Okay, so more information is coming in about the extent of the damage to the backcountry, and all but one of the state's campgrounds in the Adirondacks are operational just in time for the long Labor Day weekend. That campground is the Little Sand Point Campground in Piseco — Looks like the rest are open for business. In the meantime, DEC has closed trails in the entire eastern zone of the High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness areas and they are warning hikers that they'll be ticketed and fined if they disobey the closure. The area is a mess and the last thing DEC needs is to have to rescue lost or stranded hikers as a result of the damage.
Here is today's update from Region 5 spokesman David Winchell:AREA CLOSURES: The EASTERN ZONE of the HIGH PEAKS WILDERNESS, GIANT MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS and DIX MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS are closed through Labor Day Weekend and beyond due to dangerous conditions and extensive damage to trails and interior infrastructure. DEC intends to fully enforce this closure. 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.
There are too numerous to count new landslides on the mountains in these areas including slides on 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 which creates a very dangerous situation. Other damage in these areas includes trails buried by landslides; heavily eroded trails (1-3 feet deep in some places); numerous washed away or damaged footbridges, bog bridging and ladders; blowdown and flooding.
TRAIL ADVISORIES: Hurricane Irene has created dangerous conditions across most of the Eastern Adirondacks including flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down of trees and other debris. Back country travel is difficult, if not impossible, throughout much of the backcountry of the Eastern Adirondacks. Hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blowdown when entering the backcountry. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.
The Central and Western Adirondacks had minimal impacts, check the DEC Trail Information web pages (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html) for details, including information on areas in the Northern and Western Adirondacks that were not heavily impacted and a list of alternate places to hike and camp.
ROAD INFORMATION: State Route 73 is open between Lake Placid and Keene Valley. Route 73 may be accessed by taking Route 9N North from Elizabethtown. Many businesses are open in Keene Valley, Keene and Lake Placid.
CAMPGROUND CLOSURES: Only the Little Sand Point Campground is closed at this time.
Visit the Adirondack Trail Information web page for current weather forecasts, regulations, safety tips, trail conditions, and more: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html