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DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout the Adirondacks

December 13th, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Available with Proper Preparation and Precautions

The recent snowstorm is providing good conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice, and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.

“Now that snow has arrived in the Adirondacks, visitors can take advantage of all the winter recreation opportunities in the park,” Commissioner Seggos said. “However, winter can also present dangerous – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails where appropriate.”

Snow depths range from two to 18 inches with the deepest snows found in the western and central Adirondacks. Snow depths are thinner in the eastern and southern Adirondacks. Snow depths are much deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Additional 3 to 9 inches of snow is forecasted during the next several days with the deeper snows forecasted in the western Adirondacks.

Ice Safety Chart

While snow is present throughout the Adirondacks, ice has only recently begun forming on waters and is not safe. Although the ice may have snow on the surface, it is not thick enough to hold the weight of anglers, snowshoers, skiers, skaters or snowmobiles. Ice will remain unsafe until temperatures fall below freezing for a significant continuous period. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets and near boathouses and docks – especially those with “bubblers” of other ice prevention devices. Learn more about safe practices for travel on ice.

All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicles at this time. Use of these roads by motor vehicles can tear up and rut snowmobile trails and even the roads themselves.

Most gates and designated snowmobile trails in the western and central Adirondacks are or will be open by the weekend including the Moose River Plains and the Seventh Lake Mountain snowmobile trail, and Lake Pleasant. Other trail systems are being checked for blowdown, washouts and other problems, and additional snow before opening. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out.

Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

Adirondack Snow Conditions and Resources

With snow accumulations recorded at nearly 10″ for the High Peaks Region, the use of snow shoes is required in the High Peaks Wilderness. The use of snowshoes is recommended for those visiting any higher elevation trails or mountains over 3,000′ for personal safety and the safety of other backcountry users. Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons and traction devices should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails including summits and other exposed areas.

In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!) clothing: a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.
  • Carry a day pack with the following contents: Ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.
  • Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Check weather before entering the woods – if the weather is poor, postpone your trip.
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times – if the weather worsens, head out of the woods.
  • Know the terrain and your physical capabilities – it takes more time and energy to travel through snow.
  • Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.

Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly.

Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies.

The DEC Adirondack Backcountry Information web page provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience.

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Cascade Mt Trailhead and Parking – Temporary Relocation and Reroute for Columbus Weekend / Canadian Thanksgiving

September 28th, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NOTICE TO HIKERS

Temporary Major Trailhead Relocations and Trail Reroutes
Effective Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend (Fri, October 6 through Mon, October 9 2017)

DEC is taking the following actions to protect public safety at a very popular trailhead parking area in the Adirondacks during the busy holiday weekend.

Trailheads and trailhead parking for Cascade Mountain, Porter Mountain, and Pitchoff (West) Mountain will be relocated to the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex at 220 Bobsled Lane, Lake Placid, NY.

Pull-offs along State Route 73 in the vicinity of the current trailhead will be blocked and roadside parking will be prohibited.

State Police and County Sheriff Deputies will enforce the parking prohibition. Drivers may be ticketed and vehicles towed.

Temporary Access to Cascade Mountain Map
Temporary Access to Cascade Mountain Map – PDF

Hiking Trails

Cascade Mountain – A 2.0-mile marked route on the Olympic Sports Complex’s cross country ski trail system will connect hikers to the Cascade Mountain Trail via a newly constructed 0.6-mile connector trail. A round-trip hike using this route to the summit of Cascade Mountain is 8.6 miles long, a round-trip hike to the summit of Porter Mountain is 9.4 miles long.

Pitchoff Mountain – A 2.0 mile marked route across much of the same ski trail system will connect hikers to State Route 73. A 0.15-mile hike along the shoulder and across Route 73 will bring hikers to the access the current trailhead. A round-trip hike to the summit of Pitchoff Mountain using this route is 8.4 miles long.

Mt. Van Hoevenberg – The 1.6-mile trail (3.2 miles round trip) through the Olympic Sports Complex ascends 840 feet to 2,940-foot summit which provides amazing views of much of the High Peaks Wilderness and its many mountains.

