wgcmc

Saturday, February 11, 10:00 AM | Bramley Mountain Trails

IMG_3767Join the Catskill Mountain Club on a hike on the recently opened Bramley Mountain Trail. We have a few markers and a sign to put up and thought we’d make a fun hike out of it.  We’ll visit the 2817’ summit with its site of a former fire tower, a beautiful abandoned bluestone quarry, and the impressive cliffs and caves that lie between. We’ll hike about .9 miles to the quarry on a woods road with little elevation gain. After the quarry, we’ll continue on the steeper trail that ascends about 1.2 miles through mixed hardwoods while passing stone walls and many impressive rock outcroppings and cliffs, some with caves. The hike will descend the mountain on the Summit Trail, a 1.8 mile long direct hike on old woods roads, with its views to the west and to the southern high peaks and Mount Pisgah.  It has some steep pitches alternating with long gentle climbs. This route (Quarry Trail up, Summit Trail down) offers the best views of all the sights this trail has to offer.

The Bramley Mountain Trail is the fifth addition to the hiking options in the Catskills designed and built by the Catskill Mountain Club. It is located on a NYC DEP parcel in the Towns of Delhi and Bovina, totaling about 4 miles in length. Continue reading

Saturday, February 25, 9:00 AM | Winter Hike on Wittenberg from Woodland Valley

Hike to Mt. Wittenberg (3780 ft.), starting in Woodland Valley. Enjoy great view from the top looking down the Esopus Creek all the way to Ashokan Reservoir. If time allows, we will proceed to Mt Cornell (3680 ft.). Either way we return on the same trail to Woodland Valley. Warm clothing and micro spikes or crampons are highly recommended. It is a tough climb for small dogs so if you bring one keep this in mind.

Pre-registration required by Feb. 12. Group size is limited. Contact Rick Roberts at hikerrick2000@yahoo.com or (607) 746-9694.

This is a strenuous hike. Bring lunch and snacks. Bring snowshoes and microspikes or other traction footwear. Full crampons may be desired on certain steep sectionsIMG_0644z. Poles will be helpful.

Well behaved dogs are allowed. Due to the hike’s difficulty, bringing small dogs is not recommended.

 

Directions: NYS Rte. 28 to Phoenicia Village. Use High St. from the south side of the Bridge St. Bridge. (The Woodland Valley Bridge is closed.) Follow it west about 1 mile to Woodland Valley Rd. and then stay left (south) about 6 miles to the DEC campground. Park in the parking area (no fees during off season).

Saturday, February 18, 12:00 PM | Hike on Rail Bed in Pine Hill to Cathedral Glen and Belleayre Lake

IMG_0747 - Phyllotopsis nidulans EK

Join CMC board member Erwin Karl to explore the old rail bed through Pine Hill.  There is little change in elevation making the hike moderately easy even if recent snows necessitate use of snowshoes. In addition to hiking/snowshoeing, we will stop to ID and discuss some of the edible and medicinal fungi and plants which can be found throughout the year in the forests of the Catskills. Continue reading

Saturday, March 11, 10:00 AM | Hike to Trout Pond from Campbell Brook Rd.

IMG_0843Please join me for a nice snowshoe, hopefully.  Bring other traction footwear appropriate for the conditions and weather. We will start from the Parking Area on Campbell Brook Rd.. It is nice moderate hike over a couple of rolling hills down to the lean-to at Trout Pond (Cable Lake). From there we can continue on for 1.4 miles to Russell Brook Falls.

Leader: Bob Moses Continue reading

IT’S HUNTING SEASON, SO WHERE CAN YOU HIKE?

Sadly, there have been four hunting fatalities in New York this year so far. This is an unusually high number. Two have resulted from self inflicted wounds, but two have been the result of hunters failing to positively identify their target before shooting. We cannot stress enough the importance of wearing BLAZE ORANGE when going into the woods where hunting is allowed. Be smart, be careful and be safe.

If you want to hike in the Catskills, the Catskill Park and DEP lands are open for hunting in most cases.
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS WEAR BLAZE ORANGE during hunting season!

We highly recommend that hikers who want to get out into the woods during regular hunting season consider going to a State Park or other lands where hunting is not allowed.

Listed below are a number of relatively nearby state parks and trails where hunting is not permitted. Click the links for maps. And don’t forget the CMC’s Andes Rail Trail/Bullet Hole Spur and Delhi Trails or the combined Walkway Over the HudsonFranny Reese State Park hike in Poughkeepsie/Highland.

Bear Mountain State Park (near West Point)
Harriman State Park (near Harriman)
Highland Lakes State Park (near Middletown)
Mills-Norrie State Park (near Staatsburg)
Minnewaska State Park Preserve* (near New Paltz)
Riddell State Park (near Laurens/Oneonta)

*no hunting in the vicinity of hiking trails – check map

$500,000 in Newly Released Funding Announced for a Catskills Comprehensive Recreation Plan and More

November 3, 2016   The Catskill Park Coalition, of which the CMC is a founding member, has successfully lobbied Albany for funds to support the Catskills since its founding four years ago. $500,000 has just been released for a variety of projects that will improve planning and public access. Read about the CPC’s latest success in this Watershed Post article. We will be in Albany again this February with our Coalition partners to speak to our government leaders about the needs of the Catskill Park and the region.

