As of May 15th, the NY Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier Regions can begin to reopen after the NY Pause for COVID-19. In Phase 1 of this reopening, outdoor “low-risk recreational activities” are now allowed. Based on this, the Springwater Trails executive board met Thursday to discuss resuming our Sunday hikes. So, our good news is we believe we can carry on Sunday hikes starting May 24. (this gives us time to get a description of each hike out to you, and it avoids the rain expected this Sunday).
We are going to make some changes to the hike format for the rest of this spring, as our best effort to keep everyone safe from the Coronavirus.
- We are going to emphasize kayaking over hiking. Kayaking naturally enforces social distancing, which clearly makes it a low-risk activity. We are calling this Water Hiking.
However, we will continue to plan one or two regular hikes with different levels, to allow hikers who do not wish to kayak to participate.
- We plan to avoid shared food and restaurants for our socials following our hikes.We will try outdoor picnics.
- Hiking groups will be limited to 10 hikers or less.
- Hikers will need to maintain a six foot separation between participants, and should carry a face mask, and wear it when social distancing may be difficult to maintain.
- Initially, hikes will be out and back or loops to avoid carpools.
Our primary concern is our pre-hike gathering, and the loading and unloading of kayaks. During these times when close contact will be more likely, we need all participants to take extra care to maintain proper social distancing. I am sure that Springwater Trails will take the safety procedures seriously while still making our hikes a friendly, inviting activity.
So, get out your Kayaks, and your hiking equipment. We will send out the specifics about the May 24th hike/kayak at Hemlock Lake next week, and we hope to see some of you on the water.
State Parks encourages New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice social distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with your immediate household family members, and reduce stress and anxiety while practicing physical distancing.
If you need a nature break and plan to visit State Parks, State Lands, and other parks we ask that all visitors:
- 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.
Today I received an email from the Genesee Valley Conservancy. Springwater Trails has hiked a few times at the Indian Fort Nature Preserve. This email struck me as one of the best responses to the COVID-19 social distancing that I have received, and it seemed worth sharing with you all.
With the weather warming, sporadic showers, and birds singing, it is apparent that spring is here.
This month, our preserves have had a significant upswing in use. The Conservancy is pleased to offer protected open space during this difficult period of social distancing.
As farmers begin planting their fields in April, we are also pleased that our work to protect local farmland will ensure local agriculture today and for future generations.
It is thanks to 30 years of community support that these local protected places are possible. Following are a few updates on our work.
Our nature preserves remain OPEN for public use. Please use the following guidelines when visiting:
- Hike local: keep travel to a minimum and use open space closest to your house
- Do not gather in groups to hike
- If the parking lot is full, return another time or hike from another trailhead
- Maintain social distancing on trails as you pass other users
- Help keep our preserves in shape by packing out trash and tossing aside branches on the trail. Contact us if major work is needed so staff can keep trails accessible for the community.
Like most businesses and non-profits, our physical office will remain closed for at least another two weeks.
Our staff are doing well. After a short adjustment to working remotely we continue to maintain all functions of the Conservancy, advance projects and consider new prospective projects.
The best way to get in touch is via email, but you can still call 585-243-2190 too. Our response may be slightly delayed, but we will respond as soon as we can.
We are keeping staff working, ensuring everyone stays on the payroll, and continuing to move projects forward:
- Staff are working on two expansion projects for existing nature preserves to increase acres protected and provide additional trails
- Staff are preparing to sign conservation easements protecting 600 acres of farmland in York, our first conservation project in the town
- The Board is beginning a review of our Strategic Plan and drawing up goals to guide our work over the next 3-5 years
As our work continues, so does the need for financial support to keep our operations running. If you are able, please consider making your 2020 gift online today or setting up a monthly gift to spread your support over the year.
Winter newsletters hit mailboxes last week…if you didn’t receive one you can read about the latest goings on online here.
As I hope all of your know, New York State has imposed a PAUSE in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until further notice, non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed. This includes all Springwater Trails events including our Sunday hikes.
Hikes that are already planned, or future hikes for which hike planners want to write up descriptions, will be posted on our website in the calendar, but will not have a date and time on the main website page.
You are invited to enjoy the outdoors. Suggestions include having a beer on your deck, checking around your yard for spring projects or a short walk down the street. If you are healthy and you need a longer hike, you are welcome to search for past Springwater Trails hikes using the search bar above.
In addition, hike leaders who have signed up to lead a hike are urged to post their hike description so that visitors to the website can explore the hike on their own.
During this pause, you may want to contact a friend and walk together. We aren’t used to keeping the 6 foot distance between us, but if you both are aware of “social distancing”, you will find it is quite easy to chat as you walk and you come home safe and refreshed.
Just one request. Please avoid the previously scheduled location and time to avoid finding an unexpected crowd.
Please be safe, and we hope to see you soon on the trails, at a safe distance!