March 26, 2012

The weather forecast for this week is more what we would expect for this time of year, but it will be hard to bring winter back.  Much of the Park's Tote Road is now without snow and conditions are more reminiscent of late April than late March.  Ranger reports from 3/24 indicate that most of the snow has left from Abol Campground and the Tableland.  We have closed all Katahdin trails due to soft conditions. Lakes in the Millinocket area are showing signs of losing their ice sheet, although colder nighttime temperatures this week will slow the ice-out progress.  We are gearing up for a possible early opening of the Park Tote Road and low elevation trails in the Park.  As always, how things turn out will depend upon the weather in the coming weeks.  The photos below were taken by Chief Ranger on 3/23.

March 19, 2012

I have to admit the unusual warm weather feels really nice, but troubling at the same time

March 15, 2012

Although recent warm weather has lowered snow levels, it was still winter in the Park on Wednesday, March 14.  The Park's administrative team traveled into the Katahdin Lake parcel to conduct a winter reconn of the 150 acre parcel on the southeast corner of Katahdin Lake recently gifted to the Park by the Huber family and corporation.  It snowed most of the day, but temperatures were very reasonable and traveling was good on a relatively firm crust.  We had a good look at sites of interest on the property including the shorefront on Katahdin Lake, Rocky Pond and an existing segment of forest management road that remains on the property.

BSP Admin Team at Rocky Pond:  Business Manager Christine Theriault, Chief Ranger Ben Woodard, Park Naturalist Jean Hoekwater, Resource Manager Rick Morrill

On our way into, and out of Katahdin Lake, we ran into Holly Hamilton's crew hard at work to complete the transport of materials and supplies into Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps for use next season.  The weather forecast suggests that this activity may get much more difficult in the coming days as we are now entering a stretch of sunny and very warm weather, including days in the 60's early next week.  A significant length of warm weather at this time will likely end snowmobile access to Chimney Pond for the Park Rangers and may re-route access for foot travel as well.  Much of Maine now seems 3 weeks ahead of schedule and although still snow-covered, the Park may be in the same position.  We may be hiking early this year.

March 12, 2012

It seems that our very mild winter may now be preparing for an early departure.

March 6, 2012

I spent the day once again in the north end of the Park, traveling to Russell Pond from Matagamon.  Conditions in the Park today were perfect - great snow and enough of it.  BSP Ranger Mike Martin and Backcountry Ranger Greg Hamer were finishing firewood prep for Russell Pond and now have only one or trips worth of bog bridging to haul to complete all hauling work into Russell Pond.  If time and conditions permit, Rangers will work on hauling materials into the new site at Middle Fowler to replace Middle Fowler South backcountry campsite, which is scheduled to be discontinued in 2012 in favor of a more environmentally stable and enjoyable site on the west shore of Middle Fowler Pond.
At Chimney Pond, conditions are also very good for winter traveling.  Rangers at Chimney will be working over the next week on the remaining firewood to be hauled up to Chimney from Roaring Brook to complete the hauling work for 2012.
Warmer weather is forecast for the next several days and perhaps next week.  While this may make for sticky skiing, travel at altitude on nice days will be very enjoyable.  Although there is a reasonable depth of snow in the Park, the snow cover seems relatively airy and without much water content compared to past years.  Warm weather could change conditions rapidly and a week of warm weather should raise concerns for travel on any ice in the backcountry. 
Safe travels.