Erwin Karl of CMC will join Mid Hudson Mycological Association and member Mira Fink as we embark on a late-winter tree identification hike along the O & W Rail Trail in Stone Ridge. The task of identifying trees may be more challenging before leaf-out, but there are many clues based on bark, shape, location and leaf litter, to name a few. There is a good chance we will also see some bracket or crust fungi, as well as remnants of annual plants. Continue reading
Visit our newly expanded page covering Wildflowers of the Catskills.
We now list over 130 species and cover the seasons from early spring through fall. With Spring arriving and a new year of blooms on the way, what better way to enjoy them than to get prepared by familiarizing yourself with them? Our page is set up for quick reference and it focusses on the flowers you will see right here in the Catskills! Check it out.
The New York Natural Heritage Program has announced its 2017 schedule of training sessions for the iMapInvasives project. You can help fight invasive species issues around the state by identifying the locations and status of incidents of many types of invasives that threaten New York’s naturally occurring species and can cause problems such as erosion, massive mortality of trees, navigation difficulties in waterways and recreational access problems. So grab your smartphone or gps unit and pitch in.
Sessions are scheduled throughout the state, including here in the Catskills. Check it out.
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 email@example.com or (607) 746-9694.
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).
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 Hudson – Franny 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
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.
On 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.
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
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!
To 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.
On 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 large 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.
The 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
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
National Trails Day – June 4th, 2016
The 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!
Boaters at the CMC’s season opening May 28 Paddle 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.
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!
Friday, May 27, 2016
Eight 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.
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!
On 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We’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 equipment and getting the job done. Nice work, guys!
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!
Want 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
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!
March 20, 2016
The 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.
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 emergency 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.
Print PDF map here: Overlook_parking