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! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Trail Condition: Week of April 6, 2020
It’s mud season! Be sure to wear waterproof or other appropriate footwear as the trails are quite muddy this time of year. Although it may be tempting to avoid the mud by walking around it, this only widens the problem areas. Please walk straight through — mud on your boots is a badge of honor! We welcome you to use bikes on the trails, but conditions may not be dry enough yet for biking on all MHLC Preserves. If you ride and see tracks, please turn back! If you are looking for preserves with less mud, the Normans Kill East, Normans Kill West, or Winn Preserves are in good shape right now.
Please follow the CDC and the State of New York guidelines for containing the COVID-19 virus, and practice social distancing while visiting our preserves. If you arrive at a preserve and crowds are forming, choose a different preserve, a different trail, or return another time/day to visit. The Keleher and Holt Preserves are great options that offer lots of space.
Current Trail Condition: Week of March 23, 2020
Hello everyone, I hope you are safe and well! With snow, rain, and fluctuating temperatures this week, conditions are variable out on your MHLC trails. This is usually true in spring with snowmelt, mud, and other seasonal difficulties! As we shift seasons, remember to wear proper footwear out on the trails! Be sure to walk straight through muddy, snowy, or wet passages to keep those problem sections of snow from widening. Additionally, keep a lookout for ticks as they may be emerging soon.
With businesses and schools closed due to COVID-19, we have seen an increased use of the preserves these last few weeks. Please continue to enjoy our preserves to stay mentally and physically healthy! Here are a few tips to stay healthy on our trails:
Avoid touching often-used surface areas, and don’t worry about signing in at this time. (Be sure to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds when you get home!) Should there be anything to note, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kent Harlow, Stewardship Coordinator at email@example.com.
Stay the recommended 6ft away from other visitors. Maintain this distance between yourself and other visitors! Don’t fret – you can still say hi, share a joke, and any tips or observations with them!
We encourage dog owners to keep pets leashed in order to better prevent close contact interactions. Keeping our furry friends under control will limit folks from getting too close and protect those petted, scratched, and snuggled surfaces of our pups! Please exercise this courtesy for the health of each other, our animal friends, and the environment around the trail!
Lastly, take a deep breath, enjoy your walk, and treasure our open space. In these times, our need for conservation and recreation is only further highlighted. One of the best ways to show that appreciation is getting out there, so thank you to our preserve visitors!!
Current Trail Condition: Week of March 2, 2020
Hope all is well out in the Capital Region and in the March sun! With wisps of spring warmth on the horizon, be on the lookout for tree buds and trail mud when enjoying MHLC preserves. Although there are plenty of signs of spring emerging such as bird activity and the buds forming on trees, icy and slippery tread can persist. Depending on the preserve’s location and sun exposure, areas of snow and ice may still be present—please use caution on all paths you may travel!
When out on the trails, regardless of weather, microspikes and trekking poles can be some of the most useful tools to ensure a good grip on trail tread. Microspikes (similar to crampons or creepers) are flexible chains or woven wire that can wrap around a boot or shoe to provide further traction. They can be super useful in the winter for snowy and icy conditions. Additionally, a hiking stick or trekking poles can be used to help keep better balance and feel ahead for difficult or dangerous conditions such as steps or changes in slope. Trekking poles are excellent year-round tools – they are especially helpful in relieving stress on hips and knees going up and down hills.
If you haven’t seen the blog post by yours truly on the “Big Night,” the annual spring Ambystomid and amphibian migration, be sure to check it out here https://mohawkhudson.org/amphibian-big-night/. Be on the lookout for these amphibians crossing the road on the first warm (above 40 degrees), rainy night of spring!
Keep an eye out for our events page and further outdoor opportunities with MHLC– join our mailing list for monthly E-news and the summer and winter printed newsletter. If you’re looking to get connected and get outside, we’re starting off the month with our Winter Wildflowers walk at Schoharie Creek on Sunday, March 8th, and saying hello to spring activity with the Wildlife Track and Sign Hike on Saturday, March 28th. Be sure to check them out on the events page here https://mohawkhudson.org/events/, and should you need anything trails or stewardship related, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Trail Condition: Week of February 3, 2020
Hello Trail Conditions readers and receivers! I hope all is treating you well. The days are already getting longer, and the MHLC staff has been gearing up with plans for another year! Be on the lookout on our Events and Volunteer Calendars for upcoming excitement. For both those looking for warmer pastures and those hoping for snow on the horizon, there’s plenty to do out in the Capital Region now and in this coming year.
Similar to the January trail condition update, be sure to watch your step (and watch the weather) out on the trails as conditions can be variable. Although neighborhoods and roads may be clear and dry, trails can still have snow, ice, and muddy conditions! From mud and slush to frozen stuff, be prepared with appropriate clothing, boots, and other equipment when venturing outside. Contact me at email@example.com with any blowdowns, trail conditions, or other updates!
