Backcountry and Water Recreation
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) notes that the combination of heavy rains and significant snowmelt has brought high water levels throughout the region resulting in conditions that are not conducive to hiking, camping, boating and paddling. Despite the good weather forecasted for this weekend DEC is discouraging the public from entering the woods or accessing the waters of the Adirondacks for the following reasons:
- Many roads in the Adirondacks have been closed due to flooding and washouts.
- Streams are very high and most stream crossings that don’t have a foot bridge are impossible or dangerous to cross.
- Many trails and campsites adjacent to streams, and other waters, are flooded. Other trails in lower elevations are very muddy and wet.
- High winds moved through the area. Due to soils being saturated with water these winds may result in numerous trees being toppled. Trails and campsites may be covered and blocked by fallen trees.
- The danger of landslides on mountain slopes is high due to saturated soils.
- Snow is still present above 2600 feet, the snow is soft and slushy. Snowshoes are required to prevent “post holing”, avoid injuries and ease travel.
- Water levels are high and water temperatures are low, rivers and streams are running swiftly.
- Waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris.
- High waters also conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided.
Water Levels in the Saranac River System
DEC continues to work with the Village of Saranac Lake to minimize and balance the impacts of flooding in the Village. DEC staff placed sandbags around the both the Upper and Lower Locks to protect the locks and retain additional water. Two dozen DEC operations staff, most of them seasonal staff at DEC campgrounds on their first day on the job this year, assisted Village of Saranac Lake employees and other in filling and placing sandbags around various locations on the shores of the Saranac River.
Repairing Flood Damaged Shorelines
Property owners who have streams or shorelines which have been eroded or otherwise damaged by flooding should check with the DEC Environmental Permits Office, and the Adirondack Park Agency (if the location is in the Adirondack Park), before undertaking repair work to determine if a permit or emergency authorization is required. Depending on the situation, work immediately necessary for the protection of life, health, general welfare, property or natural resources may be authorized under emergency authorization procedures. Projects for the purpose of shoreline restoration and erosion protection are subject to a permit application process.
The DEC Region 5 Environmental Permits Office can be reached at 518-897-1234 and the Adirondack Park Agency can be reached at 518-891-4050.
DEC provides a number of documents on its website to assist in developing a shoreline stabilization project: