We know we don’t need to tell you that these are tough times, or that COVID-19 is changing everything about the way we live, work, and play right now. But we want to share a few tips from all of us at Catskill Mountainkeeper about ways to stay happy and healthy as we navigate this crisis together:

  • Care for yourself and for others as you enjoy the Catskills. Being outside and active in fresh air is a great way to reduce stress, boost your immune system, and restore your spirit. We all need the comfort of being out in the natural world right now. Our Catskills region is blessed with beautiful trails and plenty of open space to spread out in, so as long as you maintain the recommended social distance (six-feet, or about one couch-length apart from others), use local trails, and do not add to overcrowding at our most popular trails and trailheads, you can get out there and enjoy the land that sustains us while protecting yourself and others.

  • Eat fresh, local food. Governor Cuomo named farmers markets an “essential service,” so our farmers are doing all they can to get their great food to market. In Sullivan County, the Callicoon Market moved outdoors to Callicoon Creek Park last Sunday (March 22) to give everyone plenty of space, and Mountainkeeper’s Food & Agriculture Advisor, Eugene Thalman of Sprouting Dreams Farm, reports that the relocated outdoor market is already a great success.

Click "Read More" below for resources to guide you to some of the best outdoor spots, rules for hiking and walking safely and responsibly, as well as what you can do to combat invasive species while you’re on the trail. Below that you’ll find additional information about where to find a farmers market near you and some best practices to keep us all healthy while we shop locally. 

Remember--whether you’re on the trail or at the market, keep your distance. Six feet is about the length of a typical, three cushion couch--so stay a couch-length away from the people around you, unless you live with them. And though you’ve heard it a million times already--wash your hands for a full 20 seconds before you go and after you return.

Hiking & Keeping Each Other Safe on The Trails

  • Stay home if you’re under the weather
  • Stay local--go to the trails near you so you don't have to use public washrooms or other services along your travels
  • Go alone or just with the folks who live in your home
  • Check out trailkeeper.org for great hikes in Sullivan County, and go to NYS Department of Park's website for other trails around our region
  • Have a plan and a backup plan--if you get to a trailhead and the parking lot is busy, keep going. Find a place where there aren’t a lot of people.
  • Keep your distance--stay six feet apart from others on the trail, and announce yourself to others before you pass.
  • Wash your hands before you go and once you return. Bring and use hand sanitizer before you eat or touch your face.
  • Use the washroom before you leave your house--toilet facilities may be closed at trailheads and service centers.
  • While you’re out there, keep your eyes peeled for the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA)--this invasive insect devours hemlock trees in the Catskills and now is the time to see and report them. Check out our HWA page for more info and how to help.

Eat healthy, Eat local 

  • Find a farmers market near you! 
  • Keep your distance--stay six feet apart (about one couch-length) from others, and refrain from handling the produce.
  • Wash your hands before you go and once you return. Bring and use hand sanitizer before you eat or touch your face.
  • Though the farmers market is usually a great place to meet up with neighbors and connect, right now the focus is on getting what you need. Go with a list, and head out when you’re done.

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