DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin - July 5, 2018

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin
July 5, 2018

Happy 4th of July Holiday week! Let’s see your Adirondack adventure photos! #nysdecadk

Have a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience on the lands and waters of the Adirondacks. Properly plan and prepare for your outdoor adventure. Minimize the impact on the mountains and forests, rivers and brooks, ponds and lakes and the wildlife of the Adirondacks.

Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions for those planning to recreate in the Adirondacks. This bulletin provides only the most recent notices.

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured, keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch (518-891-0235).

More information on hiking safety and what to pack.

Watch for cyclists: Adirondack roadways are shared by all. Cyclists training for the annual Lake Placid Ironman in late July are utilizing Route 86 between Jay and Lake Placid, Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene, and Route 9N between Keene and Jay as part of the training course. Please use caution and drive slowly, especially through the Cascade Lakes area and the Wilmington Notch where the road becomes very narrow and there is little to no shoulder. Vehicles should always be aware and keep an eye out for cyclists on all roads in the Adirondacks. Parking along the side of the road removes access to safe shoulders for cyclists who are sharing the roadways. Please park ONLY in designated parking areas along roadsides and at trail heads.

Would you like your photo shared in our weekly bulletin? Send in your photos with your name and photo location/brief description to or tag #nysdecadk on Instagram.


Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check the current National Weather Service Forecast.  Be prepared for the forecasted conditions, or change your plans.

  • Holiday Week Trailside Etiquette: Prepare for very busy trailheads and parking areas. Expect to encounter many people out on the trails during the holiday week.
    • Park only in designated spots, close to other cars to maximize parking space. Do not park along roadsides, and adhere to no parking signs.
    • Be cautious of pedestrians crossing to trailheads from parking areas. If parking areas are full, prepare to go somewhere else, there are plenty of amazing trails in the Adirondacks to explore. 
    • Please use parking area privies or outhouses along trails. If you find you need to go along the trail, find a spot away from trails and water sources, dig a cathole at least 6-8 inches deep and bury all waste.
    • Be mindful of other user’s physical abilities and pass respectfully. Keep noise levels to a minimum so all users can enjoy the wilderness.
  • Group Size Limits: The High Peaks Wilderness regulations limit day use group size to 15 people and overnight use group size to eight people. Group size limits exist to better protect trails from impact and maintain a certain level of wilderness experience for all users.


Properly prepare to better ensure a safe and enjoyable recreation experience.

  • Prepare to alter your plans: Check out this list of alternative hikes that offer amazing views with shorter trails to beat the heat and beat the crowds!
  • Unexpected Weather: Thunderstorms are forecast for Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. However, unexpected severe thunder and lightning storms can occur in high elevation mountains during the afternoon hours. Keep an eye on the sky and listen for signs of thunder, especially in the later afternoon times.
    • If you find yourself on a summit with a storm approaching, quickly get yourself back below tree line to an area where the forest trees are evenly spread. If in a group, spread out while descending. Do not sit under an isolated tree or near tree bases, overhanging rocks or near streams of water. Continue to the lowest ground possible or if in a safer place, sit on your backpack with your feet together to minimize your contact with the ground.
    • Plan to start your hike early in the morning.
  • Bear Activity: A nuisance bear with an ear tag has been active in Eastern High Peaks recently. The bear is approaching hikers and campers in an attempt to obtain food. Bear canisters are currently required in the High Peaks Wilderness and strongly recommended throughout the rest of the park. Be sure all of your food and waste will fit securely within the bear canister.
    • Plan to cook your meals earlier in the evening before dusk and cook away from your tent site or lean-to by at least 100ft. Never leave your food unattended. Even spitting out toothpaste near your site can lead to unwanted bear attention.
    • Distance yourself from your bear canister overnight by at least 100ft. Store the canister on level ground in an area where it will not be obviously visible to a passing bear. Hanging canisters is not recommended.
    • See the below Leave no Trace section on how to properly dispose of your cooking water and all grey water in the backcountry to help reduce wildlife encounters and negative impacts.

