Adirondacks, NY – Residents and visitors planning to recreate on the lands and waters of the Adirondacks this Memorial Day Weekend should be aware of conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advised today. Recent and current flood conditions have impacted a number of DEC facilities and structures, the Adirondack bug season has begun, bears are out and crowds are expected at DEC campgrounds and in the backcountry.
Lake Champlain remains above flood stage. The Ausable Point Campground and the campground access road along the Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management are closed due to the high water levels. Many campsites and water access points on Valcour Island are flooded.
Bathrooms are closed and the floating docks have not been installed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other DEC boat launches on the lake. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. Also, the pump station is closed at the Peru Dock Boat Launch.
43 of the DEC’s 44 Adirondack Campgrounds and related day use areas, including Prospect Mountain Highway and Lake George Beach will be open this weekend. As previously stated, the Ausable Point Campground is closed due to flooding on Lake Champlain. Also, a third of the campsites at the Northampton Campground are not available for use due to high waters on Great Sacandaga Lake.
All campgrounds are expected to be full. The camping experience will be safe and enjoyable if campers follow DEC rules and regulations. DEC has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and public intoxication. Fireworks are illegal in New York State and quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am. Campers should read and follow the rules and regulations provided to them when they register at the campground. DEC staff will be patrolling campgrounds throughout the weekend.
Black bears are plentiful in the Adirondacks. Food and coolers should be stored securely and out of sight in either a car trunk or the passenger area of truck with the windows closed.
DEC asks the public not to move untreated firewood to help slow the spread of Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive insects – buy local or kiln dried firewood instead. New York State’s firewood regulations restrict the movement of untreated firewood to 50 miles to prevent the spread of infested wood. Campers must have certification that firewood they are transporting complies with regulation.
Boat Launches, Locks and Waters
Due to high waters, floating docks have not been installed at many DEC boat launches. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult at boat launches, especially for boaters that are not familiar with the location of location of structures that are now underwater. Both the Upper and Lower Locks in the Saranac Lakes Chain are open.
Rivers and streams are running swiftly, increasing the risk of falling in and the chances of being dumped from canoes or kayaks. Cold water temperatures increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Personal floatation devices (PFDs) should be worn by all people on boats and while boarding or exiting the boat.
Paddlers and boaters should be aware that high 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.
High numbers of people can be expected on the trails and waterways of the backcountry. This is especially true in the Eastern High Peaks where trailhead parking lots and interior campsites may reach capacity by Friday evening. Hikers and paddlers should plan accordingly and seek out recreational opportunities on less used areas of the forest preserve.
Trails are wet and muddy. Hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail. Blowdown – trees, limbs and branches – may be encountered on many trails. Due to high water levels, caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to waters may be flooded due to rains and beaver activity.
Snow can be found at elevations of 3700 feet up to the tree line. Snow can be found in lower elevations on north and east facing slopes. Wear proper clothing and footwear and expect to take much longer to traverse sections of trails where snow is present.
Regulation requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. DEC encourages the use of bear resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.
Mountain bikers should avoid using the Flume Bike Trail System in Wilmington, which is wet and muddy, to prevent damage to the trails.
The “Bug Season” has begun in the Adirondack. Back flies are present almost everywhere and mosquitoes may be found in many locations. Minimize the nuisance of biting insects by wearing light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts and long pants; tucking shirts into pants and the bottom of pant legs into socks; buttoning or rubber banding sleeves at the wrist; wearing a headnet when insects are thick and using an insect repellant with DEET.
Many access roads remained closed to motor vehicles due to muddy conditions, those that are open may still be muddy, rutted or have washouts. Be cautious when using these seasonal roads.
More details can be found on the Adirondack Trail Information web pages, along with links to current weather forecasts, regulations, and safety tips.