Although there has been some considerable snow in the High Peaks this week, and rain, sleet, and snow across the North-Central and Northern Adirondacks, the fire danger remains elevated. Continued abnormally dry conditions and drier weather this weekend could raise the fire danger from MODERATE to HIGH. More than 20 wildfires have been reported so far this year in the Adirondack region, including 17 in DEC Region 5, which have burned nearly 60 acres. » Continue Reading.
With days reaching into the 50s, but much colder waters in still in the mid-30s, it’s a great time to remind paddlers and other boaters of the dangers of falling overboard in cold water. Of New York’s 25 fatalities associated with recreational boating in 2011, almost a third of those deaths involved small paddled boats, when water temperatures were cold.
In almost every one of those fatal accidents life jackets were not worn and in some cases weren’t even on board at the time of the accident. The Coast Guard estimates that 80% of all boating accident deaths might have been prevented had a life jacket been worn. In New York, life jackets are required to be worn on any boat less than 21 feet in length between November 1st and May 1st. » Continue Reading.
Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for April 2012). The map shows what is in the sky in April at 10 pm for early April; 9 pm for late April.
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! » Continue Reading.
SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND
** indicates new or revised items.
** SPRING CONDITIONS COOLER WEATHER
Temperatures are back to expected normals for this time of year with daytime temperatures in the 30s and 40s and night time temperatures below freezing through the weekend. Trails are a patchy mixture of snow, ice, and mud. Lake ice, and snow and ice bridges at water crossings have melted. Low water stream crossings in High Peaks may not be passable; use caution crossing streams and stay off what remains of ice on water. Backcountry users should continue to be prepared for cold weather by wearing a waterproof outer shell, and appropriate layered clothing, along with waterproof footwear and gaiters. » Continue Reading.
SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND
** indicates new or revised items.
** SPRING CONDITIONS COOLER WEATHER
Muddy trails and high waters are present in lower elevations. Soft snow and ice are present in the higher elevations. Cooler temperatures and rain and snow showers are forecast over the weekend for the central Adirondacks and higher elevations elsewhere. There is more than a foot of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; Carry snowshoes and traction devices and use as warranted. Lake ice, and snow and ice bridges at water crossings have melted. The levels of streams in the central Adirondacks has risen and low water crossings may not be passable; use caution crossing streams and stay off what remains of ice on water. Backcountry users should continue to be prepared for cold weather by wearing a waterproof outer shell, and appropriate layered clothing. » Continue Reading.
All residential brush burning is prohibited during the state’s historically high fire-risk period from March 16 through May 14. The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for the State of Vermont for Friday, March 23. Conditions in New York will allow wild fires to start easily and spread quickly due to the unusually warm temperatures, clear skies, low humidity, breezy winds, lack of snow and large amounts of dead, dry vegetation.
DEC Region 5 Environmental Conservation Officers have already issued more than a dozen tickets and warnings to people burning brush since the ban went into effect on March 16. Violating the ban is a misdemeanor offense with possible penalties of $500 to $18,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail for the first offense and up to $26,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail for subsequent offenses. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack search and rescue operations have been in the news lately. More than 20 people were rescued from melting lake ice in the two weeks, and four major backcountry rescues over the same period are a stern reminder of how easily outdoor recreationists can get into trouble. The big snow that’s finally arrived will mean a lot more folks heading to the woods and waters this weekend.
What follows is a list of Adirondack Almanack stories about outdoor winter safety: » Continue Reading.
Here are some objects for the unaided eye for the month of March. 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 unaided 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. Snow will add more light pollution due to light reflecting off of it.
You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for March 2012). The map shows what is in the sky in March at 8 pm for early March; 7 pm for late March.
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!
New note: Measuring Degrees with your hands, proportionally works for people of all ages. With your arm fully extended out:
Width of your pinky finger is 1°
Width of your ring, middle, and index finger equals 5°
Width of your fist equals 10°
Width from tip to tip of index finger and pinky finger stretched out equals 15°
Width from tip to tip of your thumb and pinky finger stretched out equals 25°
Highlight for viewing with the unaided eye
March 11 – 15 – Jupiter and Venus conjunction where they will lie 3° from each other.
