The DEC continues to keep the community informed about recreating outdoors safely and smartly during the COVID-19 pandemic. See details from their latest outdoor recreation bulletin below.
Practice Responsible Recreation & #RecreateLocal
Responsible outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial. Please adhere to commonsense guidelines to practice safe recreation, reduce the burden on DEC forest rangers and other first responders, and help to stop the spread.
The DEC acknowledges that getting outdoors and connecting with nature is an excellent way to maintain physical and mental health. While it’s important to get outside during this public health crisis, the DEC encourages New Yorkers to #RecreateLocal.
Choose trails close to home, avoid potentially busy trailheads, keep at least six feet of distance between you and others, avoid direct contact with other people, and stay home if you’re showing or feeling any sign of symptoms. Seek out less-used trails and waters. If you arrive and find a trailhead is crowded, seek out another place to recreate.
Keep it simple. Take short hikes that are within your physical and navigational abilities. At this time, DEC forest rangers and other first responders are needed to respond to COVID-19 related incidents.
Continue to follow proper hiking precautions, including always being prepared for your trip, variable conditions, and unexpected weather when you go out on the trail.
Please Utilize Trailhead Registers Safely
Trailhead registers provide vital information. The DEC is asking hikers to continue to sign in and out. However, during this public health crisis special precautions should be taken at trailheads.
Only one person per group should register. Others in the group should stay away from the register. If someone is at a register when you approach, stand at least six feet away and wait for them to leave before you approach.
Bring your own pencil or pen. Minimize touching surfaces. Carry hand sanitizer and use it immediately before and after using the register. Don’t cough or sneeze while at the register. If you need to do so, move away from the register and hand sanitize before returning.
Check Out the Current Trail Conditions
Trails are a mix of mud, ice, and snow. Mud and ice are present at low to moderate elevations, and there is still deep snow in the highest elevations. Trail crampons and snowshoes are still recommended for all hikes.
Ice is thin. No ice should be considered safe at this time. Water levels in streams and rivers are high, currents are swift, and water temperatures are extremely cold.
Fire Towers & Seasonal Access Roads are Closed
All DEC-controlled fire towers are closed to the public at this time. Trails to the towers and summits remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails.
Seasonal access roads are closed for the spring mud season. The roads will reopen to public motor vehicle use once they have thawed, dried, and hardened, and all necessary repairs and maintenance are complete.
Campgrounds & Campsites are Closed
All DEC campgrounds remain closed at this time, including campsites, boat launches, day use areas, roadways, and other facilities. The public is prohibited from being in any DEC campground for any purpose at this time.
Some Boat Launches are Open
DEC boat launches that are not within campgrounds are open for launching and retrieving boats. Docks are currently being installed at these boat launches. Bathrooms associated with boat launches remain closed.