DEC Announces Completion of $48,000 Rehab of Hunter Mountain Fire Tower

Supports Adventure NY Initiative to Connect New Yorkers with Nature

Celebration Planned Saturday, August 19, for 100th Anniversary of Tower. Our own Jeff Senterman will attend the celebration with the Friends!

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the completion of $48,000 in improvements to the Hunter Mountain fire tower in the town of Hunter, Greene County. The improvements are part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature. In honor of the 100-year anniversary of the fire tower, a celebration is planned for Saturday, August 19, at 12:00 p.m. at the tower atop Hunter Mountain. A plaque to commemorate the 100-year anniversary will be unveiled during the small ceremony.

"Fire towers not only represent the rich history and heritage within our forest preserves, but also offer great tourism potential and magnificent views of some of New York's most prized natural areas and resources," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "These improvements, through Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, are just a sample of the recreational upgrades that New York has underway to better serve everyone who wants to enjoy our state's great outdoors."

The rehabilitation of the tower included replacing the roof that was damaged by high winds over the winter, painting the entire tower, replacing the metal grates around fire tower landings, and repairing the tower windows.

At 4,040 feet, Hunter Mountain fire tower is the highest elevation fire tower in New York State. The original tower on Hunter Mountain-constructed of logs-was built in 1909, and was the first of three fire towers constructed in the Catskills that year. The original tower was replaced with the current steel tower in 1917.

"We are excited to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower," said Gordon Hoekstra, Chairman of Friends of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower. "With enthusiastic support from the DEC and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the Friends of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower Committee runs the Volunteer Interpreter Program and performs minor maintenance on the tower and observer's cabin. We are grateful to DEC for supporting and funding the Tower Rehab Project in time for today's dedication. With continued cooperation we look forward to preserving this precious historic asset for visitors to enjoy for another 100 years."

Under Governor Cuomo's new Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative will support the completion of more than 75 projects over the next three years, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative.

The Catskill Fire Tower Project is a joint initiative of The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development and DEC. Through the dedication of partner volunteers and DEC staff, the last of the five remaining Catskill towers was restored and reopened to the public in 2000. Since then, volunteer-based committees organized for each of the towers have continued to maintain the structures, and in many cases renovate the observers' cabins as well. Today, a network of more than 100 volunteers also act as "summit stewards" by greeting visitors on weekends from May through October.

For more information on Fire Towers in the Catskills, visit DEC's website.

Join the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers at the Peekamoose Blue Hole on Friday, August 18th

Help Preserve and Protect Natural Resources While Enjoying the Outdoors

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its Traveling Trainer team will be at the Peekamoose Blue Hole in New York on Friday, August 18th with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club), NYC Department of Environmental Conservation (NYC DEP), New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Catskill Conservation Corps, the Catskill Center, and the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited to remove trash and learn about how to reduce impacts in the outdoors.

Scenic and popular areas such as the Blue Hole have experienced visitor-created impacts in recent years including excessive trash, social impacts, damage to vegetation and trees and trail erosion. 

“The cumulative impact of so many people enjoying a great park or beautiful public recreation area can negatively effect that place,” according to Andy Mossey, Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. “In most cases, the land impact isn’t due to a malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife. Instead, it’s simply lack of Leave No Trace education and practices.”    

"Visitors and their economic impact are important to our Catskill communities, but it is equally important that visitors understand their potential negative impacts on natural resources and learn how to protect the Catskills for generations to come. The Catskill Mountains are home to important ecosystems, hundreds of thousands of acres of Forever Wild Forest Preserve lands, and 90% of New York City's watershed. The efforts of Leave No Trace to improve the condition at Blue Hole with the Hot Spot Program is just the forward-thinking approach necessary to bring about lasting protection to this critical natural resource." Said Jeff Senterman Executive Director, The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Inc. (Catskill Center)

“The wild and unspoiled character of the swimming hole known as the Peekamoose Blue Hole is in jeopardy because of overuse and misuse. Leave No Trace education will help address both issues,” said Neil Woodworth, Executive Director of ADK.

