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With Governor Cuomo extending his New York on Pause executive order through April 15 and President Donald Trump furthering social distancing guidelines through the end of April, residents will have to endure more day to day life disruptions.

However, just because we are all being strongly encouraged to stay home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and enjoy some solitary time with a run, a walk, fishing and other activities.

The New York State DEC is encouraging residents to be responsible and mindful of social distancing policies during safe and approved recreation.

"New York State is home to some of the most spectacular public lands and parks in the world,” DEC Commissioner Basil Segos said. “In uncertain times, these special places can serve as an oasis from stress, fear, and anxiety. We encourage people to get outside-close to home-and follow these basic guidelines to help ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones."

Health experts warn against any group sport or exercise during COVID-19.

The DEC names things such as walking, jogging, hiking, biking, fishing and etc. are all solitary ways to reduce any anxiety and fear one may experience in these times.

The DEC warns until the pandemic settles down, indoor facilities and public restrooms at state parks and other DEC locations may be closed to further prevent the spread of the illness.

For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density at State Parks, State Lands, and facilities:


Closing all playgrounds;

Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields;

Canceling all public programs and events at State Parks, Lands, Forests, and facilities until further notice;

Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;

Camping changes: all state-operated campgrounds, cabins, and cottages are closed to overnight visitation through April 30. All visitors with reservations will be issued a full refund. We ask for your patience as refunds are processed. New York State has also suspended all new camping, cabin and cottage reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. If you've made a reservation for the season beginning May 1, and we determine your campground is safe to open, your reservation will be honored. However, visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff;

Implementing precautionary measures at golf courses at State Parks, including increased intervals

between tee times, removing bunker rakes and ball washers, and decreasing use of golf carts;

DEC is closing access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and

Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.

While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:


Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing,

and/or troubled breathing;

Practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;

Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;

Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and

Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.

DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to State Parks, State Lands, and other parks to:


Stay local and keep visits short;

Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members;

Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks;

Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer;

Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces;

Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees;

If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail, or return another

time/day to visit; and

If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

New Yorkers over 70 years old or with a compromised immune system should not visit public spaces, including those outdoors. These New Yorkers should remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space, pre-screen visitors by taking their temperature, and require visitors to wear masks.

New Yorkers who are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days should stay home and spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space. Do not visit public outdoor spaces.

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