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Elk Lake-Marcy Trail update

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  • Elk Lake-Marcy Trail update

    The bridge over the Inlet to the Upper Ausable Lake is now back in service. A railing will eventually be added, but the bridge is safe to cross with a bit of care. The rest of Marcy Swamp remains fully bridged.

  • #2
    Planning this route and DEC weekly bulletin still says the bridge is out and wading is the only way to get through. It's the same notice since 2020. Has anyone been there recently?

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    • #3
      I will try to get the DEC to update their bulletin. The bridge is definitely there. The DEC's weekly bulletin does not mention this problem.
      Last edited by tgoodwin; 10-10-2021, 09:26 AM. Reason: Additional information

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      • #4
        I ate lunch on the bridge a couple of weeks ago. Nice build; the handrail is up.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by NorthShore View Post
          Planning this route and DEC weekly bulletin still says the bridge is out and wading is the only way to get through. It's the same notice since 2020. Has anyone been there recently?
          EDIT: Nevermind, I'm an idiot (see explanation below).
          Last edited by DSettahr; 10-13-2021, 11:52 AM.

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          • #6
            I have a friend who's planning to go there this weekend. He will park at the first PA and hike in to Panther Gorge, then exit via either the East River or Calamity Brook trails to Upper Works(ish) where he will have spotted another car.
            Mike

            ADK 46r #8003; 6W
            2nd round: 16
            SL6r #596
            Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MTVhike View Post
              I have a friend who's planning to go there this weekend. He will park at the first PA and hike in to Panther Gorge, then exit via either the East River or Calamity Brook trails to Upper Works(ish) where he will have spotted another car.
              First parking area where? If Elk lake then... EDIT: I'm an idiot- the clear pond gate closed to motor vehicle access on 10/12, but foot traffic is permitted until 10/22.

              If Boreas Ponds, then your friend should be aware that Boreas Ponds road is currently closed to all pedestrian traffic until at least the end of November while culverts are torn out and bridges installed in their place. Additionally, the roads north of Boreas Ponds have been torn up and are extremely unpleasant to hike on at present. It's also tricky getting from Boreas Ponds to the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail without running afoul of private property on AMR lands.
              Last edited by DSettahr; 10-13-2021, 11:50 AM.

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              • MTVhike
                MTVhike commented
                Editing a comment
                I thought the first parking area (the DEC one, before Clear Pond) was open, and access on foot was open until Oct. 22.

            • #8
              Originally posted by MTVhike
              I thought the first parking area (the DEC one, before Clear Pond) was open, and access on foot was open until Oct. 22.
              I went back and re-read the press-release and you are correct. I misread it as being "closed to all foot traffic on 10/12," but it's open to foot traffic until the 10/22. They just shut the gate on the 12th.

              BTW, it's semantics but the Clear Pond lot is not the first parking area. There's another on further down- there's 3 total parking lots on that road. There's the "Lower Elk Lake Lot," the "Upper Elk Lake Lot" (the one at Clear Pond), and then the last lot right at the trail head that is on the Elk Lake easement itself (the one you currently can walk to but can't drive to). For some reason, the DEC decided to call the middle lot the "Upper Lot." Hence some of this confusion.

              Comment


              • NJTom
                NJTom commented
                Editing a comment
                I'm new to the Elk Lake game, having never been in there as yet. Is the northernmost lost supposed to reopen for parking at some point and, if so, when?

            • #9
              The northern-most lot will re-open for parking in the spring. Elk Lake is closed to all public access every Autumn some time in October after Columbus Day for hunting season (the exact date varies). Once hunting season finishes in early December, foot traffic is again permitted for the remainder of winter, but the road is not plowed beyond Clear Pond and so all hikers must park at the middle lot (erroneously named as the "Upper" lot by the DEC). Once the snow has melted in the spring and mud season has concluded, the gate at Clear Pond is re-opened and motor vehicles are once again allowed to the northernmost lot right at the trailhead (usually sometime in mid- to late May).

              However, the northern-most lot is fairly small- it can hold maybe about 20+ cars or so. (The exact number varies considerably, the High Peaks crowd it turns out is really, really bad at parking in a manner conducive to fitting the most cars possible into a trailhead parking lot). When the road to the northern-most is open, no overflow parking is permitted on the roadside- so any late comers must park at the lot by Clear Pond and walk the 2 miles in to the trailhead. When hiking the Dix Range in the summer or early Autumn season, a super early arrival at the trailhead is strongly recommended (even on weekdays).

