Catskill Center Statement on Passing of Congressman Maurice Hinchey

On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and families of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, we extend our deepest condolences with utmost respect for our friend and tireless Catskills advocate, Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey.

We are humbled and proud each and every day to honor Congressman Hinchey's legacy at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center.

This Thanksgiving, we give our thanks to Maurice, who dedicated his life to our Catskills, to New York State and to our national betterment. We are forever grateful for his service and dedication.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: "Function or Form: Utilitarian Art / an exhibit" returns to the Catskill Center’s Erpf Gallery for a second year

November 7, 2017 ARKVILLE, NY — The 2nd annual exhibit of "Function or Form: Utilitarian Art / an exhibit", will be on display in the Erpf Gallery November 18, 2017 through January 6, 2018.

The show will feature aesthetically delightful, functional items created by 14 local artists.

A public reception will be held on Friday, November 17, from 6-8 PM, at the Erpf Center in Arkville.

Many of the products we use every day are not only useful, but are also beautiful. Homemade furniture, clothing, pottery, quilts — many items created for use in the every day are worthy of display.

In 2016, the Catskill Center’s Erpf Gallery hosted the first utilitarian show to celebrate local people who create work with both beautiful form and practical function.

The 2016 show was such a success – with a dozen sales and hundreds of visitors - that the Utilitarian Art show has become an annual event. This year’s show will feature returning makers as well as several new artists.

2017 exhibiting makers and their creations include: Jessica Baker and her window coverings, John Byer and his woodworking, Enid Cytryn and her hand-made clothing, Maureen DeKaser’s floor coverings, Rosalind Dickinson and her pottery, Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes and her weaving, Janie Greenwald and her woven chair seats, Annie Hayes and her hooked rugs, Nadia Kirgan and her furniture, Cheyenne Mallo’s ceramics, Joe Muehl and his woodwork; Franc Palaia and his furniture; Dan Palm’s woodwork and the wodwork of John Virga.

The Erpf Gallery, located at 43355 Route 28 in Arkville, NY is open Mon – Fri 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and Saturdays 10 am to 2 pm.

For more information, contact the Catskill Center at 845-586-2611, or visit www.catskillcenter.org.

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ABOUT THE CATSKILL CENTER

 Since 1969, the Catskill Center has protected and fostered the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the Catskill region.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Historic Cemeteries of the Catskills and their Ghosts

or the Biological Inheritance of our Catskill Forests

October 24, 2017 ARKVILLE, NY — The Catskill forest is dense with history. There are plow-lines to be found, as well as burial grounds, stone walls and plants (once precious, now feral) — all are ghosts of generations past.

Saturday, October 28, naturalist John Thompson will lead a hike of the Kelly Hollow Loop and search for traces of past uses of the land and markers of previous human existence. The walk is the final offering of the Catskill Center’s 2017 Exclusive Member Programming Series.

Says Thompson, "The Catskill forests exist as a biological legacy of the people that came before us and that narrative remains in our landscape today.

"We will observe the traces of what our predecessors harvested, what they nurtured, what they protected, and how they used the landscape.

"The Catskills are always changing — it is only through understanding this biological legacy that we will be able to best protect these forests into the future."

One human generation exists in the Catskills and passes a landscape, forever altered by their presence, on to the next.

The walk will begin at the Kelly (Sleepy) Hollow Trailhead at 10am. The Loop is 3.3 miles. Please register for this pro- gram by contacting  jmogelever@catskillcenter.org or call 845-586-2611.

For more information please visit catskillcenter.org/events.

John Thompson is the Coordinator of the Catskill Regional Species Partnership and has over twenty years of experi- ence collaborating with scientists and land stewards throughout southeastern New York State promoting science-based management.

John also serves as Secretary of the Natural History Section of the Ecological Society of America.

Effort To Approve Prop 3 On NY Ballot

There is a concerted effort by a wide range of interests to get New York voters to approve Proposition Three on the November ballot two weeks from now. It would create a land bank to allow communities in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve to accomplish small projects without the need to amend the state constitution.

Article 14 of the New York Constitution includes the Forever Wild clause protecting the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve.  For communities that want to upgrade utilities, roads and other critical infrastructure that abut the forever wild lands, a constitutional amendment has been required.  For example, in 1995 a constitutional amendment was passed to allow the Town of Keene to expand its cemetery.

Proposition 3 is supported by environmental, municipal, recreational, and business groups across the state.  It asks voters to approve a Public Health and Safety Land Account.  If approved it would amend article 14, the “Forever Wild” clause, to create a land bank to allow local communities in the forest preserve areas of the Adirondacks and Catskills to complete small municipal projects without needing amendments.

