Outdoors: Go camping to reconnect with nature

link to complete article here: http://oneidadispatch.com/articles/2011/06/23/sports/doc4e03e13ad4e1a421622607.txt
A cool shaded campsite with pleasant views, kids fishing nearby, enjoying the sunset over the nearby lake and relaxing around a campfire while planning tomorrow’s activities. These are the common images most people have of camping today.

Perhaps you remember or think of camping as sleeping on the hard ground in a crowded tent and cooking hotdogs over an open fire. Well it was and still can be that, but it also ranges to people spending time in a luxurious RV. For most people it is probably somewhere in between.

Technology has evolved so if you are tent camping it is probably in a much improved and roomier tent, sleeping on an air mattress and using the latest Coleman stove or lantern. Even if you are backpacking or camping primitive style it certainly is not as rough as it used to be. The idea of camping includes everything from hiking into the West Canada Lakes Wilderness to traveling by motor home to a private campground.

Camping is a popular pastime with a long tradition, especially in New York State with its abundance of public forest land and state parks or campgrounds. In addition to an affordable way to spend a weekend or vacation, it also gives people an opportunity to reconnect with nature. State campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills are operated by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) while those in the rest of the state are run by Office of Parks & Recreation (OPR).

State parks usually take advantage of a natural attraction (such as a lake) and offer less amenities but more natural activities such as boating, fishing, etc. For example, there are many campgrounds along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Finger Lakes and countless smaller lakes or ponds in central NY.

Designated campsites at state campgrounds usually offer swimming, fishing, hiking, playgrounds for kids and more. Usually there is a variety of wildlife there or nearby. For example, two of the campgrounds we frequent have ospreys while another has a pair of bald eagles. In campgrounds operated by OPR a certain number of sites usually have electric hookups, while there are none in DEC campgrounds.

Both OPR and DEC campgrounds are listed in a booklet “New York Camping Guide” with lots of information on facilities found at each. You can obtain this guide as well as get information on line by visiting the web site http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/camping

Reservations can be made by going though Reserve America at 1-800-456 CAMP or http://www.newyorksta



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The Great Northern Catskills—Offering Outdoor Exploration & Friendly Competition

link to complete article: http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/11/07/p1673481/the-great-northern-catskills-offering-outdoor-exploration-friendly-com
This summer, awaken to adventure in the Great Northern Catskills! Get outside and explore, from the highest mountain peaks, to the historic Hudson River and everything in between. Located just two hours from metro New York and 3 hours from Boston, the Northern Catskills are the perfect family vacation destination, offering an array of Catskills outdoor activities and sporting events, all summer long.

The Northern Catskills boast 5 of the 10 highest peaks of the Catskill range, all with elevations over 3,500 feet. There are opportunities for all-day excursions or easy walks through the woods. Take a scenic hike to Kaaterskill Falls, the highest cascading waterfall in New York State. It’s a 260 foot, two-tiered waterfall that has attracted tourists, poets and painters since the early 1800s. Other popular Catskills hiking trails include Diamond Notch Falls, the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower Hike, Newman’s Ledge and the Catskill Mountain House site at North-South Lake State Park.

The region’s vast wilderness also lends itself it to camping adventures of all kinds—from the area’s two state campgrounds – Devils Tombstone and North-South Lake, to nearly a dozen privately-owned campgrounds and an assortment of cabins. Or if you prefer, pitch your tent under a pine grove and experience the solitude of a starry mountain night.

For thrill seekers and biking enthusiasts, don’t miss the UCI MTB World Cup Bike Race at Windham Mountain, July 7-10, 2011, featuring cross country and downhill events. Or check out the 4th annual Tour of the Catskills, America’s largest Pro/Am stage race, on August 5th and 7th. For a longer ride, sign up for the 7th annual 6-day, 200-mile Great Hudson Valley Pedal through the historic Hudson Valley on August 16-21, 2011.

Other summer sports competitions include the 11th annual Great Hudson River Paddle, Rumble in the Catskills III—an amateur boxing tournament, the Windham Warrior Dash—a 3.2 mile obstacle course race, and the Round Top Rally Mountain Bike Race— the New York State Championship Series Finale.

