Posted on September 7th, 2011 2 comments Add a comment >>
The state Department of Environmental Conservation reopened today a number of trails in the High Peaks Wilderness and Giant Mountain Wilderness that were closed after Hurricane Irene, including trails to Mount Marcy, the state’s highest peak.
Trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness will remain closed at least until Route 73 is reopened.
The storm had eroded many trails, washed out footbridges, felled trees, and triggered numerous landslides in the High Peaks region. John Million, deputy director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, commended DEC for its efforts to reopen trails.
“ADK is very pleased that DEC has worked hard to open some of the trails,” Million said. He added that ADK will move forward with plans to reopen Adirondak Loj and Johns Brook Lodge on Thursday.
DEC sent out an advisory saying the trails would be reopened Thursday, but it hadn’t updated its website as of Thursday morning.
The map above, obtained from DEC, shows which trails in the High Peaks and Dix Mountain Wilderness Areas. DEC used red dashes to show the trails that will remain closed. Because the dashes were hard to see, I replaced them with red dots. The closed routes include all trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, all trails accessed via the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, the Southside Trail, the Cold Brook Pass Trail, and a few others. All other trails in the High Peaks Wilderness will be open, including popular trails to Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak, and Avalanche Pass. The large black dots indicate trails that were closed but are now open. The green line on the map indicates the boundary between the eastern High Peaks and the western High Peaks. Trails were never closed in the western High Peaks.
The following is from the DEC advisory:
AREA OPENINGS: The EASTERN ZONE of the HIGH PEAKS WILDERNESS and GIANT MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS will be reopened effective Thursday, September 8. Due to the amount of damage to certain trails, and the continued closure of a section of Route 73 and other roads, DIX MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS and a number of trails in the reopened areas will remain closed. However, the majority of trails are now open for public recreation.
- Open trails in the Giant Mountain Wilderness include all trails starting from the trailheads on Route 9 and Route 9N. Giant Mountain may also be accessed via the Hopkin Mountain Trail from the Ranney Trailhead.
- Open trails in the High Peaks Wilderness include all trails from the Adirondack Loj Trailhead, the Cascade Mountain Trailhead, the Garden Trailhead, the Rooster Comb Trailhead, the Upper Works Trailhead, and the East River Trailhead.
- All trails out of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) remain closed due to the closure of a section of Route 73 and the damage to the trailhead parking lots.
- The Elk Lake Trailhead remains closed.
TRAIL ADVISORIES: Trails that are not closed still may have bridges washed out and water levels in most rivers and brooks are at spring high water levels. Crossings may be impassable at this time. These trails may also have blowdown, eroded sections or flooded areas. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. The ability to navigate with a map and compass is important.
The DEC High Peaks Trail Information web page (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html) has a complete list of closed trails and the conditions for open trails. It will be updated as trails are reopened.
Posted on September 7th, 2011 6 comments Add a comment >>
Hurricane Irene destroyed thirty-one homes in Essex and Clinton counties and damaged 197 others, according to the North Country chapter of American Red Cross.
“We’ve never seen this many homes damaged by the rain, the flooding, and the wind,” Jeanie Roberts, the chapter’s executive director, told the Explorer today.
Indeed, Roberts said Irene was more devastating than any natural disaster she has witnessed in her twenty-five years on the job—including the ice storm of 1998. Although the ice storm left homes without power for weeks, she said, “at the end of it everyone had somewhere to go.”
Nearly all the homes struck by Irene were in the communities of Keene, Jay, Ausable Forks, and Black Brook. Roberts provided the following breakdown of damage by county:
Homes destroyed: 30 in Essex County, 1 in Clinton County.
Homes with major damage: 73 in Essex County, 105 in Clinton County.
Homes with minor damage: 10 in Essex County, 5 in Clinton County.
Homes “affected” by storm: 3 in Essex County, 1 in Clinton County.
She gave as examples of major damage the flooding of a basement to the first floor or serious structural damage. Minor damage might include some flooding. A house merely “affected” might have sustained a little water damage.
Statewide, Roberts said, Irene destroyed 616 homes and inflicted major damage on another 2,351. Another 1,557 sustained minor damage or were affected. Thirty-six homes remain inaccessible.
The North Country chapter is distributing cleanup kits to homeowners and has sent caseworkers to the communities to assess what else is needed. She said the chapter is no longer operating a shelter for those forced out of their homes. “For the most part people are staying with friends and family,” she said.
People can donate online to the North Country chapter. Click here for more information.
The Adirondack Community Trust has set up the Keene Community Trust to help people and businesses in the hamlets of Keene and Keene Valley. As of last week, the trust had received $50,000 in pledges, according to Cali Brooks, ACT’s executive director. Click here for more information and to donate online.
The town of Jay has set up its own relief fund for the hamlets of Jay, Upper Jay, and Ausable Forks. Click here to learn more.
Hikers who want to help rebuild trails in the High Peaks region can sign up for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Fall Trails Day on Saturday, October 1. For more information, e-mail Wes Lampman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More suggestions for giving can be found on the North Country Public Radio website.
Posted on September 7th, 2011 2 comments Add a comment >>
The state Department of Environmental Conservation expects to reopen some trails in the eastern High Peaks Wilderness before this weekend. In fact, some trails may be reopened today, according to DEC spokesman David Winchell.
“We’re working on what trails can be reopened and hope to make an announcement later today,” Winchell told me this morning.
Winchell said some trails will be open right away and others may open within a week, but others will remain closed for longer. Hurricane Irene caused extensive damage to trails in the High Peaks region, prompting DEC to close not only the eastern High Peaks Wilderness but also the Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain Wilderness Areas.
“We’re going to open as many trails as possible as we move forward,” Winchell said.
He added that four popular trailheads along Route 73 will remain closed until the highway reopens. These are the trailheads for the Roaring Brook and Ridge trails in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, the Round Pond trail in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, and trails reached from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The last group includes the trails to Noonmark, Nippletop, Sawteeth, and the southeast slopes of the Great Range.
Winchell said the rock-climbing cliffs along Route 73, including Chapel Pond Slab and the Beer Walls, also will remain closed until the highway reopens.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said this week that the road will be reopened by September 15. Most of the damage to the highway occured in a half-mile stretch near the Ausable Club in St. Huberts.
Adirondak Loj Road is expected to reopen this week. The Adirondack Mountain Club plans to reopen the Loj (located at the end of the road) tomorrow. ADK also hopes to reopen John Brooks Lodge tomorrow. Since it is located in the wilderness interior, DEC will have to reopen the access trail so hikers can reach the lodge.