The Catskill Center Gets a Grant for Land Trust Accreditation

DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch

DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch

On April 26th at a gathering overlooking the Hudson River the 2017 Land Trust Grants were announced and the Catskill Center was awarded $25,000 towards our efforts to become an accredited land trust. The celebration was hosted by the Hudson Highlands Land Trust and featured DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch, Assistant Commissioner Kathy Moser, local representatives, and land trust colleagues from around the state. The grantor was the New York State Conservation Partnership Program that consists of the New York State Department of Environmental Protection and the Land Trust Alliance. The Catskill Center’s award will be used to hire a land trust project assistant who will help with the accreditation project, continued support from a project consultant and updating of the Catskill Center’s data storage and network systems, which are essential pieces to our land trust operation.

Michael Drillinger with Ethan Winter of the Land Trust Alliance

Michael Drillinger with Ethan Winter of the Land Trust Alliance

I had the privilege to attend the announcement. The Hudson Highlands Land Trust offices are in a beautiful and stately old building in Garrison, NY, with views of the Hudson River. The event was co-hosted by the Putnam County Land Trust and included representative of land trusts from across New York State. In all, the Catskill Center was one of 69 organizations that shared around $1.8 Million from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Accreditation will put the Catskill Center into an elite group of land trusts from across the country who have demonstrated standards and practices that meet or exceed the rigorous standards set by the Land Trust Alliance. Accreditation will make a higher level of support available to the Catskill Center for the critical work we do in protecting the land, water and air of the Catskills. This protection directly benefits both the wildlife and the people who call the Catskills home.

Back to the announcement event; there were refreshments and among the refreshments were apple cider donuts. These donuts were touted as the “best cider donuts in the state”. A rather bold claim, but they did taste extraordinarily good. It did lead a number of us to ponder the feasibility of a Hudson Valley Donut Tour. And why not? There are already wine tours, farm tours and art tours in the valley. And if coupled with hiking, there would be a way to work off one shops wares before going on to the next.

Michelle Smith, Executive Director of Hudson Highlands Land Trust, points out Constitution Marsh and West Point from the North Redoubt

Michelle Smith, Executive Director of Hudson Highlands Land Trust, points out Constitution Marsh and West Point from the North Redoubt

After the speeches, photos and mingling, the staff of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust offered a hike to those interested. There are accessible trails to a pair of scenic and historic lookouts next to the Land Trust’s headquarters. One of which is the redoubt where George Washington was inspecting the fortifications of West Point, located directly across the Hudson River, when he received the report that Benedict Arnold had turned traitor. There is a South Redoubt and a North Redoubt. It is not clear which redoubt was where the Washington event occurred. We hiked up the North Redoubt Trail and from the top you could clearly see West Point and the Constitution Marsh.

The Catskill Center is very grateful for this award and we send our thanks to Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Basil Seggos and the Land Trust Alliance.

If you are interested in the Land Trust Project Assistant position, or you know someone who might be, please click HERE for more information.

Michael Drillinger
Land Trust Manager

All photos courtesy of Rosalind Dickinson