Scout's Honor: Earn Catskills Badges

This summer, channel your inner Eagle Scout in the Catskills: Earn one of our outdoor badges by hiking a fire tower or paddling a reservoir. (That’s right, “earn”: Our Catskills badges can’t be bought.)

The 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide is proud to present our 2014 Catskills Badge Program, which features two limited-edition embroidered badges: the brand-new Catskill Reservoir Paddler Badge and the popular Catskill Fire Towers Badge. They’re perfect for sewing onto a sash, a backpack or your favorite pair of Carhartts.

The badge program is simple: Boat a New York City reservoir or hike a fire tower in the Catskills, send us proof of your adventure (see details below), and you get your very own real-deal badge. You can’t buy these beauties in a store; you’ll have to earn them the old-fashioned way. So get out there and show us what you can do.


In partnership with the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), we’re thrilled to announce the brand-new Catskill Reservoir Paddler badge. The badge is the latest addition to the DEP’s new recreational boating program, recently launched on four of the city’s vast upstate reservoirs. (Click here for more on boating New York City’s reservoirs in the Catskills.)

Each month during the summer of 2014, the Catskills Outdoor Guide will celebrate one of the four reservoirs in the program by awarding badges to boaters.

To earn your badge, you must paddle or sail at least one reservoir in 2014 during its scheduled month:

Schoharie Reservoir (May 26-June 30)
Neversink Reservoir (July 1-31)
Cannonsville Reservoir (Aug. 1-31)
Pepacton Reservoir (Sept. 1-Oct. 13)

Bring along a camera, because you’ll need to provide one of the following: 

  • a date-stamped photo from your boat looking back at the launch site (so the reservoir can be recognized)
  • a photo of your DEP access permit
  • a photo of your boat rental/steam-cleaning receipt

Email your proof, along with an address where the badge should be mailed, to Diane Galusha of the Catskill Watershed Corporation, at [email protected].


For the second year in a row, we’re partnering with Catskills Outdoor Guide sponsor Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor to offer the Catskill Fire Towers Badge.

To earn a Catskill Fire Towers badge, you must hike to one or more Catskills fire towers between May 10 and Oct. 13, 2014, then log your hike on a Morgan Outdoors Fire Tower Passport.

Passports are available at Morgan Outdoors at 46 Main St. in Livingston Manor, or you can download one from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference at, or simply by clicking here

Turn in your passport at Morgan Outdoors by Oct. 13, 2014; badges are limited to the first 100 hikers to enter. You’ll also be entered in a drawing to win prizes, including a handy pair of Nikon Travelite Binoculars.

To help you plan your hike, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference publishes detailed trail maps for each of the five fire towers in the badge program. Get them online at or in person at Morgan Outdoors. To learn more about the fire towers of the Catskills, see our article here. 

This article originally appeared in the print version of the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide, our annual publication covering recreation in the Catskills great outdoors. The Catskills Outdoor Guide is distributed across the Catskills region and at select locations in the NYC metropolitan area. Find a copy near you here.