"Nature attracts everybody and our challenge is to help everybody respect nature." Edward Goodell, Executive Director, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

"‎Visitors to our incredible natural resources have an important role to play in helping to keep them maintained and protected for others to enjoy," said Kelly Turturro, Regional Director for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "We're proud to partner with these groups to help clean up these environmental jewels and inspire more conservation stewards in the area."

Events like these are key components of the Leave No Trace Hot Spot program, that engages community and brings solutions to popular natural areas around the country facing heavy recreational use and consequently, the threat of harm to trails, parks and open space areas. The Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are experts that travel throughout the country providing public education on how to effectively ‘Leave No Trace’ in a fun and interactive way for all ages.

WHAT: Join the Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers and NYS DEC, NYC DEP, ADK, Catskill Conservation Corps, NY-NJ Trail Conference, Trout Unlimited and the Catskill Center for a Site Clean-Up at the Peekamoose Blue Hole
WHEN: Friday, August 18th from 9:00 am-12:00pm
WHERE: Peekamoose Blue Hole

RSVP: Current Clean up event is full, but please register for a future clean up event in September:   

Visit and to learn more about the upcoming events planned with DEC and the Traveling Trainers.  


About Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are mobile teams of educators that visit 48 states every year delivering Leave No Trace programs such as Hot Spots to over 15 million people. For more information, visit:


Catskill Center Seeking Live-In Caretaker for Thorn Preserve in Woodstock, NY

Catskill Center Seeking Live-In Caretaker for the Catskill Center’s Thorn Preserve in Woodstock

The Catskill Center owns and operates the 60-acre Thorn Preserve located at 55 John Joy Road in Woodstock. We are seeking to rent the 660 Square Foot, one-bedroom cottage that was newly renovated, at a reduced rate in return for:

  • Monitoring public use of the preserve
  • Reporting disallowed activities
  • Acting as an emergency contact point
  • Maintaining the area immediately around the cottage
  • Maintaining and keeping the cottage clean and in good working order

The Cottage has well water, propane gas stove and oil heat.

Accepted applicant will be responsible for all utilities and services. Rent is $1,000 per month, and may be negotiable based on caretaker hours and duties. Applicant must be prepared to sign a 1 year lease and put down first month rent, last month rent and a refundable security deposit.

No pets please
No smoking

The position with the cottage becomes available the beginning of October. 

Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest and 3 references to:

Catskill Center | Attn: Michael Drillinger, Land Trust Manager | PO Box 504 | Arkville, NY 12406

The Catskill Center conducts business in accordance with all federal, state, and local fair housing laws. It is our policy to provide housing opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, national origin or sexual orientation. 


DEC Deputy Commissioner Honored at Catskill Center’s Summer Gathering

July 18, 2017: The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development honored Kathy Moser, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with the Alf Evers Award for Excellence during their 2017 Summer Gathering. Ms. Moser was given the Catskill Center’s most prestigious award for her outstanding work to advance outdoor recreation opportunities and communities in Catskill Park.

The Catskill Center Presents: The Hudson River School of Art and the Ice Age

July 10, 2017:  From 7-8pm, on Saturday, July 22nd, renowned geologists Robert and Johanna Titus will present: The Hudson River School of Art and the Ice Age at the Catskill Center in Arkville.  

This talk will be the first offering of the 2017 Catskill Center’s Member Program Series.

The Titus’ propose a unique look at the inspiration behind the Hudson River School of Art. “Our hypothesis is that these American landscapes were largely the products of erosion and sculpting done by ice age glaciers. We will survey some of these famous sites – Kaaterskill Clove, the Catskill Front and the Hudson Valley – and describe their ice age origins.”

painting by Thomas Cole 

painting by Thomas Cole 

“The Hudson River School of Art was America’s first art movement. Founded by Thomas Cole and Asher Brown Durand, its artists painted the Catskills as they were in the middle 19th century when they were still wilderness. Our native landscape art differed sharply from what was being done in Europe where landscapes were typically park-like. This uniquely American view helped lead to a new appreciation for the wilderness and its preservation.” – Robert and Johanna Titus

This is the first of four programs from the Catskill Center’s exclusive Member Program Series. Curated to educate and inspire, the series is open to all members of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. If you are a member and would like to attend, please register in advance by contacting us at or by calling 845-586-2611.

For information about joining the Catskill Center please visit: or call 845-586-2611.


