Early-bird registration for the Lake George Land Conservancy’s (LGLC) Hike-A-Thon is now open, in an optimistic step towards a year of in-person events aimed at getting people out onto the land around Lake George. The event, to be held on July 5, is free and open to the public and offers a variety of hiking and paddle options. The early-bird registration period goes until April 30, and includes the incentive of a free t-shirt for each person registered.
This Women’s History Month, we are celebrating women past and present who are advancing the work of DEC. If you are interested in growing your legacy in the outdoors, consider DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) and Beyond BOW programs.
These programs teach participants the outdoor skills they need to become comfortable, confident, influential members of the outdoor community. DEC experts provide information, encouragement, and hands-on instruction in outdoor skills such as fishing, shooting, archery, hunting, trapping, outdoor photography, map and compass, survival, camping, canoeing, and outdoor cooking.
BOW workshops are designed primarily for women who have little or no experience with outdoor activities but are open to anyone ages 18 and over. Past participants have ranged in age from late teens to mid-80s!
View the photo gallery from past BOW workshops on DEC’s Flickr page.
Snowmobiling is a fun and adrenaline-filled way to experience the Adirondacks during the winter. Some trails even allow riders to experience the wilderness of Adirondack Forest Preserve lands.
Snowmobiling on Forest Preserve lands gives riders the opportunity to enjoy a wild forest character while navigating a system of seasonal motor vehicle roads and designated trails. These trails typically wind through hilly or mountainous terrain within a natural setting, connecting small communities and area attractions. These trails generally are narrower than trails on private lands. Snowmobiling is not permitted on all Forest Preserve lands, so be sure to stick to designated snowmobile trails.
Changes reflect new zoning, recent additions to the High Peaks Wilderness
The brand-new 15th edition of High Peaks Trails, the flagship of ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) comprehensive Forest Preserve Series of guidebooks, has just been released. The volume is edited by longtime Adirondack adventurer Tony Goodwin, who has been writing and updating guidebooks for over 30 years.
Since the 14th edition was published in 2012, 47,000 acres of Forest Preserve have been added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Its boundaries have been redrawn, and new regulations governing use of these areas are anticipated. The new 15th edition addresses the significant zone changes that have been implemented by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as new acquisitions, new trails, reroutes, restored and altered trailheads, and parking regulations.
The Adirondacks are set to see the warmest temperatures of 2021 so far this weekend. With temperatures creeping into the lower 40s at base elevations and rain expected in some areas, conditions for hikers, backcountry skiers, and other winter recreationists will change significantly.
Variable weather such as is forecast for this weekend can create dynamic conditions for outdoor recreation. Warm days and below freezing temperatures at night create a freeze/thaw cycle that can lead to increased instability in the snowpack and may increase the risk of avalanches.
In the fall of 2019, I was hiking up Cascade Mountain for a story about High Peaks crowds, when I noticed something unusual on the way up. There were orange blazes painted on rocks and logs.
At first, I thought it was related to trail work, but the markings seemed too random for that.
If you’re planning to hike in the High Peaks region this winter, you may have heard that snowshoes are required to be worn once snow depths reach eight inches. But why is that, and what does it mean for you?
Snow can get very deep in the High Peaks Wilderness. Currently, there is close to three feet of snow at base elevations and five to six feet on summits. When snow gets this deep, staying on the surface is vital to your safety and the safety of others.
Snowshoes redistribute weight and help hikers float on the surface of deep snow. This prevents the deep holes, known as postholes, created by bare boots. Note that carrying snowshoes with you is not sufficient – they must be worn to prevent falls and postholing.
It might seem like snowshoes are unnecessary when trails become packed down from repeated travel, but that is not the case. Snow alongside the hardpacked trails will still be soft. Imagine stepping off to the side to let another group pass and falling feet down into the snow. Such falls can lead to injury and leave dangerous traps along the trail. Even on hardpacked trails bare boots can still create holes and divots in the snow that might cause others – especially skiers – to fall.