March 25 – Jupiter and the Moon 3° apart.
March 26 – Venus and the Moon 1.8° apart.
March 1 – The Moon will be at first quarter.
March 8 – Full Moon. The Full Moon will pass 10° south of Mars in the constellation Leo.
March 11 – The Moon will pass 6° south of Saturn
March 14 – Last quarter Moon
March 22 – New moon, best night to get out and enjoy the darkest skies possible.
March 25 – The thin crescent Moon will pass within 3° north of Jupiter to the west after sunset.
March 26 – The thin crescent Moon will pass within 1.8° south of Venus to the west after sunset.
March 30 – The second occurrence of a first quarter Moon in the month of March.
For the first week of March, Mercury will be at it’s prime location for viewing. Mercury will reach it’s greatest eastern elongation on March 5. For viewers in the Adirondacks Mercury will reach a height of 11° above the horizon just after sunset in the west, and will set after 30 minutes. Although low on the horizon and in the glow of sunset, at a magnitude of -0.4 it should easily be visible. After March 5, Mercury will slowly start to lower, and will pass between Earth and the Sun on March 21.
By March 4 Venus and Jupiter will be 9° apart, and by March 11 and 15 they will lie 3° from each other. During this conjunction the two planets will be 30° above the horizon to the west, and don’t set until close to 11pm. Venus will reach it’s greatest elongation on March 27. By the 31st Venus will be 3° below the star cluster Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus, which can be seen with the unaided eye.
As the sun sets take a look to the East and you will find the red planet shining as it rises above the horizon. On March 3 Mars reaches peak visibility and will lie opposite the Sun in our sky. This will be as close as Mars gets for another two years.
Jupiter and Venus get together by mid March for a spectacular conjunction which can be enjoyed with the unaided eye or even through a pair of 10×50 binoculars.
Saturn rises shortly before 10pm by mid-March in the constellation Virgo. Saturn will be 6° northeast of the brightest star in Virgo, Spica. Spica will be quite dim in comparison to Saturn’s bright yellow glow.
In the south after sunset you can find the constellation of Orion. The red supergiant star Betelgeuse in the upper left of the constellation making Orion’s shoulder. Below it you will see 3 stars going from left to right creating Orion’s Belt. Below Orion’s belt you will find 3 dimmer stars perpendicular to the belt. If you look at the middle star of those 3 you may notice a slight haziness surrounding it. That haziness is referred to as a stellar nursery and is the Orion Nebula. This nebula contains a group of new stars within a dust cloud. This is where and how solar systems are born.
Up and to the right of Orion is the constellation Taurus. A bright orange star, Aldebaran is the eye of Taurus the bull. Also within this constellation near Aldebaran is a grouping of stars that you can see with your naked eye, even in moderately light polluted areas; this cluster of stars is known as the Hyades.
Within the constellation of Taurus you can also find a closer grouping of stars known as the Pleiades (also known as the 7 Sisters or Subaru – Look at the logo for the Subaru vehicle, it is very similar to this cluster). Looking at it has always reminded me of a smaller version of the little dipper. In dark locations you can see anywhere from 5-7 and possibly a few more stars in this grouping. It has also been called the seven sisters and is actually a Messier object, number 45. These are very hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. This grouping of stars has quite a bit of history in mythology. It rises about 45 minutes earlier than Orion in the East.
Up and to the left of Orion you can find the Gemini twins. The two brightest stars within this constellation are Pollux and Castor, forming the heads of the brothers.
Below and to the left of Orion is the constellation Canis Major – The Dog. One of the most defining features of Canis Major is the brightest star in our sky, Sirius. Sirius can be seen twinkling in the southern skies, and may even appear different colors as you look at it; from blue, to green, to white. This flickering is due to the earths atmosphere. Sirius is roughly 8.5 light-years away making it one of the closest stars to us.
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the unaided eye which appear faint and fuzzy.
Look for a grouping of stars around the brightest star in Perseus, Mirphak.
