Fund Established and Programs Planned for the Center to Honor His Legacy
November 29, 2017 ARKVILLE, NY — The Honorable Maurice D. Hinchey, who represented upstate New York in Albany and in Washington for four decades, was laid to rest in a private ceremony today on the grounds of the Catskill Interpretive Center, a facility he fought for more than 30 years to create.
The former Congressman and former New York State Assemblyman passed away on Wednesday, November 22 from complications of Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD).
As one of the leading progressive voices in Congress, Hinchey was a tireless defender of the environment and an unwavering champion of working people everywhere, fighting to ensure economic fairness and human rights worldwide.
His extraordinary work to protect New Yorkers’ water, air, land and food saved thousands of acres of open space for future generations.
From 1974-1992, Hinchey represented Ulster County in the New York State Assembly. He then went on to serve 10 terms in the US. House of Representatives.
During his tenure, Hinchey created the Hudson River National Heritage Area, authored several landmark first in the nation environmental laws and led the investigation of the infamous Love Canal, the nation’s first toxic waste site.
Hinchey spearheaded the creation of a Catskill Interpretive Center when he was a NYS Assemblyman, and was fiercely dedicated and successful in securing the initial funding necessary to bring that vision to reality more than three decades later. He said of the project:
“For too long the Catskill State Park was one of the only major state or national parks in the country without an Interpretive Center. I was determined to change that. It’s critically important to have a place where residents and visitors can learn about our unique natural, historical, and cultural resources. It will help preserve our rich heritage, keep our local economies strong, and keep our quality of life intact.”
The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center opened in 2015.
The Center is a partnership between the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, a nonprofit organization, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It serves as the visitor’s center for the Catskill Park as well as an education center and community space.
Future exhibits are planned to help visitors to the Center learn more about Maurice Hinchey’s life and work.
Construction on an event pavilion is currently underway, and designs for new multimedia exhibits on Catskills history, nature and culture in the main building are slated to be completed by 2019.
“The Catskill Interpretive Center was a major part of Maurice’s life for so long that we found it fitting to be Maurice’s last home,” said the Hinchey family. "It represents the very spirit of his work and the unrelenting spirit of the man. He loved the land and the surrounding mountains and we thank the leadership of the Interpretive Center and the Catskill Center for making this possible.”
“Congressman Hinchey was a tireless advocate for the Catskills and protecting our precious environment. We are proud to celebrate his legacy with the Catskill Interpretive Center,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “We hope that all visitors to the center will take a moment to remember Mr. Hinchey’s accomplishments and his work to safeguard New York’s natural resources and incredible areas like the Catskill Park.”
“Since opening the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center in 2015, we have been proud to continue Maurice Hinchey’s work for the Catskills,” said Jeff Senterman, Executive Director of the Catskill Center. “We are honored and humbled to be the final resting place for Congressman Maurice Hinchey and know that he is at home among our Catskill mountains, streams and forests.”
Maurice Hinchey’s burial site will open to the public in the spring.
With the permission, encouragement, and support of the Hinchey family, the Catskill Center has established the Maurice D. Hinchey Legacy Fund to support the programs, operations, and long-term capital improvement projects at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center while honoring his legacy.
For more information about the Hinchey Legacy Fund, or to make a donation, visit http://catskillinterpretivecenter.org/legacy.