There are some instances when you might have to switch your snowshoes for other traction devices. When you encounter thick, steep ice, swap out your snowshoes for crampons. As soon as you are past the ice, put your snowshoes back on.
It takes practice to be able to walk in snowshoes comfortably. Practice at home, in familiar locations, and on short walks before attempting a big hike. Using trekking poles can help with balance.
Almanack file photo
The Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) invites ski enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to participate in the first-ever Jackrabbit Rally to celebrate ski touring, the 35th anniversary of the popular Jackrabbit Trail and founding of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, which now operates as BETA. Founded in 1986, the Jackrabbit Ski Trail traverses a variety of terrain through Keene, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Paul Smiths for a total of 42 miles.
DEC is conducting a survey to elicit public feedback on the overnight gate closure program for Lake George at Mossy Point and Roger’s Rock boat launches. The information gathered will inform a more permanent program for future boating seasons and support the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Lake George from invasive pests.
We encourage boaters that have used either access sites to take a brief survey. The survey and comment period will remain open until March 12, 2021. Comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected].
Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and others who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions, advises the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Avalanche danger increases during and immediately after major snowfalls and during thaws. The High Peaks have received approximately five to six feet of snow, with the majority accumulating over the last two weeks. Due to high winds, snow depths are deeper on leeward slopes or areas of snow deposits, such as gullies. As snow accumulates over time it develops distinct layers formed by rain and melt/freeze cycles. When new snow falls onto previous snowpack, it adds weight and downward pressure. Lower snow layers may be reactive to the added stresses of recent snows, creating conditions conducive to avalanches.
I had hoped to get back to Canada sometime in the last year. I wanted to bring my family to Montreal and to some natural areas in Quebec and Ontario — maybe even visit the Maritimes for the first time. We got our son his first passport in preparation.
Oh well. I know that our continent and world have suffered much worse than I have in the last year. Canada will be there for us some other summer. No biggie.
New York’s State parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails welcomed a record-setting 78 million visitors in 2020. The milestone marks nine years of steady visitor growth and represents an overall increase of 34 percent, or more than 20 million visitors since 2011.
This increase was driven by unprecedented growth during the spring and fall seasons, as New Yorkers turned to State Parks facilities for safe, healthy outdoor recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more.
Statewide Empire State Trail Completed
New Yorkers have a new way to explore all their state has to offer with completion of the 750-mile Empire State Trail, a year-round, multi-use recreational trail for cyclists, hikers, runners, cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
The trail runs from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain Valleys to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal. Three-quarters of the trail is off-road. Projections call for 8.6 million people to use it each year.
Connecting 20 existing regional trails, the Empire State Trail was created by building more than 180 miles of new off-road trail and connecting 400 miles of previously disconnected, off-road trails. There are 45 gateways and trailheads along the trail, which includes signage, interpretive panels, bike racks and benches. Navigating the trail can be done through the trails web site empiretrail.ny.gov, which includes an online map and the ability to print itinerary sheets for specific trail segments. Learn more.
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) has been awarded two grants from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) totaling $63,225.
“We are thrilled to be awarded $28,500 to create a new website that will greatly improve our online presence,” said Emily Segada, CATS Operations & Communications Manager, “We’ve already reached out to designers and are working to have a much more interactive trails page among many other improvements.”
CATS has also been awarded a $34,725 grant to support their Essex Quarry Nature Preserve and Trail project. These funds will help pay transaction costs (legal, survey, staff time) and some of the trail-making expenses.
Winter recreation is fun and exciting. It can also be challenging and dangerous. Whether you’re going for a hike, a ski, snowmobiling or ice fishing, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.
Food & Water Storage
Proper nutrition and hydration are key to a safe and successful hike, but winter’s cold can bring challenges. In extremely cold temperatures food and water can freeze in your pack. This makes it hard or even impossible to consume what you need to stay hydrated and energized. To avoid food and water freezing, try the following: