Saturday, October 10, 2020

High Peaks Wilderness trail update

Some recent Adirondack High Peaks trail news from the DEC:

  • PHELPS BROOK FOOTBRIDGE OUT: The high-water crossing footbridge over Phelps Brook on the Van Ho Trail to Mt. Marcy just above Marcy Dam came to the end of its service life and was removed by DEC. When Phelps Brook is running high and the low water crossing is unsafe, hikers can use the newly developed Phelps Brook Lean-to Trail between the South Meadow (aka Marcy Dam Truck) Trail (0.5 mile north of Marcy Dam) and the Van Ho Trail (above the crossing). The trail is marked with red Foot Trail markers.
  • ELK LAKE TRAILS: The two trails on the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract which provide access to the Dix Mountain, Marcy Mountain, and the Colvin Range will close to public use on October 16 and will remain closed through Northern Zone Big Game Hunting Season.

Click here for the full Adirondack Outdoor Conditions report for this week.Calling all hikers: We’re curious to know how this Columbus Day weekend is going to go, as it’s usually a busy one even in a “normal year.” Since we’re not able to be everywhere at once, hoping you can help!

Send us your pics from the trails  to melissa@adirondackexplorer.org. What we’re seeing so far this weekend: Numbers of hikers are still strong, despite the closed Canadian border.

Scenes from Saturday
Click here to watch Explorer publisher Tracy Ormsbee look for a parking spot at Adirondak Loj at 5:20 a.m. today (Oct. 10).

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Lost hikers in Bolton, Schroon, Arietta

forest ranger reportsRecent DEC Forest Ranger Actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Oct. 1 at 5:42 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 65-year-old hiker from Long Meadow, Massachusetts, reporting he had injured his ankle near MacIntyre Falls. The hiker said his hiking party braced his injury and he would hobble down the trail with them. Forest Ranger LaPierre responded, hiking up the trail to the man’s location while Forest Rangers Evans, Burns, Gliddi, and Booth came in with a six-wheel ATV. Once on scene, Ranger LaPierre splinted the injury and assisted the hiking party to the Whales Tail Junction where they were met by the secondary group of Rangers and driven out to the trailhead to their vehicle.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

More than pretty pictures

Now and then we hear complaints that all of our pretty photography, and some of the accompanying writing, only serves to drive visitors to parts of the Adirondacks that don’t need or can’t handle any more pressure.

This is the Instagram problem that we hear so much about, with complaints about those who geotag their gorgeous hiking shots, enabling online viewers everywhere to stampede to the same vistas.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

NFCT completes New York stewardship projects

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) completed several stewardship projects this summer along New York sections of the 740-mile waterway trail connecting Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine.

“Each stewardship season presents us with challenges, and this year was certainly no different,” said NFCT Stewardship Director Noah Pollock. “Our work this summer included the construction of access steps at take-outs and put-ins, building ADA-compliant privies, improving campsites and more — all aimed at ensuring that the canoe trail is safe and accessible for public use.”

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Siena Poll shows support for limits on High Peaks use

A Siena College Research Institute poll of New York voters in September showed that by 68% to 22% they overwhelmingly want New York State officials to protect heavily used public lands in the Adirondack Forest Preserve by enforcing resource capacity limits. The poll results were released by the Adirondack Council.

The Governor and the State have acknowledged the overuse problem, expanded education and public information efforts, and appointed a Wilderness Overuse Task Force. The Center for National Center for Leave No Trace recommendations have been endorsed by the task force, and include testing hiker permits to improve visitor access and help communities.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Hiker Permits? Turns out we’ve been there before

Over the past few years, articles in the Adirondack Almanack, Adirondack Explorer, and other  media outlets, in addition to posts on blogs and social media, has made quite apparent the issues facing the High Peaks Wilderness related to hiking and backpacking.

Matters of hiker education, the ever-increasing number of search-and-rescues, an overly strained and understaffed force of  Forest Rangers, parking, and litter have been brought to the forefront of the public’s attention.

A  variety of solutions have been proposed by groups such as the Adirondack Mountain Club  (ADK), Adirondack Council, and the High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group (HPAG).  A hiker permit system is one of the proposed solutions. In contrast to other articles regarding  hiker permits, this one does not opine on the merits of such, but to make readers aware that they were once implemented in the Adirondacks – albeit at a very small scale.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 3, 2020