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              • #10
                Originally posted by DSettahr View Post

                However, the northern-most lot is fairly small- it can hold maybe about 20+ cars or so. (The exact number varies considerably, the High Peaks crowd it turns out is really, really bad at parking in a manner conducive to fitting the most cars possible into a trailhead parking lot).
                This happens everywhere. The 'blame' lies with the creator of the lot.

                The problem is there are no lines or guidance. The first person parks wherever they see fit. (Or, there may be leftovers from the day before). They may park parallel or nose in. (The 'best' way depends on the geometry of the lot). The next person may try not to get too close to the other car(s). They might deliberately park far away. Then as the lot fills in, we end up with gaps that look like they could have easily been avoided. But probably not, without some sort of guidance. Even a sign like 'PARK NOSE IN' would help. I've seen 1 lot with hand drawn markings on where to park, which seems to work.

                Tom Rankin - 5444W, etc., etc.

                Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
                Member #0003 - ADKHP Foundation
                Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
                Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
                CEO - Views And Brews

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                • #11
                  Thanks Tony and all who replied to my question of 10/10. So here's a summary (a lot of which I already knew. The question was about the state of the bridge):
                  • The gate on Elk Lake Road is closed as of 10/12. It won't reopen for public vehicular access until next spring.
                  • You can still access Elk Lake Rd on foot until October 22. At that point it will be closed to all public access for the duration of the fall hunting season.
                  • The bridge in Marcy Swamp has been repaired to a standard satisfactory to most of us, but the DEC bulletins do not reflect that realty.
                  Addendum
                  My clients didn't want to do the extra road walking so we switched up the plan and instead hiked from the Loj and camped at Lake Colden Friday and Saturday nights. This worked out very well as it was a rainy weekend and the crowds stayed away. Saw hardly anyone until hiking out on Sunday. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are special places to see in inclement weather. The Marshall plane wreck in the rain and fog was very cool. Pete Simmons led a pretty remarkable life after that crash. Also noticed and checked out a new herd path in the area that I hear the DEC isn't especially happy about. I'd describe it in more detail, but no.

                  Footnote
                  I was asked by a ranger to see my guide license which I happily produced. Any of you who are properly licensed guides should be encouraged by this.

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                  • #12
                    Question: what prompted the ranger to ask for your license?
                    Mike

                    ADK 46r #8003; 6W
                    2nd round: 16
                    SL6r #596
                    Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

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                    • #13
                      Originally posted by MTVhike View Post
                      Question: what prompted the ranger to ask for your license?
                      You are required to show your guiding license to a ranger if they observe you guiding and ask to see it. It's the same as with a hunting or fishing license- it's the norm to expect that rangers will ask to see it.

                      Comment


                      • FlyFishingandBeer
                        FlyFishingandBeer commented
                        Editing a comment
                        What constitutes "guiding" vs. leading a group of friends, from an observation POV? Obviously if a person is seen passing out safety waivers or some authorization form that's a clear indicator, but what other behaviors can be differentiated from somebody who simply knows a route and is hiking with friends who do not?

                    • #14
                      Originally posted by TFR View Post
                      This happens everywhere. The 'blame' lies with the creator of the lot.

                      The problem is there are no lines or guidance. The first person parks wherever they see fit. (Or, there may be leftovers from the day before). They may park parallel or nose in. (The 'best' way depends on the geometry of the lot). The next person may try not to get too close to the other car(s). They might deliberately park far away. Then as the lot fills in, we end up with gaps that look like they could have easily been avoided. But probably not, without some sort of guidance. Even a sign like 'PARK NOSE IN' would help. I've seen 1 lot with hand drawn markings on where to park, which seems to work.
                      My comment was mostly in jest, but FWIW: I live in close proximity to a High Peaks trailhead parking lot that has clearly delineated parking spots. It's been a regular source of entertainment to observe just how badly visitors still manage to mess it up. On any given day there's about a 30-40% chance that there's at least 1 person parallel parked on the side of the lot, occupying two or more spots that are clearly signed as pull in spots.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Those people should be ticketed!
                        Tom Rankin - 5444W, etc., etc.

                        Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
                        Member #0003 - ADKHP Foundation
                        Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
                        Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
                        CEO - Views And Brews

                        Comment

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