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Entries from August 31st, 2011

DEC Warns Hikers About Hazardous Conditions

August 31st, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Many Backcountry Trails in Adirondacks and Catskills Closed Due to Hurricane Irene Impacts

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued a warning that unsafe conditions will remain in much of the backcountry of the Adirondacks and Catskills through Labor Day Weekend. Several trail areas are closed or inaccessible due to Hurricane Irene storm damage include flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down of trees and other debris.

“We are asking the public’s cooperation in coping with the devastating effects from Hurricane Irene,” said Commissioner Martens. “In the interest of public safety, we have closed several backcountry trail areas in the Catskills and Eastern Adirondacks due to extensive damage and hazardous conditions. We encourage the public to check the DEC website for current trail conditions and campground closures before planning their travels this coming holiday weekend.”

Adirondacks

Due to the extent of the damage and to ensure public safety, DEC has closed the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness through Labor Day Weekend and beyond. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use.

Many mountain areas have been impacted by landslides. Mt. Colden, Trap Dike, Wright Peak, Skylight, Basin, Armstrong, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaws, Dix, Macomb, Giant and Cascade Mountains and many existing slides widened and/or lengthened. The threat of additional slides exists on these and other mountains remains in effect.

Although a full assessment of the recreational infrastructure in all areas of the Adirondacks has not been completed, the following hazards are confirmed:

  • The footbridge over Marcy Dam has washed away and the flush boards have been damaged;
  • Marcy Dam Truck Trail has 4 major washouts;
  • The first bridge on the western end of the Klondike Notch Trail washed downstream to South Meadows Trail;
  • Washouts on the Van Hoevenberg (Mt. Marcy) trail are 1 to 3 ft deep;
  • Along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam, Marcy Brook jumped its banks and caused widespread damage to the trail;
  • One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered;
  • Calamity Trail from Lake Colden is impassible south of McMartin Lean-to.

Lesser amounts of damage can be found on Adirondack Forest Preserve lands south and north of these areas. However, hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down when entering the backcountry. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Updated information on trail closures and trail conditions in the Eastern Adirondacks can be found at: Adirondack Trail Information

Areas in the Western Adirondacks are reported in fairly good condition though some flooding and blowdown can be expected. Most DEC campgrounds in the Adirondacks are expected to be open for Labor Day Weekend with many available sites.

Catskills

Trails in the Catskill backcountry have also been impacted and the public is advised to avoid the backcountry at this time. Due to damage to roads, many trailheads and other access points to the backcountry are inaccessible.

Campgrounds

Many DEC Campgrounds in the Adirondacks and the Catskills experienced significant damage from the storm including flooded areas, road destruction, and loss of electric and water service. Despite progress in restoring services, a number of campgrounds may be closed or have limited availability of campsites over Labor Day Weekend.

The following temporary campground closures are in effect:

Catskill Preserve: Mongaup Pond, Kenneth Wilson, Woodland Valley, Bear Spring Mountain, Devils Tombstone (closed until 9/14/2011), and Beaverkill (Closed for remainder of the season).

Adirondack Preserve: Little Sand Point, Poplar Point, Point Comfort, Lake Durant, Ausable Point, Paradox Lake, and Putnam Pond. All other campgrounds are open and operating.

A complete, updated list of closed campgrounds can be found on the DEC website at: Hurricane Irene Safety and Cleanup Information.

The public should be aware that many state and local roads may be inaccessible to travel and access to campground areas could be limited. Those planning to visit the Adirondack or Catskill regions this weekend call ahead or check for road closure information at the Department of Transportation’s webpage: http://www.511ny.org/.

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Hurricane Irene – Recreational Facility Status – Region 5

August 29th, 2011 · 2 Comments · News

This is the status of Adirondack facilities as of August 29, 2011.

Latest Updates Here: Adirondack Trail Information

TRAIL ADVISORY: Hurricane Irene has created dangerous conditions across most of the Eastern Adirondacks including flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down of trees and other debris. Back country travel is difficult, if not impossible, throughout much of the backcountry of the Eastern Adirondacks. Hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down when entering the backcountry. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

TRAIL CLOSURES: ALL trails in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness have been closed indefinitely due to extensive damage to trails and interior infrastructure. The trails will remain closed through Labor Day Weekend.

