Forest rangers advise caution on winter trails

Mount Colden in the High Peaks backcountry of the Adirondacks. State Department of Environmental Conservation photo

The state Department of Environmental Conservation this month is reminding recreationists to take precautions as snow and cold weather conditions persist statewide, particularly in the Adirondacks, Catskills and other backcountry areas.

The department recommends people trekking to summits or through snow-covered areas, particularly at higher elevations, carry snowshoes or skis and poles. Crampons or other traction devices are recommended for use on icy portions of trails and summits. State forest rangers advise traveling with properly-fitting traction devices given current winter conditions. Ice axes may also be necessary above the treeline on high peaks.

The High Peaks region and other portions of the northeastern Adirondacks typically feature the deepest snows. Much of the Catskills this week are covered in snow, with icy trail conditions.

“With people still looking for outdoor activities during the pandemic, now is a great time to take advantage of all the winter recreation opportunities New York has to offer,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement, adding that backcountry trips are dangerous without proper clothing and equipment.

Ice on ponds, bays, slow-moving streams and river backwaters is not safe at this time, and ice surfaces will remain unsafe until freezing temperatures are continuously logged and major temperature fluctuations subside.

Some seasonal access roads to trailheads are strictly limited to snowmobile use, but others remain open to cars, though four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. Updated information about snowmobile trails and access roads may be posted to recreation club, county or state websites.

Trail conditions and updates are posted to the state’s Adirondack Backcountry Information and Catskill Backcountry Information websites.

In a backcountry emergency, call 911. Other assistance can be requested from state forest rangers at 518-408-5850, or 518-891-0235 in the Adirondacks.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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