Total eclipse of the Park is today

Events, travel, photos and more: Here’s what to know about today’s eclipse

A woman views the August 2017 solar eclipse at the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory in Tupper Lake. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

The Adirondacks will be in the path of totality for a solar eclipse this afternoon — something that won’t happen again in many Tri-Lakes residents’ lifetimes. Thousands of tourists have descended upon the area, and state officials are urging visitors and locals alike to fill their gas tanks and prepare for heavy congestion on the roads. Meanwhile, a late-season nor’easter last week created snowy and icy conditions in the backcountry, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation is urging people to stay off the trails.

The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism is operating an eclipse helpline to answer visitors’ and residents’ questions. To contact the helpline, call 518-621-3682.

Tri-Lakes viewing areas

In Saranac Lake, the Saranac Lake Solar Fest will last from 2 to 6 p.m. on Main Street. Part of the street will be blocked off and open to pedestrians only. Additional viewing areas are at Adirondack Alliance Church and the Saranac Lake Village Beach. There will be a post-eclipse skating party at the Saranac Lake Civil Center at 4:30 p.m. Parking will be available at Saranac Lake High School, Petrova Elementary School, the Dorsey Street parking lot, Lake Flower Boat Launch and North Country Community College’s Sparks Athletic Complex.

In Tupper Lake, “Tupper in Totality” headquarters is at 121 Park St. The Wild Center at 45 Museum Drive will be open for a “Totality in Tupper” event, as well as Tupper Lake Municipal Park at 17 Demars Blvd. The Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory is hosting a private event with astronomers and astrophotographers, which requires reservations. Several parking lots will be serviced by a free shuttle: Washington Street/Adirondack Rail Trail, Washington Street Park, Tupper Lake Municipal Park, Martin Street, both Tupper Lake Middle-High School lots, Tupper Lake Boat Launch and Tupper Lake Golf Club.

In Lake Placid, eclipse information headquarters is at the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau, located in the Lake Placid Olympic Center on Main Street. There is a viewing event at the James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval in front of the high school on Main Street. Other viewing events along state Route 73 will be hosted at the Lake Placid Lacrosse Field, North Elba Show Grounds, Olympic Jumping Complex, Cascade Welcome Center and Mount Van Hoevenberg. Parts of Cummings Road will be closed to facilitate ADA-compliant parking; other parking will be available at Lake Placid Middle/High School, Shipman Youth Center and the Lake Placid Club.

Other High Peaks viewing areas

In Keene, Marcy Field on state Route 73 will be open as a viewing area, with parking at the shuttle parking lot.

Near Wilmington, Whiteface Mountain Ski Center on state Route 86 will host a viewing event at the main base lodge with live music and discounted lift tickets. The Twisted Raven in Wilmington will be hosting an eclipse party starting at noon.

In Jay and AuSable Forks, the Jay Village Green at 12964 state Highway 9N will be open as a viewing area, as well as the Grove Athletic Complex. There will be an after party at the Jay Community Center.

Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center at 8023 state Route 30 will be open as a viewing area. Parking is available.

In Bloomingdale, Hex and Hop Brewing at 1719 state Route 3 will be open with parking, bathrooms and refreshments.

In Long Lake, the Buck Mountain Fire Tower Trailhead, Long Lake Town Beach, Long Lake Ball Field and Geiger Arena will all be open as viewing areas.

In Newcomb, Overlook Park will host a small viewing festival. The town’s information center will be open, with bathrooms and parking.

When to view

Though the eclipse will last more than two hours today, totality is a brief period of the full event, spanning an average of three minutes in the North Country. The partial eclipse will be viewable starting after 2 p.m. and will end around 4:30 p.m., varying by a few minutes by location.

In Saranac Lake, totality will last 3 minutes, 33 seconds, from 3:24:51 to 3:28:24 p.m.

In Tupper Lake, totality will last 3 minutes, 31 seconds, from 3:24:29 to 3:28:00 p.m.

In Lake Placid, totality will last 3 minutes, 16 seconds, from 3:25:05 to 3:28:21 p.m.

In Keene, totality will last 3 minutes, 13 seconds, from 3:25:25 to 3:28:38 p.m.

In Wilmington, totality will last 3 minutes, 28 seconds, from 3:25:12 to 3:28:40 p.m.

In Jay, totality will last 3 minutes, 20 seconds, from 3:25:29 to 3:28:49 p.m.

In AuSable Forks, totality will last 3 minutes, 33 seconds, from 3:25:19 to 3:28:52 p.m.

In Paul Smiths, totality will last 3 minutes, 37 seconds, from 3:24:38 to 3:28:15 p.m.

