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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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John Warren of the Adirondack Almanack looks at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks each weekend.

High waters and flooding remain a concern as snowpack in the mountains continues to melt, although most rivers should be below flood stage this weekend. Some crossings however, may not be passable with waters continuing to run well above normal.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

Ice is no longer safe and water temperatures remain very cold.  The Ausbale River at Wilmington is in the upper 30s. Lake Champlain is about 36 degrees and the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 34 degrees. Remember, that until May first, life jackets are required to be worn by everyone on any boat less than 21 feet in length.

The snow is mostly gone from lower elevations, but above 1,800 to 2,000 feet there remains 18 inches to two feet of snow.  Trail conditions vary. Lower elevation trails, trailheads and parking areas may have mud, water, or hard-packed snow and ice, while middle and higher elevation trails have hard-packed snow and ice in the morning which will soften as daytime temperatures warm.

Carry snowshoes on all hikes that go above about 1,800 feet. Snowshoes are still required in the High Peaks Wilderness where snow depths are 8 inches or more.  There were three recent incidents of people calling DEC dispatch because they were lost or in distress without snowshoes. Two men were issued tickets. If you don’t have snowshoes, turn back when you encounter snow.

Speaking of snow, Whiteface and Gore will both be open for one last weekend and will close after Sunday’s skiing.  They have spring conditions and about a third of their terrain open.  All cross-country ski facility terrain has now closed, and although its' possible a few die-hards will hit a favorite high elevation late season spots this weekend, backcountry skiing can no longer be generally recommended. Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are covered in water and slush. Some skiers will probably skin up Whiteface even after the mountain closes on Sunday, but the skiing season is about at its end.

Snowmobiling has also ended for the season and the gates are shut on roads typically closed for mud season, including those in the Moose River Plains, the Jessup River Wild Forest, the Perkins Clearing – Speculator Tree Farm Easement Lands, and the Lake George Wild Forest, including the gate off Pike Brook Road that leads to the Black Mountain Trailhead.  The Shelving Rock road is also closed, as is the Lake Lila Road. In the High Peaks, the Corey’s Road is closed at the Raquette River Trailhead and although the trails through the Elk Lake Easement Lands have reopened for public use, the Clear Pond Gate remains closed which adds about four miles to a round-trip hike, so plan accordingly.

At the Former Finch Lands and Essex Chain Lakes Tract parking is available along the Goodnow Flow Road just before the Chain Lakes Road entrance. The Deer Pond and Chain Lakes Road gates have been shut until the end of the mud season. DEC has created a webpage with updated access information for these new state lands, including maps.

Finally this week, the fire danger in the central Adirondacks remain low, but has been raised to moderate in the snowless areas at the periphery of the Park. Because of increased risk of wildfires at this time of year, be extremely careful with fire. Remember also, that residential brush burning is prohibited through May 14th.

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.

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