New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

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New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby dave » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:55 pm

Prohibitions Now Enforced at Four Catskill Destinations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the adoption of new regulations designed to improve public safety and enhance the user experience at Kaaterskill Falls and three nearby areas that have experienced a substantial increase in public use in recent years.

Commissioner Seggos said, "Beloved by thousands of New Yorkers, Kaaterskill Falls is an increasingly popular destination, unique in its natural beauty coupled with steep cliffs and slippery rocks. DEC encourages visitors to the falls to use caution and the regulations adopted today complement the State's $1.25 million investments to improve safety and accessibility at the falls without sacrificing its natural qualities. We want people to visit New York's natural areas and state lands, but we want them to visit responsibly and be mindful of their surroundings."

The new regulations complement previously announced safety and accessibility improvements at Kaaterskill Falls. The newly adopted regulations impact all or parts of four areas; the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area (in the town of Hunter, Greene County), the Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor (in the towns of Hunter and Catskill, Greene County), the Platte Clove Riparian Corridor (in the town of Hunter, Greene County, and the town of Saugerties, Ulster County), and the Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area (in the town of Jewett, Greene County).

At all four areas, the new regulations:

ban all camp fires and portable stoves (except when camping at designated campsites or otherwise camping in accordance with DEC regulations);
prohibit glass containers except for the storage of medicines;
ban the use of audio devices without the use of headphones/ear buds (except at designated camp sites or otherwise camping in accordance with DEC regulations, and not audible outside the immediate area of the campsite);
ban the possession of alcohol (except when transporting to, or camped at, designated camp sites or where otherwise camping in compliance with DEC regulations);
prohibit the public from entering restricted areas, as designated by signage.

At Kaaterskill Clove, Kaaterskill Falls and Colgate Lake Wild Forest, they:

prohibit the possession of portable generators, except at designated campsites or otherwise camping in accordance with DEC regulations (previous regulations already prohibit the possession of generators at Platte Clove).

At Kaaterskill Falls, they:

prohibit the public from going within six feet of cliff edges, except on marked trails, and prohibit the public from entering the water within 150 feet upstream of the falls.

At Kaaterskill Clove and Platte Clove:

the public are not allowed in one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, except for those camping in accordance with DEC regulations or licensed hunters, anglers and trappers.

In addition, at Kaaterskill Falls, the newly-adopted regulations prohibit the public from going within six feet of cliff edges, except on marked trails, and prohibit the public from entering the water within 150 feet upstream of the falls.

The regulations also prohibit the possession of portable generators within the Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor, the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, and the Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area, except at designated campsites or where otherwise camped in compliance with DEC regulations.

Under the new regulations, the public are not allowed in the Kaaterskill Clove or Platte Clove Riparian Corridors between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise except for those camping in accordance with DEC regulations, hikers or licensed hunters, anglers, and trappers.

DEC has invested more than $1.25 million primarily from the Governor's NY Works program as part of a comprehensive effort to make the Kaaterskill Wild Forest area a safer and more enjoyable destination to visit. The improvements were completed under the State's Adventure NY Initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature.

Public accessibility and safety improvements implemented at Kaaterskill Falls over the past few years include:

construction of an observation platform overlooking the top of the falls and construction of a wide, smooth surface trail with level resting areas leading to the platform. The viewing platform directs people to a safe viewing area away from the top of the falls where people have fallen;
installation of a 200-foot cable hand rail on the trail leading to the middle pool of the falls to improve hiker safety;
improvements to the Kaaterskill Falls trail down to the middle pool, and the rehabilitation of a one-half-mile section of trail leading to the Kaaterskill trail system;
installation of a 115-foot hiking bridge spanning Spruce Creek and connecting the hamlet of Haines Falls to the Escarpment Trail and North/South Lake Campground;
construction of a foot trail leading from the end of the Kaaterskill Falls trail at the base of the falls upslope to the middle pool of the falls and continuing to the top of the falls, allowing hikers to avoid a dangerous bushwhack between the locations. This trail extension included construction of a 200-step stone staircase;
• expansion of two Kaaterskill Falls parking areas;
rehabilitation of a horse boarding platform and construction of a hitching post at the Scutt Road parking lot;
replacement of a hiking trail bridge to accommodate horse traffic;
installation of 500 feet of split rail fencing at both the upper and lower falls, which serves as both a physical and visual barrier to alert the public to the potential dangers of proceeding further;
installation of additional signage in more conspicuous locations to warn the public about the potential dangers in the area.