 

Friday, November 4, 12:40 PM | Hike Campbell Mountain

mary-smith-trail

View from Mary Smith Trail

One of the less used trails in the Catskills passes over Campbell Mountain and is coaligned with the FLT for part of its path. With leaves down, this western Catskills hike will offer nice views through open woods. Continue reading

SUNY Delhi Students Work to Maintain Trails in the Western Catskills

img_0566On October 26 a group of SUNY Delhi students, led by Professor David DeForest of the Division of Applied Science and Recreation, maintained sections of the Mary Smith Trail and the Pelnor Hollow Trail from Berry Brook Road to Split Rock. The group cleared several blowdowns and lots of blackberries, etc. that had grown into the trail, making this area difficult to pass through.

The CMC would like to thank all participants for coming out on a chilly day and showing some love for the path to the spectacular Split Rock view.

Sunday, November 13, 10 AM | Trail Maintenance on Section 2 of the Dry Brook Ridge Trail and German Hollow Trail

Follow Laura Battelani, CMC Board Member and David Lucas, volunteers for NY/NJ Trail Conference, as they inspect and clear the trails they adopted for the NY/NJ TC. Hike Pakatakan Mountain and follow the ridge, passing by a 700 years old bog, to arrive at a beautiful look out over the Pepacton Reservoir. The return will be on the German Hollow trail. Continue reading

DEC Announces Start of Early Bear Hunting Season – Sept. 10-25

In southeastern New York, including the Catskills, the early bear season runs from September 10 – 25. The early bowhunting season for bears will open in the entire Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 19.

For more about hunting in New York visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7857.html

CMC Receives the 2016 Alf Evers Award for Excellence

We are very pleased and proud to have received the prestigious 2016 Alf Evers Award for Excellence from the good folks at the Catskill Center. The presentation occurred during the Annual Summer Gathering at the Catskill Center’s offices in Arkville, NY.
As an organization that greatly values cooperation and collaboration, we salute the Catskill Center for its continuing leadership in our region, and we thank them for recognizing the CMC for playing a constructive role in the work at hand.

Following are remarks made by Catskill Center Executive Director Jeff Senterman at the presentation.

The Alf Evers Award for Excellence from the Catskill Center is presented to an individual or organization for their distinguished service to the Catskill region.

We are blessed in the Catskills to have so many individuals and groups who
• work hard to be stewards of our natural resources
• educate visitors about the proper use of the great outdoors
• and who have a sense of community spirit to improve our region.

One such group is the Catskill Mountain Club.

Founded in 2004 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Catskill Park.

The early Catskill Mountain Club, which included many Catskill Center staff grew and evolved since it’s founding to become committed to efforts to ensure sustainable and safe outdoor recreation on public lands throughout the Catskill region.

Today the Catskill Mountain Club strives to raise public awareness and appreciation of the Catskill region, something they rightly describe as “America’s First Wilderness”

The Catskill Mountain Club offer dozens of guided hikes, paddles, snow shoe excursions, bike trips and more all over the Catskills.

Offering visitors and residents amazing opportunities to get out and experience all that our Catskill Mountains have to offer.

But the Catskill Mountain Club isn’t only taking advantage of our region’s vast outdoor recreation resources, they are doing something to help ensure they are available for generations to come!

The Catskill Mountain Club stresses and promotes volunteer stewardship of our Catskill Park and public lands by getting their hands dirty!

They have constructed five new trails in the Catskills over the last four years – an amazing accomplishment, especially when considering at least some of those trails have been on New York City Department of Environmental Protection lands!

Those five trails…
• The Andes Rail Trail
• The Delhi Trails
• The Palmer Hill Trail
• The Shavertown Trail
• And most recently
• The Bramley Mountain Trail

Representing almost 20 miles of new trails, the Catskill Mountain Club is offering the public more options and leading the way on opening DEP lands for public recreation!

When not building trail, the Catskill Mountain Club maintains miles of hiking trails throughout the Catskill Park for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

They offer workshops and take part in events that highlight
• The natural and human histories of the Catskills,
• The issues that are affecting the health and preservation of the Catskills
• And teach the skills that are needed to safely enjoy our great outdoors!

They join with others of the Catskill Park Coalition to knock on doors in Albany, helping to ensure that the Catskill Park is represented and receives ongoing support.

Members of the Catskill Mountain Club even find time to help staff the Catskill Interpretive Center where their expertise on everything outdoors comes in handy to educate visitors to the Park!

All this and the Catskill Mountain Club is an all-volunteer grass roots led organization – SIMPLY AMAZING!

The Catskill Mountain Club is helping to lead the way towards a sustainable outdoor recreation based economy that while utilizes our vast and beautiful open spaces, while teaching our visitors and park users the value of the region and how to protect it for posterity

As a former member of the Catskill Mountain Club’s Board of Directors, I am truly honored and humbled to have had the chance to be part of this amazing organization and the amount of work that that the members of this organization have put in since my time is astounding!

