The road will be reopened once the waters have receded and it is determined the road can handle motorized traffic without further damage.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

**Western Lake George Wild Forest: The Bear Slides ADA-accessible route is open.

Western Lake George Wild Forest: The following roads have been closed for spring mud season: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford in the Hudson River Special Management Area, Palmer Pond Access Route, Gay Pond Road, Lily Pond Road, Palmer Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: See the High Waters – Flooding Warning Above. Water levels are high and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Peregrine falcon nesting has been confirmed on The Nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes between and including Garter and Mogster (Routes #26 through #82 in Adirondack Rock) will remain closed through the nesting season. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. DEC has closed all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population including Norton Peak Cave in Chateuagay Woodlands Easement Lands and also Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain. Please respect cave and mine closures.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (April 21)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** SPRING / WINTER CONDITIONS
Spring conditions and the Mud Season have arrived at elevations below 2,500 feet across the Adirondacks, but winter conditions still exist in the High Peaks where there is two feet of snow on the ground at Lake Colden and more at higher elevations. Trails in lower elevation may be hard and icy in the morning, but, as temperatures warm, muddy and wet later in the day. Likewise trails in the higher elevation are hard packed snow and ice early, but with softer snow conditions found in the afternoon and off the trails. Boots and gaiters are suitable up to 2500 feet, snowshoes and crampons should be carried and used whenever warranted in higher elevations. Expect temperatures below freezing at night at all elevations and below freezing during the day at high elevations. Higher elevations waters are opening-up. No ice on water surfaces should be assumed safe to traverse. Brooks and streams are running high and crossings without bridges may be impassable. Lower elevation waters are now open.

** HIGH WATERS
All waters in the region are running well above normal for this time of year and are near flood stage, there are scattered areas of flooding and closed roads. The Independence River is running at 98% of the flood stage. Crossings may not be possible where trails cross streams and brooks except on bridges. Waters levels will be higher in the afternoon as temperatures and snowmelt increase. Water crossings that are easily passable during the morning may not be passable in the afternoon. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. Reservoir and lake levels are above normal even for this time of year, docks and low-lying waterfront properties, may be flooded. High waters have pushed some rivers beyond their usual channels, onto farm fields, flood plains, and roads and properties. Use care and consult the latest streamgage data.

** SNOWSHOES OR SKIS
The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case above Marcy Dam. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

** THIN ICE SAFETY
Low elevation waters are now open, opening or have very thin ice. Ice on higher elevation waters is thinning. No ice on water surfaces should be assumed safe to traverse.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
Lower and mid-elevation trails, those below 2,500 feet, are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** ROADS CLOSED FOR MUD SEASON
DEC has closed most roadways for mud season. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.

** ANNIVERSARY OF APRIL 19-20, 1983 SNOWSTORM
Major snowstorms are rare in the second half of April, but they do happen. 28 years ago this week, a storm dumped 1-2 feet of heavy wet snow throughout the Adirondacks, central New York, the Catskills and down into the Poconos. Read more about the storm here.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Recent storms and strong winds have caused blowdown – trees, limbs, and branches may be found on and over trails, especially lesser used trails which have not yet been cleared.

MIGRATING BIRDS
Thousands of birds are currently undertaking their seasonal journey along the Atlantic Flyway from their southern wintering grounds. Flocks of migratory waterfowl like geese, ducks and swans are among the first to arrive, as songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, Eastern meadowlark and American robin take up residence and build their nests. Over the next few weeks, grab your binoculars to watch the spectacle of birds arriving this spring. Visit DEC’s Watchable Wildlife site to find a place near you for great bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Carry Extra Winter Gear
Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW
NOTE: We’re entering the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, a high near 49.
Friday Night: Chance of snow showers, low around 26.
Saturday: Breezy, rain and snow, becoming all rain after 2pm. High near 47.
Saturday Night: Chance of rain and snow showers, mostly cloudy, low near 32.
Sunday: Chance of rain and snow showers, partly sunny, high near 49.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Snow Cover
Snow is all but gone outside the High Peaks where there is still two feet of snow on the ground at Lake Colden and more in higher elevations. Conditions there still require snowshoes or skis above Marcy Dam and crampons on exposed areas such as summits.

** Downhill Ski Report
All downhill mountains are now closed for the season. The last day for Gore and Whiteface was April 17th. Whiteface had 138 days and 247 inches of natural snow and 12 days in the sides (their average is 200 inches). Gore had 134 days and 150 inches (the level of their long-term average; 30 inches over last year’s total). The Hudson Chair at eth North Creek Ski Bowl was open until the last weekend of March.

** Cross Country Ski Report
The region’s cross-country ski areas have all closed. There may still be some isolated skiing on the wooded section of the Jack Rabbit Trail above Whiteface Inn Lane, but the rest of the trail is no longer recommended for skiing.

