Raffle Prize Winners!
Beth Waterman, who chose the snowshoes to replace her old style wooden snowshoes
Jack McShane, who chose the Jack Mesick limited edition print. Jack is getting quite a collection of Jack Mesick prints, as he has won these twice in the past.
Edie Mesick, kayak
Visit the Lark website for events during the 10 days of Catskills Lark In the Park — events are being added continually….
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.
STEWARDSHIP– The CMC annually maintains five CMC trails totaling 20 miles and seven DEC trails totaling nearly 25 miles. In 2016, 36 trail maintenance hikes were conducted totaling 750 volunteer hours, all headed by the Club’s VP , Wendell George.
TRAIL BUILDING– Since 2011, the CMC has built 5 new hiking trails on lands owned by NYC DEP as well as Delaware Academy. The newest trail, that to the former fire tower on Bramley Mountain near Delhi NY, was opened on July 29th . The opening ceremony was attended by nearly 40 hiking enthusiasts, local, state and City officials and followed by a hike to the summit.
The five CMC trails have been very popular since their openings. Over the past year nearly 5600 hikers have signed-in on these trails. Approximate counts by trail are:
This year the CMC produced a brochure/map highlighting these five trails. The brochure is being distributed at all CMC trailheads as well as various informational kiosks and at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mt. Tremper. The maps of the five CMC trails can also be viewed on our website from the Where to Go menu.
CMC EVENTS– CMC members led over 40 Hikes, paddles and other CMC events in 2016 that were enjoyed by 400+ participants. In addition CMC members are leading over 25 events for this year’s Catskill Lark in the Park. Upcoming hikes and other CMC events can be viewed on the CMC website at Upcoming Events.
ADVOCACY – The CMC is involved with several organizations advocating for outdoor recreational concerns affecting the Catskill area.
The Catskill Park Coalition is a partnership of many Catskill organizations, all concerned with outdoor recreation and related public land concerns. Each February the Coalition members travel to Albany for Catskill Park Awareness Day, advocating for increased funding for outdoor recreation, conservation and tourism related issues. In 2016 the Coalition succeeded in obtaining $500,000 dedicated for use within the Catskill Park. Part of this allocation is being used for the creation of a new comprehensive recreation plan as well as various infrastructure improvements. In addition, the continuation of the NYS Ranger Academy was stressed as well as the hiring of 2 assistant Forest Rangers, both which were granted. Also, $994,000 was asked for and allocated for the Catskill Interpretative Center, which opened on NYS Rte 28 in Mt. Tremper in July of 2015. The funding will allow for the building of a full scale old style fire tower, a fire warden’s cabin, a picnic pavilion, an amphitheater and new road side signage.
Information on the 2017 Awareness Day can be viewed at catskillcenter.org/awareness-day/.
The Catskill Park Advisory Committee – The Committee is a group of local government representatives, agencies and area organizations representing the various communities and user groups of the Catskill Park and the Catskill Watershed. The purpose of the Committee is to provide assistance, advice and guidance to the NYSDEC, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and other land managers in the management of the New York State Forest Preserve, the Catskill Park and the Catskill Watershed. The CMC is a charter member of this Committee and meets with it on a quarterly basis.
STAFFING of the Maurice Hinchey Catskill Interpretitive Center (CIC) – The CMC is one of five operating partners for the CIC and provides part of the volunteer staff operating the center 363 days a year. In all, CMC members volunteered over 600 hours for its operation in 2016. The CIC opened in July, 2015. catskillinterpretivecenter.org.
CMC DONATIONS – $1000 to Summit Stewards Program – Summit Stewards patrol the summit areas of Giant Ledge/Panther, Slide, Wittenberg, and Cornell mountains during the summer hiking period. They work closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and address the unique concerns of these peaks to the hikers they encounter. See Summit Stewards.
$1000 to the Catskill Interpretive Center – The CIC is the Catskills Tourist Information Center.
LARK IN THE PARK 2016– Last year was the 12th annual Lark in the Park and featured 50 separate events over 10 days from October 3rd to the 12th and was enjoyed for nearly 750 attendees. For this year’s 2016 program we had 60 events , many being held by 19 Catskill Based organizations such as Mountain Keeper, Catskill Rec. Center, Trout Unlimited and the 3500 Club. The CMC has been the main driving force of this annual event celebrating the creation of the Catskill Park. CMC members have spent over 200 man hours, planning and leading events. See catskilsllark.org.