At a recent meeting, New York state Senator Betty Little asked local businesspeople to support the measure.  “If you needed to drill a well or you needed to actually take a curve out of a road and you needed half an acre, two acres, you could get it from the land bank. So you would not have to go for a constitutional amendment for each and every thing that we have done in the past. And we have the total support of the environmental community.”

Proposition 3 is on the back of the ballot and Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garry Douglas said a major concern is that voters will ignore it or associate it with the Constitutional Convention question.  “Whether there's going to be a state constitutional convention is the first ballot measure on that back of the ballot and we know that that's controversial. There's some concern that people who don't know what the other couple of things on there are may vote no down the line without understanding what they're voting no against.  So there's a Proposition Three that is good news according to everybody for the Adirondack region.”

Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe says the measure includes safeguards to continue to protect the Forest Preserve.  “This proposal would amend the procedure to allow the legislature to approve these projects  you know and only in conditions where there's no other alternative. It would have to be demonstrated to the state. So it would just be a streamlined procedure and avoid the very wasteful time consuming process and cost of a constitutional amendment for each individual small scale project.”

Catskill Center for Conservation and Development Executive Director Jeff Senterman hopes to see utility upgrades and enhanced broadband opportunities if the measure passes.   “There are just necessary projects that many communities come up against here in the Catskills and in the Adirondacks where there is an overriding public need whether it's a road fix or a bridge repair or if a water system is failing and there's improvements that need to be made or fixes that need to happen. And we see this is as a win-win.  We're adding land to the Forest Preserve in the amount of 250 acres. If there are larger projects those will not be projects that would be able to go through the land bank.”

Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages President Brian Towers says part of the challenge is getting voters to comprehend the size of the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve.   “I think the real challenge for us is two sided in that there is a huge effort that wants you to just vote no across the board.  The other challenge  is those that lives in the I'm going to call it the inner city where we did some survey work and the responses you get from some people is ‘well the animals need to live somewhere too.’ You know they don't understand how vast the Catskill and the Adirondack parks are and I don't know how you get past that.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Kimberly Hawkey to Headline Catskill Center Fall Gala

Plus the unveiling of the Future CIC

October 28, 2017 ARKVILLE, NY — The Catskill Center will feature Kimberly Hawkey of Elvanelle Music during its 2017 Fall Gala.

On Saturday, October 21, the Catskill Center will host the Fall Gala at the Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) in Mount Tremper, New York. The evening’s activities include music, food and drink, unveiling new plans for the CIC, and enjoy- ing good company, The Gala is a benefit the CIC, the first and only visitor information center dedicated to the Catskill Park.

During the Gala, jazz singer Kimberly Hawkey will perform with her three-person band—Kimberly’s joy in traditional jazz promises to make for a wonderful evening. The Gala will also feature a roaming supper by Ate O Ate Catering. and the unveiling of designs for new exhibits at the CIC.

Guests will be treated to a peek into the creative minds of Greg Mihalko and the design firm Partner & Partners, who will present the concept for new CIC exhibits, interactive displays and a fresh new interior.

The Catskill Interpretive Center’s mission is to help visitors and residents discover the many attractions, activities, and natural resources available throughout the Catskill Park and region. The CIC is a partnership of the NYS Depart- ment of Environmental Conservation and the Catskill Center. It is operated by the Catskill Center, a nonprofit organi- zation who operates the facility thanks to individual donations, grant funding, and the hard work of many volunteers.

The Catskill Center is thrilled to have Emily Fisher chair the Fall Gala Honorary Committee and have many generous supporters join the committee.

The Fall Gala is possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Margaretville Telephone Company and many local businesses.

The Fall Gala will be held at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper, New York, on Saturday October 21 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM. For more information please contact the Catskill Center at cccd@catskillcenter.org, 845-586-2611, catskillcenter.org/fallgala.

 

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ABOUT THE CATSKILL CENTER

Since 1969, the Catskill Center has been a major advocate and participant in nourishing the environmental and eco- nomic health of the New York state Catskill Mountains.

Ballot proposal would ease park restrictions

Written by Joe Mahoney CNHI State Reporter for the Daily Star

With no organized opposition and a bevy of civic, environmental and business groups supporting it, a non-controversial ballot proposition set to go before New York voters on Nov. 7 would seem to be a slam dunk for passage.

The measure, known as Proposal 3, would give town and county governments in the Adirondacks and Catskills new flexibility to straighten out road curves, run power lines or put in bicycle paths in the forest preserve land that enjoys strong protections in New York's state constitution.

