Our weekends look a little different these days as we continue to practice social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for a relaxing and recharging time outdoors. See what the DEC suggests for recreating local this weekend, and read up on trail closures and more.
Start Earth Day Activities This Weekend
The DEC’s latest Outdoor Recreation Bulletin emphasizes Earth Day, coming up on Wednesday the 22nd. This year is extra special because it’s the 50th anniversary of both Earth Day and the DEC – the organization was created on the first-ever Earth Day in 1970.
While some Earth Day activities are on hold, the DEC has provided fun ideas to commemorate the holiday:
Start a nature journal: Spring is the perfect time to take notice – and document – blooming flowers, flying birds, and more. Spend time in your backyard, take a walk around the block, and pay attention to what you see. Look back on your entries from time to time to observe how much has changed.
Get the kids involved: Make a toad abode, participate in a Google Earth scavenger hunt, and check out more easy and quick family activities.
Take action at home: Check out Earth Challenge 2020, a community science app that allows you to track plastic pollution and local air quality just by taking photos.
Make a resolution: Have you ever thought about creating your own compost or switching to energy-efficient light bulbs? Now is the time to set a goal towards a greener household – and planet.
Share it all: Post a picture of your Earth Day activity or share an old photo from a favorite spot in the state on social media with #EarthDay50 and #DEC50.
Trail Conditions & Social Distancing While Hiking
If you do choose to explore a trail close to home keep in mind that it’s still mud season. Trails are a mix of mud, ice, and snow. Mud and ice are present at low to moderate elevations, with ice and deep snow at higher elevations. Trail crampons should be carried on all hikes and snowshoes should be carried on high elevation hikes.
Ice is thin if present at all. 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.
Continue to practice social distancing while hiking or recreating outdoors, including only going out with immediate household members and only having one person per group registering at trailheads (and bring your own pen).
Closures & Restrictions to be Aware Of
DEC’s Otter Creek Horse Trail Facility is temporarily closed to overnight camping. Day-use is still allowed, but water and restroom facilities are not available.
The Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) has reduced the parking capacity on its lot near the intersection of Ausable Road and State Route 73 to a maximum of 28 vehicles. Parking is not permitted along Ausable Road, on Ausable Club lands, or along the nearby stretches of State Route 73.
Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center will remain closed through May 14. Parking at the Adirondack Loj Trailhead remains open to the public for a fee. The restrooms on the back porch of the center are also open.
Whiteface Mountain Ski Area is closed to public access. This blocks public access to Bear Den Mountain Trailhead and Trail.
DEC-controlled fire towers are closed to the public. Trails and summits remain open.
DEC and municipal seasonal access roads are closed for spring mud season.
All DEC campgrounds are closed at this time, including campsites, bathrooms, playgrounds, pavilions, picnic sites, beaches, and other day use areas and facilities. The public may enter DEC campgrounds to access trails on the Forest Preserve or to walk or bike on the campground roadways. Motor and motorized vehicles cannot enter DEC campgrounds.
Indoor facilities like nature centers, environmental education centers, visitors centers, and historic houses are closed to the public until further notice.
Golf courses are also closed.