The Great Northern Catskills are a four season, affordable family vacation destination offering popular New York all-inclusive family resorts, fun attractions and endless opportunities for outdoor exploration. From bike races, to scenic hikes, to boxing matches and obstacle course races, there is no shortage of action-packed sporting adventure. Discover the many unique Catskills events and activities held throughout the summer. Awaken to adventure in the Great Northern Catskills!

About The Great Northern Catskills of Greene County:

Greene County is located in the Great Northern Catskill Mountains and the verdant Hudson River Valley. The region is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill peaks and the Catskill State Park. Greene County is renowned as the home of Thomas Cole’s Hudson River School of Landscape Painting and the inspiration for Washington Irving’s literary legend, Rip Van Winkle, and was named in honor of American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene. This 286,000 acre wilderness offers abundant year-round outdoor recreation and unique cultural events. For more information please visit http://www.greatnortherncatskills.com or connect with the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County on Facebook.


For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2011/7/prweb8620413.htm

Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/11/07/p1673481/the-great-northern-catskills-offering-outdoor-exploration-friendly-com#ixzz1STtOXMX8

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Hiking is a Zen Experience In The Great Western Catskills


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For Immediate Release: June 8, 2011

 Mountainkeeper and a coalition of groups concerned about fracking have released the first in a series of videos featuring celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, Zoe Saldana, Josh Charles, Amy Ryan and Nadia Dajani declaring their love for New York Water.  The campaign was launched with a Huffington Post Blog by Mark Ruffalo which you can read here.

Click here to watch the 1 minute video:

Watch the :30 second spot here
‘Clean Water NOT Dirty Drilling’ – a coalition of organizations working to protect communities and the environment from the dangers of natural gas development – is celebrating the launch of its ‘I Love My New York Water’ campaign with the release of a new ad.

The intention of these videos is to raise awareness on the harmful effects of fracking – a process of natural gas extraction that utilizes high-volume pressure injections of millions of gallons of contaminated water to pump gas from underground shale formations – and its effects on water.
“The consequences of drilling for natural gas are severe and are already being witnessed in states across the nation,” says Catskill Mountainkeeper Executive Director, Ramsay Adams.  “It is imperative for New Yorkers to take a stand to prevent gas companies from mobilizing in our state to utilize the same practices that have devastated the water supplies in other areas, including right next door in Pennsylvania.”

Water from New York State reservoirs provides for over 15 million New Yorkers, and the state houses the largest unfiltered reservoir in the country – sending fresh water to residents in cities from NYC to Philadelphia.

“If hydro-fracking were to get its legs in New York State, the consequences would be hugely far-reaching, and damaging in ways that we can only begin to grasp ” says NRDC Senior Attorney, Kate Sinding.

The coalition hopes these videos bring statewide and national attention to the protection and preservation of water supplies.  “Our water is a precious and irreplaceable resource,” asserts Ulster County Legislator, Susan Zimet and CEO of Zimet Group, Executive Producer of the commercial.  “It’s imperative that we start treating it as such.”

‘Clean Water NOT Dirty Drilling’ was established by Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Earthjustice, EARTHWORKS, Environmental Advocates of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Riverkeeper.

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This is the perfect time to visit the Devil’s Kitchen

May 13, 2011

This is the perfect time to visit the Devil’s Kitchen

Anonymous Daily Star The Daily Star Fri May 13, 2011, 08:32 AM EDT

Since the skies have cleared and the rain has stopped, it’s time to start hiking trails and climbing mountains.

I really like to climb the peaks in the Adirondacks because many of the mountains have bald summits, so the views are far better.

When deciding where to start the hiking season, I kept finding references to the Devil’s Kitchen. I’d been on parts of the Devil’s Path, which crosses over Hunter Mountain, and I’ve driven past the Devil’s Tombstone Campground, but I wasn’t familiar with the Devil’s Kitchen.

I started checking it out and found that several people have lost their lives over the years because of the treacherous footing above and around the magnificent waterfalls that drop down through the Kitchen.

Actually much of the Devil’s Kitchen and many of the most majestic waterfalls are along County Route 16, which is a steep, narrow, seasonal road running from Platte Clove to West Saugerties. It drops 1,100 feet in about 2 miles.

