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DEC: Some trails closed; others being assessed

Storm damage in the backcountry is considerable, especially in southern, central Adirondacks

The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s call for hikers to stay off Adirondack trails remains in effect.

The department announced its advisory last Friday following a bout of high winds and flooding along the AuSable and Schroon rivers that ravaged upstate New York infrastructure, prompting a state of emergency to be called in 11 counties: Essex, Hamilton, Warren, Saratoga, Herkimer, Oneida, Montgomery, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Cortland, Dutchess and Erie.

The storm affected trails, trailheads, bridges and parking areas throughout the Adirondacks. Some roads have been flooded out or otherwise damaged by flooding. Some bridges are still impassable, and the DEC says some trails have sustained infrastructure damage.

The DEC hasn’t yet issued trail closures for the High Peaks region. The department lists trail conditions as being generally “wet and muddy,” with the possibility of some low areas and areas near waterways covered with water. But as the department continues to assess storm-related damages, on Tuesday it released a list of trails, trailheads and other areas around the Adirondack Park that are damaged or closed. According to the DEC, those include:

¯ Town of North Hudson, Boreas Ponds Tract: Gulf Brook Road is closed due to culvert damage and washout.

¯ Town of Indian Lake, Crotched Pond: Damage to roads and infrastructure.

¯ Towns of Wells and Arietta and Village of Speculator, Speculator Tree Farm and Perkins Clearing Conservation Easements: Damage to roads and infrastructure. Closed to the public until further notice.

¯ West Canada Lakes Wilderness: Due to road closures in the Perkins Clearing Easement, West Canada Lake Wilderness is inaccessible from the Pillsbury Mountain Parking Area and the Spruce Lake Parking Lot. Due to the closure of the Indian River Road at the Otter Brook Bridge, the unit is also inaccessible from the northern trailhead within Moose River Plains Wild Forest’s Brook Trout Lake Parking Area. Those seeking to access the unit from Sucker Brook Trail from Indian Lake and Route 30 should be advised that the Sucker Brook Trail is not maintained beyond the Height of Ground (approximately 4.4 miles in). The Northville-Placid Trail trailhead on Haskell Road in Piseco is open. However, an assessment of backcountry facility damage has yet to be conducted. Given the level of damage on the periphery of the unit, it is likely backcountry facilities, notably stream crossings, will be affected.

¯ Towns of Stratford and Arietta, Ferris Lake Wild Forest: Powley Piseco Road has severe washouts on either end and is closed for the foreseeable future. Edick Road is closed.

¯ Town of Wells, Silver Lake Wilderness: West River Road is closed until further notice due to flooding and washouts.

¯ Town of Inlet, Moose River Plains Wild Forest: Otter Brook Road is closed at the gate at Otter Brook. Severe washout beyond the gate.

¯ Town of Mayfield, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest: Tolmantown Road, which provides access to the Benson Tract, is closed from the Mayfield end. Bleecker end is still open to the Big T.

¯ Towns of Ohio and Webb, Black River Wild Forest: The Loop Road at North Lake is passable with high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. Most of the damage occurred at the section of the Loop Road that passes through private lands. Loop Road continues to be closed past campsite No. 18 due to a washout at Golden Stair Creek. The Wolf Lake Landing Road in McKeever is passable with high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. Access past the gate just before Woodhull Lake is limited to persons with disabilities who possess a valid Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities permit.

¯ Town of Webb, Fulton Chain Wild Forest: The Safford Pond Snowmobile Trail has experienced a large beaver dam failure approximately a quarter-mile north of Safford Pond Road at the Safford Pond inlet. The trail is impassable.

¯ Town of Norway, Black Creek State Forest: Stanley Road, which bisects the state forest from east to west, has an impassable washout midway through the state forest by the small wildlife pond. The public is advised not to drive onto the dike that retains the pond.

¯ Town of Hadley, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: Tower Hill Road is closed from the Eddy Road intersection to the Hadley Mountain trailhead due to extensive washout. Hadley Mountain can be accessed from Hadley Hill Road.

¯ Towns of Wells, Lake Pleasant and Indian Lake, Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Cisco Brook Trailhead is not accessible due to impassable road washouts leading to the trailhead. Thirteenth Lake Road has been washed out. The public can still access Thirteenth Lake trailhead by detouring on Harvey Road and meeting back up with Thirteenth Lake Road beyond the washout. The Thirteenth Lake trailhead and accessible trails have also sustained damage. The public is advised to use caution at this location. The seasonal road to Old Farm parking lot and trailhead has washed out at a culvert. Temporary parking is being determined. Barton Mines Road to the Halfway Brook and Raymond Brook Trail parking is passable by four-wheel-drive vehicles only. Route 8 has washed out in several places. The public is advised to use caution.

¯ Town of Indian Lake, Jessup River Wild Forest: Watch Hill and Snowy Mountain trails are closed due to the closure of Route 30.

The department is asking anyone with information about other backcountry damage to contact the DEC’s Region 5 office at R5.info@dec.ny.gov. Hikers are encouraged to contact the DEC before they visit to verify the areas they’re heading to are safe.