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is no longer suitable for skiing below Marcy Dam, and above snow cover is starting to wane and get patchy, there remains about 10 inches to two feet and more at higher elevations. This will probably be the last weekend for skiing on on the upper reaches of Mount Marcy – anyone making the attempt should use extreme caution. Avalanche Lake should no longer be assumed safe for crossing. The bridge is out on the trail to Marcy, see below for details.

** Ice Climbing Report
The season has ended for ice climbing in the Adirondacks.

Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, on Moss Cliff in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, and on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View” at Pok-O-Moonshine, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Ice Fishing Report
Ice fishing is officially open, but recent warm weather have left very little solid ice at any elevation. Low elevation waters are now open, opening or have very thin ice. Ice on higher elevation waters is thinning. No ice on water surfaces should be assumed safe to traverse. Tip-ups may be used on waters through next Saturday, April 30, 2010. General ice fishing regulations can be found in the in the 2010-11 Fishing Regulations Guide.

** Snowmobile Trails Report
The snowmobiling season has now ended in the Adirondacks. More Adirondack snowmobiling resources can be found here.

Whitewater Rafting Season Has Begun
The whitewater rafting season has begun on the Moose, Black and Sacandaga rivers. The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and more.

** Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season open April 1st, but has been off to a slow start with some snow and ice on the banks of local streams, and this weekend’s high and cold waters. Stocking was delayed in the Adirondacks but began this week in earnest. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: Just north of the Mud Lake lean-to there has been significant blow-down in several areas across the trail that happened sometime in early December that requires several bushwhacks to get around.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** High Waters – Cold Temperatures: Water levels are high and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris.

** Personal Flotation Devices Required: Users of small boats are reminded that state law still requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) until May 1.

HIGH PEAKS

** Day Glow South Camping Area: Campsites in the Day Glow South camping area below the Lake Colden Dam, including the McMartin lean-to, are once again available for use.

** Opalescent Lean-to: The Opalescent Lean-to remains unusable due to the amount of snow and ice in and around it.

** Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

** John Brook Valley: The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Snowshoes or Skis: The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks when snows are at least 8 inches deep, as is the case above Marcy Dam. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

** Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. The Deer Brook lean-to is currently closed while it’s being moved.

Marcy Brook Bridge: The Marcy Brook Bridge, below the junction of the Avalanche Pass and Lake Arnold trails, was damaged by ice during the recent thaw. The bridge is still usable but one of the railings is bent making the path over the bridge narrow. Skiers may have some problems crossing.

Opalescent Cable Bridge: The cable bridge over the Opalescent River on the East River/Hanging Spear Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water periods.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present.

Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in. Finding the trail may be difficult after fresh snows. Skiing will be frustrating as there are so many trees down. Past the cabin site the trail is good but snowshoes and crampon are needed.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: Much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed. The trail is open for hikers but remains impassable to horses and wagons. DEC crews continue to work to open the trail.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Road System is closed for mud season. Gates have been closed at the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake. The road system will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

** Ferris Lake Wild Forest: The West Lake Boat Launch was impacted by rains and floods last August. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Gates have been closed on all roads for the mud season. The roads will be reopened once they have dried out and all necessary maintenance and repairs have been completed.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: DEC Forest Rangers and trail crew have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: Shallow Lake Trail (well-marked with some minor blow down), West Mountain Trail (well-marked, some blowdown remains on section east of the summit), and Sucker Brook Trail

EASTERN / SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Ausable Point Campground & Day Use Area: The entry road to the Ausable Point Campground and Day Use Area is closed until further notice due to flooding. DEC has placed barricades at the end of the road and will be patrolling the area to ensure the public is abiding by the closure. The road will be reopened once the waters have receded and it is determined the road can handle motorized traffic without further damage.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: The following roads have been closed for spring mud season: the Bear Slides, Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford in the Hudson River Special Management Area, Palmer Pond Access Route, Gay Pond Road, Lily Pond Road, Palmer Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road.

** Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area: The DEC is holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed Unit Management Plan for the 38,500 acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in Essex County. The plan includes an analysis of the features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The meeting will start at 6:30 on April 26 at the Schroon Lake Town Hall. For directions and more details on the draft management plan, read the DEC press release.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are high and water temperatures are low. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Gates have been closed on all snowmobile trails.