Practice Leave No Trace

Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal imLeave No Tracepact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks, as well as ensure an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare (Principle #1)
    • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups. Smaller groups have less impact on trails and provide a certain level of wilderness experience for all users. When traveling in groups, try to keep your noise level to a minimum so to not take away from other’s trail experience as well as reduce disturbance of wildlife. Hike in a single file line to keep impact focused to the center, most hardened section of trail.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly (Principle #3)
    • Prepare your pack with extra baggies to ensure you are able to carry out all trash including food scraps. 
    • Banana peels, orange peels, and apple cores that are tossed in to the woods are often found by wildlife and can adversely affect wildlife eating and survival patterns. Tossing your scraps also attracts larger wildlife like black bears to more populated trail areas which greatly amplifies the potential for human-bear conflict. 
    • Litter and food scraps can also negatively impact the wilderness aesthetic along a beautifully forested trail. Keep our trails beautiful and wild, protect wildlife, and reduce wildlife conflict by always carrying out what you carry in.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly (Principle #3)
    • When backcountry camping, we produce wastewater, better known as “grey water”, whenever we wash ourselves, our clothing, cook, clean our dishes, and even brush our teeth. Improper disposal of grey water can pollute streams, harm wildlife and also attract unwanted wildlife. 
      • Collect your grey water from washing your hands, brushing your teeth, etc in a separate water jug or collapsible bowl. Carry water at least 200ft from your campsite and scatter it by throwing it in the air in a circle to try to separate as much of the water as possible over a wide area of land.
      • When cooking, use a mesh strainer to collect any leftover food particles from the water before scattering your water. Carry leftover food particles out in a garbage bag kept in your bear canister.

General Conditions/Notices

Learn the conditions you will encounter from Adirondack Backcountry Information.


  • July 4th Holiday Week: Expect to encounter many people on the trails and waters this weekend and throughout the week. Trailhead parking lots and interior campsites in popular areas will fill early. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
  • Hot Weather: Temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s and low 90s throughout the Adirondacks on Thursday. However, after thunderstorms and rain move through, temperatures will cool down on Friday, remaining in the 70s through the weekend. Avoid heat exhaustion:
    • Slow your pace, rest often, and stay in the shade as much as possible.
    • Carry plenty of water and drink often – even if you don’t feel thirsty.
    • Dogs, especially large dogs, are very susceptible to the heat.
      • Do not take them on strenuous hikes up mountains that expose them to the heat and sun.
      • Leave them home - not in your car, or
      • Take them to a lake or pond.
  • Thunderstorms: There is a chance of thunderstorms forecast for Thursday afternoon through Friday morning.
    • Avoid summits, water surfaces and other open areas during thunderstorms.
    • As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm, move to lower elevations, head to shore or otherwise seek shelter.
    • If caught outside in a thunderstorm, find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.
  • Fire Danger Rating: MODERATE. Check the current fire danger map. Be safe with campfires.
  • Biting Insects: Expect to encounter mosquitoes, deer flies and no-see-ums (biting midges) when outdoors. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:
    • Wear-light colored clothing.
    • Wear long sleeve shirts; tuck shirts into pants and button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist.
    • Wear long pants and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks.
    • Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick.
    • Use an insect repellant with DEET. Follow label directions.

Hikers and Campers

  • Trail Conditions:
    • Trails may be wet and muddy in low spots, along water bodies, and in drainages.
    • Avoid damaging hiking trails and sensitive trail side vegetation and habitats:
      • Wear water-resistant hiking boots and let them get dirty.
      • Stay in the center of trail and walk through mud and water.
  • Mountain Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
  • Bear Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters and other practices to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks.

Boaters, Paddlers and Anglers

  • Water Levels: Water levels are low, especially in the southern half of the Adirondacks. See the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters.
    • Rapids and other sections may be too shallow to float. Paddlers will need to drag their canoes and kayaks through these sections.
    • Boaters and paddlers should watch for rocks, logs, and other underwater obstructions just below the surface that were previously covered by deeper water.

Mountain Bikers

  • Electric bicycles: Electric bicycles (E-bikes) of any class are not allowed on mountains.

Rock Climbers

  • Rock Climbing Route Closures: A number of rock climbing cliffs and routes in the eastern Adirondacks remain closed to climbing to allow peregrine falcons to nest and raise their young. Others have been reopened.