Hikers seeking shorter hikes can check Hikes Outside the Adirondack High Peaks for hikes that will provide a similar experience and scenic views.

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex
In addition to a safe place to park, hikers will be able to enjoy amenities such as bathrooms, food, and drink at the Cross Country Lodge is open 9:00 am to 4:30 pm daily. Also bobsled rides, mountain biking, and bus tours of the complex are available for a fee. (Olympic Sports Complex | Whiteface Mountain).

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DEC to Reopen Lower Locks on Saranac Chain of Lakes on Saturday, July 1

June 30th, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Boaters Again Able to Access Five Lakes and 5,000+ Acres of Water Starting this Weekend

Repairs and rehabilitation work on the Lower Locks that provide passage on the Saranac River allowing boaters to access the waters between Lake Flower and Lower Saranac Lake have been completed and the locks will be open for use on July 1, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today.

“The Lower Locks have long been a unique and essential structure for recreating on more than 5,000 acres of water, including five large lakes, in the Saranac Lake area,” said Director Stegemann. “These improvements improve lock operations and greatly reduce the number of times, and possibly eliminate, lock closure for minor repairs.”

Improvements included:

  • Rehabilitating the fill and release doors and the wicket (main) doors, including replacing all seals and bearings;
  • Completely replacing the hydraulic system including hydraulic arms, lines and operating system;
  • Repairing concrete walls;
  • Replacing and re-equipping the Locks Operator Shed; and
  • Replacing all tie downs, ropes, and other equipment.

DEC staff will be present to operate the locks from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Site cleanup of materials and equipment associated with the repair and rehabilitation work has not been completed, boaters should remain in their boats while at locks.

Repairs were also completed this spring on a broken swing arm on the Upper Locks, providing additional access for boaters between Lower Saranac and Middle Saranac lakes.

The $1.2 million project was funded through NY Works under a New York State Office of General Services contract. CHA Companies of Albany, NY, provided the design and inspection. Friend Construction and Dow Electrical, both of Malone, NY, completed the work under DEC supervision.

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Hiking, Camping and Paddling in the Adirondack Backcountry

June 16th, 2017 · Comments Off on Hiking, Camping and Paddling in the Adirondack Backcountry ·

NYSDEC Web Resources

General Information

Adirondack Forest Preserveon.ny.gov/2s6leBO
Camping and Hiking Ruleson.ny.gov/2s6m41q
State Land Regulationon.ny.gov/2rB65oj
State Land Interactive Mapperon.ny.gov/2s6bE1I
Avoiding Conflicts with Bearson.ny.gov/2rAX92e
Hikingon.ny.gov/2s6i9BL
Hiking Safelyon.ny.gov/2s6hLTN
Paddlingon.ny.gov/2s5XU6U
Primitive Campingon.ny.gov/2rDnMna
Campfire Safety Tipson.ny.gov/2rDlvIW
Bikingon.ny.gov/2rDHLSF
Horseback Ridingon.ny.gov/2rDn75r
Rock and Ice Climbingon.ny.gov/2rDywlA
Rock Climbing Route Closureson.ny.gov/2rDC4o1
Geocachingon.ny.gov/2rE0q0U
Skiing and Snowshoeingon.ny.gov/2rDz7nf

Social Media

Facebookbit.ly/nysdec-fb
DEC Delivers (listserv)on.ny.gov/2s8Q7Ft
Twittertwitter.com/@NYSDEC
YouTubeyoutube.com/user/nysdecvideos
Flickrflickr.com/photos/nysdec
Instagraminstagram.com/nysdec

High Peaks

Backcountry Informationon.ny.gov/25S3fKS
Hikes Outside the High Peaks1.usa.gov/jThw5K
High Peaks Wildernesson.ny.gov/2s8YLDY
High Peaks Wilderness Zoneson.ny.gov/2s8ABcE
Bear Resistant Canisters1.usa.gov/hTpvZU
Avalanche Preparednesson.ny.gov/2s8Yu3V

Adirondack Backcountry Information

Adirondack Backcountry Informationbit.ly/135BPiU
Northwestern Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8FQcj
Northern Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8zGZK
Northeastern Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8Z4ik
Western Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8LbR4
West Central Adirondackson.ny.gov/1eNnfsu
East Central Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8HDhQ
Eastern Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8Vqol
Southwestern Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s8GmHf
Southern Adirondackson.ny.gov/2s95FJt

E-mail Questions: r5.info@dec.ny.gov

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Owls Head Trail Closed on Weekends

June 9th, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Effective immediately the trail to the summit of Owls Head in the town of Keene in the Adirondacks is closed to public access and use on weekends.

