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NYS DEC Reminds Hikers to Follow Common Sense Rules of the Outdoors

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ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY – With the recent increase in outdoor recreation leading to record numbers of visitors to areas of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks and issues with trash and unprepared hikers causing impacts to natural resources, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded hikers and other visitors to the High Peaks Wilderness to follow the common-sense rules and recommendations in place to protect public safety and the sensitive plants and wildlife. These measures are in place to promote a shared respect for the resources, as well as respect for other visitors and the workers and volunteers tasked with protecting the Adirondacks, Catskills, and the forests, trails, lakes, and rivers throughout the State.

“New York’s wild places draw visitors from across the state and country, and it is crucial that we continue to provide safe, sustainable access,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “With more people looking to recreate locally during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen incredible increases in use throughout the state. We ask for everyone to help protect the fragile summit vegetation by hiking prepared, packing out your litter, treating each other with respect, and educating these new outdoor enthusiasts to the common sense rules of the outdoors.”

DEC recognizes the need to protect the Adirondack and Catskill Parks and promote sustainable use and is working with local partners and other stakeholders to implement several actions, including long- and short-term improvements to promote sustainable use, particularly in the High Peaks. Examples include creation of the High Peaks Strategic Advisory Group, which continues to meet and last month issued interim report recommendations; delineating parking on Route 73; working with DOT, State Police and the towns, reducing congestion in areas around the High Peaks; highlighting the great, and underused, opportunities elsewhere in the park and trying to reveal the hidden gems; and promoting sustainable use with partners through Leave No Trace to help visitors understand how their actions affect the resource and learn how they can protect it.

Protecting the Uniqueness of the High Peaks

The Adirondacks contain some of New York’s rarest plants. They are found in tundra-like habitats resembling those of the Arctic. This condition is encountered on the State’s highest peaks and the total area covered by alpine vegetation approximates 40 acres on 19 peaks, 18 of which are in DEC’s High Peaks Wilderness. To protect this ecosystem, DEC reminds visitors to the High Peaks Wilderness of the rules and recommendations in place that include but are not limited to:

No campfires in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness
Group Size Maximums: Day Trip maximums are 15 people. Overnight maximums are 8 people. Permits for oversized groups are not available in the High Peaks Wilderness
No camping on summits
No camping above 3,500 feet (except at lean-to)
No camping in areas with “No Camping” signs present
Whenever possible, camp in designated sites. If necessary, at-large camping is permitted as long as campsites are at least 150 feet from any road, trail, water body, or waterway. Place your tent on a durable surface, such as hardened soil, leaf litter, or pine duff. Do not place your tent on vegetation.
Bear canisters are required for all overnight campers in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness
Carry out what you carry in. Properly dispose of waste and pack out all gear and garbage. Do not leave waste at trailheads.
Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness and at trailheads, campsites and above 4,000 feet everywhere else. If accessing the High Peaks from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) trailheads, dogs are not allowed on AMR property.
Bikes are prohibited
Drones are prohibited
ATVs are prohibited
No fixed anchors for climbing on Forest Preserve at this time
Adirondack Mountain Reserve-specific rules for this property include no camping, no dogs, no drones, and no off-trail travel.
Please avoid visiting crowded areas. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas. If parking lots are full, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

Respecting Others

DEC and its partners are also committed to maintaining a safe work environment, and ask the public to treat employees, volunteers, and other partners with respect. New York State does not tolerate harassment of any kind. Inappropriate behavior or treatment by anyone will be reported. We encourage members of the community to help stop harassment – please report misconduct or harassment to DEC, partner organizations, or local law enforcement as appropriate.

Leave No Trace

Ensuring trash and other litter is removed from natural settings is another way to show respect to fellow New Yorkers and the environment. Litter is both an eyesore and poses a danger to local wildlife and delicate ecosystems. DEC is encouraging visitors to the State’s natural areas and facilities to keep New York’s environment clean by properly disposing of waste. Follow these tips to Leave No Trace:

Carry out what you carry in. Don’t leave trash, food, gear, or any other personal belongings behind.
Trash your trash. Use designated receptacles when available or carry your trash in a small bag so you can throw it out at home. Never put trash in outhouses or porta-potties.
Use designated bathroom facilities when available. If traveling, use the rest areas closest to your destination before you arrive. Learn how to dig a cat hole (leaves DEC website) and properly dispose of your human waste for the times when nature calls and a bathroom is not available.
During the COVID-19 public health crisis, take extra precautions when picking up trash you find on the trail. Wear gloves and make sure to hand sanitize when you are done.

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Events

Town of Orangetown Collecting Valentine’s Day Cards for OPERATION LOVE OUR SENIOR CITIZENS

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ORANGEBURG, NY – Valentine’s Day is a day when we show love to those who mean the most to us. From our significant others to our best friends, school friends to colleague’s, family members near and far, this day has turned into a yearly reminder to let the people we love hear it.

This year, nearly a full year of “pausing in place,” the Town of Orangetown is asking you to join us in sending cards to those who could use an extra smile. We’re talking about our elders, a group of well-seasoned, incredible humans who are sometimes forgotten.
Welcome to OPERATION LOVE OUR SENIOR CITIZENS.
The Town will be collecting Valentine’s Day cards through Tuesday, February 9, 2021 for our local senior citizens and we will distribute later that week.
Buy a card or better yet, make a card for a senior citizen, bring it to Town Hall and drop it in the box marked “Operation Love Our Senior Citizens.”
You’ll be very happy you did.

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Government

Legislator Wieder Travels to Washington, D.C. for Inauguration Day, Distributes Care Packages to Troops

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Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder - Rockland Report

Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder travelled to Washington, D.C. last Wednesday to distribute care packages to troops providing security for Inauguration Day.

“They were so appreciative of the show of support when really we were the ones so grateful to them for making sure America’s long tradition of a peaceful transition in power was continued,” Legislator Wieder said.

Legislator Wieder and Alex Rapaport, executive director of New York City-based Masbia, a soup kitchen and food care package program, collected items, transported the care packages and distributed them to troops at about 25 different posts that had been set up at street corner barricades.

The packages contained snack foods, drinks, sanitary products, and personal protective equipment.

At one point during his interactions with the troops, Legislator Wieder explained that he was forever grateful to the Army for liberating two of his grandparents from concentration camps in Austria.

“We’re all hopeful and praying for the success of our wonderful nation in these trying times,” Legislator Wider said.

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