CATSKILL ALL TRAILS CHALLENGE– In 2014 the CMC created this unique opportunity for hikers
to receive recognition for the hiking of all 87 trails and 350 miles of Catskill Park Trails. This year we
had 15 hikers complete the Challenge bringing the total to 32. For more on the Challenge go to
SOCIAL MEDIA– The Board of Directors of the CMC sees the use of the various social media platforms as vital for the future dissemination of CMC information, news, advocacy issues as well as trail conditions and hiker safety concerns. The CMC currently uses FaceBook for communicating with CMC members.
CMC BOARD OF DIRECTORS– The CMC Board meets every other month in Arkville, NY to discuss Club business, outdoor recreational issues, interface with other Catskill organizations and governments entities, plan events and review financial concerns During 2016 the all volunteer Directors spent on over 2000 man hours on club business.
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.
Experience an incredible outdoor adventure, paddling the beautiful Pepacton Reservoir. Join Catskill Mountain Club board member Ann Roberti for a scenic paddle on this recently opened NYC reservoir. Provide your own CANOE or KAYAK or rent from a local business. We will launch promptly at 1PM from the Shavertown Bridge Recreational Boating Launch site on the north side of the bridge.
Life jackets required. All boats must be steam cleaned prior to arrival on site and have a valid DEP access sticker. Many vendors store boats on site, requiring only that you visit the store to pay and to pick up paddles and PFDs. For more information on regulations, please visit the NYCDEP website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf/recreation/Pepacton_Boating_Brochure.pdf
Pre-register and questions to Ann Roberti at email@example.com.
This paddle is part of Andes Community Day events. See more by clicking here.
Directions: From SR 28/30 in Margaretville, go west about 3 miles to the dividing of the highways. Turn south onto SR 30 and go 8 miles to the Shavertown Bridge, turning north onto CR 1 just before crossing the bridge. The Boat Launch is on the left.
From SR 28 in Andes, turn south onto CR 1 and travel 8 miles to the Shavertown Bridge Boat Launch on the right.
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.
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!
Celebrate Delhi’s Community Fit Day by joining Amy Beveridge and Sarah Kellogg on a guided hike of the Bulldog Run Loop of the Delhi Trails. Amy was instrumental in building these trails and can give you the back story of their creation.
Amy and Sarah will meet hikers in the Immanuel Lutheran Church Parking lot at 9:00 a.m.
Hikers should wear sturdy footwear and comfortable clothes. Bring bottled water. The trail is moderate level, however, the pace will be slow. 2.4 miles.
Contact Amy with questions; Amy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607-278-5461.
Driving Directions: 565 Andes Rd, Delhi, NY 13753 (Rt 28). Across the road from O’Connor Hospital
Using the free PDF Maps App for iPhone or Android from Avenza, and the CMC’s free maps available in their map store, you can now follow your route as you hike the trails built by the Catskill Mountain Club: the Palmer Hill Trail, Shavertown Trail, Andes Rail Trail and Bullet Hole Spur, the Delhi Trails and soon, the Bramley Mountain Trail. There is also a beta version for Windows phones.
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
March 14, 2016
Over 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!
The 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.
Many of us who paddle the Pepacton Reservoir frequently tout its many charms to other paddlers and would-be paddlers. We also pick up litter and debris we find, and help people who want to know how they can paddle, sail or fish on the Reservoir. The DEP is looking for people who are interested in doing this in a more formal manner, as part of their pilot Watershed Stewards Program. If you’d like to join us and become part of this program, click here to learn more and then contact
Lydia Lewis at the DEP at (845) 340-7855 or email@example.com
We hope to see you at the training session on March 30th at 6:30 at the Catskill Watershed Corp. in Margaretville.
45 volunteers from the CMC and our Catskill Park Coalition partners paid a visit to Albany yesterday to talk with some 47 members of the New York State Senate and Assembly. We took the message of our plans and needs for the Catskill Park, and its role as a main economic driver for our region, seeking support for funding a wide variety of priorities to improve and protect this great natural ecosystem and recreational destination. These included funds to fight invasive species, build and improve infrastructure, and support programs that help our visitors better enjoy their time in the Catskills. (Read more about our goals and how you can help: https://catskillparkawarenessday.splashthat.com/) CMC President Rick Roberts and Vice President Wendell George served as team leaders for the day, along with six other partners. We are happy to report that we received a great deal of encouragement and support from many of the legislators that we visited.
