New Staff at the Catskill Center’s New Tannersville Office

Two new staff members, Julia Solomon and Lisa Wachtel, have joined the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development in the Center’s new Tannersville office. Working closely with Kali Bird, Associate Director of the Catskill Center, Julia Solomon has joined as Real Estate Project Manager and Lisa Wachtel as Real Estate Closing Manager. Both will work on the Catskill Center’s Streamside Acquisition Program (SAP), a new initiative developed in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Focused during a five-year pilot phase on the Schoharie Basin, the Streamside Acquisition Program works to preserve healthy streams by protecting sensitive streamside lands. The goals of the program include preventing streambank erosion, mitigating flood risk, protecting fish and other wildlife habitat, and where possible providing recreational opportunities, while safeguarding water quality for the millions of families in the Hudson Valley and New York City metro region who get their drinking water from Catskills reservoirs.

Under the Streamside Acquisition Program, the Catskill Center works with eligible, interested landowners to buy vacant streamside ‘buffer’ lands and floodplains. These lands will ultimately be held by New York City and will be preserved as natural, forested areas.

Jeff Senterman, Executive Director of the Catskill Center says “We are very excited about the opening of our Tannersville office, where we can better serve communities and landowners participating in the new Streamside Acquisition Program. The office will become a location for visitors and residents alike to learn more about the Catskill Center’s work to foster conservation and economic well-being, and help visitors explore the Catskills with resources from our Catskill Interpretive Center.”

The Catskill Center’s Tannersville office is located at 6049 Main Street, in space shared with the Greene County Soil and Water District. An opening reception for the new office will be held in upcoming months. All public events at the Tannersville office will be promoted via the Catskill Center’s mailing list and social media.

ulia brings a background in land conservation and sustainability planning to her work with the Catskill Center. She will promote the program to eligible streamside landowners, visit with interested landowners at their properties, and work with landowners through the initial stages of the acquisition process. Julia grew up in Rochester, New York, and received her undergraduate degree in biology from Cornell University and her master’s degree in conservation biology and sustainable development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is thrilled to be back in her home state working and playing in the Catskills. She loves hiking, canoeing, and camping with her husband and two young children.

Lisa comes to the Catskill Center with over twenty-five years of experience in the legal, title insurance, and land services industries. She manages the later stages of the property acquisition process for the Streamside Acquisition Program. Her primary responsibilities include coordinating, reviewing, and documenting all closing-related activities, including managing contracts for services and other technical and legal aspects of the closing process. A lifetime resident of New York State, Lisa enjoys hiking, volleyball, golf, and travel— especially when those activities include the company of her family.

Our Mission: To protect and foster the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the Catskill region.

Guided by the foundational understanding that conservation creates opportunity, we are the major force advocating for the Catskill region. Since 1969, we have led the effort to protect the Catskill Park and Catskill Forest Preserve, while advancing local and regional economic development initiatives. Our interdisciplinary approach to protecting our ecosystems and creating vibrant communities encompasses four program areas – Arts & Culture, Education, Natural Resources, and Regional Planning. -- Streamside Acquisition Program contact: Kali Bird, Associate Director of the Catskill Center and Program Manager of SAP—Office: (845) 586-2611; Mobile: (845) 544-9096; Streamside Acquisition Program info: Join Catskill Center’s mailing list: Connect with Catskill Center on social media @catskillcenter #catskillcenter

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Supports Catskill Center, Gives Talk at REI

The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development is proud to receive a unique charitable contribution from Moe Lemire, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker who dedicated his hike to raise funds for the Catskill Center, while raising awareness about the Catskills. Moe Lemire recently completed the entirety of his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and will give a presentation at REI’s SoHo store in New York City on October 27th at 7 pm. Moe Lemire’s talk is entitled, “Storm’s Appalachian Trail Journey: 168 days and 2189.1 miles later, relive an Appalachian Trail journey with Moe Lemire, aka Storm, who just finished his thru-hike from Maine to Georgia”. It’s common for thru-hikers to take a name while on their hike, Moe adopted the moniker “Storm”.

Moe started his hike on April 6, 2016 at Springer Mountain in Georgia after registering as a thru-hiker at Amicalola Falls State Park at the start of the Appalachian Trail Approach Trail. At the start of his hike, he was joined by a friend and together over a week, they hiked north. We here at the Catskill Center are honored to be the recipients of these generous gifts and Moe's generosity to select us as his charity of choice.

Says Mr. Lemire, “Simply put, I walked from Georgia to Maine. It was both the most difficult thing I have ever attempted and one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. It is not an exaggeration to say that this trip has truly has changed my life. On my journey I met amazing people, experienced trail magic and tested and expanded my own horizons. I created an online community where I was able to bring family, friends and even complete strangers along on my hike with stories, videos and photos from the journey in real time. I also helped to protect my home and the region I love, the Catskills as part of my trip by raising awareness and supporting the Catskill Center’s work to preserve and protect the Catskill Park.”

