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 email@example.com.
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.
Current Trail Condition: Week of October 1, 2019
Believe it or not, autumn is here! With our stewardship and summer seasons winding down, Trail Updates will now be occurring monthly. But just because the updates are slowing down, it doesn’t mean the excitement has slowed! There is still a bevy of activity around MHLC Preserves and the Capital Region this time of year. The fall is an incredible time to hike our preserves – trails are generally in favorable and dry condition, leaves have vibrant color, and those leaves are also falling to reveal more views of the Capital Region landscape.
October 1st is the beginning of deer hunting season in the Capital Region. This season, MHLC has updated our kiosk signage to recommend hikers in any natural areas to wear blaze orange or pink as a precaution through the month of December. While most MHLC Preserves do not allow hunting, some preserves have existing hunting rights from previous ownership – MHLC has provided orange vests at these preserve kiosks for visitors. Please contact MHLC with any concerns.
Regardless of where you recreate this fall, we recommend staying on trails, wearing blaze orange, and visiting in full daylight hours. Let someone know where you are going to keep in good safety practice, or better yet, bring them with you out on the trails to enjoy all fall provides! Again, please contact Stewardship Coordinator, Kent (email@example.com) with any concerns. Thanks!
Current Trail Condition: Week of August 26, 2019
Throughout the summer, keep an eye out for turtles out on the trails or roads. Box turtles, the eastern painted turtle, and snapping turtles are commonly found in our area. Unfortunately, many interactions with these species happen on roads during the summer.
When you see a turtle in or traveling onto a road, first make sure you can safely park and navigate the traffic around you before helping! Be sure to help the turtle in the direction the turtle is going. Turtles have an incredible compass and instinctively navigate the contours of the landscape. (Some sea turtles even use the stars to help them travel!) If the turtle is moved in a different direction, it will likely continue back on its course of travel—which could mean going right back onto the road.
Most of the road activity for these turtles happens in early June when they are laying eggs in the exposed dirt and sunny areas where they prefer to nest. This is the time of year when baby turtles emerge! Because turtles are such a long-lived species, reaching sexually maturity decades into their life, it is important to drive carefully, help when safe, and make sure to give these babies the best start to their life.
Trails remain in favorable condition, but there may be spots where water, mud, or other issues persist. Please be aware of trail reroutes, new trail sections, and trail features such as bridges or stone steps at Holt, Van Dyke, Keleher, and Bozen Kill. We are currently updating our mapping to reflect these changes!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with any concerns.