DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin
May 18, 2018
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 theBackcountry Information for the Adirondacks [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html ] 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 *DECRay Brook Emergency Dispatch (518-891-0235)*. More information on hiking safety and what to pack. [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html ]
Spring recreation tips [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/113437.html ]: Learn more about safely and ethically recreating during the spring months.
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 toInfo.R5@dec.ny.gov or simply tag#NYSDEC [ https://www.instagram.com/nysdec/ ] on Instagram.
Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check the currentNational Weather Service Forecast [ https://www.weather.gov/btv/ ] and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or change your plans.
Temperature variances: Temperatures at the trail head will be significantly warmer than temperatures at the summit. Pack extra non-cotton, wind protectant layers and be sure to use them once exposed or feeling colder to help prevent hypothermia.
Park in designated parking areas at trail heads:* Victoria Day is Monday May 21st bringing more holiday travelers to the Adirondacks this coming weekend. Plan for busy trailheads and limited parking. Parking areas fill up quickly and early. Please avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highway roads for safety purposes. Be aware of visitors crossing roads. Do not block driveways, roadways, or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents.
-Ice and snow still present above 2,500 feet: Ice and snow are still present on trails in high elevations. Crampons should still be carried on all hikes above 2,500 feet. Snowshoes should be carried on all hikes which include elevations above 3,000 feet.
-Low elevation trails are muddy:* Walk through the mud, not around to 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.
Properly prepare to better ensure a safe and enjoyable spring recreation experience.
-Water temperatures:* 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. Wear a personal flotation device (aka PFD or life jacket). Expect high water levels and swift currents.
-Black Flies:* The transition from spring to summer means black fly season. Wear clothing that fully covers your body, use bug spray where you are not protected, and bring/wear a bug net to protect yourself from black flies. Wear light-colored clothing. Flies are attracted to dark colors.
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.
1. Travel on Durable Surfaces (Principle #2)
Avoid damaging hiking trails and sensitive trail side vegetation and habitats. [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/113692.html ]Wear waterproof hiking boots and clothing that can withstand mud and water. Walk through – not around – mud and water on trails. Walk single file directly down the center of the muddy trail to protect the integrity of the trail.
2. Minimize Campfire Impacts (Principle #5)
The Spring Fire Season has begun. Fires can start easily and spread quickly due to large amount of fuel (dead and dry leaves and vegetation). Use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes. More on Camp Fire Safety [ https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7827.html ].
3. Be Considerate of Other Visitors (Principle #7)
Be courteous of others. Plan for busier trails this holiday weekend. Be courteous of others while recreating regardless of their activity, speed, or skill level. Hike in single file, especially when approaching other hikers. Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate. Allow faster hikers to pass. When approaching other hikers from behind, politely let them know of your presence and desire to pass.
4. Respect Wildlife (Principle #6)
If you care, leave it there! [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/113677.html ]Do not disturb or feed fawns and other young 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.
Learn the conditions you will encounter from Adirondack Backcountry Information [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html ]Winter Conditions STILL present in the High and Highest Elevations:
-Deep snow (1-3 feet) and ice are present above 3,000 feet with even deeper snow above 4,000 feet. Snow is deepest on north facing slopes and other areas with little exposure to the sun.
-Snow and ice is present in patches between 2,500 and 3,000 feet elevation, in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to sun and wind.
Spring Conditions in the Lower and Middle Elevations:
-Some snow and ice remains present between 2,000 and 2,500 feet elevation. Mainly in patches in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to sun and wind.
-Little or no snow and ice is present between 1,500 and 2,000 feet elevation. Rare patches of snow may still be present in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and areas with little exposure to sun and wind.
-Snow and ice are gone below 1,500 feet
-Fire Danger Rating:* MODERATE. Check the current fire danger map [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/68329.html ].Spring fire season has arrived in the lower and middle elevations, be safe with campfires [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7827.html ].