CAMPGROUND CLOSURES: The following campgrounds remain closed at this time due to the extensive damage roads, lack of electricity and or numerous trees down or damaged:

  • Ausable Point Campground
  • Buck Pond Campground
  • Eagle Point Campground
  • Hearthstone Point Campground
  • Lake Durant Campground
  • Lake George Battlefield Park
  • Lake George Battleground Campground
  • Lake George Beach
  • Lake George Islands Campground
  • Little Sand Point Campground
  • Luzerne Campground
  • Meacham Lake Campground
  • Moffit Beach Campground
  • Northampton Beach Campground
  • Paradox Lake Campground
  • Point Comfort Campground
  • Poplar Point Campground
  • Putnam Pond Campground
  • Rogers Rock Campground
  • Scaroon Manor Campground
  • Sharp Bridge Campground

DEC staff are working hard to open the campgrounds before Labor Day but public roads and power to some of the campgrounds are also damaged, as it is not known if all of the campgrounds will be open. Check this list daily for updates. It is also suggested that you phone either the campground or Regional Office to confirm that the facility is open. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/permits_ej_operations_pdf/2011facilityinfo.pdf

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Mammals of Shingle Shanty (camera-trap)

August 25th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Adirondack Life

I love this.

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Wilmington Celebrates 8th Annual Festival of Colors on September 10

August 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

WILMINGTON, NEW YORK – The Whiteface Region Business and Tourism Center (WFRBTC), Town of Wilmington and local sponsors are pleased to host the 8th Annual Festival of the Colors on Saturday, September 10, from 10:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. on Springfield Road in Wilmington.

Festival of the ColorsThe Festival will feature live entertainment by Organized Chaos, Pipsqueak the Clown and Santa’s Workshop, and will include horse rides, free kids activities and the famous Pie Baking Contest! In addition, numerous vendors will display a variety of products, from arts and crafts, to fresh produce and baked goods, to unique treasures.

“There are few more spectacular places to be than the Whiteface Region of the Adirondacks in fall,” said Susan Hockert, WFRBTC president. “The mountains become an evergreen canvas painted with bursts of vibrant yellow, red and orange – well worth celebrating!”

This popular annual event is free and open to the public, and will be held at the tee-ball field on Springfield Road in Wilmington, with a beautiful backdrop of Whiteface Mountain.

Vendors interested in participating in the event and all those seeking more information should contact Michelle at 518.946.2255 or info@whitefaceregion.com, and visit www.whitefaceregion.com for comprehensive area resources.

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State Court Rules Lows Lake is Wilderness

August 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

ALBANY, NY – A state court ruled this week that the bed and waters of Lows Lake in the heart of the Adirondacks are Wilderness.

Supreme Court Justice Michael C. Lynch of Albany County, in a lawsuit brought by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Protect the Adirondacks! (PROTECT), ruled Monday (Aug. 15) that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) erred when it approved a resolution in November 2009 that left the popular canoe route unclassified. Justice Lynch also noted that Lows Lake was included in a 1987 Wilderness classification of about 9,100 acres, a classification that was signed by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo.


“Justice Lynch not only confirmed that Lows Lake is Wilderness, he confirmed that it has been legally defined as Wilderness for nearly a quarter century,” ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth said. “He also upheld the principle that the APA has a legal obligation to classify water bodies that are part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. That part of the decision has important implications for the future management of the waters of the Forest Preserve under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.”

“This decision underscores the fact that the lakes and water bodies of the Adirondacks need protection as much as the land and forests do,” PROTECT Director Dale Jeffers said. “In fact, the need to protect Adirondack waters was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Forest Preserve in 1885.”

The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (pdf), which is part of state Executive Law, requires APA to classify all lands and waters in the Adirondack Forest Preserve according to “their characteristics and ability to withstand use.” In the past, the agency has left some water bodies unclassified. In September 2009, the APA voted 6-4 to classify a portion of Lows Lake as Wilderness and a portion as Primitive. Both classifications prohibit motorized public uses. But then-Gov. David Paterson’s representatives on the APA board changed their position and supported a November 2009 resolution that left the lake unclassified.