** William C. Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: Little Tupper Lake remains iced over.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: All of the rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View”, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. DEC has closed all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population including Norton Peak Cave in Chateuagay Woodlands Easement Lands and also Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain. Please respect cave and mine closures.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (April 14)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WINTER CONDITIONS AT ELEVATION
Spring conditions and the Mud Season have arrived at lower elevations across the Adirondacks, but winter conditions still exist in the High Peaks where there is 6 inches to two feet of snow on the ground and more in higher elevations. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reported just over two feet of snow on the ground at the cabin. Expect temperatures below freezing at night at all elevations and below freezing during the day at high elevations. Ice may be found on summits and other open areas. These conditions still will require snowshoes or skis in the High Peaks Trails they are still required above Marcy Dam. Snow cover is still mostly good on trails above Marcy Dam, though they are soft, outside the High Peaks trails are wet and muddy. Higher elevations waters are beginning to open-up. As of Thursday afternoon Avalanche Lake remains passable however the outlets are open and the lake surface is deteriorating rapidly. Brooks and streams are running high and crossings without bridges may not be passable at this time. Lower elevation waters mostly now open, with what little ice there is disappearing fast. Use extreme caution with the thickness of ice.

** HIGH WATERS
All waters in the region are running well above normal for this time of year and there have been scattered flooding incidents and closed roads. Crossings may not be possible where trails cross streams and brooks except on bridges. Low water crossings may not be accessible and paddlers should use care and consult the latest streamgages data. Many of the regions rivers and streams are well over 90% of their capacity. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. The potential for additional flooding this spring is generally above normal due to this winter’s deep snow pack. River ice and thickness has diminished to the point that the threat of ice jams has ended. Reservoir and lake levels are normal to slightly above normal for this time of year. Use care and consult the latest streamgage data.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
Lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** ROADS CLOSED FOR MUD SEASON
DEC has closed the gates to roads typically closed during mud season.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

SNOWSHOES OR SKIS
The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case, and is recommended elsewhere in the Adirondacks. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Recent storms and strong winds have caused blowdown – trees, limbs, and branches may be found on and over trails, especially lesser used trails which have not yet been cleared.

** AVALANCHE CONDITIONS
The potential for avalanches on slides and other areas prone to avalanche still exists and several have occurred. Although the danger of avalanches is highest shortly after a significant snowfall, and avalanches can occur anytime there is a deep snow cover made up of multiple layers of snow, as there is now. The risk of avalanche depends on a number of factors and can not only change from day to day, but also change over the period of the day as temperatures, humidity and solar warming all influence the character of the snowpack. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 & 50 degrees and no vegetation. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling.

MIGRATING BIRDS
Thousands of birds are currently undertaking their seasonal journey along the Atlantic Flyway from their southern wintering grounds. Flocks of migratory waterfowl like geese, ducks and swans are among the first to arrive, as songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, Eastern meadowlark and American robin take up residence and build their nests. Over the next few weeks, grab your binoculars to watch the spectacle of birds arriving this spring. Visit DEC’s Watchable Wildlife site to find a place near you for great bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.

** THIN ICE SAFETY
Lower elevation ice is generally unsafe. The ice that remains at higher elevations may consist of alternating layers of hard ice and frozen slush which is not as strong as clear hard ice. Always check the thickness of ice before crossing and at several points along the way. Inlets, outlets and moving water are all open. If you must travel on ice, use extreme caution.

Carry Extra Winter Gear
Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW
NOTE: We’re entering the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, Highs in the lower 30s.
Friday Night: Clear and cold, lows around 18.
Saturday: Rain likely. Windy with highs in the upper 40s.
Saturday Night: Rain or snow likely. Breezy, lows in the lower 30s.
Sunday: Partly sunny, chance of rain showers. Highs in the upper 40s.
Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, a chance of rain or snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Snow Cover
Snow is all but gone outside the High Peaks where there is still 6 inches to two feet of snow on the ground and more in higher elevations. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reported just over two feet of snow on the ground at the cabin. Conditions there still require snowshoes or skis at higher elevations and crampons on exposed areas such as summits.

** Downhill Ski Report
Aside from Gore and Whiteface, all downhill mountains are now closed for the season. Whiteface and Gore will open Friday through Sunday, April 15-17. At Gore, some novice-level trails are growing bare but there is plenty of skiing on intermediate and expert trails. Whiteface is planning to run the Face Lift, Summit Quad and Mountain Run chair so no beginner terrain will be available. The suggestion from Gore officials that they may re-open for Easter Weekend (April 24th), seems possible, but unlikely. Snowfall at Gore was about 150 inches, (the level of their long-term average) and 30 inches over last year’s total. Snowfall at Whiteface has been above average, with about 250 inches this year (their average is 200).

** Cross Country Ski Report
The region’s cross-country ski areas have all closed. There may still be some isolated skiing on the wooded section of the Jack Rabbit Trail, but open areas like the Golf course and River Road sections are no longer skiable.

