Meet Phoenicia's new outdoor store, the Catskill Mountain Storehouse

Tim Luby, Jess Fritscher and Muppet celebrate the opening of the Catskill Mountain Storehouse. Photos courtesy of Tim Luby.

For Tim Luby and Jess Fritscher, a pair of avid hikers with a longstanding love for the trails and hollows of the Catskills, visiting just wasn't enough. 

"We were driving back from one of our many trips to the Catskills," Luby said. "I kind of blurted out, 'They need an outdoor store here.'"

That was just six months ago. Since then, Luby and Fritscher, a couple of young Rockland County residents with day jobs in Manhattan, have wasted no time making their vision a reality. On Friday, August 29 the pair officially launched the Catskill Mountain Storehouse, a lovingly-curated little outdoor store in the heart of Phoenicia's Main Street. 

The couple (they're engaged to be married) has been coming to the Catskills almost every weekend since they met, Luby said.

"I feel like the Catskills is the backdrop of our relationship, and how we've grown together," he said. 

What that glorious backdrop needed was a few more props, Luby decided. Specifically, a place in the central Catskills where a weekend hiker could pick up a few extra tent poles.  Read more

This Weekend: Balsam Lake Fire Tower Hike

Above: Balsam Lake Fire Tower. Photo by Laurie Rankin.

This Saturday, experienced hikers from both sides of Balsam Lake Mountain in the remote town of Hardenburgh will lead hikes to the site of the oldest fire tower in the Catskills. A wooden fire tower at the summit was originally installed in 1887 to protect the privately-owned lands of the Balsam Lake Club. That original tower is long gone, but the 47-foot replacement has fabulous views.

You'll be hiking with two professionals: Lisa Lyons, the owner of Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor, will lead a hike from the Sullivan County side of the mountain, while Bob Moses of the Catskill Mountain Club will lead one from the Delaware County side. The whole trip from bottom to top and back again is 4.4 miles from Sullivan County and 5.9 miles from Delaware County. 

To give you incentive to reach the top, there will be a ceremonial awarding of our signature Catskill Fire Tower patches to everyone who makes the trek.   Read more

Fences to be installed at Kaaterskill Falls

Above: Kaaterskill Falls shot from behind in January 2014 by Dave Hebb, who shared the photo in the Watershed Post Flickr pool.  

After two people fell to their deaths off Kaaterskill Falls in Greene County this summer, the New York State Department of Conservation will install fences and warning signs at the waterfall, according to a letter from DEC chief Joseph Martens obtained by the Daily Freeman

The fences will be constructed in the early fall, a DEC spokesman wrote in an email to the Daily Freeman, and other safety measures will be taken as well:   Read more

Madison County man arrested for murder in Bovina

A Madison County man was arrested in the Delaware County town of Bovina on Monday and charged with second-degree murder for the death of his girlfriend, who was stabbed to death in the couple's Cazenovia home over the Labor Day weekend.

The victim, 44-year-old Amy Bradstreet, was the mother of the couple's young sons, ages 18 months and 3 years.

State police say that after Bradstreet was stabbed to death, the suspect -- 31-year-old Stephen Schumejda -- drove the two children about 100 miles to his mother's house on County Route 5 in Bovina, then called 911 to report the incident.

It was unclear whether Schumejda or his mother dialed the phone, said New York State Police spokesman Jack Keller, but the call, made around 8:35 a.m., came from the Bovina house.   Read more

Joe Biden attended nephew's woodsy wedding in Mount Tremper

Above: A screenshot of Jamie Biden and Amy Bracco from their wedding website. Vice President Joe Biden attended the ceremony on Saturday, August 30 in Mount Tremper.

Vice President Joe Biden was indeed at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mount Tremper on Saturday, August 30, according to Tony Lanza, a spokesman for the resort. Biden was part of a wedding party that stayed at the resort and attended several events there.

"We were delighted to host the wedding party at the resort," Lanza said.

I previously reported erroneously that the wedding ceremony itself was held on the grounds of the Emerson. In fact, the ceremony was held at the private Mount Tremper home of the couple, according to an article by Jill Ribich, the wedding coordinator for the event, published in the Catskill Mountain News on Wednesday, September 3

Lanza confirmed the high-ranking visit, but said that he couldn't give any details. Calls to the Vice President's press liaison were not immediately returned. 

The secret has been out for days.   Read more

Boat the Pepacton in September, earn a badge

Above: A sailboat glides on the surface of the Pepacton Reservoir on May 26, 2012. Photo by Tina Schvejda; posted in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

This summer, the Catskills Outdoor Guide is partnering with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Catskill Watershed Corporation to bring you our new Catskill Reservoir Paddler embroidered badge, which you can only earn by paddling a specific reservoir each month.

