ALBANY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding visitors to responsibly rebuild in the Adirondacks this spring to help protect state lands for future generations. Spring is an excellent time to get outdoors and enjoy the warming temperatures, but it can also pose many risks for outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife, and natural resources. DEC encourages visitors to public lands to renew responsibly to protect themselves and the resource.
Practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/119881.html): The Leave No Trace™ principles provide a framework for safe and sustainable recovery. Based on outdoor ethics rather than rules, the Principles provide guidelines that can be tailored to a variety of outdoor activities and an individual’s specific experiences. DEC encourages outdoor adventurers to familiarize themselves with these principles before visiting state lands in order to be prepared, stay safe, and minimize damage to shared lands and waterways.
Follow the Muddy Trail Advisory (https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/125123.html): Hikers are advised to avoid hiking elevated trails over 2,500 feet until further notice. Despite the warm weather of late, high-altitude trails are still covered with slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin floors that become a mixture of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. Slipping boots destroy the walking surface of the trail, damage surrounding vegetation, and erode thin soil, increasing the likelihood of washouts. rotten snow and monorails are a safety hazard even with the right gear; and altitude and alpine vegetation are extremely sensitive during this period.
Even on low-elevation trails, hikers can encounter thick mud, flooding, ice, and deep, slushy snow.
Walk through the mud, slush, or standing water and down the middle of the trail. This helps reduce erosion and trail widening and minimize damage to trailside vegetation;
Do not attempt to walk through high or fast-moving water;
Waterproof boots, gaiters and trekking poles are recommended to safely and comfortably traverse these varied trail conditions. and
Avoid Wet and Muddy Mountain Bike Trails: Trail systems can be badly damaged by eager mountain bikers who hit the trail too early in the season.
Avoid riding trails until they have dried and cured;
Check with local organizations for conditions and consider alternate route options, e.g. B. Multipurpose recreational trails, permanent gravel road systems, or paved roads.
Inquire in good time about the regulations of the bicycle flat rate; and
Consider volunteering time for trail work and helping local organizations fix trails and prepare for mountain bike season.
Plan and Prepare for Variable Conditions: Spring weather can change quickly. Prepare for any opportunity by bringing essentials from 10 Hike Smart NY (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html) including: food, water, navigation, warm layers, Snowshoes and traction equipment, a headlamp, first aid kit and matches or a lighter. Stay up to date with current weather reports and if the weather forecast calls for harsh conditions, consider a postponement. Always check the forecast in the morning and evening of a planned trip and the day after a trip so that the right gear is taken in case of an emergency or an unplanned overnight stay. Make a schedule, including a turnaround time, and stick to it. Visitors should leave their travel plans with a trusted friend or relative who will call for help if they do not return on time.
Safely Enjoy Spring Water Recreation: Paddling, fishing and boating are great ways to make the most of the great outdoors this spring if you do it responsibly. The waterways are still very cold and with spring snowmelt high tides and fast currents are always a possibility.
Always wear a life jacket (PFD) (required by law before May 1st). Water temperatures are cold. A person in water can quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water;
Be careful when entering and exiting canoes, kayaks or boats;
Heed flood warnings and do not attempt to fish or paddle during periods of high tide and fast water;
Research a trip in advance and heed any warnings or advice for selected paddling routes.
While paddling, pay close attention to trees, branches, rocks, and debris both above the surface and underwater. and
Always clean, drain, and dry boats, wash boots and waders, and look for water-hitches when exiting a waterway to avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species (https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/50121.html ) .
Know how to protect yourself from ticks: Ticks are very small bugs that can transmit Lyme disease and various other diseases through their bites. Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas near the ground. Be tick-free (https://www.dec.ny.gov/public/111538.html):
Wear light-colored, tight-knit clothing for easy spotting of ticks;
Wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants;
Frequently check clothing and exposed skin for ticks outdoors;
Consider using insect repellent on clothing. and
Stay on cleared, well-traveled paths. Walk in the middle of the trails. Avoid dense forests and bushy areas.
Give Wildlife Adequate Space: Spring is a vulnerable time for wildlife. Some emerge from hibernation and most begin to forage for fresh food wherever they can find it. This can mean encountering wildlife closer to trails, parking lots, and roads.
Never follow, approach or feed wild animals. Human food can harm wildlife and feeding wildlife can create bad habits that lead to unwanted human interaction and habituation;
Keep pets on a leash to avoid frightening wildlife;
Know how to reduce bear encounters while hiking and camping. Bear canisters must be used in the High Peaks Wilderness from April 1st to November 30th and will be provided to all backcountry users in the Adirondacks and
The land of New York State belongs to all of us, and we all have a responsibility to protect it. Love Our New York Lands (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/119881.html) this spring by practicing responsible and sustainable outdoor recreation, Leave No TraceTM, and giving back through volunteerism and responsibility.
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