Word Doc

Catskill Center celebrates at the Peekamoose Restaurant with their Annual Gathering

ARKVILLE, NY  July 3, 2017 —  July 15th, the Catskill Center will be hosting their 2017 Summer Gathering at the Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room.  

Every year, the Center sets aside a day to honor individuals whose work benefits the Catskill Park and the entire Catskill region, review accomplishments of the year past and discuss the Center's plans for the future.

This year, the Catskill Center will be celebrating Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Kathy Moser, with the Alf Evers Award for Excellence in recognition for her commitment to outdoor recreation opportunities and communities in Catskill Park.

Former Catskill Center Board of Directors Chair, H. Claude Shostal will be honored with the 2017 Ginsberg Award for his years of service. The Catskill Center will also recognize Douglas Hamilton with the Volunteer Recognition Award for his 18 years of exceptional volunteer service throughout the Catskill Park and with the Catskill Fire Tower Project.

“We are thrilled to be hosting a full-house at the Peekamoose Restaurant and acknowledging the exceptional efforts of our honorees at the Summer Gathering,” stated Jeff Senterman, Executive Director of the Catskill Center. “We are also very thankful to the Margaretville Telephone Company for sponsoring the Summer Gathering.”

The Summer Gathering offers a rare opportunity to enjoy a farm-to-table lunch at the Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room in Big Indian, New York.

For more information about the Summer Gathering, please visit or contact the Catskill Center at 845-586-2611 or



Kathy Moser

Kathy Moser

Peekamoose - Big Indian, NY

Peekamoose - Big Indian, NY

Catskill Center Statement on 2nd Passage of Article XIV Amendment to Create a Health & Safety Landbank for the Forest Preserve

On June 29, the legislation to amend Article XIV of the New York State Constitution passed both houses of the New York Legislature.  If adopted by voters, it would create a 250 acre land bank in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.  The land bank would be available to municipalities to address highway and bridge safety as well as water supply issues where no feasible alternative exists.  For a constitutional amendment to be enacted, it must pass the Legislature for two consecutive years and then be presented to the voters for a final decision.  This approval marked the second year in a row that the amendment passed both houses of the Legislature.  This measure will now make its way onto a ballot for a statewide referendum.

Catskill Center Statement on the Second Passage of the Amendment:

From Jeff Senterman, Executive Director of the Catskill Center:

The approval of this amendment represents a great opportunity for communities of the Catskill Park while retaining important protections for 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.  The Catskill Center is grateful for the hard work of the Assembly and the Senate, including Assemblymembers Cahill and Gunter and Senator Bonacic, and for the collaborative spirit all stakeholders engaged in to get us to this point.


Thursday Mornings Trail Tales Storytime at Catskill Interpretive Center

Mt. Tremper, NY – Bring your little outdoor explorer for stories, songs and hands-on nature activities under the trees on our beautiful, fully accessible nature trail.

Every Thursday morning in July and August (10:30-11:30 am), Catskill Center staff and special guests will lead “Trail Tales Storytime” at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mt. Tremper. Each week's theme will be inspired by the local environment. 

This program will happen rain (inside) or shine (outside). We recommend sunscreen, hats, bug spray, and good shoes. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after the program!

Recommended for ages 3-7 and an adult caregiver. Free.

For more information visit

The Catskill Center expands its ranks with a Director of Communications

ARKVILLE, NY, June, 21, 2017 — Things are happening at the Catskill Center. As they enter their 48th year of advoca- cy and action in the Catskills, Delhi resident, Heather Phelps-Lipton joins the team as Director of Communications. Phelps-Lipton is thrilled to be joining Executive Director, Jeff Senterman and the recently returned Jonathan Moge- lever to help ferry the Center into their 50th year.

Heather comes to the Center from a career in photography (specializ- ing in lifestyle stories and events) and brings with her all the skills that a freelance life and the communication department of a busy non-prof- it require.

Heather’s home is on the edge of the little Delaware River. She consid- ers stream-side living and a yard filled with beautiful old hemlocks and yet ringed with knotweed, makes her life a virtual case study in the concerns of the Catskill Center.

Heather’s work has been shown in San Diego, LA and New York.

Her editorial work has been published in the NY Times, NY Magazine and the Watershed Post