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is no longer suitable for skiing below Marcy Dam, but above snow cover is still mostly good, and though they are soft, there remains about 10 inches to two feet and more at higher elevations. Despite the rains this week, there will likely be skiing for a couple more weeks on the upper reaches of Mount Marcy. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports there is just over two feet of snow on the ground at the cabin. These conditions still will require snowshoes or skis in the High Peaks Trails they are still required above Marcy Dam. As of Thursday afternoon Avalanche Lake remains passable however the outlets are open and the lake surface is deteriorating rapidly. The bridge is out on the trail to Marcy, see below for details. Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack Mountain slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches and DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning. The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

** Ice Climbing Report
Anything facing south or east is gone or dangerous. There may still be some top-ropeable ice in the northern facing areas but for all intents and purposes the season has ended for ice climbers.

Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, on Moss Cliff in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, and on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View” at Pok-O-Moonshine, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Ice Fishing Report
Ice fishing is officially open, but recent warm weather have left very little solid ice at lower elevations. Higher elevation waters (above 2500 feet) are still covered with ice , but that ice is also going out and even there inlets, outlets, and shoreline seeps have opened up. This will likely be the last weekend for the possibility of any ice fishing at all. Tip-ups may be used on waters through April 30, 2010. General ice fishing regulations can be found in the in the 2010-11 Fishing Regulations Guide.

** Snowmobile Trails Report
Snowmobile trails around the region have closed. Now is the time to show restraint to keep from tearing up fragile trails. More Adirondack snowmobiling resources can be found here.

** Whitewater Rafting Season Has Begun
The whitewater rafting season has begun on the Moose, Black and Sacandaga rivers. The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and more.

** Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season open April 1st, but is off to a slow start with so much snow and ice on the banks of local streams, and this weekend waters will be high and cold. Stocking has been delayed in the ADirondacks but has begun in southern counties bordering the region. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: Just north of the Mud Lake lean-to there has been significant blow-down in several areas across the trail that happened sometime in early December that requires several bushwhacks to get around.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Personal Flotation Devices Required: Users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

HIGH PEAKS

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Snowshoes or Skis: The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks when snows are at least 8 inches deep. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

Avalanche Conditions: Everywhere snows have accumulated to sufficient depths to create conditions conducive to avalanches. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 & 50 degrees and no vegetation. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling. DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning.

Opalescent River Flooding: Due to ice from previous flooding incidents of the Opalescent River, the Day Glow South camping area below the Lake Colden Dam, including the Opalescent and McMartin lean-tos, remains unusable. Campers are advised to use other campsites at this time

Marcy Brook Bridge: The Marcy Brook Bridge, below the junction of the Avalanche Pass and Lake Arnold trails, was damaged by ice during the recent thaw. The bridge is still usable but one of the railings is bent making the path over the bridge narrow. Skiers may have some problems crossing.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. Beginning the weekend of March 18-20 the Deer Brook will be moved and the Bear Brook lean-to will be removed.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in. Finding the trail may be difficult after fresh snows. Skiing will be frustrating as there are so many trees down. Past the cabin site the trail is good but snowshoes and crampon are needed.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Opalescent River Bridges Washed Out: The Opalescent River Bridge on the East River / Hanging Spears Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: Much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed. The trail is open for hikers but remains impassable to horses and wagons. DEC crews continue to work to open the trail.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Great Sacandaga Lake: The section of North Shore Road in Hadley, which runs along the Great Sacandaga Lake, has reopened to traffic following repairs made by Saratoga County Public Works crews.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: DEC Forest Rangers and trail crew have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: Shallow Lake Trail (well-marked with some minor blow down), West Mountain Trail (well-marked, some blowdown remains on section east of the summit), and Sucker Brook Trail

SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area: The DEC is holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed Unit Management Plan for the 38,500 acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in Essex County. The plan includes an analysis of the features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The meeting will start at 6:30 on April 26 at the Schroon Lake Town Hall. For directions and more details on the draft management plan, read the DEC press release.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: All of the rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View”, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Numerous cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities exist on the Public Use Areas and Linear Recreation Corridors open to the public. Skiers and snowshoers are asked not to use the groomed snowmobile routes. Signs on the trails and maps of the snowmobile routes instruct snowmobilers on which routes are open this winter. Portions of these routes may be plowed from time to time so riders should be cautious and aware of motor vehicles that may be on the road. These route changes are a result of the cooperation of Chateaugay Woodlands, the landowner of the easement lands, and their willingness to maintain the snowmobile network. The cooperation of snowmobilers will ensure future cooperative reroutes when the need arises.

** Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. DEC has closed all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population including Norton Peak Cave in Chateuagay Woodlands Easement Lands and also Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain. Please respect cave and mine closures.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Still Midwinter on Mount Marcy

Heavy rain, thunder and lightning, flood watches, the Yankees vying for first place, the Mets vying for last—it seems that spring has arrived.

