The Smith Pond Trail is closed until further notice. Due to a construction project that will address drainage issues near Rte. 28, the trailhead to the Smith Pond Trail is being used as a staging area. As soon as the work allows, the trail will be reopened. For those who are working on the CMC Hiking Trails Challenge, the requirement to hike the Smith Pond Trail is temporarily suspended. You may submit applications without hiking this trail. After we announce its reopening, It will be required hiking again for new applicants. Thanks for your cooperation.
The enjoyment of classic cross-country skiing is greatly enhanced by skiing on a groomed surface. These conditions are made possible by proper grooming equipment to prepare the snow. Fortunately, SUNY Delhi College has acquired a specialized utility vehicle with snow treads and a classic track setter. The result is a quality trail system at the college’s Golf Course, which is open to the public at no cost. David DeForest, Assistant Professor in Applied Sciences, is the leading force in maintaining the trails each winter. The trails begin at the Bluestone Pub and Restaurant at the foot of Scotch Mountain Road (off Arbor Hill Road). There are about four miles of trails with easy and intermediate loops. They are situated in a peaceful setting that includes two crossings of the Little Delaware River and great views of Bell Hill. Complete grooming of the trail system takes about three hours, while re-grooming is also conducted to keep the surface and tracks clean and firm. This promotes the skiing experience because the recessed tracks allow the skier to look around, enjoy the scenery, and maintain good form, instead of trudging through snow.
April 18, 2021 Usage of the Catskill Park and its facilities has grown tremendously for the past several years. During the pandemic of 2020-21, the growth only increased as folks everywhere turned to the great outdoors for a safe space to seek recreation. As the pandemic winds down, we anticipate a sustained increase in Park visitorship and in use of our trails, other infrastructure and wild places throughout the Catskills.
The rise in usage has resulted in crowded parking lots, illegal roadside parking and an exponential increase in garbage being left behind by park visitors at high use areas like Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove and Colgate Lake. To help mitigate these problems, parking regulations have been expanded and strictly enforced. Dozens of volunteers have been helping park staff and trail stewards clean up after the heavy traffic of weekend visits. Please be responsible and pack out what you pack into these beautiful natural environments.
Another effect of increased usage is seen on the trails themselves. Foot beds are widening far beyond the acceptable width, trampling adjacent plant life and contributing to erosion. Hikers should stay on the trail, avoid walking side-by-side and pass other hikers carefully, yielding where possible and maintaining single file at all times. It is up to us to protect the Catskills wilderness and preserve it for future generations. To do so, it is important that we cooperate in practicing sustainable use that benefits us all.
Always follow Leave No Trace principles when recreating in conserved natural places wherever you go.
There’s danger out in nature too – ticks are serious business …read more
SUNY Delhi students volunteered with the CMC to join in Community Service Day activities in Delhi. Part of the Village of Delhi Bicentennial celebration, the crew worked on maintenance of the Bulldog Trails on Delaware Academy lands. The day’s vols were 4-year veterans of the CMC/SUNY Delhi collaboration. We are so proud to work with these great students on a project that serves the Delhi and Catskills hiking communities.
April 21, 2021 This past year has been a time change for the Delhi Trails. First, a logging operation began that forced the closing of the northern section of the Gribley Trail last fall and was then suspended for winter. It will resume soon. Watch for an announcement of the temporary closing of the trail.
Second, the southern section of the Smith Pond Trail was closed due to the wishes of the private landowner, who had previously permitted it. We are currently working on a rerouting that will include two sections. One section will return to the Smith Pond kiosk on Rt. 28. A spur will connect to the parking lot at the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Hikers will be able to hike a loop and return to either of the parking areas. (Please do not park in the church lot during Sunday services.) Overflow parking is available at the Sheldon Drive parking lot on the north side of Delaware Academy.
Third, later this year we will reroute part of the Gribley Trail so that the hiking trail is not co-aligned with the snowmobile trail. By doing so, we will create a safer and better experience for snowmobilers and for hikers.