For their work
• Protecting our natural resources
• Raising awareness and appreciation of our Catskills
• Leading activities across the public lands of our region
• Working with DEP to increase public access to watershed lands
• Building almost 20 miles of new trails
• Maintaining miles of Catskill Park hiking trails and
• Staffing the Catskill Interpretive Center

And most importantly for their love of the Catskills and their ability to protect and preserve the region

I am pleased to present the Alf Evers Award for Excellence to the Catskill Mountain Club in recognition of their leadership in creating and expanding opportunities for the public to enjoy and understand the unique beauty and remarkable nature of our Catskill region.

They have made a true impact across the region and it gives me great joy to present this award to
• Rick Roberts, the President of the Catskill Mountain Club
• Wendell George, the Vice-President of the Catskill Mountain Club
• And all members of the Catskill Mountain Club

THANK YOU from the Catskill Center and from the Catskills!

Thursday, September 22, 9 AM | Black Dome Range Trail maintenance to Camel’s Hump

IMG_1533The CMC’s Catskills Roving Trail Crew will be working with the Rip van Winkle Hikers on the western end of the Black Dome Range Trail next. Join us for this maintenance hike to the Camel’s Hump. We’ll be doing the usual, removing any downed limbs and trees from the trail, cleaning waterbars out and pruning back anything that is growing into the trailbed. Bring your loppers and pruners and a longer blade folding saw if you have one. No tools, no problem: we have plenty to supply you. Continue reading

Thursday, September 15, 9 AM – Maintenance of the Long Path on Kaaterskill HP

IMG_3341Working with the RVW Hikers, the CMC’s Roving Trail Crew will help maintain the Long Path from Palenville to Poet’s Ledge. The trail crosses the south rim of Kaaterskill Clove, offering great views to South Mountain and the Hudson Valley. We’ll be clearing blowdowns, cleaning waterbars and cutting understory growth that obscures the trail and markers. We’ll have plenty of tools to lend or bring your favorite pruners or loppers. Continue reading

Thursday, September 8, 9 AM – Maintenance on the Seager and PW Trails to Big Indian Mtn.

IMG_2052crThese trails are maintained by the CMC/NYNJTC Catskill Roving Trail Crew. We’ll hike out on the Seager Trail and go to the ridge where we’ll turn south and work to Big Indian Mountain. We’ll be clearing blowdowns, cleaning waterbars and cutting understory growth that obscures the trail and markers. We’ll have plenty of tools to lend or bring your favorite pruners or loppers. Continue reading

Thursday, September 1, 9 AM – Trail Maintenance on Balsam Mountain

IMG_1752rFollowing last week’s hike to Eagle, the CMC/NYNJTC Roving Crew will do trail maintenance on the Pine Hill-West Branch and Oliverea-Mapledale trails over Balsam Mountain, beginning at Rider Hollow.

We’ll be looking for fallen limbs and trees to cut and remove, cleaning out the leaves from waterbars and lopping off limbs that have protruded over the trail. At this time of year, we’ll have some blackberries to cut back, too. Continue reading

Thursday, August 25, 9 AM – Maintenance on the PW Trail over Eagle Mountain

IMG_2051crJoin us to work on these trails that are maintained by the CMC’s Catskill Roving Trail Crew. We’ll meet at the Rider Hollow Trailhead and then go to Seager to begin our hike. We’ll hike to the ridge where we’ll turn north and work over Eagle and Haynes Mountains. We’ll be clearing blowdowns and cutting understory growth that obscures the trail and markers. We’ll have plenty of tools to lend or bring your favorite pruners or loppers. Bring plenty of water, lunch and snacks. Continue reading

Sunday, September 4 | Through Hike Across Panther and Giant Ledge

Giant ledges on Panther in FallThis hike is to be a full traverse of Panther and the scenic Giant Ledges. One of the best hikes in the Catskills, it offers a full range of treats for an experienced hiker.  A lovely combination of ups, downs and wonderful scrambles offering a variety of woods and some fabulous views. This is one of my favorite late Summer hikes and I love company, so come join me for a fun day! Continue reading

Announcing Our New Trails Brochure!

TrailsBrochurecoverTo celebrate the opening of our fifth trail this past Friday, located on Bramley Mountain, we have published a brochure called “A Guide to the Trails” that provides a map and description of each trail. The full color brochure will be available at each trailhead, at several village kiosks, at the Catskill Interpretive Center and at other locations that distribute tourism information.

With the guide, you’ll be able to hike each of our trails with confidence. The trail maps show contours at 20′ intervals, show notable features and indicate where trailheads are located, making it easy to find your way. Pick one up and keep it in your car or with your pack. You’ll always be prepared!

You can also download our trail maps to your iPhone or Android device for free. Look for links to the Avenza App and directions for how to get the maps in the Where To Go menu on this site.