It’s the dozens of beautiful waterfalls that cascade down this valley that make up the jewels of the mountains. Bridal Veil Falls, Plattekille Falls, Devil’s Kitchen Flume, Black Chasm and the Old Mill Falls are just a few of the 100 or so waterfalls _ some with a height of 150 feet _ in the Devil’s Kitchen Region.

This region draws people at all times of the year to quench their adventurous beasts within. In the winter, ice climbers with ice axes and crampons work their way up the frozen falls. These same cliffs draw rock climbers to the vertical rock as well.

Besides hikers, the Tour of the Catskills is held on the steep, challenging road. The bicycle climb is a tough, grueling pedal up a 12-percent slope.

At the bottom of the mountain, you can access seven really beautiful falls without climbing up and down the cliff-like terrain near the top of the road. There is some posted property, but you can get around it. It’s worth the effort.

A hike up to Huckleberry Point is a must. The views of the Hudson Valley as well as the Catskill peaks of Indian Head, Twin and Sugarloaf mountains make the gentle, 2-mile hike worth while.

Besides the natural wonders of the area, a small architectural masterpiece supports part of the county highway right at the very top. A beautiful hand-laid stone bridge that was built more than 100 years ago allows cars to cross the scenic creek. The falls below it are truly awesome.

While in the area, you can’t miss a trip to the beautiful and breathtaking Kaaterskill Falls just below the little village of Haines Falls on State Highway 23A. The hike to the bottom of the falls is a little less than a half-mile, but it’s definitely worth the trip.

We decided to climb to the top of the first falls. The narrow path seemed a little difficult but was much easier on the way back down.

The Devil’s Kitchen is a great place to visit on a nice, sunny day. I’ll have to go back and find more of nature’s beautiful treasures. After all, they’re just around the next bend.

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. E-mail him at robrockway@hotmail.com.

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Climbing the heights Overlook Mountain fire tower. Volunteer guides are being sought for this and other historic structures. Fire Tower Project leader looking for volunteers

Climbing the heights

Overlook Mountain fire tower. Volunteer guides are being sought for this and other historic structures.

Fire Tower Project leader looking for volunteers

By Jim Planck
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 2:08 AM EST

HUNTER — It may only be the beginning of March, but soon enough warm summer breezes, blue skies, and blooming wildflowers will be the tone of the days, and for those that may wish to spend those truly halcyon days in an outdoor setting while serving a good cause — the Catskill Fire Towers Project has a job for you.

Well, technically, it’s not a job because it’s volunteering — or maybe it’s still a job, just not a paid one — but anyway, the chance to spend a couple weekend days over the summer ensconced in a fire tower, high atop a Catskill mountain can be yours — and all for the low cost of — free.

After NYS decommissioned its fire tower system in the late 1980s, most of the structures fell into disrepair and were lost.

However, five in the Catskills were preserved and restored by the Catskill Fire Tower Project, and then reopened in the early 2000s as interpretive venues for tourists, hikers, and lovers of the outdoors.

Full article here:  http://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2011/03/01/news/doc4d6c88d7cdc7e997858696.txt

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Catskill Mountainkeeper
February 7, 2011
Mountainkeeper WoodstockCatskill Mountainkeeper Opens Office in Woodstock,

Dr. Kathleen Nolan to Head High Peaks Regional Advocacy


FREE Open House for Woodstock Community on February 26th

Woodstock, New York – Catskill Mountainkeeper has opened a new office in Woodstock, New York and has hired Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL, as Director for the High Peaks Region.  Woodstock is the gateway to the Catskills High Peaks and is a cultural and historic cornerstone for the entire region.  Our new office is located right in downtown Woodstock in the Historic Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, America’s oldest continuing art colony.  We are honored to share a home with this historic American institution.

Dr. Nolan has been a staunch environmental advocate since she moved to the Catskills over 20 years ago. She brings to Mountainkeeper a keen interest in preserving the economic, environmental, and aesthetic values of pristine mountain peaks and ridgelines. She will focus on the challenges of reining in poorly designed and over-reaching development, while championing sustainable energy projects, open space preservation, advancement of recreational opportunities, and the revival of town and village centers.

“Working with Catskill Mountainkeeper keeps me at the center of the most important issues facing the Catskill region,” says Nolan, in response to her appointment. “Mountainkeeper’s leadership role has been proven in their defense of clean air and water through their review of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale and in their opposition to casino gambling as a shortsighted approach to economic development in rural areas. I am delighted to join Mountainkeeper as an educator and advocate on these and other critical issues facing the Catskills region.”