March 12, 2021 Beginning on March 21st, the first day of spring, the requirements for completing the 4 Seasons 140 and Catskills Grid 420 programs will reflect the closure of Doubletop and Graham Mountains to public access by replacing them with Dry Brook Ridge (3465′) and Mill Brook (Ridge) Mountain (3465′), respectively. Both replacements are only 35′ lower than the official high peaks and are in the same Western Catskills region as Doubletop and Graham. Unlike the trailless peaks they replace, both Mill Brook Mountain and Dry Brook Ridge can be traversed on trails. By adopting them for our program, we have chosen to avoid encouraging increased hiking on other trailless peaks. Our choice also aligns the new requirements with those of the Catskills All Trails Challenge.
After March 20th, hikes to the summit of South Doubletop will no longer qualify for the Catskills 4 Seasons 140 program. In no event should any hiker climb either Doubletop or Graham Mountains as they are on private property and have been closed to the public by the landowner, effective January 14th. Trespassers are subject to prosecution.
February 10, 2021 The NYS DEC has recently opened the Red Hill Fire Tower Trail, a 1.4 mile addition that is combined with an older 0.6 mile section of trail to lead to the fire tower from Denning Road. The remainder of the the old trail from Dinch Road, 0.8 miles from the intersection, has been named the Dinch Road Connector.
Earlier, the DEC incorporated an old snowmobile trail into the Vernooy Kill Falls Trail, increasing its length to 3.5 miles. There is a small trailhead in Greenville in addition to the one on Upper Cherrytown Rd.
December 19. 2020 We’re adding a trail section to the list of required hikes! The Vernooy Kill Falls Trail was extended by DEC to be coaligned with the snowmobile trail that goes from Vernooy Falls to Greenville. The section is about 1.8 miles long and there is a small parking area at the Greenville trailhead. The trail is an easy hike and is marked Red. We will update the documents on the CMC webpage.
January 14. 2021 Please note that both Doubletop and Graham Mountains are now closed to public access effective immediately.
The private landowners have generously allowed public access for many years. They have decided that recent trends of increased usage by hikers are having a significant negative effect on the wilderness character and ecology of these trailless mountains. Due to their long held concerns for conservation of wilderness, they will end access for all members of the public. As of today, hikers who encroach on these private lands will be in violation of laws against trespass and subject to enforcement measures, including arrest.
Our Catskills Grid and Catskills 4 Seasons programs will designate changes to the required peaks in concert with the decisions made by the Catskill 3500 Club for their list of qualifying hikes. Those new designations should be finalized and available in a few weeks. As of today, no future hikes of either Graham or Doubletop will be accepted as qualifying hikes for the CMC’s two programs.
“The Andes rail-trail in its four short miles offered me beauty, quiet, history, and it made me laugh.”
Thank you, Susan Barnett and Hudson Valley One for this wonderful article on the Andes Rail Trail and Bullet Hole Spur.
Click on the first page, below, to see the whole article. Here thanks to permission from Susan Barnett.
October 6, 2020 “The Hiker’s Guide to the Catskills”, a recently published article in The Reporter, features the CMC trails and lots of other useful info and news about hiking in the Catskills from the CMC, the NYSDEC and the NYCDEP.
Click on the images to expand the view.
In honor of opening the sixth trail built by the CMC since 2012, we are founding a new hiking program for hikers who qualify by hiking each of the trails built by the club. (A seventh trail will open in 2021, but hikers are free to apply based on completing each of the existing six.) These trails have been designed to appeal to most hikers, both novice and expert. They are on some of the most beautiful lands in the Catskills, are easy to moderate in difficulty and are located near major highways and villages.
