May 24, 2013 — This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this Memorial Day weekend.
Because it’s a holiday weekend, expect trailhead parking lots and camp sites to fill early, especially in the High Peaks, along the Old-Forge-Inlet corridor, and in the Lake George and Lake Champlain areas. This weekend would be good time to seek recreation opportunities in other, less visited areas of the Adirondack Park.
Warm and wet weather moved into the region this week but forecasters are calling for temperatures in the upper 50s this weekend and upper 60s on Monday. However, nighttime temperatures will be dipping into the 30s at cooler locations. Remember that conditions can change suddenly, so be aware of weather conditions before heading into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.
Lower and middle elevations trails are wetter now, and higher elevations still have snow and ice. DEC is continuing to advise hikers to avoid trails above 3,000 feet to protect trails and vegetation.
Except for the threat of higher waters during rain events, rivers and streams are running at normal levels for this time of year. The water temperature of Mirror Lake remains in the lower 60s; the Ausable River at Wilmington is in the upper 50s; the Lake Champlain water temperature has fallen to about 50 degrees; and the temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George has fallen to about 55. It’s Safe Boating Week, a good time for a reminder to recreational boaters to know their risks, learn the rules, and be prepared while boating this summer. Wear a life jacket and boat safely this season.
Gates to most roads typically closed during mud season have reopened, including roads in the Perkins Clearing – Speculator Tree Farm Easement Lands , although the Old Military Road from Sled Harbor to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead is passable only by high clearance vehicles.
The Cedar River Road is now open to the Cedar River Flow and the Moose River Plains road system, except for the Otter Brook Gate, is now open. DEC plans to open the Otter Brook Gate by next weekend. All roads in the Hudson River Special Management Area are open as are the roads to Lily and Palmer ponds. The Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out, however, and remains closed.
In the High Peaks the town of Keene is staffing The Garden parking lot and a $7/day fee is being collected 7 days a week, also the shuttle from the remote parking area near Marcy Field is now running.
There are a few wildlife notices this week. Bears are becoming active in the backcountry, so be sure to use bear-resistant canisters for food, toiletries, and trash to avoid bear encounters.
And black fly season has begun, so from now until the end of summer be prepared to encounter biting insects by wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, especially in the evening when they are most active.
Because of the presence of peregrine falcons, all climbing routes on Moss Cliff and at the Lower Washbowl are closed, and some routes are closed on the Main Face of Pok-O-Moonshine, and on the Main Wall of Shelving. Those routes will reopen when the falcons have fledged, typically by the end of July.
The DEC issued a reminder this week to keep your distance and don’t disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife. It’s peak season for giving birth, and it’s not unusual to see a young animals that appear abandoned. Don’t assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and in need of assistance, in nearly all cases human interaction does more harm than good.
And finally this week, recent state lands purchases are now technically open to the public including nearly 12-miles along the Hudson River between Newcomb and the confluence with the Indian River. Currently, the only access available is from Harris Lake in Newcomb. A road to a landing site at about the mid-way point and a take out at the Indian River should be open sometime in June. There are several stretches of flat water for paddlers of all skill levels, but there are also sections that contain rapids, and a few that may rate Class 3. DEC is recommending that inexperienced paddlers plan to carry the rapids or hire a licensed guide to lead their trip.
Long awaited access to the OK Slip Falls Tract is also technically open to the public now, however, there are no parking areas or marked trails yet and DEC is discouraging use of that area until that infrastructure is in place.
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.