DEC issues back country warning

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is advising visitors to the Adirondack backcountry to be prepared for snow, ice and cold and to use proper equipment. “Winter offers some great opportunities for outdoor recreation, but it also creates conditions that can be troublesome, and even dangerous, to the unprepared,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a news release.  He notes that the snow cover in the Adirondacks is more than three feet deep in the higher elevations.

DEC forest rangers recently rescued two people in separate incidents in the High Peaks wilderness. Neither of them was fully prepared or equipped for the winter conditions they faced, accoridng to DEC.  One man spent two nights in the wilderness in sub-freezing temperatures before being located and taken for medical treatment.

The use of snowshoes or skis is required on trails in the Eastern High Peaks and strongly encouraged on all other trails in the Adirondacks. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops and other exposed areas.  In addition, back country visitors are advised to:

  • Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece — not cotton — clothing; a wool or fleece hat; gloves or mittens; wind/rain-resistant outer wear; and winter boots.
  • Carry a day pack with an ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, a map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel and bivy sack or space blankets.
  • Drink plenty of water; dehydration can lead to hypothermia.
  • Eat plenty of food to maintain energy levels and warmth.
  • Check weather before entering the woods. If the weather is poor, postpone the trip.
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times. If weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Contact DEC at 897-1200 to determine trail conditions or check Adirondack Trail Information on the DEC web site at:


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