Kaaterskill Falls is the highest cascading waterfall in New York State and the crown jewel of the Catskill Park. Dropping in two tiers over 230 feet, Kaaterskill Falls has been one of the region's most popular destinations for centuries, inspiring artists, poets and those just seeking an escape to a majestic and awe-inspiring landscape.
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Actual Regulations - Section 190.36

New postby dave » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:55 pm

Section 190.36 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas

The purpose of this rule is to ensure public safety and protect natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

This regulation became effective on August 15, 2018, the same date it appeared in the New York State Register.
Express Terms

Existing section 190.36 will be renumbered 190.38 and a new section 190.36 will be added to read:

In addition to other applicable provisions of this Part, the following requirements apply to the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas. In the event of a conflict between this section and another section of this Part, the more restrictive provision will control.

(a) Description. For the purposes of this section, Northern Catskill Riparian Areas means the following state forest preserve lands:

The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor located in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A, beginning at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extending downstream on Kaaterskill Creek approximately 2 miles to the state land boundary line. The regulated corridor includes the creek bed, the riparian area on the side of the creek in which State Route 23A is located, extending from the edge of the creek bed to State Route 23A or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and the riparian area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, beginning at a point 150 feet upstream of the Kaaterskill waterfall on Spruce Creek, and extending downstream to the base of the waterfall at the start of the man-made stone staircase. The regulated area includes the Kaaterskill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes the stone staircase extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed or the staircase and the connector trail leading to the Escarpment Trail, whichever is greater, and on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed.
The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor, located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, and the town of Saugerties in Ulster County, beginning at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburg Road and extending downstream to the southeast along Platte Clove Road and the Plattekill creek to the boundary of state land, approximately 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor includes the Plattekill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes Platte Clove Road extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed to Platte Clove Road or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and an area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area located in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness to the north, south, and east. The unit boundary as posted follows the 2,400' contour on the north and south.

(b) No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire, including, but not limited to, charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves, or other portable stoves, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(c) No person shall possess a glass container within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when necessary for the storage of medicines.

(d) No person, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, shall play an audio device, including, but not limited to, radios, tape players, compact disc or digital players, except at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, unless the noise is rendered inaudible to the public by a noise-damping device, such as headphones or earbuds. At designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of the campsite.

(e) No person shall possess or consume beverages containing alcohol, including, but not limited to beer, wine, and liquor within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when transporting to, or at, designated camping sites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(f) No person shall enter restricted areas, as designated by signs in the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

(g) No person shall possess a portable generator within the Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor, the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, or the Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part. Possession of portable generators is prohibited within the Northern Catskill Riparian Corridor in the Indian Head Wilderness Area, located in the Town of Hunter, Greene County and the towns of Saugerties and Woodstock, Ulster County, lying generally west of the east boundary of the Catskill Park, south of Platte Clove, east of Devil's Tombstone Campground and north of the hamlets of Lake Hill and Shady.

(h) No person shall enter into, or remain in, the Kaaterskill Clove or Platte Clove Riparian Corridors between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise except for:

persons camping at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.
licensed hunters, anglers, and trappers for the purpose of hunting, fishing, or trapping.
pedestrians using marked hiking trails to cross the areas; or
persons otherwise authorized by permit issued by the department.

(i) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the area located within six (6) feet of cliff edges, except: on marked trails, including the man-made stone staircase and the trail leading to the first water plunge pool, commonly referred to as the mid-pool; when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department.

(j) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the water, wade, or swim within 150 feet upstream of Kaaterskill Falls.
Regulatory Impact Statement

1. Statutory authority:

Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") section 1-0101(3) (b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation." ECL section 3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve." ECL section 9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other State lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands. Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands." ECL section 3-0301(2) (m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]," and ECL 9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2. Legislative objectives:

Paragraph 1 of section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wild life conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL sections 3-0301(1)(b) and 9-0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL sections 3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas: Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, Platte Clove, and Colgate Lake, of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.

3. Needs and benefits:

The Northern Catskill Riparian Areas is composed of four separate areas, encompassing almost 2,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Towns of Catskill, Hunter, and Jewett in Greene County, and a small portion in the Town of Saugerties, in Ulster County.

The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor is in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A. It begins at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extends downstream on Kaaterskill Creek about 2 miles to the state land boundary. The corridor extends 300 feet from each side of the creek bed or to Route 23A, whichever is the greater distance.