But those urging a "yes" vote on the proposal say that heading into the homestretch of the election season they have one worry: All the noise being generated over an unrelated ballot item — Question One — that asks voters to authorize a state constitutional convention. Major unions and several other interest groups have turned up the spending in recent days to urge a "no" vote on that ballot question.

"We just hope people don't get confused when they go in to vote on these proposals," said Brian Towers, president of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages and the town supervisor of Wells, a community in Hamilton County,

He and others pointed out that the question asking voters to approve a constitutional convention has nothing to do with the authorization for a constitutional amendment that would create a new 250-acre land bank for the Catskill and Adirondack forest preserves.

The forever wild designation given to the preserve has posed "real life problems" that jeopardize the health and safety of residents and visitors to those regions of upstate New York, he said.

Towers contended that it makes no sense to force local governments to go through a cumbersome two-year process to get a constitutional amendment every time they decide to straighten out a hazardous curve, replace a culvert or improve the grading of a roadway.

Typically, he said, such projects would disturb only a very small piece of preserve land adjacent to the road.

He credited state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, for forging an alliance of supporters for Proposal 3, one that includes such diverse members as the Nature Conservancy, the state Conservative Party and the New York State Association of Counties.

Little said in an interview that many roads in the "forever wild" preserves evolved from paths along streams. "We have places where the curves in the roads are ridiculous — but it's forest preserve, so you can't take down a tree when you need to straighten out the road," she said.

The senator said it was important to build a broad-based coalition of supporters to maximize the chances the proposal will be embraced by voters statewide. Some, including her, wanted to enhance the ability of developers to run natural gas lines into the protected lands, but she said that would have divided those working to get all on board.

"We just couldn't have that in order to have the support of the environmental community," Little said.

The ballot measure would authorize the state Department of Environmental Conservation to begin the land bank by acquiring 250 acres of private property. That land would be used to offset any tracts that are disturbed by the kinds of limited projects allowed by the amendment, which include the installation of broadband equipment.

Little said there would be strong safeguards, with all projects being monitored by state environmental regulators or the state Department of Transportation.

While the impact of the proposal is surgically aimed at the forest preserves, supporters hope it generates enthusiastic support throughout New York.

The New York State Association of Counties said local governments in the state parks have had to forgo simple projects that improve public safety and convenience because of restrictions governing the forever-wild land.

"This proposal is a commonsense fix that would make it possible for communities in the two parks to expedite critical infrastructure projects, improve utilities and provide enhanced safety for residents and visitors," NYSAC said.

A "yes" vote is also being urged by one of the most influential conservation groups in the upstate region, the Adirondack Council.

"In cases when just a tiny amount of land is involved, it makes sense to have a system that allows communities to go ahead with these projects under rules that make sure they are carefully thought-out before they are applied for," said John Sheehan, the council's spokesman.

He noted local government leaders will still have to get a constitutional amendment for projects that impact more than a mile of road in the forest preserve.

If the question is approved, Sheehan said, "it will make it easier for communities to remain modern and be sustainable. It will also help people avoid becoming too frustrated with the constraints of the forest preserve. Since we have the best forest protection law in the world, we want to keep it that way. Part of the reason why it's so good is it's ironclad."

The measure is also being promoted by the Catskill Center, a nonprofit organization in the Delaware County hamlet of Arkville.

Jeff Sentermen, the center's director, said the amendment would retain important protections for the Catskill Forest Preserve lands.

"Broadband expansion can proceed more quickly and much needed health and safety improvements will move ahead in a clearer and more direct way when Forest Preserve Lands are involved," Sentermen said in a statement.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com.

Winter is coming — time to stack up on books!

ARKVILLE, NY — The Catskill Center will hold its first annual Catskill Center Book (and Aerial Photography) Sale on the front porch of the Erph Center (43355 Route 28 )in Arkville, NY, Sunday, October 8, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Books, used and new, will be available including children’s books, coffee table books, nonfiction, mysteries, cook- books, and of course, natural history books, outdoor guidebooks, and books about Catskills history and culture.

Aerial photographer Tim Bookout, of New York Aerials, donated an enormous stack of large photographic prints of var- ious villages and hamlets in the central Catskills to the Center and those photos will be included in the sale.

All proceeds will benefit Catskill Center programs and services.

 

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ABOUT THE CATSKILL CENTER

Since 1969, the Catskill Center has been a major advocate and participant in nourishing the environmental and eco- nomic health of the New York state Catskill Mountains.

