DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin - August 2, 2018

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin

August 2, 2018


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 Backcountry Information for the Adirondacks web pages 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.

Bear Activity: A nuisance bear with an ear tag has been active in the Eastern High Peaks recently. The bear is approaching hikers and campers in attempt to obtain food. Bear canisters areGarcia Bear Canister 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. If you’re not sure about an item, pack it in your canister anyway.

  • Do not eat or store food where you sleep. Cook and store food 100 feet or more from lean-tos and tent sites.
  • Bear hangs and the Bear Vault brand canisters are not effective. These have consistently been defeated.
  • Bear spray is an option for close encounters. Keep it on your person and easily accessible.
  • Report nuisance bear incidents to DEC.

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 #nysdec on Instagram.


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

  • Repackage food to minimize waste: This will help reduce pack weight, total trash carry out, portioned meals, faster meal prep, and will reduce the chances of dropping wrappers or burning cardboard. Using plastic or silicone reusable baggies, repackage your foods and snacks out of their wrappers and boxes prior to taking your trip. This allows you to ditch most of your waste at home where it can easily be thrown out or recycled.
  • Campers: Plan to buy your firewood locally, within 50 miles of your camping destination. By transporting firewood from outside of this radius, you could be spreading diseases and invasive insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees.


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

  • Preparing for a sunset hike: Watching the sun set over the Adirondack mountains is a one-of-a-kind experience. Be sure it’s an enjoyable one by following these tips to be prepared.
    • Bring a headlamp and make sure it is fully chargedGoodnow Mountain
    • Pack an emergency kit to be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay
    • You will most likely be hiking down in the dark. Be sure to know the route you are taking
    • Leave your plans/itinerary with friends or family
    • Hike with a buddy for safety and good company
    • Bring warm, wind protectant layers. When the sun goes down, the mountain air can become very cold.
  • Stop the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species: Prepare to spend time cleaning your boat before transporting it to another body of water. Boats, trailers, waders and other fishing equipment can spread invasive species from waterbody to waterbody unless properly cleaned after use. Regulations prohibit boats from launching from or leaving DEC launch sites without first draining the boat and cleaning the boat, trailer and equipment of visible plant and animal material.
  • Alpine Vegetation: The summit of a high peak is an amazing place to be. While your soaking in the accomplishment of your hard work and the beauty of the views, don’t forget to watch where you’re walking. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks are home to rare and endangered alpine vegetation that live and thrive on our rocky summits, and it’s up to you to help protect it.
    • Keep a clean trail and summit so alpine vegetation can grow healthy and freely.
    • Stay on the trail and on the rocks to avoid trampling and damaging alpine vegetation
    • Carry a rock to the summit to help summit stewards build trail cairns and rock screes that help protect the vegetation.

Practice Leave No Trace

Leave No TraceFollow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks as well as ensuring an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.

Minimize Campfire Impacts:

  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could cause the fire to spread quickly.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
    • Drown the fire with water. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water use dirt. Do not bury your coals as they can smolder and break out.
  • Consider using a small stove for cooking in remote areas vs. making a campfire.
  • Burn only local firewood to prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Never burn trash which includes: plastic, metal (such as cans) and glass.
  • Never use fire accelerants such as kerosene, gasoline or lighter fluid.

General Conditions/Notices

Learn the conditions you will encounter from Adirondack Backcountry Information.


  • Active Nuisance Bears: The warm dry weather has reduced the amount of berries and other natural foods available to bears. DEC has received reports of nuisance bears throughout the Adirondacks. Follow practices to avoid negative encounters with bears  in the backcountry.
  • Bear Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistantBear Canister 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 throughout the Adirondacks.
  • Summer Weather: Stay cool and hydrated on hot and sunny days. 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. During hot weather:
      • Do not take them on strenuous hikes up mountains that expose them to the heat and sun.
      • Leave them home - not in your car.
      • Take them to a lake or pond.
  • Thunderstorms: Check weather forecasts before and during all outdoor recreational activities.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fire Danger Rating: Low. Check the current fire danger map.Be safe with campfires.

Hikers and Campers

  • Trail Conditions:
    • Trails are mainly dry but expect to encounter wet and muddy conditions in low spots, along water bodies, and in drainages.
    • Avoid damaging hiking trails, trail side vegetation and habitats.
      • Wear water-resistant hiking boots and let them get muddy.
      • 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.

Boaters, Paddlers and Anglers

  • Water Levels: Water levels in most streams and rivers are low or in the lower range for this time of year. See the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters.
    • Water levels are very low in the Saranac Chain of Lakes, the Saranac River, and connected waters. Numerous propellers and lower units of boat motors are being damaged when striking rocks, logs, stumps, or the bottom. Boaters should stay in the channel and clear of all hazard buoys. Travel slow and trim motors up when traveling in shallow or unknown waters.
    • Rains this week may bring levels up in some streams and rivers depending on the location, duration, and density of rainfall in thunderstorms.
    • Use caution around steep, shallow, rocky streams and rivers. These are considered “flashy”, meaning water levels can rise quickly after heavy rainfall. Water levels will also drop quickly after the rains have stopped.
    • Water levels in lakes and ponds remain lower than average.