With her impressive resume, Nolan comes to Woodstock by way of rural Tennessee. She attended both Saint Louis University and Yale and previously worked for the Hastings Center, writing and teaching on diverse topics in bioethics. She came to the Catskills in 1989 to pursue residential training at a Zen Buddhist monastery and in 2003 she became Executive Director of Tibet Aid in Woodstock. In 2009 she founded Catskills Live! Trails and Wilderness Association. Currently, Nolan serves on the Ulster County Tourism Advisory Board, the Ulster County Trails Advisory Committee and as an officer for the Catskill Heritage Alliance and the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Nolan and Mountainkeeper Executive Director Ramsay Adams will welcome the Woodstock community on Saturday February 26th from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM with an opening party for the new office at the Byrdcliffe Guilds’ Kleinert/James Arts Center (the office itself is located next door at 34 Tinker Street, 3rd floor.) Local luminaries including author and poet Will Nixon, folk-rock indie music stars Mike + Ruthy and Woodstock Film Festival’s Meira Blaustein will be on hand to introduce Mountainkeeper to its new community. Partygoers will enjoy delicious tastings from Woodstock restaurants and shops and get a chance to hear about the environmental, educational and volunteer opportunities in the Woodstock office. The entire event is free and open to the public.  Space is limited so please RSVP by email: info@catskillmountainkeeper.org or call 845.482.5400

Kathy Nolan
Kathleen Nolan, Woodstock, NY. February, 2011 (photo provided by Mountainkeeper)

Kathy Nolan’s Mountainkeeper email is kathy@catskillmountainkeeper.org

In other staff news, Mountainkeeper veteran Aaron Bennett has accepted the position of Deputy Coordinator for the Ulster County Department of the Environment.   Aaron continues to work with Mountainkeeper on our education initiatives and will continue to lead our hugely popular “Hike the High Peaks” program.  We are very proud and excited for Aaron.



Catskill Mountainkeeper in Partnership with the Catskill Center and the Catskill Heritage Alliance Announces Catskill Cornucopia’s Presentation: “Economic Benefits of Parkland”


CornucopoaResearch in the Adirondack and Shawangunk Mountains shows that public lands are clearly beneficial to the economic health of local communities. Learn how we in the Catskills can adopt the lessons of important studies from the experts who conducted them.  Catskill Cornucopia invites you to join us for “Economic Benefits of Parkland,” a presentation and group discussion held at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, at 1:30 pm on Friday, February 18. The presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.


Kenneth Strike, the author of Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Program: An Appraisal, and Brian Zweig, who recently conducted the Study of the Economic Impact on the Local Economy of Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve and Sam’s Point Preserve (in the Shawangunk Mountains) will discuss how economic impacts are calculated, describe what economic benefits have been demonstrated, and suggest where to focus when considering how public lands here in the Catskills can strengthen our own local economies.


Catskill Cornucopia provides a forum for interesting and topical discussions on issues directly connected with life in our mountain communities and is presented through a partnership of the Catskill Heritage Alliance, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development.  For more information call  845.482.5400 or visit http://www.catskillcenter.org/images/stories/pdf/release020411.pdf


Economic Benefits of Parkland

1:30pm Friday, February 18th

Ashokan Center

477 Beaverkill Rd

Olivebridge, NY 12461

Get Directions to the Ashokan Center


About Catskill Mountainkeeper Catskill Mountainkeeper is an independent, not for profit, 501c3 community based environmental advocacy organization, dedicated to creating a flourishing sustainable economy in the Catskills and preserving and protecting the area’s long term health. We address issues of water integrity for the Delaware and Susquehanna River Systems, the defense of the vast woodlands that encompass the Catskill Forest Preserve and the New York City Watershed as well as farmland protection. We promote “smart” development that balances the economic needs and concerns of the Catskill regions’ citizens and the protection of our abundant but exceedingly vulnerable natural resources.

Please Help Support Mountainkeeper.  A small donation goes a long way.  Our online donation system is simple and secure – just click here:

donate now

To contact Mountainkeeper call 845 482 5400 or email: info@catskillmountainkeeper.org

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