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Stewardship & Conservation

Since our founding, the Catskill 3500 Club has dedicated itself to the preservation of the mountains in our region – be they maintained trails, unmaintained paths, or the sensitive trail-less areas. Our commitment extends to the present and echoes into the future, ensuring that these natural wonders are safeguarded for generations to come. The core mission of our organization revolves around responsible stewardship, acknowledging the importance of nurturing and preserving these mountains for the well-being of our environment and the enjoyment of all.

Keeping this in perspective, we strongly encourage both members and non-members to adhere to the regulations, guidelines, and recommendations outlined below. This collective effort aims to maintain the mountains in their most natural state possible, prioritizing their conservation, and fostering a safe environment for all hikers who explore and utilize these trails.

Follow the NYDEC Rules


Keep group sizes within legal limits; max 20 hikers on marked trails and 12 hikers off-trail.
Note: The maximum group size for official club hikes is 12, however hike leaders may limit the group size to less at their discretion. During fledgling season, the club has restricted certain hikes to no more than 8 in a group.


No fires above 3500'.


No camping above 3500 feet except in winter.


No camping within 150 feet of a trail, road or water source.


No cutting, cairn building, blazing, trail building or otherwise marking paths otherwise.


Respect private property.


Obey Leave No Trace: pack it in, pack it out and don’t leave anything behind.


Take only pictures: don’t cut, dig or harvest anything from the forest. Leave it there for others to enjoy.


Harvesting certain species removes them from doing their job in maintaining the health of soils, trees, wildlife that depend on them.


Step well off the trail 150 feet and bury human waste.


When in doubt, contact the NYDEC Rangers 1 833-367 7264. As Stewards of the Catskills, we are the eyes and ears for the Rangers. If you see something that appears wrong, please appropriately report it. Your help could prevent further damage or harm to the environment.

Use a Map & Compass

Numerous high peaks in the Catskills are trailless. Exploring these hidden gems and the untamed wilderness that surrounds them demands expertise, yet the rewards are gratifying. Safely navigating through trailless terrain is both a source of delight and notable achievement. However, relying solely on GPS units can present its own set of challenges. Whether due to battery depletion, satellite connectivity issues, or device malfunctions, the reliability of GPS technology can be compromised. Efficient navigation with a map and compass also reduces new herd path formation.

Other Recommendations

The Club’s Stewardship Committee has several suggestions which are not rules or regulations, but guidelines we suggest you follow. These recommendations stem from our own observations and findings from scientists who study the mountains, particularly in the boreal/fir/spruce zones.

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