Mountain Bikers

  • Electric bicycles: Electric bicycles (E-bikes) of any class are not allowed on trails or roadways where public motorized access is prohibited.

Rock Climbers

  • Rock Climbing Route Closures: The rock climbing route closure for Potash Mountain remains in effect at this time. All other climbing routes are now open as peregrine falcons have fledged at those sites. DEC thanks rock climbers for respecting the rock climbing route closures.

Recent 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 web pages for ongoing issues and more detailed information.

  • Raquette River Wild Forest: DEC has improved access and recreational opportunities at Jamestown Falls on the Raquette River along State Route 56. Improvements include:
    • Rehabilitated access road,
    • A hand launch on the river,
    • Information kiosk, and
    • ADA compliant primitive campsite with the following accessibly designed feature: hardened tent pad, picnic table, fire ring, and privy
  • Moose River Plains Wild Forest: Rock Dam Road is now open to public motor vehicle traffic.
  • Saranac Lake Wild Forest:
    • Water levels are very low in the Saranac Chain of Lakes, the Saranac River, and connected waters. Numerous propellers and lower units of boat motors are being damaged when striking rocks, logs, stumps, or the bottom. Boaters should stay in the channel and clear of all hazard buoys. Travel slow and trim motors up when traveling in shallow or unknown waters.
    • Due to unforeseen circumstances, DEC will only staff the Lower Lock in the Saranac Lakes Chain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the remainder of summer. DEC staff will operate the lock between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Essex Chain Lakes Complex: Access to the western portion of the Complex, including the Deer Pond Parking Area, the Fifth Lake MAPPWD route, and the campsites along Cornell and Deer Pond Cornell Roads, is closed.
    • The closure will remain in effect until the end of August.
    • DEC is replacing three motor vehicle bridges, one each on Woody’s Road, Cornell Road, and Deer Pond Road, to facilitate safe passage along these corridors for the future.
  • High Peaks Wilderness/Vanderwhacker Wild Forest (Boreas Ponds): Work has been completed on the Gulf Brook Road. The road is open to public motor vehicle use to the Fly Pond Parking Lot.
  • Wilmington Wild Forest: DEC and the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) constructed more than ½ mile of new trail at the Hardy Road (Beaver Brook) Trail Network. The network now has 9.0 miles of looping trails for mountain biking, hiking, and skiing.
  • High Peaks Wilderness:
    • The lands of the Dix Mountain Wilderness are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness. DEC will be changing signs, web pages, and regulations to eliminate the Dix Mountain Wilderness and transition to the High Peaks Wilderness.
    • Group size regulations are now in effect on the lands in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness. Groups should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than 8 campers.
    • DEC is undertaking a multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism, and address public safety in the Adirondacks focused on the State Route 73 Corridor between Exit 30 of the Northway (I87) and Lake Placid.
    • DEC has piled materials for improving campsites along South Meadow Lane in the Mt. VanHoevenberg Trailhead Parking Area. Vehicles should park in the nearby pull offs along South Meadow Lane until the work is complete.
    • UPDATED: A nuisance bear with an ear tag continues to be active in Eastern High Peaks. The bear has changed its pattern of behavior and is now approaching hikers and campers during the middle of day in 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.
      • Use bear spray if it continues to approach.
      • Avoid negative encounters with bears
  • 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 email.

HIGHLIGHTED BIKE- Camp Santanoni Historic Area, Newcomb, NY

Did you know that the five-mile gravel road that leads to the Historic Camp Santanoni is perfect for a family bike ride?

The Newcomb Lake Road Trail is a 5-mile gravel Camp Santanoni Bike Rideformer carriage road that extends from the trailhead at the Gate Lodge to Newcomb Lake. Bring a blanket and snacks and enjoy a picnic by the lake before exploring the camp.

The road is open to biking when there is no snow on the ground. The trail ascends 350 feet in 3.0 miles and then descends 250 feet to the Main Complex on Newcomb Lake. The trail passes through the Farm Complex 0.7 mile from the trailhead.

The Camp Santanoni Historic Area is a very unique location in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. It is considered one of the most sophisticated and distinguished of all of the surviving great camps in the Adirondacks. This National Historic Landmark was created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Robert C. and Anna Pruyn, serving as a place to entertain guests and find refuge from city life.

Check out this video to see more!

Camp Santanoni Historic Area is accessed from the Gate Lodge Parking Area, located on Newcomb Lake Road, off NY Route 28N. 43.9737°N, 74.1650°W.