DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin - May 3, 2018

Craig

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Have a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience on the lands and waters of the Adirondacks. Properly plan and prepare for your outdoor adventure. Minimize the impact on the mountains and forests, rivers and brooks, ponds and lakes, and the wildlife of the Adirondacks.
Check the Backcountry Information for the Adirondacks web pages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions for those planning to recreate in the Adirondacks. This bulletin provides only the most recent notices.
Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch (518-408-5850). Stay warm and dry by separating yourself from the wet snow with a thicker layer on the ground such as your pack. Protect yourself from the elements by building a shelter with items around you and in your pack. Use a space blanket for extra warmth.
Would you like your photo shared in our weekly bulletin? Send us your photos that represent current backcountry conditions in the Adirondacks. Send in your photos with your name and photo location/brief description to Info.R5@dec.ny.gov or simply tag #NYSDEC on Instagram.
PLAN
Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check the current National Weather Service Forecast and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or change your plans.
  • Varying trail conditions: Ice is still present on all trails in middle and high elevations. Carry crampons on all hikes. Plan to encounter a mix of mud and ice at lower elevations. There have been many ice related accidents reported on trails and mountain
    slopes. Please heed ice warnings to ensure your safety on all trails.
  • Mud: With warming temperatures at low elevations, trails have begun to muddy. Walk through the mud, not around. This will avoid widening the trail, trampling trailside vegetation and help to protect fragile wildlife habitats. Wear waterproof hiking boots and gaiters to ensure comfort and safety while hiking through mud.
  • All-terrain bikers advised to avoid all trails until trails have dried, hardened, and undergone all maintenance.
  • High waters-stream crossings may be impassable. Prepare to take alternate routes or turn back if a stream crossing is impassable. Fast moving streams should be avoided. Keep dogs on leashes near fast moving water. Fisherman should use a flotation device when wading in waterways as well as carry a walking stick for added balance.
PREPARE
Properly prepare to better ensure a safe and enjoyable winter recreation experience.
  • Spring recreation tips: It's spring and people are eager to get out into the warming weather or squeeze in the last of winter recreation. Mud season presents unique challenges for outdoor recreation. Weather is often volatile: rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow, and even thunderstorms can occur, sometimes on the same day. Trails are muddy, and high, fast-moving waters make stream crossings on trails dangerous. Seasonal access roads remain closed while they dry and spring maintenance is completed.
  • Paddlers: Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) (PFD’s are required before May 1st). Water temperatures are cold. A person in the water can quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water. Use caution entering and exiting your canoe or kayak. Expect high water levels and swift currents. Research your trip ahead of time and heed any high-water warnings or advisories for select paddling routes. Watch closely for trees, branches, rocks and debris both above the surface and underwater.
PRACTICE LEAVE NO TRACE
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks as well as ensuring an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces (Principle #2):
    • As snow next to the trails melts, compacted ice in the center creates “monorails.” Monorails can be tough to traverse. Take your time, use crampons and other traction devices for walking directly on the monorail. This avoids post-holing in trailside snow and trampling fragile vegetation and wildlife habitats. Trekking poles are useful for balance.
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare (Principle #1):
    • Layering for spring hiking: Temperatures at the trail head will vary from temperatures at your destination. Higher elevations and exposed summits can have significantly colder temperatures than the base of the mountain even on warm, sunny days. Pack extra non-cotton, wind protectant layers and be sure to use them once exposed or feeling colder to help prevent hypothermia.
  • Respect Wildlife (Principle #6):
    • View wildlife from a distance using binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the natural behavior of animals. It’s safer for wildlife, especially vulnerable populations like young animals, breeding and nesting birds, and wintering raptors.
    • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding can create dependence on humans and increase disease in wildlife. This includes food scraps along trails such as orange peels and apple cores. Carry out all food scraps
GENERAL CONDITIONS/NOTICES
Learn the conditions you will encounter from Adirondack Backcountry Information.
  • Winter Refuses to Leave: Much of the Adirondacks above 1,500 feet elevation received 8 to 20 inches of snow on the last Sunday of April. See the NERFC Snow Page for current snow information.
    • Deep snow (2-3 feet) and ice are present above 3,000 feet with even deeper snow above 4,000 feet.
    • Snow and ice present between 2,500 and 3000 feet elevation.
    • Patchy snow and ice are present between 2,000 and 2,500 feet elevation – especially in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other shaded areas.