Owls Head Trail SignageThe trailhead and all but the last 0.1 mile of the trail are located on private lands. The large number of vehicles parked on the private road during the Memorial Day weekend blocked access for private landowners, and now the landowners are prohibiting the public to park on the private road between 4 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Monday and have posted signs along the road reflecting this decision.

The trail to the summit of Owls Head is not an official DEC trail nor does DEC have an easement for public use on the trail – the landowner has allowed the public to use the trail. However, the landowner has informed DEC the trail will be closed for public use at the end of this hiking season.

DEC is in the process of identifying an alternate trail route on Forest Preserve lands from the Molly Nye Road on the opposite side of the mountain, and will pursue an amendment to the High Peaks Wilderness Unit Management Plan which would be necessary to facilitate construction of a new trailhead and trail.

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Cedar Guide Boat

May 12th, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Cedar Guide Boat

14 Ft Square Stern Ceder Guide Boat. Designed and built by Willard Hanmer of Saranac Lake in 1951. Purchased and used by NYSDEC Fisheries. 300+ miles estimated distance portaged during 15 years of service. 3 HP motor, 6 mph fully loaded (65 lbs). Currently displayed at Ray Brook HQ.

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Snow in the Adirondacks This Weekend

October 21st, 2016 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoWEEKEND SNOW FORECAST: Weather forecasts vary but some weather services forecast accumulations of snow ranging from three inches to a foot this weekend throughout most of the Adirondacks.

  • The deepest snows are forecast for the Northwestern Adirondacks and the High Peaks region.
  • Moderate to deeper snow depths are forecast for the Western, Central (West & East), Northern and Northeastern Adirondacks.
  • Little to no snow is forecast for the Eastern and Southern Adirondacks.
  • Snow depths will be deeper in higher elevations.
  • Hikers should plan and prepare accordingly.




Rain, Snow, and Wind: Significant amounts of rain are forecast through the weekend with rain mixing with snow before changing to all snow as described above. Winds will get stronger through the weekend. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) and the National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) for the latest snow information.
Snow Adirondack High Peaks

High Elevation Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be present and deeper than depths at trailheads on summits. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. Check the Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC website) for selected summitsNational Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts.

Trail Conditions: Trails will be wet and muddy through midday Saturday and then become a mix of water, mud, ice, and snow before becoming snow covered as described above.

  • Wet leaves, snow and ice will make for slippery trails – wear proper footwear and traction devices.
  • Snowshoes will be warranted late Saturday and on Sunday in the areas forecast to have moderate to deep snow cover, and in higher elevations.
  • Remain on trails. Walk through mud & water and on snow & ice to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.

Avoid Hypothermia: The forecasted wet and cold weather provides ideal conditions for hypothermia.

  • Wear waterproof outer layers.
  • Wear layers of fleece, wool, and other non-cotton clothing.
  • Pack extra clothing including a fleece, wool or other non-cotton jacket or sweater.
  • Add or remove layers to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Wear cold weather hat and gloves (or mittens).
  • Eat, drink and rest often.

Shorter Days: Autumn has arrived the sun sets earlier each day.

  • Sunset is around 6:00 pm, earlier in deep valleys and on northern and eastern facing slopes.
  • It will become darker sooner when skies are cloud covered.
  • Plan to return to the trailhead by sunset but
  • always carry a flashlight or headlamp just in case.

Blowdown: Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) may be present on trails as winds strengthen, especially on trails in the higher elevations.

Courtesy of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

More info at Adirondack Snow Conditions and Resources

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