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For Release: Wednesday, July 12, 2023

DEC Issues Muddy Trails and High-Water Advisory for Adirondacks

Hikers Advised to Temporarily Avoid All High-Elevation Trails and Trails that Cross Rivers and Streams

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today 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.

View the HikeSmartNY webpage for detailed information on safety and preparedness and what to do in case of an emergency in the backcountry.

New York State lands belong to all of us, and we all have a responsibility to protect them. Love our New York lands by finding alternate forms of sustainable outdoor recreation, always practicing Leave No TraceTM, and giving back through volunteer work and stewardship.

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    1115 State Route 86
    P.O. Box 296
    Ray Brook, NY 12977
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