    • Below 2,000 feet elevation most or all of the snow has melted due to warm weather, strong winds, and rain.
    • Snow may still be present in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other shaded areas between 1,500 and 2,000.
  • Trail Conditions:
    • High elevation (above 3,000 feet) trails are covered in ice and deep soft snow. Carry and use crampons and snowshoes. Climbing or mountaineering crampons may be required in some places.
    • Moderately High elevation (2,500 to 3,000 feet) trails are icy as compacted snow has turned to ice. Carry and use crampons. Climbing or mountaineering crampons may be required in some places.Snowshoes should be carried for any off trail excursions.
    • Middle elevation (1,500 to 2,500 ft) trails contain patches of mud and ice. Compacted snow has turned to ice creating “monorails” on the trails as surrounding snow melts. Wear proper foot wear and carry trail crampons (microspikes) on all hikes. Walk on monorails and through mud and water to avoid post-holing in trailside snow, trampling vegetation, and eroding trails.
    • Low elevation (below 1,500 ft) trails contain mud and water. Wear proper foot wear. Walk through mud and water - not around - to avoid eroding and widening trails and trampling trailside vegetation.
  • Mountain Summit Conditions: Conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead. Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, ice will be present, and snow will be present and deeper. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
  • Water Levels: Rain and melting snow have raised water levels. Rivers and streams are flowing high and fast. See the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters.
  • Stream Crossings: Due to high swift waters, crossing may be dangerous or impossible, especially in the afternoon when snow melt increases. Streams and drainages that are passable in the morning may not be in the afternoon.
  • Lakes and Ponds: Ice is completely gone on lower elevation and middle elevation lakes and ponds just in time for the May opening of fishing seasons for many warm water species. High elevation ponds are still ice covered, but the ice is not safe.
  • Water Temperatures: Water temperatures are very cold. Paddlers and boaters should wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD, aka Life Jacket)! People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water. Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a personal flotation device.
  • Seasonal Access Roads: All gates on seasonal access roads throughout the Adirondacks are closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
  • Statewide Burn Ban: There is a statewide burn ban in effect until May 14th. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.
    • DEC will post a Fire Danger Map rating forecast daily for the 2018 fire season on its website.
SPECIFIC NOTICES
Notices below reflect recent changes in conditions and recreation infrastructure work completed by DEC and its partners.
  • High Peaks Wilderness: Lake Colden Caretaker Report
    • Muddy trails between Loj Trailhead and Marcy Dam.
    • Ice beyond Marcy Dam
    • Deep soft snow beyond
      • Indian Falls on the VanHoevenberg Trail;
      • McIntyre Falls on the Algonquin Trail
      • Avalanche Pass
    • Trail between Boundary and Lake Colden is sloppy and wet
    • 40+ inches (100+ cm) of snow at Colden Caretaker Cabin (2,750 feet (838 m))
  • Saranac Lake Wild Forest: Paddlers and boaters should use caution in the vicinity of Lower Locks as the Saranac River is flowing high and swift over the dam at the locks.
  • Saranac Lake Wild Forest: Middle Saranac Lake is free of ice.
  • Lake Flower Boat Launch: The boat launch is open but due to a clean-up project removing contaminated sediments from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay no parking is available on site. DEC is working on obtaining alternate parking opportunities.
  • Northville Boat Launch: The Northville Boat Launch and Parking Area on State Route 30 is open for use.
  • Mount Tom State Forest (Town of White Creek, Washington County): The gates on Notch Lane, are open.
HIGHLIGHTED TRAIL- Coon Mountain, Westport, NY
Coon Mountain is on the Coon Mountain Preserve, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. The trail is 1 mile to the summit. From the trailhead the path starts climbing almost immediately. The trail never gets too steep, but it does have a moderate and constant incline. One short section gets steep as it passes through a rocky section, where footing is a bit more difficult. This is a perfect family outing, and if you are in the area it should not be missed. The views over Lake Champlain and into the Green Mountains of Vermont are amazing. Description from Champlain Area Trails.
Leave No Trace: Staying on the marked trails is a simple way to protect Coon Mountain’s natural areas. Walking off trail causes erosion, tramples plants, and can increase the likelihood of invasive plants becoming established.
Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 9N and Route 22 in Westport, take Route 22 north. Follow this for 0.4 mile and turn right on Lakeshore Road, then continue for 2.5 miles and turn left on Halds Road. The trailhead is on the right in just under a mile.
Coon Mountain Preserve: The 318-acre Coon Mountain Preserve is a naturalist's paradise and a viewer's dream. It is famous for its mysterious and craggy interior, with rocky outcrops and dark hemlock forests. Steep cliffs and talus slopes (accumulations of rock debris at the base of a cliff or steep mountain slope) reveal vistas of oak-pine forests, small fens and hardwood swamps. Coon Mountain Preserve has an abundance of wildlife to watch including migratory songbirds, broad-winged hawks, and porcupine.

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