Hikers and Campers
-High elevation (above 3,000 feet) trails are covered in ice and rotten (soft) snow. Carry crampons and snowshoes and use when warranted. Stay on trails to avoid trampling sensitive alpine vegetation.
-Moderately High elevation (2,500 to 3,000 feet) trails are icy with shallow snow. Compacted snow has turned to ice creating monorails as surrounding snow melts. Carry crampons and use when warranted. Stay on trails to avoid trampling vegetation and eroding trails.
-Middle elevation and lower elevation (below 2,500 feet) trails may be wet and muddy in places, especially low spots, drainages, and sections of trails by water. Walk through not around mud and water to avoid eroding and widening trails and trampling vegetation.
-Due to heavy winter snow and recent storms with strong winds, expect to find blowdown (trees, limbs, and branches) on portions of many trails. Blowdown may be heavy in some areas.
Mountain Summits Above 3,000 feet: Conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead. Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, SNOW AND ICE WILL BE PRESENT AND SNOW WILL BE DEEP. Be prepared for winter conditions when hiking above 3,000 feet elevation. Check theNational Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts [ https://www.weather.gov/btv/mountain ] for selected summits.
-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.
-Bear Resistant Canisters:* The use ofbear-resistant canisters [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html ] is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters and otherpractices to avoid negative encounters with bears [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6995.html#Backcountry ] throughout the Adirondacks.
Boaters, Paddlers and Anglers
-Water Levels: Water levels are dropping but are still at average spring time high levels. Rivers and streams are still flowing strong. Boaters and paddlers should use caution and beware of obstacles and debris on or just below the surface. See theUSGS Current Water Data for New York [ https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ny/nwis/rt]for stream flow of selected waters.
-Water Temperatures:* Water temperatures are 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.
-Lakes and Ponds:* Ice is off all but the highest elevation waters.
-Victoria Day Weekend: This is a Canadian Holiday Weekend. Trailheads parking areas will fill early. Expect to encounter many people on trails and waterways. Plan accordingly and seek outdoor recreational opportunities in other less used areas of the Adirondacks.
-Biting Insects: Black flies are present in the lower elevations signaling the start of “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:
-Wear light colored clothing.
-Wear long sleeve shirts; tuck shirts into pants and button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist.
-Wear long pants and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks.
-Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick.
-Use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions.
Seasonal Access Roads: While many seasonal access roads in the Adirondacks remainclosed for mud season [ https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/113249.html ], some have reopened.
-See the list of open roads in the *Specific Notices* section below.
-Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
-Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravels roads that can be rough.
-Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads.
Notices below reflect recent changes in conditions and recreation infrastructure work completed by DEC and its partners.
High Peaks Wilderness:
BE PREPARED FOR WINTER CONDITIONS. Snow and ice are still present above 3,000 feet elevation.
-Now through the month of October parking at the Garden Parking Lot costs $10 ($13 Canadian) per day. A town of Keene attendant will be at the Garden Lot from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays during seasons. Paying the fee is a self-serve process during the week.
-The town of Keenes shuttle between Marcy Field parking lot and the Garden Trailhead will be operating from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There is a $10 ($13 Canadian) round trip fee to use the shuttle.
– Once again the private landowners have agreed to allow hiking on the Owls Head Trail during the week. Parking at the trailhead and hiking the trail are prohibited on weekends
Saranac Lake Wild Forest:
-Girl Scout Road, a seasonal access road which provides access to St. Germaine Pond, is open to public motor vehicle use.
-Both the Lower and Upper Locks will be open and staffed this weekend and Memorial Day Weekend.
-Paddlers should use caution in the vicinity of Lower Locks due to the swift flow of water.
-Lake Flower Boat Launch: The boat launch is open but due to a clean-up project removing contaminated sediments from Lake Flowers Pontiac Bay no parking is available on site.Alternate parking is available [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/113635.html ] for vehicles with boat trailers.
-Debar Mountain Wild Forest*: Debar Meadows Road (Hatch Brook Gate) provides access to Debar Meadows and Skiff Pond Trails
-Essex Chain Lakes Complex:* Chain Lakes Road South is open to motor vehicle use to the gate above the confluence of the Indian River and the Hudson River.
