Rain is coming this holiday weekend which means trails will be wet and muddy! Use extra caution when crossing streams as they’re currently running higher than usual.
Trail Conditions and Information: There are reports of remaining snow and ice on Catskills summits, especially in the northern sections of the Forest Preserve. Trail crampons suggested for most higher elevation hikes this weekend. As always during mud season, please follow best Leave No Trace practices to avoid walking around mud and diverting trails. Pack good boots and rain protection! More information on mud season from the Catskills Visitor Center: here.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Hunter, NY): Friday, high 63°, showers likely, mostly after 5pm. Friday night, low of 58°, showers and a possible thunderstorm. Some potentially heavy rain overnight with wind speeds as high as 26 mph. Saturday, high near 64°, showers (chance of rain 90%), and wind gusts ranging from 11 to 15 mph. Up to half an inch of rain possible. Saturday night, additional showers before 8pm, low of 47°. Sunday, high near 58°, a chance of showers after 2pm (60% chance). Sunday night, low of 45°, a slight chance of rain (30%), mostly before 2 am.
Fishing and Hunting: Fishing season has begun in the Catskills! Please take a look at Catskills Trout Tales for a calendar of hikes and fishing-related events to celebrate the season from April through May. Spring turkey season will be opening up on May 1st. Hunters must have a spring turkey permit in order to participate and a general hunting license. The Catskills Visitor Center (5096 State Route 28, Mt. Tremper, NY 12457) will be issuing fishing licenses and turkey permits now throughout the spring.
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 to stay 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.
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 incredibly 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 begun to 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 cans, 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.
Burn Ban in New York State: From March 16th through May 14th, there is a statewide ban on open burning of residential yard or brush debris and household trash. There are a few exceptions mentioned on the DEC’s website, please read the site thoroughly before having any fires during this time and help prevent springtime wildfires.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Catskill Mountain Club