Not so fast. This past Saturday, I skied Mount Marcy with Sue Bibeau, the Adirondack Explorer’s designer and sometime photographer, and we were amazed at how much snow remains up high.

We took the Van Hoevenberg Trail from Adirondak Loj. Except for three short sections—at Algonquin Brook, Marcy Dam, and Phelps Brook—we kept our skis on the whole way. As we approached the tree line on Marcy’s summit, we found the last signpost, at the junction with the Phelps Trail, completely buried in snow except for the top few inches.

I’m not sure how tall that signpost is, though I’m told it’s under five feet. In any case, I’ve been up Marcy many times in midwinter and not found that much snow.

Of course, the snow is not going to disappear overnight. So despite the rains this week, there will be skiing on Marcy next weekend and (if we’re lucky) perhaps into May. As the days pass, skiers will have to carry their boards farther and farther to find snow. In past springs, I’ve lugged my skis as far as three and a half miles. That still left me with nearly four miles of good skiing.

Yes, it’s a lot of work, but there’s nothing quite like skiing Marcy’s bowl in a T-shirt. It’s no wonder we saw thirteen other skiers on the summit on Saturday.

Incidentally, I did the trip on the Madshus Epochs I reviewed here last week. The skis worked fine, though I was unable turn them as quickly as my wider skis. One big advantage is that the Epochs are a few pounds lighter than my other skis and can be used with lighter boots. This makes a huge difference on a 7.4-mile ascent.

Paddlers, too, should be grateful for the abundance of snow in the peaks. As it melts in the weeks ahead, the creeks will be running high. This is also good news for anglers: the cold, rushing water will scour silt from the holes where trout hide out and lay eggs.

It’s been a good winter, but it’s not quite over.

Photo by Phil Brown: Marcy’s summit last weekend.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (April 7)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Although Spring is around the corner, winter conditions still exist with 6 inches to two feet of snow on the ground across most of the region, and more in higher elevations. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reported about 3 feet on the ground at the cabin. Expect temperatures below freezing at night at all elevations and below freezing during the day at high elevations. Ice may be found on summits and other open areas. These conditions still require snowshoes or skis at all elevations and crampons on exposed areas. Snow cover is good most trails in the Central Adirondacks, outside that area trails may be wet and muddy. Higher elevations waters are still iced in and covered with snow. Lower elevation waters may be open, or deceptively covered with snow. Use extreme caution with the thickness of ice.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

SNOWSHOES OR SKIS
The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case, and is recommended elsewhere in the Adirondacks. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Recent storms and strong winds have caused blowdown – trees, limbs, and branches may be found on and over trails, especially lesser used trails which have not yet been cleared. This will be especially true aft heavy wet snow expected Friday.

** AVALANCHE CONDITIONS
The potential for avalanches on slides and other areas prone to avalanche still exists and several have occurred. The danger of avalanches is highest shortly after a significant snowfall, and avalanches can occur anytime there is a deep snow cover made up of multiple layers of snow. The risk of avalanche depends on a number of factors and can not only change from day to day, but also change over the period of the day as temperatures, humidity and solar warming all influence the character of the snowpack. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 & 50 degrees and no vegetation. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling.

** MIGRATING BIRDS
Thousands of birds are currently undertaking their seasonal journey along the Atlantic Flyway from their southern wintering grounds. Flocks of migratory waterfowl like geese, ducks and swans are among the first to arrive, as songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, Eastern meadowlark and American robin take up residence and build their nests. Over the next few weeks, grab your binoculars to watch the spectacle of birds arriving this spring. Visit DEC’s Watchable Wildlife site to find a place near you for great bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.

** THIN ICE SAFTEY
Ice may consist of alternating layers of hard ice and frozen slush which is not as strong as clear hard ice. Snows may be covering thin ice – ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. Always check the thickness of ice before crossing and at several points along the way. Be cautious of ice near inlets, outlets and over any moving water. Each year a number of people fall through thin ice. One has already died and many more have gone through the ice. Use extreme caution with ice at this time of year.

** SNOWMOBILES
Although most of the region’s snowmobile trails have closed, there may still be some snowmobiles operating on designated snowmobile trails in the Central Adirondacks. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage. See the weekly snowmobile trails report below for more information about the condition of local snowmobile trails.

Carry Extra Winter Gear
Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW
NOTE: We’re entering the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather
Friday: Sunny. Highs in the lower 50s.
Friday Night: Clear. Lows in the mid 20s.
Saturday: Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s. Winds near 10 mph.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy, chance of rain, showers. Highs in lower 60s.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Snow Cover
Snow cover varies throughout the region with little or no snow in the Eastern Essex, Southern Warren and Washington Counties and along the southern and eastern Adirondack, but 6 inches to 18 inches in other areas including most of Hamilton County, Northern Warren and throughout the Central and Northern Adirondacks. Conditions still require snowshoes or skis at higher elevations and crampons on exposed areas such as summits. The latest snow cover map from the National Weather Service provides an estimate of snow cover around the region.

