News And Announcements

Smith Pond Trail Temporarily Closed

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.

Groomed Cross Country Trails at Delhi Golf Course

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.

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High Use Issues Have Been Rising in the Catskills

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.

How to hike safely now

There’s danger out in nature too – ticks are serious business …read more

 

SUNY Delhi Students Work on the Bulldog Trails at Delaware Academy

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.

 

Thanks to Dominic Croce, Amber Garcia, Ryan Ford, Logan Grasso and Fletcher Nisbet!

Work at the Delhi Trails

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.

Happy Hiking.

CMC WIll Resume In-person Events Schedule on May 1st

April 8, 2021     After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, we are happy to restart our in-person event schedule. The Annual Ephemeral Wildflower Hike in Kelly Hollow is always popular. Check it out and register early as space is limited.
We will continue to follow social distancing protocols, with masks on in the parking lot and optional on the trails. Please maintain safe distancing at all times.
We discourage carpooling unless occupants are from the same household, or have all been vaccinated.  We will not arrange carpooling at this time.

 

CMC Comments on Proposed Pumped Storage Project in the Catskill Park

                                  

 

An Unacceptable Proposal

We want to call your attention to a proposed energy development here in the Catskills that is audacious and concerning. Premium Energy Holdings of California has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin a preliminary study for a project that would build a dam in the Catskill Park. The resulting reservoir would be the source of water that would be released periodically to generate electricity by turning turbines that would be installed below ground level. The water would be drawn and pumped up from NYC’s Ashokan Reservoir. In addition, power lines would need to be installed. Interestingly, the company, Premium Energy, did not notify the NYCDEP, the controlling agency, of their plans to file for a permit. Nor did they explore the idea with any other Catskills entity, apparently. They have demonstrated a lack of respect for the Catskill Park, the watershed and for local communities that suggests a warning for how they will proceed if they receive a permit.
Three possible sites for the dam have been proposed. Each would create major impacts on Catskills communities, the protected lands of the Catskill Park, important infrastructure, Catskills fisheries and, of course, on water quality in the NYC watershed supply system. Each would flood approximately 200 to 300 acres and require a dam of over 2000 feet in length.

While we support all responsible efforts to create alternative means of producing electric energy, those efforts must take into account the effects on communities and on conserved areas that are vital to the ecological health and well being of our planet. The Catskill Park, America’s First Wilderness, is such a place. Established by New York State and protected by the state constitution as “forever wild’, it deserves and must receive the highest degree of protection possible. The Premium Energy project would cause permanent and irreparable harm, and, therefore, it must be rejected.

It is the CMC’s opinion that the proposal is without merit and that FERC should deny the application. We encourage individual citizens; to express their opposition by posting a comment with FERC by using this link: https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx. Comments are due no later than April 12.

For more information, you can read comments by the Town of Olive and from other sources here: https://town.olive.ny.us/news/ferc-proposal-for-the-ashokan-pumped-storage-hydro-facility/

VIDEO:  Ashokan Pumped Storage Project Informational Meeting by the Town of Olive

New Requirements for the 4 Seasons and Grid Programs Begin March 21st

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.

Smith Pond Trail section closed and a Delhi Trails change in permitted use.

Due to a recent decision by one of the property owners who has generously allowed the Smith Pond trail to cross their property, the southern trailhead on Arbor Hill/Back River Rd. is now permanently closed to the public. Please do not trespass. We will remove the kiosk as soon as weather conditions allow. In the future, we will redesign the trail. For now, hikers may enter at the northern trailhead on Rte. 28, opposite the Delaware Academy. The trail is closed past the bridge, so turn around at that point and retrace your path. Please do not proceed beyond the bridge onto closed private property.
On the Delhi Trails across the highway, a snowmobile trail has been authorized by the school board that is co-aligned with some sections of the hiking trail. It is marked accordingly, so be aware that you may encounter snowmobilers. The trail is closed to snowmobile use during school hours, M-F from 7 AM until 3 PM.
As soon as we have complete information of the new trail’s route, we will post it here and on the webpage: https://catskillmountainclub.org/…/delhi-trails-mt…/

Recent Updates to the Catskills All Trails Challenge Tally Sheet

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.