The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a high-water advisory following recent heavy rains and is urging hikers to postpone hikes near waterways and on high-elevation trails. DEC advises hikers on how to recreate safely and reduce negative impacts on trails to help protect natural resources throughout the Adirondack Park during this time.
High-elevation trails feature thin soils that erode easily with heavy rains. Hikers are advised to avoid high-elevation trails for the duration of the advisory because sliding boots destroy trail tread, can damage surrounding vegetation, and erode thin soils causing washouts. Current trail conditions across the Adirondack Park are extremely wet and can pose risks to hikers such as falling, due to unstable trail tread and slippery rocks, as well as hypothermia.
A high-water advisory is also in effect. All waterbodies rose considerably after recent storms. Streams and rivers are running high and fast with strong currents. Hikers should avoid trails that include stream crossings and use all high-water routes if provided. Do not attempt to cross swift-moving streams and rivers. Turn back and return another day.
Thunderstorms are predicted to continue throughout the coming week and will likely bring more heavy downpours and high-water events. Check the weather for the day of, night of, and day after your trip in case of an unexpected overnight. Storms can emerge suddenly and quickly in high elevations. Water levels rise rapidly in heavy rains and can become impassable within minutes. Avoid getting caught on the wrong side of a stream and turn back at any signs of changing weather conditions.
Hypothermia can occur even in the summer months and especially during times where very wet conditions are present. Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Stay warm and dry by packing extra layers in a waterproof bag within your pack. Pack extra socks to keep your feet dry and change them often. Carry plenty of food and water. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
Hikers are advised to check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for updates on trail conditions, seasonal road closures, and general recreation information for the Adirondacks, particularly in the wake of the recent flooding.
How You Can Help
Adirondack Foundation has activated the SUN Fund to coordinate and distribute support to the communities where it is most needed in the days, weeks, and months to come.
For gifts by mail, please make checks payable to Adirondack Foundation SUN Fund with “Central Adirondack Flooding” (and a specific community, if applicable) in the memo line and mail to Adirondack Foundation, PO Box 288, Lake Placid, NY 12946. Funds will be transferred to town governments to distribute according to local needs.
If you have questions about how best to make a contribution to the SUN Fund or would like to speak with a staff member about the ways in which you can support the effort, contact Leslee Mounger at Leslee.Mounger@Adkfoundation.
Photo: Storm damage in the Central Adirondacks on Rte 28/20 between Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake (provided by Protect the Adirondacks).