While there, the Coalition delivered over 1835 petitions of support for our requests to the governor from members of the public. The following weeks will be very important to our success. So, if you have not already, please click on the link above and use it to find and contact your representatives in Albany. Let them know of your support for our efforts. All New Yorkers, and especially those who reside in or love to recreate in the Catskills, will benefit from our success as we BUILD A MODERN PARK.
On February 9, the CMC and some 30 partner organizations of the Catskill Park Coalition will head to Albany to deliver a call to action to our state government leaders. The message will focus their attention on the needs and aspirations of our region and, especially those of the Catskill Park.
Even while we suffered massive cuts in funding for stewardship, planning and capital improvements during the recent great recession, we have had a huge increase in usage. Economic realities that saw many people focus their travel plans closer to home have now combined with increases in visitors from around the world. From feature articles naming the Catskills one of the top “must visit” destinations in the world (see here and here) to Governor Cuomo’s recently announced initiative to spend $5M on advertising to promote the Catskills worldwide, we realize that these important achievements mean that we must rise to the occasion to meet the challenges that the increased use of our recreational assets will bring. On the basis of this knowledge, we are seeking funding for a number of programs and initiatives that will help address these needs.
Please take a look at our list of priorities on the web page linked to here. You will find a sample letter that you can use to send a message of support to your state legislators. You’ll also find a petition to sign that will be delivered with our requests. Your support is crucial to our success, so please act now. It will take a few minutes to inform yourself and act, but the positive results for the Catskills that we love will last for years.
The leaves are mostly gone here in the Catskills now. There may be a little color left towards the Hudson River, but up in the mountains about the only leaves still on deciduous trees are on beech and oak.
So what better time to post this stunning photo taken during the Catskills Lark in the Park and shared with the CMC by Adam Bosch of the NYC DEP? He was visiting Giant Ledge on a gorgeous day and snapped this view across Woodland Valley.
You missed the Lark? Enjoy the picture and then mark your calendar for next year’s Lark events, scheduled for October 1 – 10.
In the meantime, get those snowshoes, crampons and skis ready. It’s almost time to play in the Catskills winter wonderland!
New York’s rifle hunting season for deer and bear begins on Saturday, November 21 and ends on Sunday, December 13. This is followed by a week of muzzleloading and crossbow hunting from December 14 until December 22. Opening weekend is always the busiest for hunters.
The CMC suggests that you hike in areas where hunting is prohibited or unlikely during this season. The Delhi Trails, the Andes Rail Trail, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, the Marbletown O&W Rail Trail and the Walkway Across the Hudson are good choices. Much of Minnewaska State Park Preserve is free of hunting. Other nearby state parks with no hunting are Robert V. Riddell near Oneonta, Mills-Norrie near Staatsburg and Highland Lakes near Middletown. Check nearby state park regulations here and also check properties held by land conservancy organizations.
If you are hiking in the Catskill Forest Preserve, choose your route wisely. Hunting is rare on many of the Catskill High Peaks. Look for trails that are steep and avoid relatively flat areas and/or areas that are readily accessible by motor vehicle. Be aware that many DEP properties allow hunting. Check here. The CMC urges all hikers to wear blaze orange caps and/or vests when hiking. It is a good idea to hike in groups in order to increase visibility and draw attention to your presence in the woods. Be observant, be careful and be safe.
• Avoid hiking close to dawn and dusk when hunters are more likely to be in the woods. Weekends are the busiest time.
• Wear blaze orange – hats, pack covers, jackets, etc. Do not wear white, which can be mistaken for the flash of a deer’s tail.
• Don’t forget about orange for your pets as well.
• Stay on trails. Don’t bushwhack in areas open to hunting at this time of year.
• Hike where deer, and therefore hunters, are less likely to be found. Don’t hike in areas that you know are popular with hunters.
• If you hear hunters or gunshots, announce in a loud voice, “Hikers on Trail”.
The first day of the Catskills Lark in the Park 2015 was rainy and raw, causing some events to be postponed or cancelled. The would-be Pepacton paddlers headed instead to Woodchuck Lodge with hopes of clearing weather and a late afternoon paddle after getting an up close look at many wonderful birds. We didn’t get to paddle, but we had a great time seeing and learning about Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, Barn Owls, Screetch Owls, Red Tail Hawks, Broad Wing Hawks and Kestrels. A couple of us even got a turn holding owls!
The weather couldn’t have been nicer for Sunday’s events….here are a few pictures from the bird program and the Shavertown Trail Hike. Here is Annie Mardiney, Wildlife Rehabilitator with a few of her charges:
The Shavertown Trail