The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area is in the town of Hunter, Greene County. It begins 150 feet upstream of Kaaterskill Falls, located on Spruce Creek and extends to the base of the waterfalls, including the stone staircase and the mid-pool. The regulated area extends 300 feet from each side of the creek bed or to the connector trail to the escarpment trail, whichever is the greater distance.

The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor is in the town of Hunter in Greene County and a small portion of the town of Saugerties in Ulster County. It begins at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburgh Road, extending downstream along the creek, about 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor extends 300 feet from each side of the creek or to Platte Clove Road, whichever is greater.

The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area is in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including about 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness.

These areas have been popular public destinations since before the state began acquiring land in this area, which began in 1930 and extended through the 1960s, ending most recently in 2016. Kaaterskill Falls has been a tourist destination since the mid-1800s. As a result of increased social media and New York tourism promotion, public use has increased dramatically. The Department estimates approximately 100,000 people visit the site each year. Public use has also increased dramatically in the Kaaterskill Clove area during the summer over the last decade, as people use the area mainly to swim and picnic. Platte Clove is used year around, including ice climbing in the winter. The Colgate Lake area is one of the few public lakes available to the public in this portion of the Catskills and is heavily used during the summer.

Due to this dramatic increase in public use, serious public health and safety issues are being created. The natural resources of the areas are rapidly becoming despoiled and fragile ecosystems are being degraded. There have been numerous fatalities over the last decade in these areas. Multiple people have fallen to their deaths at Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, and Platte Clove. In addition, a person was paralyzed at Colgate Lake as a result of unsafe diving.

The Department has improved safety at Kaaterskill Falls with the installation of a viewing platform, stone staircase, sections of split rail fencing, and the installation of a foot bridge upstream of the falls, allowing people to cross the stream safely. However, even with these measures, people still engage in unsafe behaviors, such as wading in a very slippery stream just upstream of the falls and walking along the cliff faces.

The actions of people at Platte Clove and Kaaterskill Clove has resulted in recent fatalities and injuries. This regulation is intended to reduce the number of people who use the area, and restrict inappropriate activities to protect the public health and safety and the resource.

Colgate Lake provides a unique experience in the Catskills. Access to a small public lake for swimming and picnicking is uncommon in the northern Catskills. Public use of this area continues to increase, as people hear about this resource, especially through social media, and come to enjoy "a quiet" location. Site degradation is occurring in the immediate area adjacent to the lake and the popular camping sites nearby within this Wild Forest unit. These regulations are targeted to reduce the number of people who recreate here, provide an enjoyable user experience, and protect the resource.

Site degradation is also an issue at Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, and Platte Clove. The trampling of vegetation has resulted in exposed and compacted soil. Trees are being stripped of their limbs for firewood, and indiscriminately located campfires are creating carbon scars on the ground. Garbage, trash, and broken glass are despoiling the wild character of the areas and raising public safety concerns.

The use of portable generators and audio devices have negatively impacted the quiet and solitude of these areas. The regulation will prohibit the use of portable generators and require that an individual listening to music must utilize headphones or other similar devices. Under current regulations, section 196.8 (b), portable generators, and other motorized equipment, are prohibited in Wilderness Areas. The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor is located within the Indian Head Wilderness, where the use of portable generators is already prohibited.

The conditions outlined are proposed to be addressed by varying levels of regulation in the four areas, as described below.

The following proposed restrictions would apply in all areas, except for people that are legally camped:

No fires, including gas grills and propane stoves
No glass containers except when containing medicine (currently posted by sign only at Kaaterskill Clove)
No playing audio devices without a personal noise damping device
No alcohol
No portable generators

In Kaaterskill Clove and Platte Clove, a further proposed restriction is closure of the area from dusk (1/2 hour after sunset) to dawn (1/2 hour before sunrise), excepting legal campers, licensed hunters, anglers, trappers, and those on marked trails. It is dangerous for individuals to hike in this area at night. High cliff faces and very steep terrain are not evident in the dark and a person falling can be seriously injured or killed.

At Kaaterskill Falls, two additional restrictions include: the prohibition of people entering the area within six feet of a cliff edge (except on marked trails, by ice climbers, or those rappelling by rope) and the prohibition of people entering the water within 150' upstream of the falls. The proposed restrictions are for the safety of users. There are numerous high cliffs accessible to hikers, resulting in falls leading to serious injury or death. The stream bed is extremely slippery and stepping into the water near the edge of the falls can be dangerous. A tragic accident occurred several years ago when a woman was swept over the falls after slipping while stepping into the water to cross the stream above the falls. Local law enforcement and public safety officials are the first responders to incidents on these areas. Local governments support the regulatory proposal.