Moe will be recounting his Appalachian Trail thru hike through photos, stories, and videos at the REI Store in SoHo, New York City. There will be plenty of opportunities to answer audience questions and help anyone who has thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail to learn more. He’ll showcase some of his gear from the trip, provide some tips for would be thru hikers and be on hand to answer questions about his home, the Catskills.

Moe Lemire is an active volunteer with the Catskill Center and the NY-NJ Trail Conference, where he leads their volunteer effort to maintain backcountry lean-tos in the Catskills. When planning his Appalachian Trail thru-hike, he figured out what he wanted to do: support the Catskills with his hike soliciting donations that support the work of the Catskill Center. Moe created the “Moe Hikes the Appalachian Trail” page on GoFundMe ( which allowed his friends, family members and supporters of his hike to make donations in support of his goal. Those funds have gone directly to the Catskill Center to support our work.

Please join Moe at the REI Store in SoHo for a fantastic evening to inspire you to tackle this classic thru-hike. You can learn more about his experience on his Trail Journal ( and at his GoFundMe campaign page (

Moe's story and hike were featured in an episode of Bill Green's Maine, which captured video from his final day on the Appalachian Trail as he climbed Mount Katahdin:

Our Mission: To protect and foster the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the Catskill region.

Guided by the foundational understanding that conservation creates opportunity, we are the major force advocating for the Catskill region. Since 1969, we have led the effort to protect the Catskill Park and Catskill Forest Preserve, while advancing local and regional economic development initiatives. Our interdisciplinary approach to protecting our ecosystems and creating vibrant communities encompasses four program areas – Arts & Culture, Education, Natural Resources, and Regional Planning.

Connect with us on social media @catskillcenter #catskillcenter

Become a member of the Catskill Center

Unit Management Plan Meeting Set for Colgate Lake & Windham Blackhead Range Units

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will hold a public meeting to provide information and gather public input for the development of unit management plans (UMP) for the Colgate Lake wild forest unit (1,500 acres) and the Windham Blackhead Range wilderness unit (18,000 acres). The two units are located in the Greene County towns of Windham, Jewett, Cairo, Catskill and Hunter.

The meeting will he held on Thursday, October 27th at 6:00 p.m. at the Mountain Top Library, 6093 Main St., Tannersville. DEC is seeking input to help establish a long-term vision and specific goals for management of these properties.

The Windham-Blackhead Range wilderness is in the northeastern part of the Catskill Forest Preserve and contains some of the highest terrain in the Catskills, including 13 peaks over 3,000 feet in elevation. Many of these peaks make up the Blackhead Mountains, which form the northeastern escarpment of the Catskill Park and are visible for many miles to the north and east. One of the more popular hiking trails in the area, the escarpment trail, spans the entire unit and provides many incredible views along the way. The south end of the unit is bordered by the North-South Lake campground, which has its own system of trails that connect to other Forest Preserve lands to the south.

The Colgate Lake wild forest features the scenic Colgate Lake, which is popular for fishing, kayaking and primitive camping. The yellow-marked Colgate Lake trail travels just over four miles to Dutcher Notch and the escarpment trail. The wild forest is bounded by the Windham Blackhead Range wilderness area on three sides.

DEC will use the information gathered during this process as it develops draft unit management plans for the units. The finalized plans will guide future uses and management of the area and will include an analysis of the natural features of the area and an examination of the land for its ability to accommodate multiple uses.

UMPs are a collaborative effort between DEC and the public in developing long-term plans for DEC-managed public lands. Public involvement is extremely important in the creation and revision of UMPs, as it provides staff with valuable information and insight regarding public priorities and perspectives. Those wishing to contribute to the planning discussion but unable to attend the session may submit comments via mail or e-mail. Additional public input will be sought when a draft plan is released for public review and comment.

Written comments and suggestions regarding the use of the lands will be accepted by DEC until December 12, 2016. Comments should be sent to: Maxwell Wolckenhauer, NYSDEC Region 4 Stamford suboffice, 65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1 Stamford, NY 12167;


 PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Planning Board of the Town of Hunter has received an application from NYS Mesonet / The Research Foundation of SUNY. The applicant is requesting a 100’Mesonet weather station at the terminus of Gillespie Road, Haines Falls; tax id# 182.00-3-27, the lands of NYC DEP.  The Town Planning Board has authorized Pyramid Network Services LLC to conduct a balloon test to assess the visual impact of the proposed tower on the community.   

DEC Announces Start of Early Bear Hunting Seasons

Interested in learning more about our black bear population? Click here for details on an upcoming bear talk at the Catskill Center!

Bear Hunting Seasons Begin September 10 in Southeastern New York,September 17 in Northern New York

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the start of early bear hunting seasons in New York State.