Specific Notices

Notices below reflect recent changes in conditions and recreation infrastructure work completed by DEC and its partners. Check the Backcountry Information for the Adirondacks webpages for ongoing issues and more detailed information.

  • St. Regis Canoe Area: Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program Crew Members replaced 120 feet of bog bridging and hardened 60 feet of trail on the Floodwood to Long Pond Trail.
  • Debar Mountain Wild Forest: Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program Crew Members installed drainage structures and repaired badly eroded sections of the Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trail.
  • Blue Ridge Wilderness: DEC and others have completed a two- year project to address wet and muddy areas on the Sagamore Lake Trail within the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area adjacent to Great Camp Sagamore. DEC staff, Camp Sagamore Trail Stewards, and volunteers:
    • Installed bog bridges, culverts and puncheons.
    • Cleaned and rehabilitated drainage ditches.
    • Reconfigured trails to shed water.
  • High Peaks Wilderness/Vanderwhacker Wild Forest (Boreas Ponds): Gulf Brook Road will be closed on week days for the next several weeks beginning at sundown Sunday, June 24 to the end of July.
    • The road will be open on weekends from 5 p.m. Friday through sundown Sunday.
    • Until the repairs are complete, only four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles should use the road.
    • Drivers should use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles.
  • High Peaks Wilderness:
    • The lands of the Dix Mountain Wilderness are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness. DEC will be changing signs, webpages, and regulations to eliminate the Dix Mountain Wilderness and transition to the High Peaks Wilderness.
    • A nuisance bear with an ear tag has been active in Eastern High Peaks recently. The bear is approaching hikers and campers in an attempt to obtain food. Pack all food, toiletries and garbage in a bear resistant canister as required by regulation. If approached by a bear:
      • Do not throw your pack at them, if they are rewarded with food, they will continue this behavior.
      • Raise your arms over your head to look bigger. Yell loudly at the bear as you slowly back away – do not run.
      • If available, bang rocks or metal objects together for noise.
      • Avoid negative encounters with bears.
    • Bradley Pond Lean-to has a 3ft by 6ft hole in the roof. The lean-to can still be used but should be avoided if it's raining. DEC is developing a temporary fix for the 2018 season and will fully repair the roof during the off season.
  • Bog River Complex (Lows Lake)
    • DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with New York Dam Safety Regulations.
      • Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Lows Lake, as well as private landowners and users of the Sabattis Boy Scout Camp.
      • Work is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday and is expected to last through summer 2018.
      • Members of the public wishing to access Hitchins Pond and Lows Lake will continue to launch at Low's Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421.
      • Recreational users should continue to use the existing designated portage around Low's Upper Dam.
        • From Hitchins Pond, travel northwest past the old homesite;
        • Stay within the designated traffic area (delineated with orange construction fence) at all times as you make your way through the work area.
        • Continue to the dock on the right side of the Bog River Flow
        • If you have any questions or concerns, contact Henry Dedrick, Supervising Forester at the DECs Potsdam sub-office at 315-274-3342 or by e-mail.

Highlighted Hike - Silver Lake Mountain

Silver Lake Mountain, part of the Taylor Pond Complex with a total elevation of 2,365 feet, is a great family hike that offers views of Silver Lake, McKenzie Mountain, Moose Mountain,Taylor Pond, Catamount Mountain, Whiteface Mountain and the Wilmington Range.

This is a 0.9-mile hike, one way, over moderate to steep terrain with at total ascent of 900 feet. From the trailhead parking area, you will start hiking along the remains of an old woods road to an open area at 0.3 mile. The footing is a bit tough with loose rocks. After the open area, the terrain starts to get steeper and comes to a slight lookout through the trees at 0.5 mile.

Just prior to the summit there is a very steep section with lots of rock. You can avoid the rock on the path near the trees or scramble up them. Along this section is where the views will appear behind you. You will have views for the remaining distance to the summit. Be sure to turn around occasionally to see them.

Primary Trailhead: From the four-corner intersection in the village of Wilmington, head north onto Bonnieview Road. Follow this to its end at Silver Lake Road. Take a left onto Silver Lake Road and continue for just under 6-miles to the trailhead on the right.

Trailhead Coordinates: 44.5110°N, 73.8483°W