Bramley Mountain Trail Opens

Bramleyopening8On July 29 the CMC’s newly constructed hiking trail on Bramley Mountain in the Towns of Delhi and Bovina officially opened to the public. Built on NYC DEP lands, the 4 mile trail is open year round.
The ceremony began with comments by DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce President Ray Pucci and CMC President Rick Roberts. Each spoke about the importance of DEP’s efforts to open its lands to public recreational use. Among the benefits of greater access are increased options for a range of low impact outdoor activities, economic growth due to increased visitorship and improved health for community members due to the proximity of attractive recreational options.
Following the ribbon cutting, the laBramleyopening5rge crowd headed off for the inaugural hike. Some participants chose to take the easy hike to the quarry and then return to the parking area, while others continued up the trail. After we reached the summit and enjoyed the views we took a little break for lunch or a snack, only to be surprised by a brief shower that chased us off the top. As we descended, we ate raspberries growing beside the trail and noticed that the blackberries will be rippening soon. There are tons of them, so we’ll be back for the feast in a few weeks.
Bramleyopening1The Bramley Mountain Trail is one of five that the CMC has built over the last five years. To celebrate that work and for the convenience of hikers, we’ve published a brochure that provides a map and describes each of them. Look for it at the trail registers, in visitor information sites in the villages and at the Catskill Interpretive Center on State Route 28 in Mt. Tremper.
Click here for WBNG News coverage:
  http://www.wbng.com/news/local/A-new-hiking-trail-opens-at-Bramley-Mountain–388708722.html?vid=a

The Bramley Mountain Trail is Set to Open on JULY 29 at 12:00 PM

We are thrilled to announce, along with the NYC DEP, that the new Bramley Mountain Trail will be officially opened to the public on July 29 at Noon. The CMC designed and built the trail, our third in partnership with the DEP. There will be a brief ceremony followed by a guided hike. The event is free and DEP permits are not required to hike on this parcel.untitled-59
The trail is on a 1243 acre parcel and summits the mountain at 2817′, one of the two westernmost 2800+ foot peaks in the Catskills. Bramley was once the site of a fire tower. The spectacular views from the summit ledges take in parts of the southern high peaks, Mount Pisgah and the mountains traversed by the Finger Lakes Trail. A short hike west is a view over the northwestern foothills and the farms that occupy them. Other features of the hike include a significant abandoned bluestone quarry, a small pond, numerous stone walls and foundations, and the fabulous cliffs and caves that lie between the quarry and the summit.
untitled-67We invite you to come join the fun on this special day. If you can’t, the trail is open year round. The trailhead is located on Glen Burnie Rd., about 0.7 miles south of CR 18 in Delhi.

Saturday, July 9, 2 PM | Hike Plattekill Mt. from the Ski Center Lodge

In conjunction with the NYS Outdoor EXPO, CMC President Rick Roberts is leading a hike up Plattekill Mt. using existing ski trails. Beautiful views at the top. This moderately difficult hike is about 2.5 miles long with 800′ gain.

Wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. Well behaved dogs are welcome. Pre-registration is not required for this event.

Directions: Take NYS Route 28 to NYS Route 30 in Margarettville . Go north approximately 8 miles and turn west onto Cold Spring Road. Or take NYS Route 23 to Grand Gorge and turn south onto Route 30. Go 11 miles and turn west onto Cold Spring Road.  Follow signs to Ski Plattekill  – 3 miles off Route 30.

SUNDAY, JUNE 25 | Balsam to Belleayre

IMG_1628Hike to Balsam and Belleayre Mountains. Views and more!.
Lovely 10 mile hike for experienced hikers and those seeking 3500 peaks, all trails and hundred highest! There is a lovely but serious climb up McKenley Hollow. We will traverse Balsam Mountain and go on to Belleayre where we will side track to see the sights from the ski mountain area, then end with a decent on the Cathedral Glen Trail. Come join the fun outdoors this summer! Continue reading

Thursday, June 16, 9 AM | Bramley Mountain Trail Construction One More Time

Bramley view wnwcrOn this trip we will finish the clearing of the trails and views. We’ll assess our work with an eye for small problems, checking areas where we have made improvements to be sure that they are in good condition after recent rainstorms and light use by the crew. We’ll have some tools to lend, but bring sturdy shears and/or loppers, if you have them. Work gloves will be useful. Continue reading

Congratulations to the Four New CATs Challenge Qualifiers

National Trails Day – June 4th, 2016

IMG_3258_WGThe CMC is happy to announce on this National Trails Day that four more hikers have recently completed the Catskills All Trails Challenge! Congratulations to Johnny Witter (#20), Richard Williams (#21), Brian Bacher (#22) and Michele Corn Farrell (#23).
It’s good to have a special day to celebrate hiking trails all across our land. It’s better to get out and hike them with dedication and love, as these four did when covering every foot of the 350 miles of hiking trails located in the Catskill Park!
As Michele put it, “Thank you for coming up with a patch and challenge to redline the Catskill Mountains. Without this I would have never discovered so many great remote and amazingly beautiful locations…..we would have whole days and sometimes a backpacking overnight filled with hours of mud, snow, rain, sweat, painful uphills, scrapes from over grown prickers, backtracking for little half-miles previously missed, silly circles to make sure every inch of trail was accounted for and thousands of hours of joy and laughter.” Now, that’s what it’s all about!

Postponed | Hike the Blacks, 3rd and 4th Highest Catskill Peaks

IMG_3912cr

This hike was postponed due to an unanticipated scheduling conflict. It will be rescheduled during the Catskills Lark in the Park.

This wonderful hike begins on a lovely streamside trail coming up a pass between the peaks. We then get to enjoy great scrambles and gorgeous views from 3980′ Black Dome and 3940′ Blackhead, which is the highest point on the lovely Catskill Escarpment. This hike is for the experienced hiker who wants to have a full day of hiking fun in late Spring. The hike is perfect for peakbaggers and CATs redliners, as well as those who have done it all and just want that day outdoors. Come join this challenging fun day outdoors! Continue reading

Lucky Rescue on the Pepacton Leaves Victim Chipper

swimming chippy rBoaters at the CMC’s season opening May 28 chippy on bow rPaddle the Pepacton event rescued a chipmunk found struggling far from shore in the cold reservoir waters. We’ve seen beavers, deer, bears and other four-legged bathers in the past, but never before a chipmunk.

