Expect a cooler spring weekend with showers predicted Friday through Sunday. A frost is possible at higher elevations and in the northern sections of the Catskills on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Trail Conditions and Information: This weekend and throughout April, expect muddy conditions wherever you plan to hike in the Catskills. Snow and ice have largely melted everywhere in the Park. With rain and colder temperatures in the evenings, make sure you have synthetic or wool layers, rain protection, and waterproof boots. More information on hiking during mud season and following best Leave No Trace practices is here on the Catskills Visitor Center’s site.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Hunter, NY): Friday, high near 56°, rain in the morning and showers after 8am. Friday night, low around 41°, showers heavy at times and a possible thunderstorm (chance of rain 90%). Saturday, a high near 44°, showers likely before 1 pm (60% chance of rain), very breezy with some winds up to 38 mph. Saturday night, low around 32°, a slight chance of rain and snow (30% chance of precipitation). Sunday, high near 43°, rain and possible snow in the morning through 3pm (70% chance of precipitation). Sunday night, low of about 30°
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 open 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 on the move for the season, even when the temperatures dip into the 30s and 40s. 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 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 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.
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 NYSDEC’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: Andy Mossey