Two of these programs are being adopted by the CMC, which will assume sponsorship of the Catskills 4 Seasons 140 and the Catskills Grid 420 programs from the Rip van Winkle Hikers. After decades of service to the Catskills which included organizing hikes, maintaining trails and working through membership in the Catskill Park Coalition to bring our issues to Albany, the Rips decided to dissolve the club as of the end of 2019. Among their legacies are these two hiking programs that have earned the respect of serious hikers in our region. The CMC is proud to ensure that these programs will continue into the future.
Find out more about these programs, about the Catskills All Tails Challenge and about each of the trails on their pages on the CMC website.
Note: Previous 4 Seasons qualifiers can receive the newly redesigned patch free of charge by contacting the CMC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 8, 2020 The 2nd Edition of the Guide to Catskill Mountain Club Trails has just been published. You can find it at the trailheads, at the Catskills Visitor Center and at several area merchants.
In the Guide you will find maps, descriptions and trailhead locations for all of the trails. Updated information for the Morris Hill Trail, which is still under construction, will be in an upcoming revision.
To view and download the Guide, click this link.
Note: For best results use 11″ x 14″ paper.
Simple Rules to Help Everyone Stay Safe
During the Pandemic:
- Stay close to home. Driving to distant sites increases the likelihood of spreading the disease.
- Keep a 6 foot distance between you and other hikers (except those in your household)
- If you are not feeling well, stay home.
- Do not expect to use any bathroom or other facilities.
- Do not share equipment except with members of your household.
- Take care when signing in to use your own pen or sanitize your hands immediately after signing. Only have one party member sign in per group.
- Do not share rides except with members of your household.
- Leash your dogs and practice social distancing rules with them.
Guidelines for all times:
- Avoid high use areas or go at off times.
- If the parking lot is full, visit a different location. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.
- Alert others as you pass or step to the side to let other hikers pass.
- Be sure to sign in at the registration box.
- Practice tick prevention and check for ticks after your outing at all times. Tick borne diseases are always possible and can cause serious illness.
We are thankful to first responders and essential workers. Please show your appreciation by maintaining a six foot distance from others while shopping and by wearing a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus. The virus can be transmitted days before symptoms appear, as well as by asymptomatic people shedding the virus.
July 18, 2020 Yesterday we and our partners, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, opened the new trail officially. Also in attendance was a representative from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, which supplied a grant to pay for interpretive signage. Unfortunately, in an abundance of caution we were not able to invite the public to the ceremony. While it’s always fun to have a big event, the important thing is that the trail is finished and that you are invited to hike it whenever you can!
The two mile trail begins just off Rte. 28A about 0.2 miles west of the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade. There is a dedicated parking area just 100 feet into the woods. From there follow the blue markers and yellow directional signs. Just before making the turn towards the top of the old Yale Quarry, a source of rock during the construction of the reservoir, pass the ruins of an old stone building that was used to store explosives. There are sweeping views of the Catskills, including four high peaks, from the high, open ledges along the top of the quarry wall. The path is through a mixed forest of hardwoods and pine, with a 200′ foot section passing through dense mountain laurel.
Be sure to check out the remnants of the railroad loading zone on a short spur trail near the southern end of the main loop trail. A large seasonal vernal pool fed by water falling from the quarry walls is an added point of interest in spring. Although It retains water year round, it becomes very low in summer. As you return to the parking lot, pass through an interesting area with large mounds of tailings that line both sides of the trail.
This is an easy hike with about 200 feet of elevation gain.
For more information and to print a map and trail guide visit:
January 21, 2020 The newly formed Friends of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower group held its first meeting on the evening of January 6th at the O’Connor Hospital in Delhi. The Friends were formed to organize the reconstruction of the fire tower that was decommissioned by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970 and removed in 1975. The tower was purchased by Pete Clark, who meticulously stored the tower’s parts right down to the nuts and bolts in his barn. It is well preserved as a result. Three years ago Tom Clark, the current owner, approached the Catskill Mountain Club with an offer to allow the tower to be restored if the CMC could lead the effort. With the formation of the Friends group, the effort to raise funds and complete the resurrection of the tower has officially begun.
