Peekamoose Blue Hole 2018 Summer Season is one for the records


by Andy Mossey

If you visited the Blue Hole this year, you were one of the 10,000 (plus) people to have a first-hand experience of this summer’s new coordinated conservation efforts.  

Forest rangers, a fresh permit system, and working hand-in-hand with the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Catskill Center’s very own Peekamoose Blue Hole Stewards prioritized a visitor education program that has proven to be essential for protecting the health of Blue Hole. 

2018 saw greater crowds than ever previously recorded, but the tranquil swimming hole, with a riparian area free of campfire rings and shards of glass, clean of litter and supported with healthier trailside vegetation, is in better shape than it was at winter’s end. 

Over the course of the program’s inaugural season, stewards Andy Mossey and Selina Guendel have educated thousands of visitors, collected over 118 bags of litter, deconstructed and rehabbed 15 campfire rings, maintained over 3 miles of trail, and disguised herd paths around the Blue Hole proper. Those figures are staggering, but the fruits of their work is enormously encouraging. Because of the consistent education of daily visitors, and the stewards’ work to ensure a litter free experience, the volume of litter being left has lessened;  a great improvement over years past. 

But even with such promising news, their work is never ending. Visitors arrive in ever increasing numbers, and bring with them the reminder the tools and skills necessary to enjoy the outdoors responsibly are not innate. When stewards and rangers are not present, litter increases and rock dams and rock stacks are built in the stream. Without the continued efforts of stewardship, the impact of increased visitation will threaten public land in the Catskill Park. 

It is the duty of all people to function as stewards of the land. Let’s keep our wild lands wild, for our lifetime and for future generations.