In Long Lake, totality will last 3 minutes, 12 seconds, from 3:24:21 to 3:27:33 p.m.

In Newcomb, totality will last 2 minutes, 49 seconds, from 3:25:10 to 3:27:59 p.m.

How to view

Eclipses should be viewed through special protective eyewear — eclipse glasses, which are available at a number of visitor centers, businesses and libraries in the Tri-Lakes. Glasses should meet the requirements of ISO 12312-2, which verifies that it is safe to look directly at the sun through the glasses without sustaining eye damage. Some fake eclipse glasses say on the frame that they comply with ISO 12312-2 when they actually do not. Verify that the vendor of your eclipse glasses is reputable and complies with safety standards before using the glasses to view the eclipse.

Sunglasses are not strong enough to protect eyes from damage while viewing an eclipse; it is important to use eclipse glasses. Telescopes and binoculars unprotected by a solar filter will also cause damage to a user’s eyes.

Totality — the three-minute-long period when the sun is totally covered by the moon — may be viewed without glasses, but it is important to ensure that totality has begun before glasses are removed and replace the glasses before totality ends.

Crowd control

Most area hotels reported 100% occupancy for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Last week, the state Department of Transportation put signs warning drivers to expect increased congestion on the roads. Authorities are recommending that those who plan to leave their homes to view the eclipse should travel with a full tank of gas, extra food and medications. Travel times are expected to increase drastically due to traffic; leave plenty of time to travel from one location to another to avoid a time crunch and unsafe driving.

Although icy road conditions are not anticipated, drivers from out of town should be advised that several roads in the Tri-Lakes are part of a road salt reduction pilot program and should take caution while driving if conditions become slippery. These roads include parts of state Route 30 near Lake Clear — between Saranac Lake and Paul Smiths — and parts of state Route 86 in Lake Placid.

Cell service

It’s likely that cell phone service will be slow or jammed due to increased tourist traffic. If cell phone service is out in an emergency, seek a landline to contact emergency services. Local fire departments are also coordinating with volunteer ham radio operators to assist in reporting potential emergencies during the eclipse. Hikers who enter the backcountry may not be able to call dispatch for help; hikers should inform friends or family where they are planning on hiking and when they expect to return so emergency services can be promptly contacted if the hikers do not arrive back on time.

Backcountry safety

The DEC has urged visitors to stay out of the backcountry today and instead view the eclipse from designated sites around the Adirondack Park. The muddy, icy and snowy conditions on backcountry trails this time of year — especially those above 2,500 feet in elevation — can be treacherous to unexperienced or unprepared hikers, especially in darkness.

All state land regulations will remain remain in effect today, including regulations on group sizes. Groups of more than 15 hikers or eight campers and those that wish to visit state land for weddings, filmmaking and research must get a Temporary Revocable Permit from a DEC land manager.

New York is currently under a burn ban until May 14. This season, the DEC said that the area is especially susceptible to wildfires.

People who still plan on hiking on state lands during the eclipse should be prepared with overnight and extra gear. In case of emergency, hikers can contact DEC Forest Rangers by calling 911, Forest Ranger dispatch at 1-833-NYS-RANGERS or Environmental Conservation Officer dispatch at 1-844-DEC-ECOS.


Though it is not impossible, it’s difficult to get a good photograph of the eclipse with a cell phone camera. Local astrophotographer Tim Connolly told the Enterprise last week that amateur photographers can use a pair of eclipse glasses as a filter on their cell phone camera to try and get a shot, while another local astrophotographer, Seth McGowan, advised visitors to put down their phones and enjoy the three minutes of totality.

“There’s going to be eight bazillion people imaging this with great equipment. Just be in the moment. Don’t worry about posting your little picture on Facebook or something,” he said. “Document the faces of people around you. That’s what’s going to be stunning.”

For those with more advanced camera setups, a tripod, zoom lens and solar filter will help capture the eclipse. Camera sensors, like human eyes, are extremely sensitive and should not be pointed directly at the eclipse without a solar filter — except during totality.

Drones are prohibited from specific state lands, and commercial drone usage on state forest lands and over the Adirondack Rail Trail require a permit. For more information, review the DEC’s guidelines at tinyurl.com/2d5dt3ww.

Once in a lifetime

The next total solar eclipse that touches the United States will be in 20 years and is projected to only touch three states: Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The path of totality sweeping across the North Country is something that is not likely to happen again in most residents’ lifetimes. In recognition of this fact, many local governments, schools and employers are planning a holiday or early dismissal today to allow employees to view the eclipse.

To see more coverage of the eclipse, visit www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/news/eclipse.


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