50 Hikes Outside Of The High Peaks To See The Fall Colors

The first weekend in October is one of the biggest hiking weekends in the Adirondacks each year, and often sees peak leaf color at many locations. Many trailhead parking areas will fill up early and the trails in the High Peaks Wilderness will likely see continued unprecedented crowds through the fall. In an effort to lessen the flow of thousands to the High Peaks Wilderness, Protect the Adirondacks has published online trail guides for 50 terrific hikes and destinations throughout the Adirondack Park in areas outside of the busy and over-used High Peaks Wilderness Area. These online trail guides are available now.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Serious backcountry injuries result in multiple carryouts

forest ranger logoRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of St. Armand
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Sept. 22 at 12:10 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured 64-year-old hiker from Dyer, Indiana, on Baker Mountain. The hiker went off the trail, fell, and injured his right leg. Forest Rangers Evans and Sabo responded to assist. Once on scene, Forest Ranger Evans provided first aid for the subject’s unstable knee and ankle. Due to the extent of the injury, New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation was requested along with backup rescuers including members of Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks in case of a possible carry-out involving a high-angle rope technique on steep terrain. NYSP Aviation, with Forest Ranger Benzel as hoist operator, completed the hoist rescue off the mountain at 4:18 p.m. The hiker was transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Seeing the park on two wheels: Biking to Plattsburgh from Saranac Lake

I biked from Saranac Lake to Burlington, Vermont, on the first day of fall. (Well, I meant to end up in Burlington, but a wrong turn added some miles and hills and left me on some suburban road east of the city in Williston.)

My route through the Adirondacks was State Route 3 to the Lake Champlain Ferry at Plattsburgh, and it took me through much of the Saranac River Valley, with colorful fall views of a river whose health and fish our magazine will profile in-depth in our next issue. I shot some video along the way.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Long Path of New York: A historic note

By James M Schaefer

The Long Path was created in 1931 by my father, the late Vincent J Schaefer (1906-1993). It followed in the tradition of the Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine) and The Long Trail of Vermont. Both the AT and Long Trail popularized “End-to-End”—through hiking. 

The Long Path was designed as a corridor rather than as a singular blazed trail. My father’s hiking philosophy was to leave no trace – “all one needs is a compass, map and good woods sense.” From the start his concept was to engage hikers in finding landmarks on the Long Path — a mountaintop, a waterfalls, a geologic anomaly, or a cultural or historic site.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Adirondack Wayfinder helps inspire road tripping

The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) is pleased to announce the launch of Adirondack Wayfinder, a new website that showcases the Adirondacks through thematic road trip itineraries. Originally developed through the support of a DEC Smart Growth Grant awarded to Hamilton County, the goal of Adirondack Wayfinder is to help highlight the variety of experiences and the unique communities that make up the Adirondack region.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Winter treks can be easier with proper gear

By Joseph M. Dash

Oh the perils of winter camping – at least when you use modern equipment. I read the article, “A Winter Trail Too Far,” (posted Jan. 29, 2020 in the Adirondack Explorer) with great interest. My sympathies to the brave team hiking the Northville-Placid trail in winter. Hearing about the toil of breaking trail, frozen clothes, iced-over boots and the physical exhaustion from days  in the cold made me realize how inadequate modern equipment is for winter.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ranger tickets oversized Marcy group after members got separated, lost

forest ranger logoRecent DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Piercefield
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Sept. 17 at 10:25 a.m., DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from a relative of two campers on the Bog River after one of the campers injured their back and had difficulty moving. Forest Rangers Baldwin, Lee, and Hogan responded to assist. At 12:20 p.m., Rangers Baldwin and Hogan located the campers and began the walk out to the road. At 1:07 p.m., Ranger Baldwin transported the campers back to their vehicle. The 66-year-old man from Honeoye Falls who had suffered the back injury stated he would seek further medical attention on his own.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

ADK chapter launches wilderness camping challenge

five pondsUPDATED Sept. 18 with statement from ADK:

The ADK Iroquois Chapter has created a unique challenge that requires participants to camp in 18 of the 21 designated wilderness areas within the Adirondack Park.

Statement from ADK: Ideally, these types of initiatives would undergo wider scrutiny, not just by the ADK Board, relevant committees and staff, but also by partner organizations, such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Regrettably, this challenge was not. We are hoping that the Iroquois Chapter will delay a launch so the challenge can be discussed in more detail.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Left behind: A lesson in the dangers of splitting up on the trail

By Paul Czajkowski

It was a warm clear morning when I met Ben at 4 a.m. to go hiking in the High Peaks of New York’s Adirondack Mountains.  The weather was forecasted to be sunny, dry and very hot (100+°F).

We had a great drive up to the trailhead and arrived around 6:30 a.m., it was already around 80°F.

Our plan for the day was to hike up over Blueberry Mountain and summit Porter, one of the Adirondacks’ designated 46 high peaks.  We made good time getting to the shoulder of Blueberry where we stopped to take a break.  Ben said he wanted to make a video to send to his old college friends back in Ohio.  He said to go on ahead and he would catch up to me.  I went ahead about 100 yards and found a nice rock outcropping facing towards Whiteface where I stopped to have a snack and take a couple pictures. 

» Continue Reading.



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