The Department has presented the proposed regulation at several meetings of local stakeholders in this area of the northern Catskills, including the Kaaterskill Clove working group and the Catskill Forest Preserve Advisory Committee. Local governments, including tourism and the county planning department, along with local user groups, first responders, sports people, and the hiking community, have attended these meetings. In addition, information regarding the Department's intent to propose these regulations, content of the regulation, and the public process associated with the rulemaking, will appear in a widely distributed newspaper in the area. A public meeting in the local community will also be held during the formal regulatory comment period. All regulatory documents will appear on the Department's website.

4. Costs:

There are no costs to the regulated community as a result of this proposed regulation. Costs to the state for the additional management actions are minimal and are estimated at $2,500 for new signage and posting of the Colgate Lake Wild Forest.

5. Local government mandates:

This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6. Paperwork:
The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7. Duplication:
There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.

8. Alternatives:

The no-action alternative is not feasible since it does not adequately protect the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety, and general welfare. The existing generic 6 NYCRR Part 190 regulations for state lands are not adequate in protecting the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas because of their unique characteristics, remote locations and very high level of public use.

Closing these areas to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource. Closure would also be impractical due to the number of people who use these areas. Any closure would be ignored and enforcement would not be feasible.

9. Federal standards:

There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of State lands.

10. Compliance schedule:

Once the regulations are adopted, they are effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon their effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' website, signage posted on the property, and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.
Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new subdivision 190.36 will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

Adoption of a new section 190.36 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not submitted with these regulations because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses or local governments.

Since there are no identified cost impacts for compliance with the proposed regulations on the part of small businesses and local governments, they will bear no economic impact as a result of this proposal. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.
Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.36 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.
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Re: New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby SNEAKers » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:39 am

Dave,

A few questions please, as portions of these rules would have an impact on my activities at Kaaterskill Falls. Most of these are great proposed changes, like no alcohol, glass, audio devices, fires and walking within 6 feet of cliff edges (I cringe when I see people do this way too frequently here and other places). Not sure the last rule will make much of a difference though.
It says there will be public meetings to discuss, do you know when and where these would be scheduled?
Licensed hunters and anglers would be able to enter the area at night, does this include the middle pool?
You cannot enter the water 150ft upstream of the falls, I’ve never measured it but assume that means the middle pool will be off limits to swimming, correct?

Thanks,
S
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Re: New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby SNEAKers » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:56 am

Anyone have any information on the above?
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Re: New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby mike » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:01 pm

It is my understanding that there will be NO public comment hearing. The rules went into effect Aug 15, 2018. If that changes we can let people know. I see several problems with the rules.

Some of the rules also cover the entire Kaaterskill Clove and Platte Clove. So, the section about Licensed hunters and anglers AND hikers is for camping.

The 150' rule is for the top of Kaaterskill Falls. People used to swim and plan in the water just before the top of the falls. From what I have read, you can still swim in the middle basin, but you can't get within 6' of the ledge.

I think the regulations have quite a few problems, and there should have been a comment period. I know that they have been working on it for quite some time. The concern is that Kaaterskill Falls is considered one of the deadliest waterfalls in the world, and they would like to change it. That has been the intent. With the large volume of people who visit the falls each year, statistically you would expect injuries and deaths. We contend that one of the major problems is that the hikers are not tired when the arrive, and then they go exploring. The trails to the Falls are too short. What is particularly sad is that there are over 50+ waterfalls in the clove and people only concentrate on two of them. The biggest problem is that the people who know how to fix the problem have been blocked from commenting or helping resolve it.
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Re: New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby SNEAKers » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:09 pm

Thanks, Mike. In terms of entering the area at night: is there any legal way to do it based on the new rules?
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Re: New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby dundee » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:00 pm

It doesn't sound like there's a way to hike in there in the dark. Why would you want to? it's a dangerous place in the daytime, but at night! The above rules say you can cross the area, and it's probably ok to park at Laurel House Rd., cross the bridge and go to the tent site on the Escarpment Trail, but anything else would probably be illegal.
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Re: New laws for Kaaterskill Clove - Platte Clove - Colgate

New postby mike » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:25 pm

I wanted to photograph KF at night. But, it looks like that will be out of the question. Not sure why they made that rule. There have not been any accidents or death at night. Personally, I am not sure the rules are going to make that much difference. They should have had a comment period.
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