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Reopening New York State Parks

What it could take to reopen trails, park facilities

Hiking trail

Planning is needed to safely reopen public hiking trails that have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

With the weather warming, lots of people are eagerly anticipating the reopening of public parks that have been closed due to COVID-19’s social distancing restrictions.

How and when the parks will reopen isn’t clear yet, but the National Parks Conservation Association  (NPCA) recently published a blog post by Theresa Pierno, the NPCA’s president and CEO, which looked at five points to consider for the parks' reopening, including:

· A sustained reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases

· The continued use of social distancing and personal protective equipment

· The overall health of individual park’s surrounding communities

· Measures for the safety and care of each park’s rangers and staff

· A phased opening of parks

While New York State Park’s grounds, forests and trails are open, many of the parks’ facilities are not, according to the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s (NYSP) website, including playgrounds, visitor centers, sports fields and other gathering places. Some parks’ trails and other facilities, however, have been temporary closed altogether, like those of Hudson Highlands State Preserve, including Mount Beacon’s parking area and trails in Beacon, and in Fishkill Breakneck Ridge, Wilkinson Trailhead, Notch Trail, and Fishkill Ridge, among others.

As well, according to the National Park Service, among historic sites in the region with walking grounds that have been temporarily closed are the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park and Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park.

Talk of and planning for the reopening parks are hopeful indicators of forward movement. In the meantime, for updates on when temporarily closed New York State parks and their facilities will reopen visit the National Park Service  or check with specific parks for details.