Rising earlier and getting higher in the sky by sunset. 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.
A couple notes
I invite anyone with a camera to share their pictures of the night sky with me if you’d like them to appear on my blog, email address can also be found on my blog. Please include a location, date and time that the images were taken. Any other information is also welcome.
With the warmer weather getting near I am scouting out a location that I can set up my telescopes and share the night views with anyone that may want to join. Public property with no closing hours, and a good view of the sky in all directions in a low to moderate light polluted area is preferred. If anyone knows of a place that is welcome to this idea please either email me with information, or comment in the comments section below with information. Looking for an area preferably in Clinton County. Again my email can be found via my blog, link below.
Photos: Above, Jupiter, Venus, and thin Waxing Gibbous Moon lineup of February 23 over Plattsburgh, by Michael Rector; Below, showing the conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon on March 25, and the conjunction of Venus and the Moon on March 25 via the astronomy freeware Stellarium.
Photo Below: Venus and Jupiter conjunction via the astronomy freeware Stellarium.
What follows is the late-December through February Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.
These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a 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.
SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND ** indicates new or revised items.
** SNOW – WINTER CONDITIONS A major snowstorm has blanketing the region, with the exception of the eastern Essex County and North Warren counties (which are expecting snow Friday). Currently there are 10 to 15 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations, with 30 inches or more in the higher elevations. A “Winter Weather Advisory” has been issued for the area, check weather forecasts and conditions before entering the backcountry. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering around zero this weekend. There is significant ice accumulation on summits. Full crampons are recommended for areas above tree line, while traction devices are sufficient in icy open areas at lower elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in all areas of the High Peaks backcountry at this time, and are not recommended elsewhere), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.
** SNOW DEPTH REPORT Snow depths around the region vary, with 10 to 15 inches at most lower elevation; less toward the southwest Adirondacks and more toward the Northeast. There is 30 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little as of Thursday, but are expecting 4 to 8 inches Friday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.
** TRAVERSING STEEP SLOPES All backcountry visitors should be aware of proper safety methods for traversing steep slopes that are prone to avalanche. See Avalanche Preparedness for more information on avalanches and safety practices.
** ICE ON WATER Expect wet conditions on lake ice this weekend. Ice has formed on the smaller bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, but they remain largely open wateror covered with dangerously thin ice. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on most lakes at lower elevations. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.
** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT This will be the best weekend so far this winter for downhill skiing. With the exception of the recommendation to call ahead to Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg to be sure, all the region’s downhill areas will be open this week with good fresh packed powder and powder. Gore Mountain and Whiteface are reporting more than 90% of their terrain open.
** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT A great weekend for cross-country. All of the of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on 4 to 8 inches of base. Phil Brown reported a number of good cross-country and backcountry ski opportunities for the Almanackhere. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.
** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT There is 30 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin and back-country skiing has improved with the notable exception of the VanHovenberg Trail between Marcy Dam and Indian Falls, which is boney as are other trails toward Keene. As of Thursday, there was not much new snow in Keene/Keene Valley so still no appreciable snow on the Johns Brook approach to the High Peaks or on the road to Lower Ausable Lake (that could change Friday). Snow depths are not as deep as would normally be the case for this time of year, so use caution. The Calamity Brook approach to Lake Colden is now being reported thin but skiable. The Marcy Trail is not yet reported skiable, but may be following expected snow on Friday. Whale’s Tail and Wright Peak should be skiable. The hiking trail from ADK Loj is still not recommended for skiing, but Marcy Dam Truck Trail, while thin at the start, is in good shape. Other skiable routes include Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni and Moose Pond, Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; the Fish Pond Truck Trail, Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow, (all four of the above had good cover before this new snow) plus Connery Pond to Whiteface Landing and Raquette Falls – both still a bit thin but skiable. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden crossable as is the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area, Caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Summits and other open areas are icy – carry and use traction devices and crampons where warranted. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.
