April 18, 2021 Usage of the Catskill Park and its facilities has grown tremendously for the past several years. During the pandemic of 2020-21, the growth only increased as folks everywhere turned to the great outdoors for a safe space to seek recreation. As the pandemic winds down, we anticipate a sustained increase in Park visitorship and in use of our trails, other infrastructure and wild places throughout the Catskills.
The rise in usage has resulted in crowded parking lots, illegal roadside parking and an exponential increase in garbage being left behind by park visitors at high use areas like Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove and Colgate Lake. To help mitigate these problems, parking regulations have been expanded and strictly enforced. Dozens of volunteers have been helping park staff and trail stewards clean up after the heavy traffic of weekend visits. Please be responsible and pack out what you pack into these beautiful natural environments.
Another effect of increased usage is seen on the trails themselves. Foot beds are widening far beyond the acceptable width, trampling adjacent plant life and contributing to erosion. Hikers should stay on the trail, avoid walking side-by-side and pass other hikers carefully, yielding where possible and maintaining single file at all times. It is up to us to protect the Catskills wilderness and preserve it for future generations. To do so, it is important that we cooperate in practicing sustainable use that benefits us all.
Always follow Leave No Trace principles when recreating in conserved natural places wherever you go.
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