DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin - September 6, 2018

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin
September 6, 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 at 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 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. If you’re not sure about an item, pack it in your canister anyway.


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.

  • The annual Lake Placid Half-Ironman is Sunday, September 9th. Road closures will affect roadside parking areas on Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene, as well as roadside parking areas between Lake Placid, Wilmington, and Ausable Forks.
  • The annual Adirondack Canoe Classic (The 90 Miler) will be held September 7th, 8th, & 9th. The race begins Friday in Old Forge and ends Sunday in Saranac Lake. Hundreds of paddlers will be racing on the Adirondack Canoe Route.
  • Park ONLY in designated parking areas along roadsides and at trailheads: Plan for busy trailheads and limited parking this weekend. Parking areas fill up quickly and early. Please avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highway roads for safety purposes. Be aware of visitors crossing roads. Do not block driveways, roadways or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents.


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

  • Be a more environmentally friendly camper by using these packing and preparation tips:
    • Bring reusable containers for storing leftovers to ensure no food goes to waste.
    • Prior to your trip, re-pack any food you are bringing along in reusable containers.
    • Reusable cooking utensils and reusable or recyclable dishes cut down on the amount of trash generated.
    • Reusable mugs, cups or bottles that can easily be rinsed or washed cut down on plastic waste. If it's necessary to use plastic, remember to recycle those items.
    • Consider using biodegradable/earth-friendly dish soap, sponges and water basins. Do your dishes at least 150 feet away from any body of water.
    • Bring non-toxic sunscreen and bug spray that won't harm waters, plants and wildlife.
  • 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.

Practice Leave No Trace

Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact 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.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors:

  • Be courteous of others while recreating regardless of their activity, speed, or skill level. Hike in single file, especially when approaching other hikers. Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate. Allow faster hikers to pass. When approaching other hikers from behind, politely let them know of your presence and desire to pass.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces:

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel or dry grasses.Camping Camp at existing campsites where a “camp here” disc is found, keep campsites small and camp at least 200 ft from lakes and streams (maybe further depending on high waters). Avoid widening or enlarging campsite areas. Keep tents close together and camping activities within the defined area of your site. This helps to avoid degrading vegetation and interfering with wildlife habitats.

Dispose of Waste Properly:

  • To wash your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Strain the dishwater, then broadcast, or scatter over a wide area 200 feet away from camp. Pack out any food scraps collected in the strainer, in order to avoid impacting wildlife in the area.
  • Solid human waste should be packed out. If packing human waste out is not an option, dig a cathole 6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet away from travel routes and water sources. Choose a sunnier area to help breakdown waste faster. Cover and disguise cathole when finished.

General Conditions/Notices

Learn the conditions you will encounter from Adirondack Backcountry Information.


  • Late Summer Weather: Weather will be cooler and less humid this weekend.
    • The sun is setting earlier and rising later.
    • Nighttime temperatures are forecast to be in the high 30s and low 40s in most of the Adirondacks, except for the southern Adirondacks where they will be in the 40s and low 50s. 
    • Hikers should pack long pants and a jacket or fleece pullover.
    • Campers should pack extra layers of clothing, a winter hat, and gloves.
    • Temperatures will be warmer during the week.
  • 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-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 throughout the Adirondacks.Goodnow Mountain
  • 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: MODERATE. Check the current fire danger map.
    • Be safe with campfires.
    • DEC forest rangers have responded to a number of wildland fires started by campfires that were not properly extinguished.

Hikers and Campers

  • Trail Conditions: Trails may be muddy in some locations – especially 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.
  • Stream Crossings: 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.
  • 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: Despite some recent rain, water levels in most streams, rivers, lakes and ponds are low to very low. See the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Boaters and paddlers should be alert for objects on or below the surface that are typically covered by deeper water.

Mountain Bikers

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

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 webpages for ongoing issues and more detailed information.

  • Adirondack Canoe Classic Race (aka The 90 Miler): The annual long distance paddling race takes place this weekend. Expect to encounter hundreds of paddlers on the Adirondack Canoe Route between Old Forge and Saranac Lake as follows:
    • Friday (Old Forge to Blue Mountain Lake): waters include First through Eighth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Brown Tract Inlet, Raquette Lake, Marion River, Utowana Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake.
    • Saturday (Long Lake to "The Crusher" Boat Launch near Tupper Lake) waters include Long Lake and the Raquette River.
    • Sunday (Fish Creek Campground to Saranac Lake) waters include: Fish Creek Ponds, Upper Saranac Lake, Middle Saranac Lake, Lower Saranac Lake, First Pond, Second Pond, Saranac River, Oseetah Lake, and Lake Flower.
  • Lake Placid Ironman 70.3: The triathlon race takes place this Sunday. Travelers in the area should use caution and expect delays. Road closures will affect roadside parking areas on Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene, as well as roadside parking areas between Lake Placid, Wilmington, and Ausable Forks. Temporary road closures will begin at 5 a.m. approximately as follows: 
    • Route 73 south/eastbound between Lake Placid and Keene from 5 a.m. until noon
    • Route 9N northbound between Keene and Jay from 6 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
    • Route 86 westbound between Jay and Wilmington from 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
    • Route 86 northbound between Wilmington and Lake Placid from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
    •  Haselton Road will close in both directions between Bilhuber Road and Silver Lake Road from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m.
  • High Peaks Wilderness:
    • SCA Adirondack Corps will be working on the Marcy Dam removal project beginning Monday, 9/10 with a planned completion date of Wednesday 9/19. Hikers are asked to stay away from rigging areas and follow flagging and signage for minor detours around the work site. This is the 4th year of a 5-year project to lower the dam spillway and allow Marcy Brook to return to a natural condition.
    • Nuisance bear activity has subsided in the Eastern High Peaks. However, hikers and campers should still follow practices to avoid negative encounters with bears. Pack all food, toiletries, and garbage in a bear resistant canister as required by regulation.
    • 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.
    • 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 eight 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 (I-87) 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.
  • Bog River Complex (Lows Lake):
    • 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 e-mail.
    • DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with New York Dam Safety Regulations.

Highlighted Paddle- Essex Chain Lakes, Newcomb, NY

The Essex Chain Lakes Complex contains 18 water bodies totaling 785 acres that range in size from 3-acre Chub Pond to 216-acre Third Lake. Paddlers can carry their canoe or kayak 0.25 miles to Deer Pond from the Deer Pond Parking Area at the end of the Cornell/Deer Pond Road. The 0.5-mile carry from Deer Pond to Third Lake is located directly across the pond on its southern shore.

Once in Third Lake, paddlers can access Second Lake by water and from there travel to First Lake using a Essex Chain Lakes0.1-mile carry trail. On the northern shore of First Lake near its western end is the 0.4-mile carry to Grassy Pond.

In the other direction, paddlers can travel from Third Lake to Fourth Lake. Fifth Lake can be reached by paddling through the large culvert under the roadway or, during high water portaging, over the road. Paddlers can reach Sixth and Seventh Lakes directly from Fifth Lake.

Waterfront Camping: There are 11 designated tent sites along the shores of the Essex Chain Lakes. Self-issued permits are required for these 11 sites to allow DEC to gather use data. Permit forms are located in the Deer Pond Trailhead Register Box. The bottom of the completed form should be left in the collection box at the trailhead.

Deer Pond Parking Area along the Cornell/Deer Pond Road is the main point of access for the Essex Chain Lakes and surrounding water bodies. (43.8866°N, 74.2640°W)