"Early black bear hunting seasons are an important tool for managers to control and maintain healthy bear populations," said Commissioner Seggos. "Bears are feeding heavily this time of year, gorging on wild nuts and berries and corn in the field if they can find it. Hunters can increase the odds of finding a bear by keying in on concentrated natural food sources."

In southeastern New York, the early bear season runs from September 10 - 25 in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. 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.

In northern New York, the early bear season runs from September 17 - October 14 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J. Bowhunting season for bears also begins onSeptember 17 in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N. Muzzleloader season opens in all northern WMUs on October 15, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on October 22.

During the early season, eligible bear hunters may use a bow, crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle where allowed. Because of the likelihood of warm weather, bear hunters should be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. Hunters may opt to skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice.

DEC regulates black bear hunting in order to manage healthy bear populations and limit bear nuisances. Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates and regulations, is available on DEC's website. Additionally, DEC's booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF, 900 KB) , includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.

Kaaterskill Falls Bridge Installation over Spruce Creek Begins

Beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 6, access to the Kaaterskill Falls overlook will be limited due to the construction of a new pedestrian bridge in the area. The trail to the overlook will not be accessible for individuals with mobility impairments during the construction period, which is anticipated to last through the month of September and possibly into October.

Parking at the Laurel House Road parking lot will be restricted at various intervals during the construction project, and will close for a short period of time during the month. Parking will be available on nearby Scutt Road or the Mountain Top Historical Society during the construction project. For further information about the closures, please contact the DEC Stamford office at 607-652-7365.

2016 Ginsberg and Alf Evers Awards at Annual Summer Gathering

2016 Ginsberg and Alf Evers Awards at Annual Summer Gathering

This past Saturday, August 13th, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development welcomed its members, supporters, neighbors and friends to the Annual Summer Gathering of the Catskill Center, at its headquarters, the Erpf Center, in Arkville, NY. Alongside dozens of longstanding supporters, new members and their guests, Mark Ginsberg, officer of the board of directors of the Catskill Center, presented the 2016 Ginsberg Award to Geddy Sveikauskas for outstanding leadership and commitment to the Catskill Center and the Catskill region. Jeff Senterman, executive director of the Catskill Center, presented the 2016 Alf Evers Award for Excellent to the Catskill Mountain Club for outstanding leadership commitment to protection of the Catskill region. 

Governor Cuomo Directs DEC to Issue Heightened Drought Warning for Western New York

Governor Cuomo Directs DEC to Issue Heightened Drought Warning for Western New York

Under a framework established under an Executive Order, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to issue a heightened Drought Warning for most of Western New York. In response, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos issued a Drought Warning for western State Drought Regions VI, VII and VIII. These regions include the following counties in western NYS: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. Commissioner Seggos issued the warning after consulting with experts from the State Drought Management Task Force and Federal technical agencies. The remainder of the State remains under a previously declared Drought Watch.

"Recent rains helped to reduce the severity of drought conditions in the eastern portion of NY. However, much of western NY did not receive large rainfall amounts over the past weekend and continues to experience significant drought conditions with extremely low stream flows and reduced groundwater levels," Governor Cuomo said. "Residents throughout the state should continue to conserve water whenever possible during the coming months."

A "warning" is the second of four levels of state drought advisories ("watch," "warning," "emergency" and "disaster"). There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch or warning but citizens are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. Local public water suppliers may impose water use restrictions depending upon local needs and conditions.

DEC Commissioner Seggos said, "While there are no mandated water use restrictions in place we do encourage the public to do their part to conserve water by taking some fairly simple steps. Minor changes in everyday practices can go a long way in helping to prevent any increased drought levels."

The following are some conservation tips that homeowners can take to reduce their outdoor water usage:

  • Fix dripping and leaking faucets and toilets.
  • A faucet leaking 30 drops per minute wastes 54 gallons a month.
  • Raise your lawn mower cutting height. Longer grass needs less water.
  • If your community allows watering, water lawns and gardens on alternate mornings instead of every day. Less frequent watering will develop grass with deeper roots, and early morning watering minimizes evaporation.
  • When using automatic lawn watering systems, override the system in wet weather or use a rain gauge to control when and how much water to use. A fixed watering schedule wastes water. Irrigate only when needed. It saves water and can actually improve your lawn's health.
  • Sweep sidewalks and steps rather than hosing them. Eliminating a weekly 5-minute pavement hose-down could save between 625 and 2500 gallons of water per year depending on the flow rate.

For more water saving tips, visit DEC's webpage.

The drought watch and warnings are triggered by the State Drought Index, which reflects precipitation levels, reservoir/lake levels, and stream flow and groundwater levels in the nine drought regions of the state. Each of these indicators is assigned a weighted value based on its significance to various uses in a region. For more detailed drought information, please visit DEC's webpage.