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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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Leave No Trace in the Adirondack Forest Preserve

May 23rd, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Hiking

How to be a Low-impact Ninja in the Woods

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 4/6-4/12/15

April 13th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.

“DEC Forest Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods.”

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Warren County
Lake George Wild Forest – Town of Lake George
Lost Hikers: On April 7, 2015 at 8:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 reporting three females lost on Prospect Mountain. The 19-year-old woman and two 20-year-old women from Glens Falls, one of them with a possible leg injury, made their way from a trail to the first Prospect Toll Road Crossing with no flashlights. Dispatch advised them to stay on the road until Forest Rangers arrived. Rangers located the women at 8:54 p.m. and transported them to their vehicle. The injured woman said she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Town of Johnsburg
Lost Skier: On April 12, at 2:40 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received word of a skier lost in the glades at the Gore Mt. Ski area. The 22-year-old man from Fulton called Warren County 911, who then contacted ski patrol. Warren County 911 obtained GPS coordinates from the man’s cell phone, which they relayed to responding DEC Forest Rangers. Rangers located the skier by 4:15 p.m. They escorted him back to the ski area in good condition.

Hamilton County
Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Town of Indian Lake
Lost Hiker: On April 12, at 6:20 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 reporting a 26-year-old man from Malta lost on Chimney Mountain. New York State Police received the initial call and obtained GPS coordinates from the man’s cell phone, which they relayed to responding DEC Forest Rangers. Rangers located the hiker at 9:05 p.m., who showed symptoms of mild hypothermia. Rangers warmed him up before walking him back to the trailhead where the Indian Lake Ambulance Squad waited. The ambulance transported the hiker to Glens Falls Hospital for evaluation. The incident concluded at 11:55 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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