 

After picking the chippy out of the water, the rescuers paddled to shore with it sitting on the bow of a kayak as it watched the land approach. As soon as they were within jumping distance, the chipmunk leapt and scampered off into the woods, safe and dry.

chippy ready to jump rchippy on shore r

 

 

 

 

One can only the amazed that it managed to avoid being eaten by one of the many bald eagles or huge trout that call the Pepacton home. Now that’s a lucky day!

A Great Day Working on the Porcupine Caves Trail

Friday, May 27, 2016

IMG_0679Eight volunteers came out on a nice day yesterday to work on the new Bramley Mountain Trails. We put in about 40 hours of work collectively, cleaning the entire Porcupine Caves Trail of leaves, loose rocks, limbs and any remaining woody plants that were in the path. We did some sidehilling, built stairs and placed steps in potentially wet areas, too.  We also installed the roof on the trailhead kiosk. Our work is nearing completion and we’ll have a weekend work trip soon. As always, we welcome your help.IMG_0685

 

 

 

Special thanks to Kathy Mario, Don Harris, John Exter, Jeff Ditchek, Elda Stifani, Bob Moses, and Rick Roberts for coming out to lend a hand!

We’re getting excited about the upcoming official opening of the trails. Please look for more information regularly and join us for the ceremony and inaugural hike!

 

Invasive Species Workshops Prepare Volunteers for the Battle to Save Catskill Forests

iMapMobile_iPhone_webCRISP logoOn May 14 and then again on May 21 the CMC and several partners, including the Catskills Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP), sponsored events at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center that addressed the problem of two invasive insect species that are causing severe damage to Catskills forests. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) are spreading rapidly and causing the deaths of thousands of two of the most important tree species in the Catskills. The impacts, especially those from the loss of hemlocks, will be widespread and could fundamentally alter our ecosystem, affecting not only the forest and its inhabitants, but also our streams, our fish and other aquatic wildlife, and our water quality. Indeed, some impacts to the forests are already obvious to even casual observers.

Many thanks to our presenters, Mark Whitmore of Cornell University, Jennifer Dean of the NY Natural Heritage Program and Dan Snider of CRISP for there insights and dedication. And thanks to all who attended for their concern and commitment to the task at hand.

For those who were unable to attend these events, training in recognition, assessment and reporting is available through the NY Natural Heritage Program’s iMapInvasives project and from CRISP. For more information please visit these websites.

Saturday, June 4, 1:30 PM | National Trails Day Hike: Alder Lake to Big Pond on the FLT

IMG_4036rHike between two semi-remote Catskill Ponds along the Finger Lakes Trail. Along the way we will pass stone foundations and stone walls from a hundred year old farmstead.

1:30 PM- Meet and leave a car at Big Pond on the Barkaboom Rd. then drive to Alder Lake (15 mins) to start the hike. Both Alder Lake and Big Pond have DEC, 1st come, primitive camping sites surrounding the lakes. Excellent for an overnite camping and hiking adventure.

–OR–

2:00 PM- Meet at Alder Lake Parking area and take an optional, unguided hike around the Lake (approx. 1.5 miles). Or join the longer 4 mile hike to Big Pond.

Thanks to Lisa Lyons of Morgan Outdoors for sponsoring this event. Continue reading

Thursday, May 26, 9 AM | Building the Porcupine Caves Trail on Bramley Mountain

Bramley cliffsThe Porcupine Caves Trail, last of the three trails being constructed on Bramley Mountain, is well on it’s way to completion – the route is laid out, the blowdown and views are cut, the clearing is done, much of the sidehilling is done and a bit of stone step setting has been completed.

Now we need to clear the path of leaves, lose rocks, small limbs, and take care of minor problems hidden underneath them. At a little over 1 mile long, we need a good sized crew of trail builders to bring bow rakes and help clean the trailbed from the summit to the quarry. Bring work gloves, plenty to drink and lunch. Along the way you’ll enjoy a preview of the great views and features. You may even see a porcupine or two and spotted salamanders. Continue reading

Sunday, May 22 at 10:00 AM | Trail Maintenance on Section 2 of the Dry Brook Ridge Trail and German Hollow Trail

IMG_0065rFollow Laura Battelani, CMC Board Member and David Lucas, volunteers for NY/NJ Trail Conference, as they inspect and clear the trails they adopted for the NY/NJ TC. Hike Pakatakan Mountain and follow the ridge, passing by a 700 years old bog, to arrive to a beautiful look out of the Pepacton Reservoir. The return will be on the German Hollow trail. Continue reading

Saturday, May 28, 8 AM | Hike Balsam Lake Mountain to Alder Lake

IMG_4032rOne of my favorite western Catskills hikes and I love company, so come join me. The hike has lovely combination of walking, ups, downs , scrambles and some grand views.  Note: this hike is for experienced hikers as the hike is about 9 miles, strenuous and at a steady pace. Great for peakbaggers and CATs Trail seekers.It is by far the prettiest way to enjoy this 3500 peak. Continue reading

Saturday, May 21, 1 PM | Training for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Identification and Reporting

Join Dan Snider of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) for a field training in the identification of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestations and how to report your findings. HWA is a big threat to or Catskill forests. There are ways to limit the damage, but monitoring the forests for up-to-date conditions is essential. As a hiker, fisherman, birder ot other outdoor enthusiast, you will be able to make a significant impact on the success of the effort to control and eradicate these pests.

