Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Joins Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers to Host Special Events.

Events Scheduled August 14 to 21 Help Citizens Learn to Preserve and Protect Treasured Areas for Generations to Come.

Leave No Trace Selected Peekamoose Blue Hole as ‘Hot Spot’ in the Nation to Help Restore the Area and Raise Awareness about Outdoor Recreation Ethics.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its Traveling Trainer team today announced a joint effort in partnership with the town of Denning, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and regional conservation organizations, including the Adirondack Mountain Club, to conduct a “Hot Spot Program” by hosting community events and educational activities from August 14 to 21 to protect Peekamoose Blue Hole, a popular Catskills swimming hole.

In recent years, Peekamoose Blue Hole has experienced an increase in trash, damage to vegetation and trees, and trail erosion. The Hot Spot Program, a key component of the Leave No Trace In Every Park initiative, raises community awareness and brings solutions and preventative measures to popular natural areas around the country facing heavy recreational use and consequently, the misuse of trails, parks, and open space areas.

The Traveling Trainers travel throughout the country providing public education about how to reduce impacts in the outdoors and improve the trail user experience. Simple Leave No Trace tips visitors of Peekamoose Blue Hole can use to protect the area include:

  1. Trash your Trash
    Put litter-even crumbs, peels and cores- in garbage bags and carry it home or throw it in trash receptacles. Extra food, even apple cores and banana peels can harm wildlife and attract insects and vermin. Banana peels, apple cores, and other foodstuffs can take months to break down when left on the ground. Plastics and metal cans will be trashing our parks for hundreds of years.
  2. Dog Dogma
    Use a plastic bag to pack out dog waste to a garbage can. Dog waste can be harmful to the natural environment, negatively impact water quality and can cause the spread of invasive species.
  3. Take Only Pictures. Leave Only Footprints
    According to U.S. state and national park services, Americans logged 11 billion visits to public lands last year. If we all took a memento from nature during those visits, the landscape would change. Fill the memory card on your camera rather than your pockets and leave nature as you found it for others to enjoy.
  4. Be Considerate of other visitors
    With so many visitors trying to enjoy a limited resource, it’s important to respect the experience others are trying to have. Keeping music on earbuds, rather than speakers, is a great way to let nature’s sounds prevail.

“We are thrilled to work with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to help educate our community and raise awareness for the future enjoyment and preservation of our beautiful landscape,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Protecting the Peakamoose Blue Hole and other similar recreational places is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to experience protected forest preserve lands.”

DEC has implemented special regulations for the Blue Hole and Peekamoose Valley in the town of Denning, Ulster County. The regulations increase public safety and reduce impacts to the environmental resources of this popular swimming area on Rondout Creek in the Sundown Wild Forest. The area is also in the New York City drinking water watershed.

“The cumulative impact of so many people enjoying a scenic and remote forest stream such as the Peekamoose Blue Hole can have a negative effect,” according to Andy Mossey, Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. “In most cases, the land impact isn’t due to a malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife. Instead, the need to teach Leave No Trace practices.”

“The wild and unspoiled character of the swimming hole known as the Peekamoose Blue Hole is in jeopardy because of overuse and misuse by visitors to the area. Leave No Trace education will help address both issues,” said Neil Woodworth, Executive Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK).

Visit DEC’s Peekamoose Blue Hole web page and ADK’s Leave No Trace Hot Spot Week: Peekamoose Blue Hole web page to learn more about the upcoming events planned with DEC and the Traveling Trainers.

About Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are mobile teams of educators that visit 48 states every year delivering Leave No Trace programs such as Hot Spots to over 15 million people. For more information, visit the Leave No Trace website.

DEC Regulations:

  • Restrict hours that the area is open (except for the nearby designated camping area) to one half hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset;
  • Require the use of the portable restroom facilities for human waste disposal and the dumpster for all other waste;
  • Prohibit camping, all fires (including charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves or other portable stoves) and the use of portable generators at the Blue Hole. (Limited use of the above will be allowed at the nearby designated camping area only);
  • Limit parking to designated parking areas (parking along the shoulder of the road is already prohibited by the Town and is a Tow Away Zone); and,
  • Prohibit glass containers, radios and other audio devices.

Due to the popularity of the Blue Hole and limited parking, DEC recommends users consider alternatives including Belleayre Beach in Pine Hill, Mongaup Pond in Livingston Manor, Lake Superior in Bethel and Minniwaska State Park in Kerhonkson.

About ADK

ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advocating for New York State’s wild lands and waters while also teaching people how to enjoy natural places responsibly. Since 1922, the organization has offered people opportunities to stay and play in as well as protect, discover, and explore the outdoors. For more information on membership or making a difference, head to the ADK website or follow ADK on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Region 3, Communications Office Contact: Wendy Rosenbach, wendy.rosenbach@dec.ny.gov , (845) 256-3018
  • ADK, Neil Woodworth Executive Director and Counsel, woodworthn@adk.org , (518) 449-3870
  • Kate Lessman, Think Big Media PR/ Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, kate@thinkbigmediapr.com, (303) 325-3036


  • New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Office of Public Affairs, Contact: Adam Bosch BoschA@dep.nyc.gov , (845) 334-7868