People not practicing social distancing is forcing officials to close a number of popular hiking trails in the region.

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The Hudson Valley has enjoyed amazing weather these past few days, which has made many want to go out and enjoy the weather. With all restaurants, bars, gyms and other non-essential businesses being closed many residents have decided to take a hike to get some exercise and fresh air.

Unfortunately, far too many people have had the same idea. For three straight days, New York State Parks & Historic Sites has been forced to close Bear Mountain State Park, Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Sam's Point Area because all were too crowded for the hikers to practice social distancing.

All of the trails were closed before noon on Saturday, Sunday and Monday because the trails reached capacity during the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.

Officials advise you have a backup place to visit in case the place you want to go to is shut down for being overcrowded. While hiking, people are told to practice social distancing and use common sense to protect themselves and others.

Last week, officials announced New York State Parks will reduce the number of parking spaces on busy days to help encourage social distancing at popular parks, trailheads and scenic areas in New York State. Locations may include Minnewaska State Park, Sam's Point Preserve, Bear Mountain State Park, Harriman State Park and Rockefeller State Park, officials said.

Mount Beacon was temporarily closed last week due to COVID-19.  On Monday, the DEC temporarily closed Kaaterskill Falls, the viewing platform and the connecting trails in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve also announced the following restrictions to reduce density and encourage social distancing:

    • The parking lot at Mount Beacon is closed
    • The Metro-North parking area near Breakneck Ridge is closed; parallel parking along its edge is available
    • Parking spaces along Route 9D in Fishkill (north of the tunnel to Breakneck lot) will be reduced and all parking will be converted to parallel parking in order to reduce density
    • The Chalet parking lot is closed
    • Parking spaces along Route 9D South of Breakneck will be reduced
    • The Washburn Lot will remain open
    • Phillipstown's Fair Street and Fishkill Road will be closed to parking
    • Parking spaces along Route 9D in the area of Anthony's Nose in the vicinity of the Appalachian Trail as well as the Goat Trail will be reduced
    • Additional parking restrictions may be implemented to reduce density if conditions warrant.

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