We’ve had a few folks asking for recommendations on preserves to do winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing. If you didn’t see it already, I would point you to Bob Frederick’s recent and excellent blog post on winter activity on the MHLC Preserves. It is a clear and informative read on skiing out on our lands. Thanks, Bob!!
Lastly, be on the lookout for one of my favorite trees, the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) while you are out! They are truly New York’s tree and a huge part of the character of the state’s forests. If you are interested in helping the fight against the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, the invasive species threating the Eastern Hemlock and our woodlands, brush up on some biology and the New York State programs to help monitor its spread here: https://mohawkhudson.org/invasive-hwa/. If you have any sightings of HWA on MHLC lands or other questions on invasives, monitoring, and citizen science initiatives, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Current Trail Condition: Week of January 6, 2020
Happy New Year MHLC constituents, trail users, and Current Trail Conditions readers! Many of us have resolutions, fresh starts, and plenty of goals on our minds – we hope that you will consider the use of our trails, the work towards local conservation, and generally being excellent to one another as a part of your life as we start this decade! There are some fair temperatures and excellent rewards for those choosing to step outside. Be sure to watch out for animal sightings and tracks as well as expansive views, and we’ll keep you posted on upcoming MHLC winter events!
Preserve conditions are variable and dependent on the weather. Staff and volunteers out at the preserves have noted snow and ice remains on some trails (such as Winn, Wolf Creek, and Keleher) despite others being clear just a few miles nearby (Bethlehem area preserves such as Van Dyke, Swift, and Schiffendecker)!
Be aware of snow and icy conditions as they persist, and without snow, many trails will still have mud! Please be prepared for slippery, wet, and other challenging conditions – watch steps and walk carefully along bridges, bog boards, and inclines! Be prepared for heading outdoors this winter by wearing warm, moisture-wicking layers and good waterproof boots, using hiking poles and gentle crampons (such as yaktraks or other over-the-shoe traction equipment), and staying hydrated. With large fluctuations in the weather, conditions can change significantly from day to day, check the current trail conditions before heading out. When you arrive at the preserve, be sure to check-in at kiosks and utilize maps– don’t forget to download the MHLC Map App!
If you see any issues on the trails from these dynamic days (downed trees, and especially plowing of parking lots when it snows), please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Current Trail Condition: Week of December 9, 2019
The Capital Region has been thoroughly welcomed into winter with record snowfalls nearing two feet in just two days! Whether you are out enjoying the snow or inside staying warm and dry, we hope you all are safe and happy.
Everyone is busy shoveling and plowing, but access to our Preserves is currently limited. We are hopeful in the next few days to get the parking lots cleared for weekend access. Preserves that are currently accessible include Ashford Glen, Fox, Holt (Winter Entrance), Normans Kill East and West, Wolf Creek Falls, and Phillipin Kill Preserves. Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve’s parking lot and driveway are clear, and the trails are scheduled to be groomed in the coming days.
Winter is an excellent time to venture out on the snow, taking in great views of the Capital Region and beautiful still scenes in field and forest while staying active! Be sure to familiarize yourself with the preserve and safe practices before venturing out. Check out Keleher Preserve Steward Bob Frederick’s blog post on cross-country skiing the Preserves.
Hardy skiers and snowshoers are welcome to come break trail! We will share updates on our site to give everyone access to winter sports. As we get a handle on snow conditions at each of our 18 Preserves, please email Kent (email@example.com) with any information on plowed parking areas or trail conditions.
Current Trail Condition: Week of November 4, 2019
Autumn foliage has burned bright and fallen, and the spooky winds of Halloween have swept the leaves on the trail. Now is arguably one of the best times to enjoy our preserves – with leaves off the trees revealing great views and cool weather conditions for recreating.
While you are out enjoying the preserves, please be wary as leaves on the trail can hide stumps, divots, and other trip-hazards, and can be incredibly slippery when wet. Additionally, it is always a good idea to let people know when you are going out, check trail markers, and recreate out in daylight hours to avoid getting lost or encountering potential hunters.
Just as a reminder from last month’s trail update, most MHLC Preserves do not allow hunting, though some preserves have existing hunting rights from previous ownership; MHLC has provided orange vests at the kiosks of these preserves for visitors. We recommend hikers in any natural areas to wear blaze orange or pink as a precaution through the month of December. Should you have any concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, ticks are currently finishing their fall feeding! Ticks are most active roughly twice a year, and this time of year they are trying to get in one last meal before the big freeze. Be sure to regularly check yourself for ticks. Trails are in fair condition with minimal wet and muddy areas, so stay on the trail to avoid brushy, shaded areas that ticks favor.