** ICE CLIMBING REPORT This has been an unusual winter and most routes are in, but with mixed conditions depending on exposure, with a lot of March-like conditions – stick to shaded areas. Best bets include the north side of Pitch-Off and, for experienced climbers, the Colden Trap Dyke which is all ice and essentially a new climb. Worst bet would be Poke-O-Moonshine, which is mostly gone or sketchy. This weekend is expected to be busy so be cautious and courteous. There is still plenty of ice, but use extreme caution. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.
** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN With the additional snow this week, and more on the way, snowmobile trails are in generally good condition from Southern Franklin County and Cranberry Lake through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, with lesser conditions toward Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Best bets remain the Moose River Plains, in the Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Area (though some areas will be difficult to get to), in the Stillwater, Beaver River or Old Forge system, and around Cranberry Lake. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable and that is not likely to change, even with expected new snow on Friday. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.
** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are running at normal levels for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.
GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES
HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.
** 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. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]
** Fire Danger: LOW
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.
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 have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.
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.
CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats. 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.
ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION
NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL
Blowdown Report: Blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general is clear.
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 and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.
Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.
Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.
HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks
** Snowshoes Required: The use of snowshoes or skis is required throughout the High Peaks Wilderness as snow depth exceeds 8 inches. The use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow.
** Ice on Summits: There is significant ice accumulation on summits. Full crampons are recommended for areas above tree line, while traction devices are sufficient in icy open areas at lower elevations.
** Crossing Marcy Brook: Numerous people trying to cross Marcy Brook immediately above Marcy Dam (the former pond) have broken through to the water and mud. Crossings of Marcy Brook should be accomplished as described below.
Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed ice and snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.
New Bridge Planned For Marcy Brook: Phil Brown is reporting that DEC will build a new bridge over Marcy Brook about a quarter-mile downstream from Marcy Dam and upstream from the current low-water crossing, which has become known as “The Squirrel Crossing”. In August, the old bridge at the dam was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene. A log-stringer bridge is expected to be built this spring or summer, paid for by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. No decision has been made yet on the replacing Marcy Dam which was damaged by Irene. Phil Brown’s report can be found at Adirondack Explorer.
** Cascade Lakes Day Use Area: DOT has place barriers at the end of the entrance to the Cascade Lakes Day Use Area along Route 73 through the spring mud season. Vehicles should not park in this area as it is a traffic hazard and the dangerous to occupants exiting and entering the vehicles. Use one of the parking areas to the east or west of that area.
South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.
Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.
Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.
DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.
Deer Brook Flume – Snow Mountain: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on the Deer Brook Trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion.
Duck Hole: The Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole is out. One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered. The bridge over the dam had been previously removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water. Note: This affects the Bradley Pond Trail and not the Northville Placid Trail.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.
Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes.
Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.
Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.
Elk Lake-Marcy Trail: The bridge is out in Marcy Swamp on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. Also there is light blowdown between Marcy Swamp and Panther Gorge Lean-to.
Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.
Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold.
Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.
Calkins Creek Horse Trail: The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.
Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to.
Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.
McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present 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.
Wilmington Wild Forest: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.
SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake
Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year).
Eagle Cave in Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats.
Moose River Plains Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.
Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.
Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.
Silver Lake Wilderness: There is heavy blowdown on the Northville Placid Trail between Benson and Silver Lake.
West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephens Pond to Lake Durant.
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 next spring.
EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co
** Santanoni Historic Preserve: The carriage road between the Gate House and the Main Lodge at Camp Santanoni is skiable. One more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.
Lake George – Prospect mountain Highway: The gates on Prospect Mountain Highway have been closed as there is no snow for snowmobiling.
Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.
Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.
Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.
Crane Mountain: The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain Road is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.
Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The bridge on the trail to Lapland Pond from Pike Brook Trailhead has been repaired.
Hammond Pond Wild Forest: A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. The bridge over the Berrymill Brook on the Hammond Pond Trail is out. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.
Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.
NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila
Lewis Preserve WMA: The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it may be deep and swift moving.
Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.
Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.
Lyon Mountain – Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions
Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Users of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail should watch for logging equipment crossing the trail at its southern end. Logging operations are occurring on the private lands on both sides of the trail. 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.
St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. 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. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.
Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.
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.
——————– 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.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.