Conditions remain abnormally dry, especially in the Southwestern part of the Adirondack Park.
Outstanding weather is forecast for this Labor Day Weekend, but remember the Park’s busiest areas especially the High Peaks, will be crowded, so plan accordingly. This would be a great weekend to explore less frequently visited areas of the Adirondack Park.
With dry weather expected this weekend, the fire danger has been raised to high and a ban on open burning remains in effect, so be extremely cautious with campfires.
If you are headed into the back country, especially in the High Peaks, or are camping in the Inlet-Old Forge corridor expect to encounter bears. A dozen nuisance bears have been put down so far this year in the Adirondacks, so discourage bears from seeking food from near your home or camp. The use of bear canisters is now required by campers in the Eastern High Peaks and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Pack all food, toiletries and garbage in canisters.
Speaking of bear canisters, DEC and the manufacturer are discouraging the use of BearVault bear canisters in the Eastern High Peaks as bears are now regularly breaking into that type of canister.
The bear problem this year stems in part from dry conditions that have reduced natural bear food and their becoming familiar with human food sources.
Water levels remain at seasonal lows and all rivers and streams are running below or well-below normal, even for this time of year. Be watchful for navigation hazards. Larger boats running between the Lower Locks and Second Pond in the Saranac Lakes Chain system run the risk of becoming grounded.
The temperatures of most lakes, river and streams are in 60s. The Ausable River at Wilmington is in the lowe-60s, Lake Champlain remains at about 71 degrees, and the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 80.
Lampricides treatments will begin in the coming weeks on five tributaries of Lake Champlain, including the Saranac River, Mill Brook, Great Chazy River, and Mount Hope Brook. Water advisories will be in effect and the Department of Health recommends avoiding treated waters.
Elsewhere around the region, repaving of the Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington continues. Motorists should expect delays and consider alternate routes.
Maintenance work has been completed on more than 31 miles of public roads on the Perkins Clearing – Speculator Tree Farm Easement Lands. A new five car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead. Access to the old parking area, which was located in the West Canada Wilderness, is closed at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake.
The road that provides access to the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands and the Madwaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area remains closed, but there is good news for that area. This fall, for the first time since this conservation easement was purchased, the public will be able to access year round the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands, including the Pinnacle Mountain, Deer River, and the other parcels north of Route 458 and west of the Blue Mountain Road (the Azure Mountain Road). Previously these lands were closed to hunting from September 1st to December 31st and closed to the public during the big game hunting season.
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 Adirondack Mountain Club’s Professional Trail Crew has finished building a new bridge to the Feldspar Lean-to. They are also hoping to finish a new bridge over the Opalescent River, between the Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold, this week. Both bridges were washed out by Tropical Storm Irene last year.
A couple blowdown reports this week: The Jackrabbit Trail between Whiteface Inn and the intersection with the McKenzie Mountain Trail is now cleared of a significant blowdown caused by a recent storm. And a summer storm has caused significant blowdown on the St. Regis Mountain Trail in the St. Regis Canoe Area.
Finally this week, a reminder that due to the potential for spreading invasive species, moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source is prohibited. Forest Rangers have established several checkpoints recently and are ticketing violators of the firewood ban.