With green appearing all around the Catskills Forest Preserve, it’s a great time of year to see spring emerge and to pitch in on trail projects!
Trail Conditions and Information: In spite of some intermittent rain, it should be a nice weekend to be outside and on Catskills trails. Light mud and moisture throughout the Park means hiking boots are the best option for footwear. Wearing lighter color clothing and staying on established trails as much as possible will help hikers spot and avoid ticks.
Camping: State campgrounds throughout the Catskills are reopening for the season on 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.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Hunter, NY): Friday, high near 65°, occasional showers, chance of precipitation 80%. Friday night, mostly cloudy, low of 47°. Saturday, mostly sunny, high near 60°. Saturday night, low around 43°, chance of precipitation 30%. Sunday, high of 57°, rain likely after 2pm. Chance of precipitation 60%. Sunday night, low of 44°, chance of rain 70%.
Outdoor Opportunities: This Saturday, May 11th the Catskills 3500’ Club is hosting a hike of Balsam Cap and Friday. Please contact hike leader to register: email@example.com
For Mother’s Day on Sunday May 12th, the Catskill Mountain Club is having an Annual Ephemeral Wildflower Hike at Kelly Hollow. Contact hiking leader for information and to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday May 16th, the Rip Van Winkle Hikers are hosting a maintenance hike on the Long Path from Twilight Park to Kaaterskill High Peak. For further information contact Steve Emanuel at: email@example.com
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 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. 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 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: 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.