The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the temporary closure of Kaaterskill Falls, the viewing platform, and connecting trails beginning Monday, April 6. The Kaaterskill Wild Forest will remain open to the public. The closure of the Kaaterskill Falls site is part of DEC’s statewide efforts to reduce the community spread of COVID-19 by encouraging New Yorkers to safely and responsibly recreate locally. DEC is temporarily closing public access to the falls due to its unique features that do not provide for appropriate social distancing during the ongoing COVID-19 response.
Kaaterskill Falls is a popular destination that consists of several short-access trails leading from large parking areas to the falls and the viewing platform. The falls, viewing platform, and access trails are relatively small areas that are currently concentrating recreationists together, preventing safe social distancing at this site, as well as placing an unnecessary burden on and danger to State and local resources and emergency responders during the ongoing public health response. DEC will continue to evaluate the situation and will announce when these areas reopen to the recreating public.
DEC is closing parking areas at Molly Smith, Laurel House Road, and Scutt Road to public use. All access trails leading to the falls will be closed. Roadside parking in these areas is prohibited.
In addition, DEC is blocking roads leading to the North-South Lake Campground to encourage social distancing and reduce visitor density while providing access for hikers to visit trails that connect with the campground.
While enjoying time outdoors, New Yorkers should follow CDC/NYS Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for preventing the spread of disease:
- Try to keep at least six feet of distance between you and others;
- Avoid close contact such as shaking hands, hugging, or sharing binoculars;
- Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available; and
- Avoid surfaces that are touched often such as handrails, doorknobs, and playground equipment.
DEC and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) are encouraging New Yorkers to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 response. DEC and State Parks recommendations 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 and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. In addition, DEC and State Parks launched the #RecreateLocal hashtag and encouraged New Yorkers to get outside and discover open spaces and parks close to home.
March 24th – 2020
To all residents and those seeking to visit the Town of Hunter,
Following Governor Cuomo’s executive order to implement PAUSE (Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone), we ask that residents and visitors DO NOT access our trailheads, public recreational areas, local landmarks or attempt to access the High Peaks within the Town of Hunter until further notice.
Yesterday on March 23rd, the Town of Hunter received the following correspondence from Greene County EMS Coordinator Sean Hotaling:
As we all can see the situation with COVID-19 is changing daily and there are still many uncertainties, it has been decided that fire department first response will only be dispatched for any ECHO level call, or DELTA level cardiac arrest call during this temporary policy.
This decision was taken with responder safety at the fore front. It is imperative that we all protect ourselves as best we can. The lack of large amounts of the proper PPE has unfortunately put the County’s fragile EMS system in a tough position.
Our Ambulance crews as always will respond to ALL dispatched calls and the paramedic fly cars are still doing their normal responses when dispatched. We take our responsibility to protect our local first responders and all those who are residing in the Town of Hunter very seriously and ask that you also take this warning very seriously. This will put anyone who needs assistance on our Town accessed State Trails at much greater risk if you choose to ignore this message.
Additionally, we ask all within our Town borders to take the calls for Social Distancing seriously. We have seen many of our trailheads, parking lots and playgrounds packed with cars and people, children playing Soccer and Basketball and riding bicycles in groups down our streets. We have seen packed lines at our local supermarket.
This IS NOT acceptable behavior that will help slow this virus down.
Finally, The Town Board of Hunter would like to remind everyone, that this crisis is TEMPORARY. We will get through this together as a community, and we will once again welcome all who wish to visit and recreate within our borders again as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Town Board of Hunter
Important Updates from Greene County