The event will take place at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center on SR 28 in Mount Tremper.

Thursday, May 19, 9 AM – Maintenance of the Long Path on Kaaterskill HP

Join the RVW Hikers and the CMC Catskill Roving Trail Crew to help maintain the Long Path from the snowmobile trail intersection to Wildcat Falls. The trail crosses the south rim of Kaaterskill Clove, offering great views to South Mountain and the Hudson Valley. We’ll be clearing blowdowns, cleaning waterbars and cutting understory growth that obscures the trail and markers. Bring your favorite pruners, shears or loppers. Continue reading

Thursday, May 12, 9 AM – Maintenance of the Long Path on Kaaterskill HP

IMG_3341Working with the RVW Hikers, the CMC’s Roving Trail Crew will help maintain the Long Path from Palenville to Poet’s Ledge. The trail crosses the south rim of Kaaterskill Clove, offering great views to South Mountain and the Hudson Valley. We’ll be clearing blowdowns, cleaning waterbars and cutting understory growth that obscures the trail and markers. We’ll have plenty of tools to lend or bring your favorite pruners or loppers. Continue reading

Saturday, May 14, 1 PM | The Impending Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Disaster and How to Stop It

HWA at Willow point 4 small

Hemlock tree under attack

For some years now, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has been spreading through the forests of the eastern United States, including here in the Catskills. This tiny invasive insect attaches to the underside of hemlock needles and feasts on the plants vital fluids, resulting in the eventual death of the tree.

We here in the Catskills have the opportunity to stop HWA before it completely devastates our vast hemlock forests. Some other regions no longer have that option. In the Great Smokey Mountains the mortality has turned hills and valleys a deathly grey-brown, upending centuries of ecological balance and leaving huge vistas comprised of skeletal trees. If we fail to act here in the Catskills, our forests will share that fate.

HWA damage

HWA damage in the Great Smokey Mountains

Fortunately, New York is waking up to this possibility. Dedicated foresters, botanists and invasive species specialists are mobilizing to stop the attacks on living trees while they can be saved and stopping the spread on HWA in its tracks. But this is no small task as the hemlock is one of the foundational species of the Catskills, as well as of other areas in New York such as the Adirondacks. The battle requires the commitment of financial resources, and that seems to be beginning, though not nearly enough and too slowly still.

For outdoor enthusiasts, whether hikers, fishermen and women, hunters, birders and all others who venture into the woods, there is an important role to play. With sharp eyes and a little knowledge we can help to identify both existing and potentailly infected stands and report the conditions in those stands. In that way, we help make it possible for the professionals to work more efficiently and effectively. We can also let it be known to our elected officials that this fight is a high priority for us, and that we want their attention and support. Indeed, the Catskill Park Coalition (of which the CMC is a founding member) has taken the message to Albany. You can amplify that voice by contacting your legislators and the governor.

HWA adult

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid adult

On Saturday, May 14th at 1 PM a lecture and workshop on the scope of the problem, some solutions and how to get involved will take place at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper. The following Saturday, May 21st a field training will be offered at the same time and place. On June 11, again at the CIC, noted Catskills forest historian Dr. Michael Kudish will give a lecture on the history of hemlocks in the Catskills from the ice age forward through the great harvesting of the trees for the tanning industry that once dominated the local economy. For the sake of our environment, our natural history and our economy, all who can attend will be equipped to help the cause of ending this threat. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 5, 9 AM | Black Dome Range Trail maintenance to Camel’s Hump

IMG_0166

The Blackhead Range from Westkill Mountain

The CMC’s Catskills Roving Trail Crew will be working on the western end of the Black Dome Range Trail next. Join us and our friends from the Rip van Winkle Hikers for this maintenance hike to the Camel’s Hump. We’ll be doing the usual, removing any downed limbs and trees from the trail, cleaning waterbars out and pruning back anything that is growing into the trailbed. Bring your loppers and pruners and a longer blade folding saw if you have one. No tools, no problem: we have plenty to supply you. Continue reading

Saturday, May 7, 9:30 AM | Help Build the Bramley Mountain Trail

BramleyroadsidesignThe parking area is improved, the new trail section is flagged, and now it’s time to finish the construction of the CMC’s 5th trail (and 3rd on DEP land). This new trail will be a major addition to the hiking options in the Catskills. When finished, it will visit the summit site of a former fire tower, the site of a significant bluestone quarry and the impressive cliffs and caves that lie between.

