For Release: Thursday, September 1, 2011
DEC Warns Hikers about Hazardous Trail Conditions
Many Backcountry Trails in Adirondacks and Catskills Closed Due to Hurricane Irene Impacts
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today warned that unsafe conditions will remain in much of the backcountry of the Adirondacks and Catskills through Labor Day Weekend. Several trail areas are closed or inaccessible due to Hurricane Irene storm damage including flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down of trees and other debris.
"We are asking for the public's cooperation in coping with the devastating effects from Hurricane Irene," said Commissioner Joe Martens. "In the interest of public safety, we have closed several backcountry trail areas in the Catskills and Eastern Adirondacks due to extensive damage and hazardous conditions. We urge the public to check the DEC website for current conditions before planning their travels this coming holiday weekend."
Due to the extent of the damage and to ensure public safety, DEC has closed the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness through Labor Day Weekend and beyond. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use.
Many mountain areas have been impacted by landslides Mt. Colden, Trap Dike, Wright Peak, Skylight, Basin, Armstrong, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaws, Dix, Macomb, Giant and Cascade Mountains and many existing slides widened and/or lengthened. The threat of additional slides exists on these and other mountains remains in effect.
Although a full assessment of the recreational infrastructure in all areas of the Adirondacks has not been completed, the following hazards are confirmed:
- The footbridge over Marcy Dam has washed away and the flash boards have been damaged;
- Marcy Dam Truck Trail has 4 major washouts;
- he first bridge on the western end of the Klondike Notch Trail washed downstream to South Meadows Trail;
- Washouts on the Van Hoevenberg (Mt. Marcy) trail are 1 to 3 ft deep;
- Along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam, Marcy Brook jumped its banks and caused widespread damage to the trail;
- One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered;
- Calamity Trail from Lake Colden impassible south of McMartin Lean-to.
Lesser amounts of damage can be found on Adirondack Forest Preserve lands south and north of these areas. However, hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blowdown when entering the backcountry. Areas in the Western Adirondacks are reported in fairly good condition though some flooding and blowdown can be expected.
Hikers are advised to plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Updated information on trail closures and trail conditions in the Eastern Adirondacks can be found on the DEC website.
Trails in the Catskill backcountry have also been impacted and the public is advised to avoid the backcountry at this time. Due to damage to roads, many trailheads and other access points to the backcountry are inaccessible.
Many DEC Campgrounds in the Adirondacks and the Catskills experienced significant damage from the storm including flooded areas, road destruction and loss of electric and water service.
Campgrounds in the Adirondack Preserve and in all of the Catskill Preserve are being assessed and evaluated daily and are opening based on their accessibility and safety. A list of open and operational DEC campgrounds is continuously being updated on the DEC's website.
A complete, updated list of statewide closed campgrounds can be found on the DEC's website.
The public should be aware that many state and local roads may be inaccessible to travel and access to campground areas could be limited. Those planning to visit the Adirondack or Catskill regions this weekend should call ahead or check for road closure information at the Department of Transportation's webpage which can be found in the right hand column of this page.