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Love Our NY Lands

Follow @NYSDECAlerts for Real-Time Updates from Select State Lands and Sites

New York is home to tens of thousands of acres of State lands to visit, dozens of campgrounds, and thousands of miles of trails across the state for hikers of all abilities. @NYSDECAlerts provides real-time updates from DEC-managed lands across New York State. Love Our NY Lands and follow @NYSDEC to recreate responsibly, plan ahead, and Leave No Trace™.

Watch our Love Our NY Lands Playlist to learn more and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

Follow @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter or bookmark this page for the latest updates from select DEC campgrounds, State Lands, and other sites.

NOTE: If the place you are planning to go has a full parking lot listed on our Twitter feed, see our other location resources below to plan an alternative.

State Lands Belong to All of Us

Know before you go- person with a map

All New Yorkers and visitors should be able to access, enjoy, and feel welcome on state lands. These lands belong to all of us, our families, and our neighbors. While enjoying these shared spaces, be respectful of other visitors. Share trails, treat people with kindness, and leave things as you found them for others to enjoy.

All of us have a responsibility to protect State lands for future generations. Follow the Hiker Responsibility Code, practice Leave No Trace TM principles, and consider visiting trails less traveled.

Leave No Trace TM

The Leave No Trace TM principles provide a framework for safe and sustainable recreation. The principles provide guidelines that can be tailored to you. Before heading out to visit State lands, take the time to review and familiarize yourself with these principles ahead of time to help ensure you will be prepared, stay safe, and minimize damage to our shared lands and waterways.

It's easy to Leave No Trace TM

  1. Plan and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Others

Learn more about how you can protect natural spaces when exploring outdoors by visiting the Leave No Trace TM website.

Be Prepared and Hike Safely

Proper planning and preparation will help ensure a fun, safe, and sustainable adventure outdoors.

Use trustworthy sources to find accurate trail information and maps, and choose an experience that's right for you. Check the weather and find out what current trail conditions are before your trip. Learn what gear you need to bring and save local emergency contact information just in case. Before setting out on your adventure, assess your fitness and skill level. Don't overestimate your abilities; match the trail with your abilities and the experience you are looking for to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable visit.

Read additional information on hiking safety and learn about the ten hiking essentials.

Visit Trails Less Traveled

Visit trails less traveled- two hikers by mountains

Find trails less traveled and plan your visit when trails may be less busy during daylight hours. Popular trails are popular for a reason, but New York has lots of hidden treasures just waiting to be explored. Look beyond the popular spots on social media and discover areas that you can enjoy time and time again.

Certain hiking areas are in high demand, such as the High Peaks and destinations in the Catskills. Come prepared with back-up options and move on if the area's parking lot is full. Park responsibly for your safety and the safety of other motorists and pedestrians.

Also consider exploring areas beyond the Adirondack and Catskill Parks - including great spots closer to home. Use the DECinfo Locator to find a DEC-managed resource near you.

DEC Professionals Are Here to Help

DEC staff are here to keep you and our natural resources safe. Forest Rangers, Assistant Forest Rangers, Foresters, backcountry and front-country stewards, trail crews, and education staff are important resources for outdoor recreators and for the protection of our lands. These professionals are stationed across New York, and visitors can expect to interact with stewards at trailheads, rest areas, information stations, welcome centers, and campgrounds, as well as out on trails and summits.

Forest Rangers provide more than enforcement and rescues. One of their primary roles is education, which is crucial to ensuring hikers have a safe experience. If you run into a Forest Ranger or Assistant Forest Ranger on the trail, use that opportunity to ask questions about safety and sustainable recreation.

Trail crews work hard to build and maintain our trail systems across New York State. As you pass by crews out on the trail, take a moment to thank them for their commitment to protecting our lands and keeping users safe.

If you need help planning an adventure, or have questions about equipment, safety, or trail conditions, stewards and educators are happy to assist. If you are headed to the Catskills or High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, you'll find stewards and educators who can provide helpful advice or assistance. Become a Steward

If you love visiting New York's state lands, be part of the solution. Join us in protecting our lands and resources for generations to come by minimizing your impacts, carrying out what you carry in, and encouraging others to care for our shared lands as well.

Here's how you can give back:

Do Your Part to Protect New York's Lands

Carry In, Carry Out- person with water bottle

Small actions can have lasting impacts on delicate plants, wildlife, and landscapes. Research the rules, regulations and recommendations for the places you plan to visit to learn how you can help protect natural resources and nearby communities.

  • Know the rules of the area where you will be hiking.
  • Many DEC lands do not have trash cans. Don't litter - take your trash home with you.
  • Do not remove or damage trail markers.
  • Be careful with campfires and make sure they are allowed where you are camping.
  • Know the best place - or way - to go to the bathroom.
  • Stay on trails. Avoid stepping on vegetation, especially sensitive high elevation plants.
  • Walk through, not around, mud and puddles on trails to avoid eroding and widening trails.
  • Stay off steep, high elevation trails during the spring mud season.
  • After a hike, shake or brush off clothing and clean boot treads before getting into your vehicle to avoid spreading seeds of invasive species.

Respect Other Visitors

All New Yorkers share our state lands. Treat each other with respect. Be courteous towards your fellow adventurers by following trail etiquette guidelines:

Share the great outdoors- several hikers maintaining distance
  • Respect all users regardless of their activity, speed, or skill level.
  • Share the trails. Hike in single file when approaching other groups and let faster hikers pass. Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate.
  • When approaching hikers from behind politely make them aware of your presence and desire to pass.
  • Hikers going downhill should yield to hikers going uphill. Everyone should yield to horseback riders, and bikers should yield to all other users.
  • Hikers on foot bridges and bog bridging have the right of way - allow them to complete their crossing before stepping onto the structure.
  • Keep pets under control. Leashing your pet ensures the pet's safety and the comfort of other hikers. Always clean up after your pet.
  • Enjoy and respect wildlife from a distance. Never feed, approach, or pet them.
  • Park in designated parking areas - do not block gates, entrances, exits, or other vehicles.

Location Resources to Help Plan Alternative Spots

If you would like to share our graphics in other publications, please use our media toolkit to encourage others to "Love Our NY Lands."

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    Albany, NY 12233-4500
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