** Downhill Ski Report
Aside from Gore, Whiteface, and West Mountain in Queensbury, all downhill mountains are now closed. The Summit of Whiteface has received more than a foot of new snow this past week. Whiteface will remain open daily, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., through Sunday, April 10, and weather and conditions permitting re-open the following weekend, Friday through Sunday, April 15-17. At Gore, some novice-level trails are growing bare but there is plenty of skiing on intermediate skiers and expert trails. Gore expects to be open Friday through Sunday this weekend and next, and possibly, weather permitting, Easter Weekend (April 24th).

** Cross Country Ski Report
Most of the region’s cross-country ski areas are still open. With 8 to 10 inches and spring conditions. The Jackrabbit Trail is still skiable its entire length, with about a one foot base. The entire trail has good cover, but the hills are hard and fast. Complete cross-country conditions are available [online].

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is suitable for skiing on all trails with about 3 feet at Lake Colden and more at higher elevations, including some fresh snow this week. Use the old hiking trail to reach Marcy Dam from ADK Loj. The truck trail has an open brook crossing 1/4 mile past the register, but it can be crossed via a narrow snow bridge or a detour upstream to a beaver dam. The bridge is out on the trail to Marcy, see below for details. Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack Mountain slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches and DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning. The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

** Ice Climbing Report
Anything facing south or east is gone or dangerous. There is still some safe ice in the northern facing areas but the season has ended for the vast majority of ice climbers. Additional Adirondack ice climbing conditions are supplied by Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, on Moss Cliff in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, and on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View” at Pok-O-Moonshine, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Ice Fishing Report
Ice fishing is officially open, but recent warm weather have left very slushy conditions and dangerous ice in some areas, particularly at lower elevations and in the southern Adirondacks. Higher elevation waters (above 2500 feet) are still iced in and covered with snow, lower elevation waters are beginning to open up. Be extremely cautious around inlets, outlets, shoreline seeps and over moving water. Tip-ups may be operated on waters through April 30, 2010. General ice fishing regulations can be found in the in the 2010-11 Fishing Regulations Guide.

** Snowmobile Trails Report
Most of the local clubs have closed their trails. Now is the time to show restraint to keep from tearing up fragile trails. There is still some riding to be had in the south-central Adirondacks but washouts, water holes, fallen snow bridges, and open stream crossings can be expected. Most clubs have already closed their trails, particularly in Warren and Washington counties, in the towns of Webb and Raquette Lake. Contact a local club for specific details in their area. Gates to snowmobile trails in the Lake George Wild Forest have been closed. Avoid riding on lakes or ponds, and excessive speed. Ride safely. More Adirondack snowmobiling resources can be found here.

** Rivers Expected to Run High
Waters in the region are currently running at normal levels for this time of year, but are expected to run above normal this weekend. The Raqautte and HUdson are running above normal. Use care and consult the latest streamgage data.

** Whitewater Rafting Season Has Begun
The whitewater rafting season began last weekend on Hudson and boats will likely be available this weekend on the Moose, Black and Sacandaga rivers as well. The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and more.

** Most Hunting Seasons Now Closed
Most hunting seasons are now closed with the exception of late snow goose which will end April 15th. Hikers sin the Lake Champlain basin should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms while hiking on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to hunt on Forest Preserve lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.

** Most Furbearer Trapping Seasons Closed
All furbearer trapping seasons are closed with the exception of mink, and muskrat which close April 15th. Body gripping traps set on land can no longer use bait or lure.

** Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season open April 1st, but is off to a slow start with so much snow and ice on the banks of local streams, and this weekend waters will be high and cold. Stocking has been delayed. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Bear and Deer Harvest Report
Hunters killed just over 230,000 deer and more than 1,060 bears in the 2010 hunting season, according to DEC. The deer take locally was up about 3% from 2009, bear numbers were down about 35% from 2009. While overall population size plays a large role in harvest totals, annual variations in take are also strongly influenced by environmental factors that affect bear activity and hunting pressure such as natural food availability and snow fall according to DEC wildlife biologists.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: Just north of the Mud Lake lean-to there has been significant blow-down in several areas across the trail that happened sometime in early December that requires several bushwhacks to get around.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Personal Flotation Devices Required: Users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

HIGH PEAKS

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Snowshoes or Skis: The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks and is recommended elsewhere in the Adirondacks. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

Avalanche Conditions: Everywhere snows have accumulated to sufficient depths to create conditions conducive to avalanches. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 & 50 degrees and no vegetation. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling. DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning.