In 2008 the NYC Department of Environmental Protection acquired the Bramley Mountain parcel and in 2016 the DEP allowed the Catskill Mountain Club to build a trail to the summit. The trail has been very popular with the public, drawing over 1500 hikers a year, some of them from as far away as Europe and Africa. Now, with the support and cooperation of the Town of Delhi and of the DEP as well as widespread support in Bovina, Hamden, Kortright, Andes and other local communities, the CMC has formed the Friends of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower to move the project to completion.
For more information, to donate to the Friends, to volunteer and to sign up for the email contact list click here.
April 24, 2019 With the growing interest in the Catskills All Trails Challenge (CATC), we have created a Facebook group dedicated to the folks who are hiking the Challenge. The page gives you a place to connect with one another, share information and advice about the trails, ask questions, make plans, share routes, find hiking and carpooling partners and post pictures and descriptions of your adventures on the trails of the Catskill Park.
Anyone who has hiked or is interested in hiking the All Trails Challenge is welcome to join the group. You’ll need a Facebook account to join. Simply go to the following link and ask to join. Catskills All Trails Challenge on Facebook.
We welcome all hikers who share our values of good stewardship of the Catskill Park. We endorse Leave No Trace principles and compliance with the rules and regulations written by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in order to protect the Catskill Forest Preserve, which was created to protect these lands as “Forever Wild” by an Amendment to the New York State Constitution. These regulations include limited hiking group sizes, with a legal limit of 20 without a special permit. We suggest a limit of 12 to limit impacts on sensitive and endangered plant communities, and to preserve the quality of the wilderness experience. For more, visit our page Recreational Use Regulations for the Catskill Park Forest Preserve.
Two weeks from tomorrow on Tuesday, February 5th the CMC and our many partners in the Catskill Park Coalition will head up to Albany on Catskill Park Day. Our purpose is to talk to legislators, the governor and officials at the DEC about the recreational needs of our region, including stewardship of the Catskill Park, aid to our communities, protection of our environment, conservation and many other things that impact on the health and quality of our area’s great outdoor spaces.
Click here for a summary of our goals and how you can help advance them, even if you can’t go to Albany. Find the contact info for your legislators and for the Governor and give them a call or write a letter supporting our requests. And please join us on February 5th as we make our case to our state’s leaders. Thanks in advance for helping to protect and improve the Catskill Park!
Note: For an updated post see here.
November 15, 2018 Beginning November 17th and lasting through December 9th, the popular regular deer and bear hunting season means that everyone who goes into the woods in the Catskills needs to be aware, be alert and ALWAYS BE DRESSED IN ORANGE (dogs included). Whether you are on forest preserve, state forest or NYCDEP lands, the three week period during which hunters are permitted to use rifles is a time for added care.
Alternatives where hunting is not permitted do exist. Most are not within the Catskills proper, but all are close enough to make a day trip practical. It is advisable to wear orange even when hiking on these trails. The added precaution affords peace of mind.
Listed below are 16 great places to get outdoors where hunting is not permitted. We suggest that you consider exploring new territory or revisiting your favorites. Happy Trails!
Andes Rail Trail/Bullet Hole Spur (in Andes)
Bear Mountain State Park (near West Point)
Black Creek Preserve (near Esopus)
Delhi Trails (in Delhi)
Ferncliff Forest & Fire Tower (Rhinebeck)
Harriman State Park (near Harriman)
High Banks Preserve (near Ulster Park)
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)
Thacher State Park** (near Voorheesville)
The Willows at Brandow’s Point (Athens)
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (Kingston to Gardiner)
Walkway Over the Hudson & Franny Reese State Park (can be combined) (Poughkeepsie/Highland)
The North-South Lake Day Use Area is one place in the Catskill Park where hunting is not permitted. Be aware that the area does not include Kaaterskill Falls or the Escarpment Trail to the south of the intensive use area. It does extend on all trails north to Badman Cave.
