Sunday, May 19, 2024

DEC advises hikers about lack of snow

With Plattsburgh State students returning for the spring semester, they might find themselves in search of new adventure activities in which to take part.

According to a recent Department of Environmental Conservation report that was put out on December 30, 2015, parts of the Adirondack mountains have obtained anywhere from two to six inches of snow this winter. For many, this snowfall is uncharacteristically scarce compared to other years. For this reason, many members of the DEC are urging people to be extra cautious in their outdoor endeavors.

DEC Region Five Spokesperson Dave Winchell urges snowmobilers and skiers to be aware that the conditions they were once accustomed to are no longer the norm.

Region five — one of nine zones in New York State set by the DEC — includes over 2 million acres of forest preserve land, as well as more than 3,400 lakes and ponds, according to the DEC website. Ultimately, this region covers a large percentage of the North Country.

This is where many outdoor adventurers seek haven in their snowy adventures. However, the minimal amount of snow proves to be problematic for these thrill seekers.

“There has been a serious lack of snow this season,” Winchell said. “Therefore, a lot of skiing and snowmobiling options in the Adirondacks are out of the question.”

Although there has been a noticeable decrease in snow this winter, these statistics might deceive PSUC students who enjoy hiking. For example, some hikers may enter the trail of their favorite Adirondack Mountain and see no snow in sight. However, as they ascend up the mountain they find the snow to build more and more. The DEC advises that hikers wear crampons or some form of spiked boots when they hike.

Winchell also advocates wearing appropriate clothing when taking on the North Country weather. Hypothermia is a serious threat to all who take part in outdoor activities, so they dress in multiple layers. PSUC expeditionary studies students have taken it upon themselves to wear appropriate clothing throughout their excursions.

“Just because there is not as much snow on the ground doesn’t mean that the weather is not as brutally cold,” PSUC sophomore and expeditionary studies major Kai Silvera said. “You still got to take care of yourself out there.”

In terms of clothing, the materials they are made of and how many layers one wears makes a difference. It is vital that students should stay away from materials such as cotton because that cotton absorbs water rather than brushing it away.

Also, when cotton gets wet, it loses the ability to insulate the body while being in the harsh conditions of cold temperatures. Another important aspect of retaining your body heat in frigid climates is to always wear a winter hat. By doing this, you have the ability to keep more of ones body heat, as most of it leaves through the head.

The reason it is so important to keep ones head warm is a result of the numerous blood vessels that are located at the top of the head. If someone is in cold conditions without a hat, the environment will cool the blood located in these vessels and ultimately send cooler blood down the body, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

However, winter brings fewer disturbances from wildlife to outdoor adventurers.

“The majority of wildlife has hunkered down,” Winchell said. “The birds have migrated and other species have started their hibernation process.”

PSUC Expeditionary Studies Chair Jerry Isaak said the lack of animal life should not dissuade students from entering the wintry conditions of the Adirondacks. Isaak still urges everyone to take in the beauty that the North Country has to offer.

“Yeah, it might be a little icy, and the wind might hit you a little harder than usual,” Isaak said. “But some of the best scenery you can see is only a few miles away, those things shouldn’t stop you from getting out there.”

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