New Guidance Issued for New York Hiking Trails, Parks
Officials issued new guidance due to an increase in usage at popular hiking trails and New York State parks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and New York State DEC is encouraging all New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice social distancing and use common sense to protect themselves and others from coronavirus.
"Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with your immediate household family members, and reduce stress and anxiety while practicing physical distancing. While indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC’s public facilities may be closed to prevent community spread of COVID-19, parks, grounds, forests, and trails are open during daylight hours, seven days a week," New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation wrote on its website.
While parks and trails remain open, officials have been closing them down if 50 percent capacity is reached. Parks, lands forests and facilities are being monitored by authorities to make sure social distancing is being practiced and try to limit the spread of COVID-19.
While enjoying the outdoors in New York officials ask you continue to follow the CDC and DOH guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu and COVID-19:
- Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and/or troubled breathing;
- Practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;
- Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;
- Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and
- Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.
DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to:
- Stay local and keep visits short;
- Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members;
- Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks;
- Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer;
- Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces;
- Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees;
- If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail, or return another time/day to visit; and
- If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.
If you are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days:
- Stay home; and
- Spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space. Do not visit public outdoor spaces.
If you are over 70 or have a compromised immune system:
- Avoid visiting outdoor public spaces;
- Remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space;
- Pre-screen visitors by taking their temperature from a safe social distance; and
- Require visitors to wear masks, if available.
Parking at Bear Mountain State Park, Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Sam's Point Area has been reduced by 50 percent until further notice to reduce the density of visitors at the park in an effort to improve social distancing.
Parking spaces along Route 9D in the areas of Breakneck Ridge, Anthony's Nose and the Appalachian Trail will be reduced and parking will be converted to parallel parking in order to reduce density. The Metro-North parking area near Breakneck and the parking lot at Mount Beacon are closed.
All New YorkState park playgrounds, athletic courts, and sporting fields, visitor centers, nature centers, historic houses and most restrooms are closed.
All entrance fees have been waived.