Current Trail Conditions and Notable Finds on Your Favorite MHLC Preserves
Before you set out on the trails, check this page for the latest news regarding the conditions at MHLC preserves, as well as trail highlights, hiking tips, and local wildlife notes and sightings!
Our stewardship team will share biweekly Happy Trails Tuesday updates- these will give you the latest trail conditions, preserve highlights, and local wildlife and botany sightings and identifications. If you’re a regular visitor, we recommend bookmarking this page.
If you have a trail update to report, or would like to volunteer to help make these improvements happen, email email@example.com.
Happy Trails Tuesday: September 12, 2017
Golden rod, Joe Pye weed, and aster are dotting our meadows, fields, and trails. Catch the leaves beginning to turn early at one of our Helderberg Escarpment preserves. Both Keleher and Bennett Hill Preserves are showing color with their elevated views of the Helderbergs, so please visit and share a photo or two of the season’s foliage with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Van Dyke: Trails are slippery after a week of rain. Please wear hiking boots, use poles for extra support, and walk through the mud, instead of around it, to prevent erosion.
Normans Kill West: The railing along the bridge paralleling the Normans Kill is loose. Volunteers and staff will be working in the coming week to repair and replace it. A sign is posted to warn hikers. Please use caution when crossing this bridge.
Mosher Marsh: The first bridge along the loop trail has been flooded by beaver activity, and the trail section around it has been closed modifying this to an out-and-back walk once the end of the long boardwalk is reached. Please watch out for wild parsnip, a flowering dill-like plant found across the country, that causes skin irritation. A sign is posted on the kiosk to warn visitors and help identify this noxious plant.
Happy Trails Tuesday: August 29, 2017
The end of a hot, rainy summer is approaching, and trails are drying out throughout MHLC preserves. While on the trails, you will likely hear the recognizable buzz of cicadas as they crawl out of the ground and up the roots of trees to feed on nutrients in the bark.
Mosher Marsh:The first bridge along the loop trail has been flooded by beaver activity, and the trail section surrounding the bridge has been closed, modifying this to an out-and-back walk to the end of the long boardwalk. Please watch out for wild parsnip, a flowering, dill-like plant found across the country, which causes skin irritation. A sign is posted on the kiosk to warn visitors and help you identify this plant. A more pleasant find is the pink fleabane daisy, a pretty, non-noxious flower which can be spotted as you walk past the first field.
Wolf Creek Falls: This Preserve is home to one of several of MHLC’s “hidden” musical bridges. Find the bridge, play a note, and connect to nature via song. A color map of this Preserve was recently added to our website to make navigation more straight forward.
Holt Preserve: On display here are late-blooming, native flowers like yellow smooth sumac and Joe-Pye weed are attracting pollinators still. These species can be found while hiking the trails around the pond.
Keleher Preserve: Additional bridges and ramps have been installed throughout the newly-remarked trail system. Bring your mountain bike for a great ride up and down through the trees.
All MHLC Preserves are carry-in, carry-out – please hike out any wrappers or garbage you make.
Happy Trails Tuesday: August 15, 2017
Keleher Preserve: A group of hikers spooked a large black bear last week at Keleher. The bear was surprised by the voices of the hikers and ran away into the brush. It is important to remember that large animals like bears, bobcat, and even moose may be encountered in your nature walks, even on popular MHLC trails and in those Preserves at which we feel most at ease. To avoid encounters with black bear, be sure to occasionally make noise on the trail by singing or talking out loud. Also, be sure to carry in and carry out: don’t leave garbage or other food items along trails.
To read more about black bears and what to do if you encounter a black bear, visit the NYS Department of Conservation’s website by clicking here.
Strawberry Fields: All trails are mowed and summer’s last wildflowers are in bloom. Look out for lavender-colored bee balm, woodland sunflower, black-eyed Susan, red cardinal flower, and pink and white fleabane daisy.
Bozen Kill Preserve: Mud mitigation is taking place in the field off the parking area. Stepping stones have been laid down through the field to allow for drainage off the hillside and safe passage for visitors. Hikers looking to avoid the mud should follow the blue trail around this area.
Bennett Hill: Old corduroy log boardwalks have been removed to allow better drainage. Persistent muddy spots remain. The preserve’s second bridge on the Green trail was replaced earlier this spring, and this week, the old bridge was deconstructed and removed.
Restifo Sanctuary: This tiny trail system in Westerlo is a serene, beautiful spot for plein air painters. The trail is short, but affords views of the wetland, old rock walls, and karst geology.
Mosher Marsh: The first bridge along the loop trail has been flooded by beaver activity, and the trail section around it has been closed modifying this to an out-and-back walk. Please watch out for wild parsnip, a flowering dill-like plant found across the country, that causes skin irritation. A sign is being posted on the kiosk to warn visitors.
Tuesday Trails Update: August 1, 2017
Schoharie Creek Preserve: The Schoharie Creek Falls are rushing; please be sure to stay on the trail while passing the overlook. Some areas are steep and muddy leading towards and away from the Schoharie Creek waters. Volunteer crews will be out creating switchbacks and recanting trail steps this month. Trekking poles may be useful on your hike, and keep an eye out for woodland sunflower along the water’s edge.
Keleher Preserve: The trail system at the Keleher Preserve has been remarked. Please see the updated map at the trailhead kiosk and follow the MHLC colored trail markers, as staff and volunteers are still in the process of erasing old paint blazes. Mountain bikers should be aware of various terrains on the preserve, including gravel hills. Cautionary signage will be installed later this season.
Bozen Kill Preserve: Stepping stones are currently being placed along the muddiest sections of the trail system. Please be aware these stones may be slippery or unstable until they settle into drier ground. Many sections are still very muddy, and high boots are advised.
Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve: Please be sure to stay on the mowed trail, be aware of wild parsnip (click here to learn more about this invasive plant which causes burns on the skin) in the grassland areas, and tuck pant legs into socks to avoid any irritation from ticks or poison ivy. Hiking at noon? Pack a lunch and eat at the picnic table just past the parking lot or on one of the many black walnut benches, and keep an eye out for “bee balm” monarda blooming along the paths.
Tuesday Trails Update: July 18, 2017
Through this rainy summer, MHLC trails are wet and muddy in many locations, especially in low spots and along waterways, including those at the Lower Holt Preserve, and the Green Trail at the Bennett Hill Preserve.
In order to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails, please walk through mud and water – not around it. To learn more about this tip and other Leave No Trace Principles, visit: https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles.
The trail system at the Keleher Preserve is currently being remarked to create MHLC’s longest trail yet – a white trail loop over 4 miles long. An updated map can be found on our website and at the trailhead. Grab your bike and a friend to explore it for yourself!
Bring your binoculars out to Mosher Marsh to catch a glimpse not only the many species of birds flying overhead, but beavers building their lodge below. The first bridge along the loop trail has been flooded by beaver activity, and the trail section around it has been closed modifying this to an out-and-back walk.
Early summer is a wonderful time to enjoy colorful flowering vegetation. Look out for native swamp and pasture rose at Bennett Hill, Yarrow at Keleher, White Baneberry at the Bozen Kill, and Bleeding Hearts along the Rail Trail. Trying to improve your flora identification skills? Check out this helpful wildflower blog from a local botanist.
Have a trail update to report? Email email@example.com.