Opalescent River Flooding: Due to ice from previous flooding incidents of the Opalescent River, the Day Glow South camping area below the Lake Colden Dam, including the Opalescent and McMartin lean-tos, remains unusable. Campers are advised to use other campsites at this time

Marcy Brook Bridge: The Marcy Brook Bridge, below the junction of the Avalanche Pass and Lake Arnold trails, was damaged by ice during the recent thaw. The bridge is still usable but one of the railings is bent making the path over the bridge narrow. Skiers may have some problems crossing.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. Beginning the weekend of March 18-20 the Deer Brook will be moved and the Bear Brook lean-to will be removed.

Avalanche Pass Slide: The slide is closed to skiing and snowshoeing.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in. Finding the trail may be difficult after fresh snows. Skiing will be frustrating as there are so many trees down. Past the cabin site the trail is good but snowshoes and crampon are needed.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Opalescent River Bridges Washed Out: The Opalescent River Bridge on the East River / Hanging Spears Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: Much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed. The trail is open for hikers but remains impassable to horses and wagons. DEC crews continue to work to open the trail.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Great Sacandaga Lake: A section of North Shore Road in Hadley, which runs along the Great Sacandaga Lake, fell into the lake Friday night just south of the Conklingville dam. The Batchellerville Bridge in Edinburg has alternating one-way traffic.

Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands: The waters of the Miami River have subsided and the C4/C8 snowmobile trail is open between intersections HM114 and HM6.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Moose River Plains Snowmobile Trail is completely open again, snowmobilers may travel between the Cedar River Headquarters and the Limekiln Lake gate. The water levels on Cellar Brook have dropeed and the Town of Indian Lake has re-graded and groomed the trail so snowmobiles can once again cross safely.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: DEC Forest Rangers and trail crew have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: Shallow Lake Trail (well-marked with some minor blow down), West Mountain Trail (well-marked, some blowdown remains on section east of the summit), and Sucker Brook Trail

SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Lake George Wild Forest (Eastern and Western): Gates on snowmobile trails have been closed.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area: The DEC is holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed Unit Management Plan for the 38,500 acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in Essex County. The plan includes an analysis of the features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The meeting will start at 6:30 on April 26 at the Schroon Lake Town Hall. For directions and more details on the draft management plan, read the DEC press release.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Ice has formed on all waters. Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands: Due to logging operations the Madawaska Road and Conversation Corners Road will be closed to snowmobiles and the Snowmobile Corridor C8 has been rerouted.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: All of the rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View”, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Numerous cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities exist on the Public Use Areas and Linear Recreation Corridors open to the public. Skiers and snowshoers are asked not to use the groomed snowmobile routes. Signs on the trails and maps of the snowmobile routes instruct snowmobilers on which routes are open this winter. Portions of these routes may be plowed from time to time so riders should be cautious and aware of motor vehicles that may be on the road. These route changes are a result of the cooperation of Chateaugay Woodlands, the landowner of the easement lands, and their willingness to maintain the snowmobile network. The cooperation of snowmobilers will ensure future cooperative reroutes when the need arises.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: A parking area has been built on Goldsmith Road for snowmobile tow vehicles and trailers. The southern terminus of Linear Recreation Corridor 8 (Liberty Road) lies several hundred feet to the east of the parking area and connects to the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail (Wolf Pond Road) via Linear Recreation Corridor 7 (Wolf Pond Mountain Road). Construction of the parking area was a cooperative effort of the landowner, the Town of Franklin, and DEC. The Town of Franklin donated time, personnel and equipment from their highway department and will be plowing the parking area.

Sable Highlands / Old Liberty Road / Wolf Pond Mountain Road Snowmobile Trail: Due to planned logging operations by the landowner on lands north of Loon Lake, the western portion of the snowmobile trail (Old Liberty Road/Wolf Pond Mountain Road) that connected with the C7 Snowmobile Corridor Trail (the utility corridor) just north of Loon Lake near Drew Pond and lead to the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail (Wolf Pond Road) has been closed this winter. The eastern portion of that snowmobile trail (Wolf Pond Mountain Road) now connects to Goldsmith Road near the parking area. Snowmobiles planning to travel between Franklin County and Clinton County using the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail must access C8A at the junction with C7 or use Goldsmith Road and the trail from the Goldsmith Road to C8A (Wolf Pond Road).