DEC Breaks Ground on New Outdoor Pavilion at Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center

 DEC Breaks Ground on New Outdoor Pavilion at Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced plans for a new outdoor pavilion at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) in Mt. Tremper, town of Shandaken, Ulster County, during a formal groundbreaking ceremony. The new outdoor pavilion will provide the public with a picnicking location, venue for CIC educational programs, and a place for groups to meet and start their Catskill adventures. The improvements are part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature.

Governor Cuomo and U.S. Climate Alliance Announce States are on Track to Meet or Exceed Targets of Paris Climate Agreement

Governor Cuomo Announces Ambitious Expansion of NY Green Bank to Grow Sustainable Infrastructure Financing and Combat Climate Change 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the members of the U.S. Climate Alliance - a growing coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement. The announcement was made after the release of an independent report showing that U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24 to 29 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, fulfilling their contribution to the Paris Agreement targets...

Ten days of Catskill discovery and adventure kick off September 30 via the 14th annual Lark In the Park

Over the course of the Lark’s 10 days, hundreds of people get outside and annually enjoy the late-summer Catskills, take group hikes and paddle on the Pepacton Reservoir.

Outdoor workshops are offered as various as fly-fishing to nature photography, from kayaking to leave-no-trace. Edu- cational walks and talks about the local Catskills history, ecology, invasive plants, mushrooms and local wildlife are also offered.

Maintenance workshops to improve the Park’s 350 miles of foot trails and lean-tos are another part of the annual programming.

Says Executive Director Jeff Senterman, "The Catskill Center couldn’t be more excited for Catskills Lark in the Park 2017. With hikes to the fire towers, trail maintenance and volunteer clean-up days, and new activities like outdoor yoga sculpt, this year’s Lark promises to have something for everyone.

Early October is my favorite time of year to recreate in the Catskills and I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy one or many events during Lark in the Park!"

Lark events are held throughout the Park within Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Events are open to the public — many require pre-registration.

A sample of thisyear’s schedule includes:

Three day/Two night Backpacking Essentials Hike September 30 @ 2:30 pm - October 1 @ 5:00 pm
An experienced long distance hiker will host a backpacking hike/workshop for aspiring and novice backpackers.

Paddle on the Pepacton
September 30 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, Shavertown Boat Launch on NYS Rte 30
Kick off the Lark in the park witha beautiful paddle on the scenic Pepacton Reservoir.

Film Screening: America’s First Forest: Carl Schenk and the Ashville Experiment September 30 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm , Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, NY
Sponsored by the Catskill Forest Association, America’s First Forest explores how, at a critical time, an extraordinary group of men converged at the magnificent Biltmore Estate in North Carolina to address a critical question: Could the Scientific Revolution stop the Industrial Revolution from destroying America’s forests?

Yoga Hike to Terrace Mt, via Wittenberg Trail October 8 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Nothing like the mountains, yoga and friends. Come keep this Yogi company for this LARK IN THE PARK day in the Catskills.

Catskill Mountain Club’s Annual Dinner October 8, 5 pm
The feature event of the Lark is the Catskill Mountain Club’s annual dinner, this year being held October 8th at the Em- erson Resort in Mt. Tremper. Take a chance on winning a new Kayak or snowshoes and learn DEP’s role in the Catskills along with a great meal.

All events, as well as the dinner, can be viewed and registered for on the Lark’s website at catskillslark.org, or follow the Lark on Face book (www.facebook.com/CatskillsLarkinThePark).

The Lark was started in 2004 by the Catskill Mountain Club (CMC), also founded in 2004 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Catskill Park. The Lark was created to recognize and celebrate the 1904 creation of New York’s Catskill Park.

Since its inception, the Lark has brought together thousands of people as dozens of organizations host hundreds of recreational events, all aimed at heightening the awareness of the Catskill Mountain region of New York State and the Catskill Park.

Activities have included organized hikes, bicycle trips, paddles, stewardship, cultural and educational events. The co- ordination of the Lark is managed through a partnership between the Catskill Mountain Club, The Catskill Center, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

The Catskill Park and its Forest Preserve is a 705,000-acre patchwork of public and private lands in the Catskill Moun- tain Region of New York State. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is responsible

for managing the 350,000 acres of "forever wild" forest preserve lands within the Park. The primary objective being to provide public outdoor recreation and access. In addition to the forest preserve lands, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) owns and manages over 150,000 acres, protecting New York City’s watershed for drinking water. The remaining property withinthe Park is owned privately.

For more information about Catskills Lark in the Park please visit catskillslark.org or call 845-586-2611.