Despite heavy storms that impacted the central and northern Adirondacks and dropped up to two inches of rain on some locations, conditions around the region remain very dry and the fire danger is HIGH, a condition that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly.
Use extreme caution with campfires. More than 15 wild fires have burned some 30 acres in the Adirondacks since July 1st.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and a moderate drought in the Southwestern Adirondacks.
The levels of rivers and streams throughout the region rose this week but are falling steadily and will generally be below normal this weekend, especially in the western Adirondacks.
Water levels on lakes and ponds remain below normal. Motors boaters in particular should be aware that some normally navigatable shallow areas may no longer be safe to travel.
The West Branch of the Ausable River at Wilmington is in the lower 70s and the water temperature at the public dock on Mirror Lake is 75 degrees. Lake Champlain has risen to 74 degrees, and the afternoon water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George has risen into the lower 80s.
Conditions currently favor the growth of blue-green algae and localized algae blooms have been reported around Lake Champlain. Remember to avoid all contact with algae.
A correction from last week on rock climbing routes: there remains one climbing closure; Peregrine Falcon nesting activity has been confirmed at Shelving Rock at Lake George and a route closure notice has been posted at the base of the cliff. DEC has tallied a record number of fledgling Peregrine falcons this year, but remember, climbers should retreat from routes where they encounter defensive behavior from falcons.
A new parking area has been constructed along Shelving Rock Road near the trailhead to Shelving Rock Falls and also a reminder that users of the Shelving Rock Day Use Area are required to park in the designated areas and not on the side of Shelving Rock Road.
Darling Ford Road and the Buttermilk Road Extension in Hudson River Recreation Area, part of the Lake George Wild Forest, remain closed as is the road that provides access to the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands and the Madwaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area.
The Lake Placid IRONMAN, billed as the oldest IRONMAN in the continental U.S., is being held on Sunday. More than 2,800 athletes, from 45 states and 23 countries, ranging in age from 18 to 75, are expected to compete. Mirror Lake and downtown Lake Placid will be crowded and many roads will be temporarily closed. In addition to several closures in the Village of Lake Placid, routes 86, 73, and 9N, and Hasleton Road will also be affected. It’s best to use alternate routes in and out of Lake Placid.
In the High Peaks, the Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John's Brook Outpost remains closed as does the Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass.
The trail from Lower Ausable Lake to Sawteeth, the Scenic Trail, is closed due to firefighting operations; that fire is believed to have been started by a campfire.
Work is expected to begin in the coming weeks on the bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville Placid Trail, which has been out since last year.
Other bridges that remain out include Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole, the Wall Face bridge on the Indian Pass Trail, the bridge over South Meadow Brook on the Klondike Trail and two bridges on the Calkins Creek Horse Trail.
And finally, this week bear encounters have been occurring more frequently than usual this summer. Wildlife biologists say the increased encounters may be the result of dry conditions that have reduced natural food sources. Increased encounters with black bears have been reported around the region, and especially in the High Peaks. The use of bear canisters is now required by campers in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Be sure to pack all food, toiletries and garbage in bear-resistant canisters.
Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Explorer’s Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.