Sign-Up for our Newsletter and BulletinsKeep up with what’s going on at the Catskill Center and our Region!
Catskill Center's Land Conservation History
To date The Catskill Center has directly or indirectly helped to protect over 18,000 acres of land in the seven-county area of the region. This has been accomplished through the use of conservation easements; preserve ownership, and transfers of land and easements to the State and other non-profit organizations.
The Catskill Center’s first major commitment to land conservation occurred in 1975 when the Griswold family donated 208 acres of land, including a beautiful waterfall, at the head of the rugged and scenic Platte Clove in the Town of Hunter, Greene County. The Platte Clove Preserve [link: map and information] remains a pristine wilderness area owned and managed by The Catskill Center, open for the quiet enjoyment of our members and the public.
In 1976, The Catskill Center began working with the Balsam Lake Angler’s Club, who owned thousands of acres of land in the central Catskill Mountains, but were facing intense property tax pressure. The Catskill Center ultimately received a gift from the club of 3,615 acres of wild forestland in the Town of Hardenburgh, which was termed the "Beaverkill Conservation Area". Several years of negotiating and legal work by Catskill Center Board President Bill Ginsberg made the project a reality. When The Catskill Center sold the land to the DEC three years later, it was hailed at that time as being the largest single tract of land acquired by the State in the Catskills since the Forest Preserve was established in 1885 [map and information].
The highlight of The Catskill Center’s land conservation work in the 1980's was our role in helping to protect the bald eagle over-wintering areas of the Mongaup Valley in Sullivan County. Catskill Center President Bill Ginsberg was again instrumental in achieving a conservation deal. An electric utility company owned and operated several reservoirs and several large tracts of land where eagles were increasingly congregating each winter. The Catskill Center commissioned a study of eagle ecology and local habitat needs, worked out a property acquisition deal with the utility company, and the NYSDEC committed major funding that resulted in the protection of approximately 12,000-acres of land, including the creation of the Mongaup Wildlife Management Area and placement of DEC-held conservation easements on large areas of neighboring private property [map and information].
In the early to mid-1990's The Catskill Center took a lead role in acquiring the Catskill Interpretive Center site in Mt. Tremper [map and information], along with some neighboring properties, and prepared a land conservation action plan for the John Burroughs home-farm area in Roxbury [map and information]. Key parcels in the Kaaterskill Clove were acquired and transferred to the State [map and information], and protection and restoration of the historic Thomas Cole House [map and information] in the Village of Catskill was achieved with our assistance.
In 1986 The Catskill Center initiated a conservation easement program for landowners wishing to protect their privately owned lands with important conservation values ‘in perpetuity’. Since that time, The Catskill Center has acquired conservation easements on 17 properties totaling approximately 1,570 acres.
Additionally, The Catskill Center negotiated and accepted two conservation easements totaling 993 acres on behalf of the Durham Valley Land Trust in 2002, and subsequently transferred the easements to that organization when they received their official non-profit status [map and information]. The Catskill Center also acquired in fee a nature preserve property on behalf of the Esopus Creek Conservancy in 2004, and subsequently transferred title to that organization when it received its official non-profit status in 2005, at the same time retaining a conservation easement on the property to ensure that it will always be managed as a nature preserve [map and information].