Many DEC state-managed lands now open to overnight camping; campers encouraged to follow guidelines to help prevent spread of COVID-19 while enjoying beauty of Adirondacks & Catskills
From the DEC:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced additional DEC campgrounds in the Adirondack and Catskill parks will open on July 1 to existing reservation holders for the 2020 season. To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of facilities and protect visitors, DEC is not accepting additional reservations or walk-in camping for the 2020 season at this time. Only existing reservations for all DEC campgrounds will be honored. Visit DEC’s website for the latest updates on DEC campgrounds and information about each facility.
Reopening Fire Towers and DEC Lands to Camping
In addition, state lands that were temporarily closed to camping (click HERE for a full list) will allow overnight camping beginning Friday, June 26, with the exception of Evergreen Pond (Ossian State Forest, town of Ossian, Livingston County), Peekamoose Valley in the Catskills, Otter Creek Horse Trail (Independence River State Forest, town of Glenfield, Lewis County), and Sugar Hill Recreation Area (Sugar Hill State Forest, town of Orange, Schuyler County). Day use is allowed at Sugar Hill State Forest, but the fire tower, gate off Tower Hill Road, and facilities (bathroom, water, campsites) at the fire tower area remain closed. Peekamoose Valley will allow camping starting July 1. Otter Creek and Sugar Hill are expected to open to camping later this summer. Check DEC’s website for the most up-to-date information.
DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more. As of June 11, DEC resumed issuing permits for groups of fewer than 10 people who would like to stay for more than three nights at one location on state lands. DEC is also temporarily restricting lean-to use to members of a single household at a time.
DEC-controlled fire towers (with the exception of Sugar Hill) are also reopened to visitors.
For more information on open facilities, visit DEC’s camping page. For information about campgrounds operated by the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, visit the NYS Parks camping webpage.
According to the “New York Forward” guidance for the reopening of New York, campgrounds must take precautions to ensure campers maintain appropriate social distancing and adhere to proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including but not limited to maintaining 6 feet of distance between campers, unless wearing an acceptable face covering, and excluding persons from the same household who are camping together. Visit Reserve America for details.
Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway Day Use Area
Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway will open July 1, and remain open seven days a week between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC is taking the following precautions:
The shuttle will not operate;
Visiting New York State's Public Lands during COVID-19 Response
New York is encouraging people to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. New York State DEC and State Parks recommendations for getting outside safely incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases.
√ While enjoying outdoor spaces, continue to follow the CDC/NYSDOH's guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:
√ DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to state parks and state lands, and other parks to:
New Yorkers over 70 years old or with a compromised immune system should not visit public spaces, including those outdoors. These New Yorkers should remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space, prescreen visitors by taking their temperature, and require visitors to wear masks.
Visitors to the Adirondack and Catskill Parks are reminded to always follow the hiker responsibility code and avoid busy trailheads. Find trails less traveled and visit when trails may not be as busy during daylight hours. DEC also encourages New Yorkers to be safe and sustainable when recreating outdoors. Learn more about how to protect natural spaces when exploring outdoors by following the seven principles of “Leave No Trace” (leaves DEC website). Additional information is available on the DEC website.
DEC Hiring Campground Staff
DEC is seeking seasonal campground staff with all levels of experience and skill sets, including supervisors, security, maintenance and cleaning staff, and booth workers. If interested, send an email to [email protected].