FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Catskills Are Busy – What Are We Doing To Protect Them?

July 30, 2019 ARKVILLE, NY –  30,915  is the number of people that have interacted with the Catskill Stewards Program thus far during the 2019 season. At Kaaterskill Falls, Peekamoose Blue Hole, and Platte Clove, the Catskill Center’s stewards can be found educating visitors of the region how best to have a safe and enjoyable visit without leaving a trace.

The Catskill Park has been at the center of American tourism since the early 1820’s (SOURCE 1). Fresh air, mountain houses and nature-inspired art made the scenic Catskills a refuge. Much like today, travelers in the 1800’s sought the wilderness and expansive views of upstate New York — a reprieve from their NYC daily routines.

Photo: Heather Phelps-Lipton for the Catskill Center

Photo: Heather Phelps-Lipton for the Catskill Center

The iconic views in the Catskill Park have been made witness to another, more recent, surge of the tourism industry. With pristine waters, exceptional landscapes, and a plethora of amazing agricultural tourism, it’s no wonder the Catskills were named “number two” in Lonely Planet’s Top Regions, Best of Travel for 2019. Visitation provides a needed economic driver for Catskill communities, and the increase in sightseers brings people and their travel dollars to our rural towns, as well as our natural spaces.

Two of the most iconic, visited, and cherished destinations in the Catskill Park are Kaaterskill Falls and the Peekamoose Blue Hole. A quick internet search of, ‘things to do in the Catskills’ yields a top recommendation of visiting Kaaterskill Falls… and for good reason! The natural gem boasts a drop of over 260 feet over 2 tiers. The stream continues past the main falls area over numerous smaller falls and ledges before cascading over the final falls of this section of stream, Bastion Falls. Needless to say, if you’re one to hike, take pictures in nature, or just looking for a big waterfall, Kaaterskill Falls is the place to visit.

After the successful 2018 season of stewardship at the Peekamoose Blue Hole, the Catskill Center preparared for 2019 by identifying other high-use locations in the Catskills. Taking what was learned from the Blue Hole and adapting our language, outreach technique, and ultimately the size of the program to better meet the needs of other locations; the Catskill Stewards Program now covers three iconic locations within the Catskill Park.

Kaaterskill Falls
Peekamoose Blue Hole
Catskill Center’s Platte Clove Preserve

Stewards are on site to:

  • Welcome people to the Catskills

  • Provide info re. where to explore and what to avoid

  • Describe impacts that are harmful to each location

  • Educate how everyone can help reduce their impacts

  • Inform people of the most important rules and regulations

  • Be a resource for any questions people have about these areas and others across the Catskills

Photo: Heather Phelps-Lipton for the Catskill Center

Photo: Heather Phelps-Lipton for the Catskill Center

The 2019 steward season is breaking the Catskill Stewards Program’s 2018 records.

Visitors will continue to come to the Catskills in ever increasing numbers, and bring with them the reminder that everyone needs the tools and skills necessary to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. When stewards are not present, litter increases, natural resources are harmed, and people are less informed about the intricacies of the unique landscape they’re visiting.

Next time you visit one of our three stewarding locations, take a moment to introduce yourself to a steward and perhaps thank them for their time and commitment to protecting the pristine quality of the Catskills. After all, the Catskills belong to all of us, a beautiful resource of public lands to enjoy, and protect, for future generations to come.

The Catskill Stewards Program is a program of the Catskill Center, supported by funds from donations by our members and donors. Major supporters of the Catskill Stewards Program include the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Rondout Neversink Stream Program, REI and the Church Communities Foundation. Additional supporters include the Catskill Mountain Club, Catskill 3500 Club and the Hunter Foundation.

Source 1

Heather P-L