The design of the trail will ascend to the summit gradually, providing a scenic and sustainable path for hikers. On this work day we will widen and level the path wherever the slope is too great for hiking comfortably. Sidehilling requires careful planning, special tools and precise work, so we will have tools available and will provide instruction in the methods and skills needed. Continue reading

Sunday, May 8th at 11:00 AM | Sixth Annual Ephemeral Wild Flower Hike At Kelly Hollow

Trout Lilly D

Trout Lily

There’s no need to bring flowers to mom when you can bring mom to the flowers this Mother’s Day. You are invited to join with CMC board members for the Sixth Annual Ephemeral Wildflower hike. 

This a chance to find and identify the beautiful Spring Ephemeral wildflowers which are so named because they appear above ground in early spring when they flower and fruit and then die back into the ground, all in a short period before the trees have had a chance to leaf out. Most hikers never see these flowers because they wait for late spring or summer to get into the woods. We will look for Trillium, Spring beauties, Trout Lily, Hepatica, Violets, Squirrel Corn, Dutchman’s Britches, Jack-In-The-Pulpit and many others. We may also find some early mushrooms.

Kelly Hollow is one of the most beautiful short trails in the Catskills with rocky streams and waterfalls. It has a combination of coniferous and deciduous forests with the remains of a lovely beaver pond near a lean-to at the top. The trail is an easy to moderate loop of about 4 miles. Bring lunch and/or snacks to have at the lean-to (there is a privy nearby.) Continue reading

Saturday, May 14, 1 PM | Help Stop Alien Invasive Species from Eating the Catskills’ Forests!

HWA at Willow point 4 smallYes, you read that right. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Emerald Ash Borer are causing a massive loss of two of the Catskills’ most important tree species. Already well established, these pests are expanding their territory rapidly. We’ve got to stop them or the resulting devastation will change the character of our forests and their viability as habitats for many of the amimals that live in them forever. Come to this lecture and workshop (and look for our May 21 event, too) to learn about the urgency of acting now. Learn what’s happening and how you can help stop it. Only if the hiking community and area residents get involved can we be successful in protecting the Catskills from losing these trees that have defined the region for centuries.

Mark C. Whitmore, forest entomologist at Cornell University, will present a program on controlling the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and the status of the Emerald Ash Borer in the Catskills. The event will be held at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper on May 14 at 1 PM.
Continue reading

Bramley Mountain Trail Scheduled to Open in Late Spring

BramleyparkingareaWe’ve recently made some real progress in the construction of our new trail on Bramley Mountain. The trail route is nearly finalized… a few more tweaks are needed before we start clearing and grading the path.
The big news is that the parking area has been completed! We want to thank LeFever Excavating for donating culvert pipe and the Clark Companies for donating gravel for the project. Many thanks to SUNY Delhi students for designing and constructing our new trailhead kiosk. And special thanks to the Town of Delhi Highway Department crew and to Superintendent Darren Evans for bringing out the heavy Bramleyroadsidesignequipment and getting the job done. Nice work, guys!

ATV Bill Allowing Access to Park and State Forest Hiking Trails Defeated

Great news! The ATV bill was stricken from the New York state budget. The bill would have allowed ATVs to use the trails in our parks and forests, doing great damage to the environment and creating unsafe conditions for other users. Our efforts, along with those of many other allied organizations including the Adirondack Mountain Club, the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and the Catskill Center, paid off. Thanks to everyone who sent letters and made phone calls asking Albany to defeat this effort!

NEWS FOR CATSKILLS ALL TRAILS CHALLENGE HIKERS

P1000348Want to report the trail conditions that you find while hiking the CATs? The recently formed CATSKILLS TRAIL CONDITIONS group on Facebook is a great place ot share your information and comments. You’ll need to have a Facebook account to access the group page and to post comments and pictures. By joining, you’ll be sharing helpful up-to-date information with a rapidly growing hiking community, and enjoying other members insights into what you may encounter on your hikes. Win, win! Sign up for a Facebook account and get started by signing in here: www.facebook.com/groups/CatskillsTrailConditions

Thursday, April 21, 9:30 AM | Maintenance of the Mill Brook Ridge Trail

IMG_4049crThis great trail has been neglected for a few years and needs attention!  The trail connects Alder Lake and Balsam Lake Mountain via the Mill Brook Ridge, which is just a bit under 3500′ itself. It’s a great hike, but the trail has become ovegrown, especially in its mid-section. We’ll hike in from both the Alder Lake trailhead and from the Beaverkill Rd. trailhead, working until we meet. Please give us a hand and we’ll put this trail back in shape. Happily, our friend and crew member Terry Shultz has agreed to adopt the trail, so when we’ve finished it’ll stay in good shape. Continue reading

Help Protect New York’s Parks, Preserves and State Forests from ATVs

We have just learned of a proposal currently being considered by the NY State Senate that will have devastating impacts on potentially all lands managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, including the Wilderness and Wild Forest areas of the Catskill Park and of the Adirondack Park – lands that are designated as “forever wild” by the NY State Constitution.

Special interests are trying to push through a bill that will open these protected natural treasures to All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) usage. This irresponsible legislation would allow New York’s 250,000 ATVs access to our parks and forests, where they would gouge deep ruts into trails, illegally ride roughshod off trail, cause extensive and irreparable damage to vegetation, disturb wildlife, and bring noise and pollution into the very heart of our pristine natural recreation areas. It would even allow children as young as 10 to operate these machines on public roads and lands!