*No bear season. For deer seasons, no hunting in the vicinity of hiking trails – check map here: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/Minnewaska2017HuntingMapMinnewaska.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0c-LusE0CwKNafcBrJidoc2K73nagbtsEll1HXmv4a3iyKKLo-aSllsJY
**hunting allowed in a some areas. See map for details: https://parks.ny.gov/…/ThacherThacherStateParkHuntingMap.pdf
Most of us take for granted the almost endless opportunities we have to get out into the great outdoors. Whether we’re hitting the trail, casting for trout, paddling, or going rogue by ‘whacking our way into the unknown, we know well how important that chance to connect with nature is. And we appreciate it deeply.
For some of us, getting that feeling isn’t so easy. Our friends and family members who have limited mobility need and deserve resources that can accommodate them so they can get out and experience that connection with nature, too. The Americans with Disabilities Act has encouraged the development of infrastructure to make getting out easier. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, other governmental agencies and even some non-governmental organizations have accessible facilities all around the Catskills, including trails, fishing areas, water access points, picnic pads, camping pads, pavilions and restrooms. Recent improvements have been completed at Kenneth Wilson Campground, a DEC facility in the Town of Woodstock and the DEC has filed notice for comments on a plan to improve and add to the accessible facilities at the North-South Lake Campground near Haines Falls. Accessible attractions also include iconic spots like Kaaterskill Falls and the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade. For travelers, easy to get to trails and other amenities can be found at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mt. Tremper.
Here are links to pages that list where many of these facilities are located.
NYSDEC Accessible Recreation Destinations listed by county.
NYS Parks – search by the park name or location and look for the “Amenities and Activities” section.
There are two recent additions to the trail system on Overlook Mountain. The Meads Meadow Trail and the Overloop Trail provide new easy to moderate hikes that loop north off the Overlook Spur Trail, which has been extended to the new Meads Meadow Trailhead parking area. Together they add 1.8 miles of new trails. Going forward, those trails are being added to the list of trails that must be hiked in order to complete the All Trails Challenge requirements. With their inclusion their are now 347 miles of designated hiking trails that must be hiked to receive your cetificate, patch and shirt. More Happy Hiking!
Overlook Mountain Wild Forest map.
April 10, 2018
Parking has always been a bit tricky for visitors to the Andes Rail Trail and Bullet Hole Spur, but no longer. There has been a great improvement to the parking situation thanks to the Town of Andes, landscaper Mel Bellar and CMC board member Ann Roberti. The entrance to the Trail and to the historic train station has been opened up and improved so that parking is now available adjacent to the trailhead. The trailhead itself has a newly redesigned entrance. The parking area was paved with crushed stone by LaFever Excavating. While there, they generously donated work to improve a long existing drainage problem on the trail. The CMC thanks all those involved in these projects for a great job.
Have you come home from a winter hike to find that a tick has attached itself to you!? Maybe you’ve been out on a little adventure on the trails and found yourself on your butt more times than you care to remember. Read our review of traction devices and you’ll soon be prepared for another, safer outing. These articles and much more are yours to read by clicking here. Subscribe to our mailing list to get future newsletters and CMC updates in your mailbox automatically. Just give us your name, email address and mailing address and you’ll be kept informed about CMC happenings. We promise not to flood your inbox.
Of course, our favorite option would be that you become a CMC member. Our modest membership dues are what we rely on to make the wheels go ’round. And you get some nice perks with your annual membership. Check it out. Thanks.
After careful consideration, the CMC has decided to de-list the Jockey Hill Trails as a hike required to qualify for the Catskills All Trails Challenge certificate of completion.
Like the Elm Ridge trails in Greene County, which were never listed as required hikes, Jockey Hill trails are multi-purpose and are designed with the needs of mountain biking users in mind. The Department of Environmental Conservation has indicated that the trail system at Jockey Hill will be expanded to serve those needs. These additions further change the hiking experience through the design of trails that form multiple loops. Similar improvements have been made at Elm Ridge, and the CMC applauds the decision of the DEC to expand mountain biking opportunities in the Catskill Park. However, such trails are not conducive to a satisfying hiking experience.
