The Future of the Catskill Interpretive Center
The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) is a partnership between the Catskill Center and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Since opening in July 2015, the CIC has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the Catskill Park and region.
The result of decades of effort to develop a visitor center for the Catskill Park and the greater Catskills, the public-private partnership between the Catskill Center and New York State has allowed the CIC to flourish as the gateway to the region.
The CIC sits on approximately 60-acres of land adjacent to Route 28 in the Town of Shandaken. It is located on one of the major entryways to the Catskill Park. In addition to the CIC itself, the site currently offers visitors more than a mile of walking trails (some of which are fully accessbile), a sculpture trail, picnic areas and access across Route 28 to the Esopus Creek.
The Catskill Center, as the owner of the land, has both a lease and a cooperative agreement with the NYSDEC, in which the Catskill Center is responsible for operations and management of the CIC and its associated costs. Since opening hte CIC, the Catskill Center has hired a full-time Director for the CIC, supplemented by part-time staff and volunteers who welcome visitors and deliver information to the public.
The NYSDEC has committed to the construction of a new road sign, picnic pavilion, fire tower, ranger cabin and other site improvements that will improve accessibility, visitor experience and meet infrastructure needs.
The Catskill Center’s ongoing efforts at the CIC are partially supported by grants from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Catskill Watershed Corporation. In addition, the CIC is supported by individual donations, event income and funding from the Catskill Center’s main operating budget.
In 2016, the Catskill Center identified the need to improve the exhibits and information delivery systems for the Catskill Interpretive Center. Through a NYSDEC Smart Growth Grant and a grant from the Catskill Watershed Corporation, the Catskill Center hired a designer to create state-of-the-art exhibits that tell the story of the Catskills and help visitors explore the Catskill Park and region.
We seek to make the CIC a true destination and gateway to the Catskill Park and region that showcases the Catskill Park and assists with local economic opportunity through tourism, but we cannot do it alone. We need New York State's assistance in providing financial resources to fully realize the CIC as the gateway for the Catskills.
This year, we have the opportunity to make this financial assistance a reality! Governor Andrew Cuomo has included language in his Executive Budget under the Capital Projects Appropriation Bill that would provide a source of funding for the new exhibits and help support operations at the CIC.
As part of our work in Albany during the FY 2019 budget process, we are urging the inclusion of the language proposed in Governor Cuomo’s FY 2019 Capital Projects Appropriation Bill (Page 147, 09CC0BER) in the final budget. This language re-appropriates funding for the CIC from the original 2008 appropriation and directs it to the Catskill Center for the purposes of work at the Catskill Interpretive Center.
How can you help?
Call the Governor's office at 518-474-8390 and thank him for supporting the Catskill Interpretive Center in his budget and urge him to make sure that the language directing the funding to the Catskill Center for the CIC makes it to the final budget.
Call your Assemblymember and your State Senator and tell them that you support the language (identified in the Bill by the code 09CC0BER on Page 147 of the Bill) for the Catskill Interpretive Center and that you want to see it in the final budget so the Catskill Center can create the new exhibits and operate the CIC at its fullest capacity.
With your help, we can ensure the best possible gateway for our Catskills at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center!
--Jeff Senterman, Executive Director
Want a sneak peak of the future CIC?
We've created a website that showcases the work going into the new exhibits at the Catskill Interpretive Center. Browse the site and offer your comments and thoughts to us to help with the work at the CIC!