Sable Highlands / Mullins Road: The Mullins Road has been opened to snowmobiles to connect County Route 26 (Loon Lake Road) to C7. The road is located approximately halfway between the intersections of Route 26 with C8 (Debar Game Farm Road) and Route 26 with C7.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave will be closed to the public from Nov 1 till March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. It is being closed to recreational spelunking to avoid disturbance of hibernating bats. DEC is closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easments to protect the bat population.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. DEC has closed all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population including Norton Peak Cave in Chateuagay Woodlands Easement Lands and also Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain. Please respect cave and mine closures.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mud Season: Sloshing Through Wet Trails

April and May are traditionally considered the messiest part of mud season in the Adirondacks. This designation ignores the fact that any month in the Adirondacks without snow cover could be classified as such. Mud season offers significant challenges to any backcountry adventurer regardless of whether they stay on hiking trails or venture off-tail into areas less traveled.

Although April is considered the beginning of mud season, the actual season can shift significantly from year to year depending on the winter’s snow pack, and the average temperature and amount of liquid precipitation during the early spring. Elevation effects the arrival of mud season with it occurring earlier at low elevations and much later on mountaintops. But regardless of when it starts the results are eventually the same: wet and muddy trails, boots and legs.

There are many challenges for the backcountry explorer during this messy time of the year. These challenges require additional planning, preparation and in some cases caution. But there are a few benefits to being in the backcountry this time of the year as well. In addition, there are some important environmental impacts of hiking in mud season that need identification and management so as to ameliorate their negative impacts.

One challenge of hiking during mud season is the weather. The months of April and May often display the most variable weather both from day-to-day and year-to-year. This variability requires being prepared for almost any type of conditions imaginable from deep snow to driving rainfall. This often requires carrying a vast array of equipment for both the winter and summer seasons.

Depending on the situation crampons and/or snowshoes (see a review of perfect lightweight snowshoes here) may be necessary and an effective pair of gaiters is a must (see a review of a great pair of gaiters here). A good sturdy pair of hiking boots, preferably with a waterproof layer, will help keep your feet dry even in the muddiest of conditions especially in combination with gaiters.

I have some first-hand experience with the variability of the weather during spring conditions. Once while backpacking within the Five Ponds Wilderness during early-May I sloshed through a substantial snowfall. I was clearly unprepared for such weather conditions since I brought only my summer equipment for the most part.

Crossing streams in the early spring can be very challenging regardless of whether hiking on or off trails. In early spring, ice jams can cause extensive flooding while later in the spring streams can become swollen with runoff from the melting snow pack and the saturated soils. Look out for floating logs and flooded boardwalks as both can be frequent hazards on trails through wetlands during this time of the year.

There are some negative environmental impacts to hiking during mud season. The chief environmental damage from hiking in mud season is erosion. Although erosion can occur anywhere it is more extensive within the mountainous and heavy trafficked areas within the High Peaks. Soils tend to be more susceptible to erosion in the spring due to the alternating warmer temperatures during the day and colder temperatures in the evening.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation often issues a voluntary trail closure for areas above 3000 feet in the Eastern High Peaks. These closures are issued to protect trails from erosion as well as to protect fragile alpine vegetation during this time of the year. The effectiveness of these closures on trail use in this area is questionable.

When encountering muddy trails one should avoid walking around sloppy portions of a trail to avoid the muck. Typically, avoiding walking through ankle deep (or deeper!) mud just seems like common sense but it is best walk right through the mud to avoid trail creep and damaging nascent vegetation growing along the trail’s border. These fragile early-season shoots can be easily damaged by the aggressive tread of a hiker’s boot.

Because of all the negative issues of navigating through mud season I typically avoid any backcountry hiking in the month of April in the Adirondacks. Usually my own backcountry adventures start around mid-May although this is highly dependent on the prevalent weather conditions during mid to late spring.

Although there are many challenges and some negative environmental factors of hiking during mud season there are a couple of advantages to the adventurous backcountry enthusiast.

One advantage of exploring the backcountry during April is the lack of a certain plentiful Adirondack pest. Typically April is the last totally biting bug free month in the Adirondacks until the following autumn. At some point in late May the bane of the Adirondacks, the black fly will reemerge from the stream and rivers, and attack anything warm-blooded with a pulse. Soon other biting flies will join in on the fun and most will be present until the end of summer.

Another benefit of hiking in the early spring is the lack of foliage. Although many may see this as a disadvantage due to the lack of shade, the absence of the scent of fresh foliage and the comforting rustle of the wind through the leaves there is a real benefit to be enjoyed. Without leaves blocking one’s views some outstanding vistas once obscured now becomes visible. This is especially true on rolling hills where the trees often grow thickest.

Hiking through the backcountry during mud season offers the ambitious explorer some real challenges and a few advantages over some other seasons in the Adirondacks. It is important to be prepared for any and all weather conditions but the season offers some pleasant bug-free hiking with some seldom seen awesome views. But the more fastidious explorer should sit this season out and wait for the warm winds of summer to dry up the trails.

Photos: Muddy trail on Mt. Colden, muddy and wet Adirondack trail, flooded trail near Cranberry Lake by Dan Crane.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.


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