To those who have already hiked Jockey Hill in its current configuration, we say congratulations. We hope you enjoyed your explorations there. Feedback from some CATs hikers, along with consultation with the DEC about the expanded system have informed our decision. Of course, any hiker is more than welcome to explore both Jockey Hill and Elm Ridge. Until the current supply of CATs Challenge tee shirts runs out, Jockey Hill will continue to be listed on the shirt. It will be removed from the published list of required hikes.
As this development illustrates, the trail system in the Catskill Park in dynamic. New trails are sometimes added and old trails are sometimes rerouted or abandoned. We appreciate input from our members and friends and look forward to hearing from you as you continue the quest. Thanks for participating and for spreading the word about the Catskills All Trails Challenge and the wonderful trails and features that are discovered with each hike!
In only a few days the CMC and its Catskill Park Coalition partners will go to Albany for our annual Catskill Park Day. We’ll meet with our elected representatives, including the Governor and members of the legislature, to press for action on the policy priorities we have identified for 2018.
If you are not able to travel with us to Albany for Catskill Park Day, there’s a way to speak up and speak out right from the comfort of your home or office. By raising your voice, you amplify our message and add power to its effectiveness.
You can either send Governor Cuomo a brief letter of support for the priorities of the Catskill Mountain Club and its Catskill Park Coalition partners, or you can call the Governor’s office and give a brief message of support.
Below are the specific requests made by the CPC for 2018. Simply glance at them, pick one or two that resonates with you and place your call telling the assistant who answers what you would like the Governor to support.
If you prefer to write a note, we have provided a link to the form used by the Governor’s office. You can simply copy and paste the message we have written below or edit it to suit your preferences.
We have had good results over the past several years and anticipate continued success with support from folks like you who love the Catskills and care about its future.
Thank you for your efforts!
Phone number of the Governor’s office: (518) 474-8390 Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Link to the Governor’s email system: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
Dear Governor Cuomo,
I am writing today to respectfully ask that you give your support to the priorities for the Catskill Park and region as expressed by the Catskill Mountain Club and its fellow members of the Catskill Park Coalition.
The Catskill Park is one of our nation’s great natural assets, encompassing hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine wilderness and sparkling clean waters. It is home to huge communities of rare wildlife and to one of the most diverse forests in the world. And it is one of New York’s greatest outdoor recreational areas, along with the Adirondack Park.
Please support the continuing improvements to the Catskills environment and Park infrastructure that allow members of the public to experience the great outdoors in all its glory in a way that is both safe and sustainable.
The DEC opened the new Meads Meadow Trailhead parking area on McDaniel Rd. today. A new trail system explores the Magic Meadow parcel, and the new connector trail leads to the existing trail to the summit and fire tower.
Severe overuse has long plagued hikers with parking problems that resulted in dangerous conditions on the road for hikers and drivers alike. A downloadable map is available on the CMC website here: Overlook Mountain new parking & trails.
The Catskill Interpretive Center has added a very valuable service for visitors who hike in the Catskills. The weekly updated trail condition reports offer vital news about all sorts of hazards and problems that hikers might encounter. Things like washouts, trail obstructions, weather related conditions and other related info can be found in one convenient spot. Check out the CMC Facebook page on Thursdays for a link to the new reports, or visit the Catskill Interpretive Center’s trail conditions webpage.
The CMC is an operating partner of the Catskill Interpretive Center. To support out work there, please consider donating to or joining the CMC. Thank you.
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:
- Delhi Trails – over 1000 visitors in 2016
- Palmer Hill Trails – 1300 in the last year
- Shavertown Trail – 1200 in the last year.
- Andes Rail Trail & Bullet Hole Spur- 1500 in the last year
- Bramley Mountain Trails – 600 hikers from opening day thru December
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!
August 1, 2016 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.
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!