This proposal has been included in the state budget bill, “must pass” legislation that will be acted on during the next few days. We appreciate very much our members and friends actions to help us achieve our Catskill Park funding goals to protect and improve the Catskills. Now we must ask you to help prevent this destructive policy from being enacted.

Please follow this link to the Adirondack Mountain Club’s web letter addressed to Governor Cuomo and Senate President Flanagan and let them know that you want this language removed. The letter can be customized with your own comments in the field below the text. Then call your State Senator to let them know what you think. Enter your address here to find your Senator.

Thank you once again for helping to preserve and protect New York’s great Parks and public forests!

 

Spring is Here – Get Ready for Some Ephemeral Wildflower Sightings

March 20, 2016

IMG_3057crThe robins have been back for a week or so now. The snow is long gone except on some shaded slopes of the high peaks and the ice is quickly disappearing. A little chill is in the air for a few days, but mild temperatures have been the rule this winter and they will return very soon. The buds are swelling on some trees and crocus, dwarf daffodils and other early bloomers are showing their colors in sunny, protected environs.

Yep, it seems undeniable that Spring has sprung unusually early here in the Catskills. We may get a late wintry surprise, but at this point it seems unlikely. Time to dust of the field guides, plan the garden and start dreaming of nature’s glorious show that is about to delight us once again.

Take a few minutes and look at our Common Wildflowers of the Catskills page here. It’s sure to please.

 

Parking Problems at Overlook Mountain Trailhead

IMG-20160312-00606 These pictures are from a recent weekend at the Meads trailhead on Overlook Mountain. The popularity of the hike means that the trailhead parking area is full to capacity early on any weekend and on many other days, too. People then park on the sides of the road, often illegally, which creates hazardous conditions for drivers and pedestrians. The narrow road can become difficult for IMG-20160312-00593emergency vehicles to use, so it is crucial that hikers park legally. You can download a map of the area below, which will help you avoid getting a parking ticket.     Overlook_parking

 

 

 

 

 

Print PDF map here: Overlook_parking

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED! LET’S STAND TOGETHER FOR THE CATSKILL PARK AND FOREST PRESERVE!

March 14, 2016

IMG_4171crOver the next several days, the NY State budget for the coming fiscal year will be drawn up. It is crucial that New Yorkers act now to support the budget request for a line in the Environmental Protection Fund designating $4M for the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve. Never before have we had such an opportunity to secure support for the ongoing infrastructure, environmental protection, and community development needs of our Park. When enacted, this budget line will, for the first time, allow long term planning and timely response to developing needs in the Catskills. As we deal with issues from invasive species management to stewardship of our vast public lands and ecosystem, from maintenance and development of recreational facilities to plans for the increasingly greater tourism in the Catskill Park and region, it is incumbent on us to put in place the means for addressing these needs. By securing a line in the annual state budget, we will have the ability to do this important work. The Assembly and the Senate Democrats have agreed to our request. We now need Senate Republicans to sign on.

PLEASE take a minute right now to show your support for the Catskill Park. Catskill Park Coalition member Catskill Mountainkeeper has posted a letter online that you can sign onto. Click here to be taken to the letter: http://www.catskillmountainkeeper.org/park_budget.  Just fill in the required fields and your letter will be delivered. When you’ve finished, please pick up the phone and call Governor Cuomo’s office (518-474-8390) and let him know that you support a dedicated $4M Catskills line in the EPF.

If you live in the Catskills, you can have a significant additional impact by calling your state senator. Their districts and phone numbers are as follows:

James Seward,     S 51               (607) 432-5524

John Bonacic,       S 42               (845) 344-3311

George Amedore, S 46               (845) 331- 3810

The CMC in partnership with nearly 30 other area organizations formed the Catskill Park Coalition to better represent the needs of our Park and area to our state and local government leaders. The fact that we are in a position to accomplish such a significant goal is testament to that vision, to our work and to the support of our communities.

Thank you for your support of this important initiative!

 

Welcome to the (very exclusive) Club

IMG_3627crThe CMC is happy to announce that two more long time hikers have qualified for the Catskills All Trails Challenge Certificate of Completion. Kathy Mario (#18) and Jim Gebhard (#19) completed the requirements this winter. Both Jim and Kathy say that they were encouraged by friends who are themselves qualifiers! That makes us feel like we’ve started something pretty cool.

The Challenge attracts dedicated hikers, new and experienced, to our 350 miles of hiking trails, all of which must be hiked in order to qualify for the awards. Nope, you can’t buy a membership, nor can you buy the shirt or the patch. Not with money, anyway. A little blood, sweat and tears will do. You can learn more about it here.

Sunday, March 20, 10 AM | Big Pond to Cabot Mountain: Touch-me-not Trail and more

IMG_2684CATs series hike.  Map 144, Western Catskills.

Join the CMC as we hike this great 7.5 mile hike from Big Pond to Cabot Mountain, with it’s wonderful view to Little Pond. After summitting, we’ll complete the trails that loop around Little Pond before returning to the Touch-me-not Trail and to Big Pond. This is a difficult hike with some significant climbing. Be sure to dress in layered, moisture wicking clothing and wear good hiking boots. Snowshoes, microspikes and crampons may be needed, so be sure to bring them. Gaiters are always good to have in snow. Bring plenty of water or hot beverages, lunch and snacks. This will be a full day hike. Continue reading