In September, the spotlight is on the Pepacton Reservoir. Paddle the Pepacton anytime between September 1 and 30, send in your proof, and a Catskill Reservoir Paddler badge will be yours. Click here or scroll down for full redemption instructions. 

The Pepacton reservoir is the workhouse of the Catskill reservoirs, holding more water than any other reservoir in the NYC system. It holds 140 billion gallons, and contributes a quarter of the entire city's water supply.

The 15-mile-long lake is studded with coves and is straddled by the Shavertown bridge, which is a great viewpoint for a photo shoot or an impromptu race. (Real races have been held on the Pepacton: in 2012, it hosted the first leg of the 2012 Adventure Race National Championship.)

The Pepacton has four boat launches spread along its lengthy shoreline. For a detailed map of the Pepacton and its boat launches, click here.

For our five-step guide to boating NYC's Catskills reservoirs, click here. 

  Read more

This Weekend: 11 Catskills Labor Day events (and fireworks)

Above: A poster for the Windham Chamber Music Festival, just one of the events happening this Labor Day weekend in the Catskills.

Don't look now, but the leaves are already turning in the highest peaks of the Catskills. That and the arrival of Labor Day weekend confirms it: Summer is ending. Go out with a bang -- in some cases, a literal bang, with fireworks -- with these great events from around the region. 

ACROSS THE CATSKILLS: Lighting of the Fire Towers event. It's tonight! Details here

DELAWARE COUNTY

New trails open in Delhi. Saturday, August 30. 2 p.m. Volunteers have been working all summer to create a new set of hiking trails behind Delaware Academy school. Several of the trails are named for characters in the beloved children's novel My Side of the Mountain, which was set in Delhi. Delaware Academy, 2 Sheldon Dr., Delhi.

  Read more

New Hurley bridge is open for business

Above: Ulster County Executive Mike Hein with members of the Hurley Town Council, the Hurley Heritage Society and community members as he cut the ribbon at the Hurley Bridge on August 28, 2014. Photo via Hein's office.

The Wynkoop Road bridge over the Esopus Creek in the Ulster County town of Hurley, which has been closed since June for repairs, re-opened on Thursday, August 28.  County Executive Mike Hein was on hand at a ribbon cutting with a crowd of notables, according to a press release sent by Hein's office.

Hein was pleased to point out the bridge repairs were completed in just two months, "ahead of schedule, before school opens, and under budget."

The press release quoted John Gill, the owner of Gill Farms in Hurley:

"The entire County has done a tremendous job getting this project done in a timely manner," said John Gill owner of Gill Farms. "I want to thank the County Executive for making this project a priority and all of the members of the County's DPW for their hard work and dedication. This structure will be something the residents of Hurley will be proud of, I certainly already am."

WP Deal: Free tickets to Brooklyn@Belleayre featuring The Hold Steady, Aug. 30

This WP Deal has been claimed. Congratulations to our winners, and thanks for reading the Watershed Post.

On Saturday, Aug. 30, the Belleayre Music Festival wraps up its 2014 summer season with Brooklyn@Belleayre, a Labor Day Weekend showcase of Brooklyn bands featuring Big Data, Lily and the Parlour Tricks, Joni Fatora and headliner The Hold Steady.

We're giving away two pairs of tickets to the concert. The first two people to email lissa.harris@watershedpost.com win the tickets. 

Formed in 2002, The Hold Steady released their sixth LP, Teeth Dreams, earlier this year. From the Belleayre Music Festival's release:  Read more

After a fiery crash in the Catskills, bystanders save lives of four Bronx women

Above: A screenshot from a brief video clip showing the aftermath of an accident on Cat Hollow Road on Thursday, August 21. The clip was posted to Facebook by John Natoli, one of about a dozen witnesses who helped rescue four women from the car on the left before it burst into flames.

For Bud Holden and Ken Henderson, two old friends who have been fishing the Beaverkill for 40 years, it was supposed to be just another day on the river. But fate had other plans.

On the morning of Thursday, August 21, Holden and Henderson were among a dozen untrained civilians who carried out a heroic rescue, after a horrific accident on a remote country road in Colchester that left one man dead and four women injured.

Holden, a 70-year-old resident of Stockholm, New Jersey, was visiting Henderson, 65. The two set out from Henderson's home in Andes that morning, headed south towards the Beaverkill Valley.

Around 10 a.m., Holden and Henderson were driving down Cat Hollow Road, just outside of Roscoe, when the car in front of them began to slow down.

The accident had happened moments before. A black Isuzu Amigo lay twisted and wrecked in the road. Nearby, a Jeep Grand Cherokee had come to rest on the shoulder, heavy black smoke pouring from its hood. 

They were miles away from town, with no cell service and no officials in sight.  Read more