It’s mud season again in the Adirondacks. During mud season, we are all warned by our NYS DEC to stay off designated hiking trails in or near the High Peaks or Giant Mountain Wildernesses at this time of the year because the scarce, thin, organic soil at higher elevations so easily comes off on our boots and leaves nothing on the former trail but boot holes and pools of water. Save our vulnerable soils, plants and trails. Come back later in May or June, we are asked, when conditions are drier. The request makes plenty of sense.
Posts Tagged ‘mud season’
No one likes to be told what to do. We get it. But we are urging you to resist riding muddy trails.
We know this topic is controversial and nuanced. This is the Adirondack Mountains – if we didn’t ride when it was wet, we’d NEVER ride, right? Well, kind of, BUT there is a very important distinction that we need to make between the state of the trails now – saturated, soft and delicate, versus the state of the trails in July after a thunderstorm – hardened, stable and tacky. Read a science-y explanation here: Mud Season Unlike Any & here: Just Say No To Mud
For decades editors have told me not to use the word “elderly,” because it is both subjective and derogatory, an edict that I have afforded the same bland indifference with which I semi-acknowledge a dental hygienist who has just pressured me to floss.
But at a public hearing over a Ticonderoga public works project this week, a young woman was decrying new curbing that had facilitated the formation of ice and caused her to fall. She was OK because she was young, she said, but — and here she pointed to her neighbor, not much older than me — “this elderly gentleman” might not be as lucky.
He gave her a look, but didn’t say anything. I got to admit, though, that kind of stung. Still, the Adirondacks is filled with little hikes suitable for us elderly folk.
The following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.
Essex Chain Wilderness: All roads are now open.
West Canada Lakes Wilderness: Cedar River Flow Road is open to the Wakely Dam.
Tooley Pond Conservation Easement: The Allen Pond Road Gate and the Main Haul Road Gate are now open for the season.
NYS DEC has released an early season muddy trails advisory urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.
Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight. These conditions, known as “monorails,” are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.
DEC and the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) have launched a no-cost pilot reservation system to address public safety at a heavily traveled stretch on Route 73 in the town of Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks.
The Adirondack Mountain Reserve is a privately owned 7,000-acre land parcel located in the Town of Keene Valley that allows for limited public access through a conservation easement agreement with DEC.
The pilot reservation system does not apply to other areas in the Adirondack Park. The reservation system, operated by AMR, will facilitate safer public access to trailheads through the AMR gate and for Noonmark and Round mountains and improve visitors’ trip planning and preparation by ensuring they have guaranteed parking upon arrival. In recent years pedestrian traffic, illegal parking, and roadside stopping along Route 73 have created a dangerous environment for hikers and motorists alike.
Closures due to Spring Thaw
Effective Monday, March 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 6 began closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands, due to spring thaw and muddy conditions. Gate closures are expected to be completed by Friday, March 26.
Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season damages roads, resulting in road opening delays. DEC will reopen the roads once they become dry enough to safely handle motor vehicle traffic and any necessary maintenance is completed.
Region 6 is comprised of Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, and Oneida counties.
Information courtesy of the NYS DEC
DEC campgrounds and pavilions are closed to overnight visitation through June 7. (Note: this does not mean that campgrounds will be opening on that date.) DEC has suspended all new camping reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. Visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund or can transfer the reservation to the 2021 season. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff.
Water-access campsites at DEC campgrounds remain closed to overnight visitation until DEC’s campgrounds reopen. This includes, but is not limited to:
DEC Issues Late Season Muddy Trails Advisory
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urged hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. North-facing trails have retained snow and ice late into the season this year. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails pose a danger to hikers, thin soils are susceptible to erosion, and sensitive alpine vegetation is easily damaged.
Despite recent warm weather, high-elevation backcountry trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has urged hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. Snow and ice are currently melting on high elevation trails and steep trails with thin soils are dangerous for hiking and susceptible to erosion, and sensitive alpine vegetation is easily damaged. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet in the Adirondacks until higher elevation trails have dried and hardened.
“Backcountry trails in the highest elevations are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow,” DEC announcement says. “Steep trails with thin soils can become a mix of ice and mud as the ice melts and frost leaves the ground, making the trails slippery and vulnerable to erosion by hikers.”
DEC asks hikers to help avoid damage to hiking trails and sensitive high elevation vegetation by avoiding trails above 2,500 feet, particularly high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, and High Peaks Wilderness Areas, especially the following trails: » Continue Reading.
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