-Moose River Plains:* Cedar River Road from the end of the pavement to the Cedar River Flow gate is open to motor vehicle use.
-William C. Whitney Wilderness:* Lake Lila Road is open to public motor vehicle use, do not trespass on adjacent private lands.
-Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest:* Low’s Lower Dam Road, which provides access to Lows Lake, and Otterbrook Road, which provides access to campsites along Horseshoe Lake beyond the Lows Lower Dam Road, are both open to motor vehicle use.
-Independence River Wild Forest:*
-Gates on all seasonal access roads are open to motor vehicle use including Basket Factory Road, McCarthy Road, and Smith Road.
-Docks have been installed at the Stillwater Reservoir Boat Launch.
-Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest:* Bear Pond Road is open for motor vehicle use.
-Croghan Conservation Easement Tract:* The Main Haul Road is open for motor vehicle use.
-Oswegatchie Conservation Easement Tract:* Bald Mountain Road is open for motor vehicle use.
-Pepperbox Wilderness: Jakes Pond Trail is temporarily closed beyond the bridge crossing the West Branch of the Oswegatchie River due to a logging operation on private property. This trail can alternatively be accessed from the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement.
-Cranberry Lake Wild Forest: Lost Pond Trail and Cranberry Lake 50 Connector through the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement Tract has re-opened. The trails had been closed/re-routed this winter to bypass a logging job.
Black River Wild Forest: The Loop Road at North Lake is open for public motor vehicle use to Campsite 18, but is closed beyond due to a washed out culvert. Mill Brook Road and Wolf Lake Landing Road to Woodhull Lake are both open to motor vehicle use.
-Lake George Wild Forest: Gates on Lily Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road, and Dacy Clearing Road are open and public motor vehicles may once again access and use these seasonal access roads.
-Taylor Pond Complex/Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area:* The gate and road area closed to the southern entryway to the WMA due to the Little Ausable River flooding the access road.
-Taylor Pond Complex/Terry Mountain State Forest:* The gate is open on Redd Road and the road is available for public motor vehicle access.
-St. Regis Canoe Area:The Little Green Pond/Little Clear Pond Road has been cleared of blowdown and is open for public motor vehicle use. The road provides access to the campsites on Little Green Pond and the hand launch on Little Clear Pond.
HIGHLIGHTED TRAIL Catamount Mountain, Wilmington, NY
Catamount Mountain (3,168ft), in the Taylor Pond Complex [ https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/106486.html ], is one of the more popular gems of the Whiteface Region and should not go unvisited by anyone. With its two open summits it affords spectacular views of the entire region. In season, the blueberries are nearly as spectacular as the views.
This is a 1.8-mile hike, one way, over moderate to steep terrain. From the trailhead parking area and trail register you will start hiking on the flat through semi-open terrain with many wildflowers in bloom in season. At 0.6 mile the trail bears right and begins to climb, dips to cross a brook at 0.8 mile, and then continues a mostly steep climb to the base of a steep chimney at 1.4 miles. This chimney requires some scrambling and may be difficult for small children, dogs, or anyone not comfortable in high places.
After this short, challenging stretch, the open rock summit just past the top of the chimney offers good views and is a worthy destination. Past this first summit, the trail briefly dips before resuming a zig-zagging climb across a series of open ledges. The trail is marked with intermittent cairns and fading paint blazes, and requires some care to follow before reaching the summit at 1.8 miles.
Primary Trailhead: From the four-corner intersection in the village of Wilmington head west up Route 431. At the intersection with the Whiteface Memorial Highway, just before the toll house, bear right toward Franklin Falls (county Route 72 or Gillespie Drive on some maps). Continue for 3.3 miles to Roseman Road there might not be a sign and take a right. Follow Roseman Road for 0.8 mile and turn right on Plank Road. Follow that for 2.2 miles, to the parking area on the left.
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