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DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout the Adirondacks

December 30th, 2015 · 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) Acting 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, people can begin to take advantage of all the winter recreation opportunities in the Park,” Acting Commissioner Seggos said. “However, winter can also present dangerous – even perilous – conditions to those who are unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails where appropriate.”

Snow depths range from 2 to 6 inches, deeper in some local areas. The snow is wet with a surface crust of sleet and frozen snow, but will harden with the forecasted below freezing temperatures. The deepest snows are in the northern, eastern, and central Adirondacks where snow conditions for cross country skiing and snowmobiling range from fair to good. Snow depths are thinner and there is more ice in the western and southern portion. Snow depths are much deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Additional snow is forecasted during the next several days with 6-12 inches expected in the western Adirondacks.

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” or other ice prevention devices. Learn more about safe practices for travel on ice on DEC’s website.

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 northern and central Adirondacks are or will be open by the weekend including the Moose River Plains, Perkins Clearing, Speculator Tree Farm and Franklin County trail systems. Much of these trail systems are just now being checked for blowdown, washouts and other problems. 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.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks and other mountains that exceed 3,000 feet should carry snowshoes for their 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 Trail Information webpage 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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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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DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout Most of the Adirondacks

December 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Abound with Proper Preparation and Precautions

NYSDEC LogoThe recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports today. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.


“Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the Park has to offer during the upcoming holiday vacation period,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails.”

Snow depths range from 6 to 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the eastern Adirondacks with the thinner depths in the western portion. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet.

Seasonal access roads are closed. Motor vehicles should not be driving on seasonal access roads that serve as snowmobile trails in the winter such as the Moose River Plains Road.

Most gates and designated snowmobile trails are or will be open by the weekend. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.

Skis or Snowshoes Required

Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops 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.

Ice has only recently formed on most waters especially on large waterbodies. Alternating periods of freezing and thawing have occurred over the past month weakening any ice that is present. Always check ice thickness before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlet and near boathouses & docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Ice that holds snow will not hold the weight of a snowmobile at this time and may not hold the weight of a person.

Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide in the Eastern High Peaks is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.

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

The DEC Adirondack Trail 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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DEC And DOT Announce Plans To Reinvigorate The Remsen To Lake Placid Travel Corridor

July 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

State Agencies Seek Public Input on Possible Unit Management Plan Amendment to Convert the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid Segment to a Recreational Trail

State Agencies Will Also Explore Options to Bolster Rail Service Along Remainder of the Corridor and to Create and Expand Snowmobile Routes to Connect Communities between Old Forge and Tupper Lake

The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT) today announced that they will reopen the 1996 Unit Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (1996 UMP/EIS) for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. The review will evaluate use of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment for a recreational trail. It will also examine opportunities to maintain and realize the full economic potential of rail service on the remainder of the corridor. In addition, the state will review options to create and expand alternative snowmobile corridors to connect communities from Old Forge to Tupper Lake on existing state lands and conservation easements.

The UMP governs the use of the 119-mile Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor. The determination to revisit the UMP was made following a thorough assessment of options and a review of the extensive public comments made during four public meetings held by DEC and DOT last year.

DEC and DOT will prepare the UMP and draft EIS, which will explore opportunities to increase recreational use of the rail corridor and ensure it promotes tourism and economic growth in the surrounding communities. As part of this process, the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on a draft scope that outlines significant issues and environmental impacts, and guides preparation of the UMP and draft EIS. In addition, the public will be able to review and comment on the draft UMP and draft EIS when they are deemed complete.

Revisiting the 1996 UMP/EIS will enable DEC and DOT to thoroughly review those aspects of the 1996 UMP/EIS that recommend enhanced recreational opportunities and community connections, and to examine alternatives for the best future use of the Corridor along the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment. DEC and DOT will work with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and public stakeholders, including local officials and residents, to assess alternatives that reflect current realities along the corridor and potential environmental and economic impacts.

“Our goal is to protect our natural resources, while also exploring ways to increase opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in the Adirondacks,” DEC Commissioner Martens said. “We recognize that the future of the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor is important to local residents, communities and the regional economy, and the UMP process is the appropriate way to determine the best use of the corridor. We greatly appreciate the input received and continue to encourage the public and stakeholders to be actively involved in the UMP process since their views and interests will be an important part of the decision-making process.”

“The Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor is a tremendous transportation resource that traverses stunning landscapes across the northern Adirondacks,” DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said. “In response to public interest, we are reopening the Unit Management Plan, providing new opportunities to engage local communities and support the regional economy as we plan for the corridor’s future.”

The UMP process will provide a transparent and public means of exploring a proposed amendment to the 1996 UMP/EIS that would maximize benefits from public use of the corridor and conform with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Any proposed amendment would consider and incorporate public comments.

The rail service envisioned by the 1996 UMP/EIS has never been fully realized. The recurring short term lease under which the Adirondack Scenic Railroad operates has hindered the capital investment necessary to improve the rail line in the most remote sections of the corridor. This review will evaluate options to provide the long-term assurance to the rail operator and its investors need to move forward with much needed improvements.

Snowmobilers have long used the travel corridor during peak season to transit between communities. That use is made unsafe during periods of lesser snow as track becomes exposed. As part of this review, DEC will evaluate ways to expand snowmobile routes between the communities along the Old Forge to Tupper Lake segment of the corridor on state lands and conservation easements. This will open new recreational and tourism opportunities for those communities but also provide a safer riding experience for the snowmobiling community.

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DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout Most of the Adirondacks

December 17th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Abound with Proper Preparation and Precautions

NYSDEC LogoThe recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports today. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.



“Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the Park has to offer during the upcoming holiday vacation period,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails.”

Snow depths range from 8 – 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the western and southwestern Adirondacks and the thinner depths in the northeastern section. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3000 feet.

Most designated snowmobile trails are open as well. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to the side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

The roadways on the Essex Chain Lakes Tract in the towns of Newcomb and Minerva in Essex County provide new excellent cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. The Town of Newcomb will plow the Goodnow Road and parking areas along the road near the access points to the Essex Chain Tract. This is the first time the public will be able to access these lands in the winter in more than 100 years.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.

Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can cause sudden falls and result in injuries. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops 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. Plan trips accordingly.

Ice has formed on most waters and is thickening on high elevation ponds and lakes and small to mid-size bodies of water. Check ice thickness before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlet and near boathouses and docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide in the Eastern High Peaks is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.

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

The DEC Adirondack Trail 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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Taking Snow Samples

March 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Gratuitous crash sharing.

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Notice: High Water in the Adirondack High Peaks

March 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Danger Thin IceTuesday’s rain and warm temperature has raised the levels of waters in streams and drainages throughout the High Peaks. Crossings may be treacherous if not impossible.

Lakes and ponds, such as Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden, have a foot of water and slush on their surfaces and are not skiable.

Below freezing temperatures overnight have begun to harden snow but beware of thin crusts of snow or ice over top slush and water especially in low lying areas, over and around streams and drainages and on lakes and ponds.

Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing through the weekend. Water levels will drop and snow, ice and slush should harden.

Courtesy of: NYSDEC

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