Opponents of the Wilderness classification argued that the APA did not have the authority to classify the lake as Wilderness because New York State does not own the entire shoreline of Lows Lake. But Justice Lynch found that “the APA Act and the APSLMP require the APA to classify State owned bodies of water even if the water is contiguous to a private land holding.” The decision affirmed that state-owned lakes and other water bodies in the Adirondack Park are part of the constitutionally protected Forest Preserve and must be managed in accordance with the APSLMP.

Justice Lynch also annulled the November 2009 APA resolution and affirmed the 1987 Wilderness classification. The attorney for ADK and PROTECT, John Caffry of Caffry & Flower in Glens Falls, noted that the court reaffirmed a 1977 court ruling that the APSLMP has the force of law. The court then found that APA’s failure to follow the APSLMP was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Following an earlier lawsuit brought by PROTECT and ADK, the APA approved a resolution in April 2009 banning floatplanes from Lows Lake after the end of 2011. Even with the Lows Lake decision, only about 5 percent of the lake and pond surface area in the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park is classified as Wilderness. Public use of motorized vehicles and vessels is prohibited in Wilderness areas.

Protect the Adirondacks!Protect the Adirondacks! is a nonprofit, grassroots membership organization dedicated to the protection and stewardship of the public and private lands of the Adirondack Park. PROTECT is a consolidation of the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

Adirondack Mountain Club LogoThe Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the New York Forest Preserve and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.

Read: Justice Lynch’s decision (pdf)

Read: the ADK/PROTECT petition (pdf)

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Reopening Celebration for Lake Champlain Bridge Postponed

August 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

New date is set for May 19-20, 2012

Lake Champlain Bridge CommunityCrown Point, NY/Addison, VT – The Lake Champlain Bridge Community (LCBC) has made the difficult decision to postpone the celebration activities recognizing the re-opening of the Lake Champlain Bridge. Originally scheduled for October 15-16, 2011, a new date has been set for May 19-20, 2012.

The original target opening date for the bridge of October 9, 2011 has been removed from New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) website and current press updates. Attempts by LCBC to press NYSDOT for a revised opening date have been unsuccessful. “It is difficult to plan and execute a celebration of this magnitude when the opening date of the new bridge is an unknown,” said Karen Hennessy, LCBC Co-Chair.


Lake Champlain BridgeWith all of the detailed event plans so far along, the co-chairs of the LCBC felt it was their responsibility to make a go/no-go decision. “To continue planning, committing resources and booking vendors and performers without a confirmed opening date—or for that matter, a functioning bridge—we felt it was unfair to ask our tireless volunteers to continue planning a celebration that might not happen this fall,” said Lorraine Franklin, LCBC Co-Chair. “Although the dates of the celebration have changed, the momentum will continue to build through the fall and winter and we look forward to working with everyone to produce a great event,” Franklin added.

While disappointed with the date change, Franklin and Hennessy see the opportunity to “turn lemons into lemonade.” “We now have more time to dedicate to fundraising and planning for a truly Grand Celebration,” Hennessy said. During the next eight months, the LCBC will continue to accept donations, sign-up vendors and performers and recruit volunteers. They also encourage the communities along the Lake Champlain corridor to become involved as communities did for the opening of the first Lake Champlain Bridge in 1929. Community involvement could be in the forms of building a float for the parade, encouraging schools and organizations to participate and welcoming guests and visitors back to the region.

For more information regarding the Grand Celebration, visit LCBC’s website, contact info@champlainbridgecommunity.org or call (802) 759-2000. For information regarding construction updates, visit www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge/ or contact NYSDOT Regional Public Information Officer Carol Breen at (518) 388-0342.

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Forest Ranger Mid-Summer Search and Rescue Report

August 17th, 2011 · 1 Comment · News

Sadly, our normal selection of Summertime incidents includes two deaths in the High Peaks. At least we are not Yosemite.

  • 2 Heart-attacks in High Peaks
  • “Lost” at Fish Creek Campground
  • Lost at Round Lake
  • Thirsty on Ampersand (Boy Scouts)
  • Capsized paddlers hike NPT – no shoes, no food
  • Lots of Leg Injuries while hiking
  • Kayaker drowns on Lake Pleasant – PFD issue
  • Lost and Unprepared on Crane Mt, Buck Mt – after dark, no flashlight, no food, no map
  • Boat sinks in Log Bay
  • Kayakers lost after-dark on Lake George
  • Slip n’ Falls off Shelving Rock Falls

Read the rest of this entry »

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