Getting outdoors to experience nature is a wonderful way to rejuvenate one’s spirit and, for me, to maintain a shred of normalcy in my life at this time.
Over the past few weeks, however, I have noticed a dramatic and sustained increase in the number of vehicles parked at the main trailhead entrance into the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve. Overflow parking has often extended up to one-half mile along Riverview Road or Van Vranken Road, or both! Such a concentration of vehicles (and their human contents) does not lend itself well to enabling those visitors entering/exiting that parking area to maintain proper social distancing. And, such a concentration of vehicles parked along both roads (especially both sides) intersecting near the Whipple Bridge is not a safe situation for those same visitors entering/exiting their vehicles.
Recognizing the likelihood of situations like that, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have jointly recommended the following practice when visiting any State public lands during the COVID-19 pandemic:
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.
Seems like a good suggestion to follow when visiting any nature preserve, park or trail.
That got me to thinking about alternative local destinations that offer –
- two or more public access points or parking lots,
- a trail width of at least the equivalent of a one-lane road, and
- flat grassy areas at multiple locations along one or both sides of the trail path.
Of the destinations listed on the Area Nature Preserves, Parks and Trails page of this blog, each of the following meets those attributes:
- Balsam Way Natural Area (Town of Clifton Park)
- Community Connector Trail (Towns of Clifton Park & Halfmoon)
- Historic Champlain Canalway Trail (Towns of Halfmoon & Waterford)
- Old Iron Spring Fitness Trail (Town of Ballston)
- Settlers Hill Natural Area (Town of Clifton Park)
- Stillwater Multi-Use Trail (Town of Stillwater)
- Summer Hill Natural Area (Town of Clifton Park)
- Veterans Bike Path (Town of Ballston)
- Zim Smith Trail (Towns of Ballston, Clifton Park, Halfmoon & Malta)
Hope this helps. Do get out and enjoy nature, but please be safe. And stay healthy.