Update 5/15: Last night, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order extending “New York on PAUSE” for regions of the state that do not meet the requirements to begin reopening. This extends restrictions on non-essential travel, gatherings, and other risk-reducing strategies for these parts of the state.
With the governor’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order set to expire on May 15, we know many people are excited to get out and start traveling to the Adirondacks. However, there are a number of precautions that need to be taken in order to avoid a resurgence of cases in New York. Here is what you need to know about safely recreating in the Adirondack Park during the coronavirus pandemic:
Pack a Face Mask, Maintain Social Distance
Outdoor recreation is a good outlet for staying healthy but being outside does not mean that you are safe from spreading or catching the disease. Though case numbers are improving in New York State, coronavirus is still a major risk and social distancing measures are our best defense against another outbreak. We strongly encourage all outdoor recreators to bring a cloth face mask and hand sanitizer or soap, and maintain social distancing while on the trail. The following situations all represent places where social distancing may be impossible and a face mask will be necessary:
- A busy trailhead/parking area
- Public restrooms at trailheads
- When passing others on the trail
- At a destination (summit, pond, etc.)
- When stopping at rest areas, gas stations, etc. on your drive to and from the trailhead
Parking and Camping Options will be Limited
In the High Peaks Wilderness, most major parking areas have reduced capacity to encourage social distancing. High use areas often see large crowds, which increases risks associated with the spread of coronavirus. St. Hubert’s and the Garden have reduced capacity to support these measures, and parking capacity at the Heart Lake Program Center will be managed by ADK staff. In other parts of the Adirondack Park, some recreation areas have closed trailheads or roads until further notice due to high use issues.
Camping options are also limited. State campgrounds are closed until at least June 1, which also applies to most private campgrounds as well. In the backcountry, lean-to camping is limited to one household per lean-to. If you plan on overnighting in a popular area, like the High Peaks Wilderness, we strongly encourage you to bring a tent to both encourage social distancing and avoid the likelihood that no lean-tos will be available.
Local Recreation is Still Encouraged
Though non-essential travel is allowed for parts of the state, we strongly encourage hikers to continue recreating locally until communities in the Adirondack Park fully reopen. Many businesses and amenities will not be available in the North Country for at least another month, perhaps longer. Options for staying overnight, getting meals, and other services are either limited or currently not available.
Additionally, backcountry conditions remain poor as mud season continues in the Adirondack Park. Trails that travel over 3500 feet in elevation have a combination of ice and rotten snow packs, making for unsafe conditions that should be avoided. Additionally, rescue resources remain restricted, as rangers are still supporting coronavirus efforts downstate. With fewer rangers available, it is even more important that we come fully prepared for hikes (pdf link) and follow Leave No Trace practices in the backcountry.
For information about trail conditions, please contact our High Peaks Information Center at 518-523-3441 and select option 2.