Trail Conditions and Information: The Catskills have seen rain and even a light layer of snow over the last week. Plan for wet, muddy trails at all elevations and faster moving, turbid water at stream crossings. Saturday should be the driest day of the weekend.
Camping: State campgrounds throughout the Catskills are reopening for the season this Friday, May 17th. As sites fill up quickly, it’s recommended that you reserve in advance through the Reserve America website. Take a look at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s guidelines for best camping practices, whether you’re staying at a state campground or backcountry camping.
Forecast (reporting for Hunter, NY): Friday, high of 65°, showers likely between 10am and 3pm. Mostly cloudy throughout the day, 60% chance of precipitation. Friday night, low of 45°, a chance of showers after 7pm. Saturday, high near 62°, mostly sunny with some mild wind. Saturday night, low of 48°, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Sunday, high near 72, small chance of showers in the early morning. Mostly cloudy. Sunday night, a chance of showers, low around 56°.
Outdoor Opportunities: On Saturday, May 25th, Catskill Center is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a day of events! Free and open to everyone, come to have fun and learn about the work—past, present, and future—of Catskill Center to preserve and protect the Park.
Hike On Guides is hosting a bushwhack of Rusk Mountain on Friday, May 24th from 8am to 2pm. Total mileage is just over three miles, cost is $20, preregistration required.
Fishing and Hunting: Spring turkey season is open and will continue now through May 31st. Hunters must have a spring turkey permit in order to participate and a general hunting license. Fishing season is open for the spring and summer. The Catskills Visitor Center (5096 State Route 28, Mt. Tremper, NY 12457) will be issuing fishing licenses and turkey permits now throughout the season.
Carry It In, Carry It Out: The Catskill Park is a carry it in, carry it out park—please be sure to hike out all of your trash and dispose of it properly!
Insects and Ticks: Ticks are here for the warmer weather in the Catskills. Some of the best ways to prevent tick bites are to check yourself regularly, wear lighter colors if possible, and consider treating your clothing with permethrin, which stays on fabric through many washes. Permethrin on clothes also helps to keep black flies at bay.
The Catskill Guide to Leave No Trace: Essential skills and outdoor ethics are crucial for enjoying the Catskill Park in a safe and responsible manner. Read on to discover the top three Leave No Trace considerations this week.
· Travel on Durable Surfaces - In mud season it can be tempting to walk on the often less muddy “rails” of the trail, the sides that are not technically part of the trail itself. If you find yourself walking on those areas, be mindful that over time this can increase erosion and soil compaction, depleting trees of the oxygen they need to survive. It also widens trails over time, creating more of an impact by people. When in doubt, hike slower and take caution walking through sections of mud.
· Respect Wildlife - Animals have come out of hibernation throughout the Preserve. Help reduce human-bear conflicts whenever possible. At home you can do this by protecting your food, trash containers, and bird feeders. In the backcountry, you should always hang a bear bag or carry a bear canister when camping overnight.
· Knew Before You Go - Information is half the battle when it comes to planning and preparing. Studying your map before heading out on the trail can tell you all kinds of things: am I encountering any stream crossings on my hike? How far will I be from the nearest road? What’s the total mileage and how long should I estimate to be outside? These questions and answers will lead the way in how to pack with appropriate layers for the day, food and water, and other things like first-aid kit and headlamp.
In An Emergency: Report backcountry emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers and forest fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-408-5850 or call 911.
Weather: Be aware of and prepared for changing weather conditions in the Catskills. Stay current with the National Weather Service Weather Forecast. The NY Mesonet has stations in and just outside of Catskills that provide real time weather data and forecasts. Hudson Valley Weather provides detailed forecasts for the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
Thunderstorms and Lightning Safety for Hikers: When lightning strikes, make sure you are out of the way! Lightning Safety Tips for hikers from the American Hiking Society.
The Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center (CVC) hosts a weather station in the MesoWest Network. Check the current weather conditions. The Center is located at 5096 Route 28 in Mt Tremper, NY. We’re open seven days a week from 9am through 4pm. The Center’s gift shop also carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase.
Call us at the Center: 845-688-3369 or email us at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Jeff Senterman