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Earthquake in Canada rattles upstate NY

Above: A screenshot of the USGS's "Did You Feel It" map for an earthquake that struck northwest of Ottawa on Friday morning.

Update, 10:43am: The USGS has revised their initial 5.0 estimate for the earthquake down to 4.4

A 4.4 earthquake that struck northwest of Ottawa, Canada at 9:43am on Friday, May 17 was felt far and wide. 

Dozens of upstate New Yorkers are chiming in on the National Weather Service in Binghamton's Facebook wall to report feeling tremors. Reports of the quake are also flooding in on Twitter. A few:

   Read more

Tkaczyk proposes ban on out-of-state fracking waste

State senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, an outspoken opponent of hydrofracking, is proposing new legislation that would prohibit out-of-state drillers from disposing of fracking waste in New York State.

On Wednesday, Tkaczyk held a press conference about the proposed bill. In a prepared statement, Tkaczyk argues that if New York State is still on the fence about whether to allow hydrofracking, it doesn't make much sense for the state to accept toxic waste from Pennsylvania drill sites. From the statement:

Senator Tkaczyk’s bill would ban “the treatment, discharge, disposal, transportation or storage of high volume hydraulic fracturing waste products in New York State.” While this type of fracking is not currently being conducted in New York, landfills and treatment facilities in the state are accepting tens of thousands of tons of fracking waste from sites in Pennsylvania.  Read more

Snow today, hard freeze on the way

Proof that there really are only two seasons in the Catskills -- winter and the Fourth of July. Photo taken at 1:45pm on Monday, May 13 at the Watershed Post's headquarters in New Kingston. 

As if the snow falling out of the sky wasn't warning enough: Gardeners across the region should be alert for fast-dropping temperatures. A freeze warning has been issued by the National Weather Service covering a large swath of eastern New York and western New England.

DEP: Boat rental businesses can store boats at reservoirs

On Thursday, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection announced that it would allow boat rental businesses to store rental vessels directly on the banks of the NYC reservoirs. The policy change will make things easier for rental companies, which had to store their boats elsewhere last season and schlep them to and from the lakes for every paddler. 

The DEP, working with the Catskill Watershed Corporation, has purchased storage racks to house 120 rental boats, but it's unclear how they will be split up between the reservoirs. 

Read the full press release about the change below:

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ANNOUNCES PROGRAM FOR WATERSHED BUSINESSES TO STORE RENTAL KAYAKS AND CANOES AT NEW YORK CITY RESERVOIRS

Rental Boats Will be a Boost to Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Economy in Catskills  Read more

This Weekend: Catskills Mother’s Day Events

Above: Who says moms always have to be nice? The Kindred Spirits Steakhouse and Pub in Palenville is serving up a Naughty Mother’s Day Brunch featuring ribald songstress Lex Grey from 11am to 4pm on Sunday, May 12. 

Whether it's affection or guilt that motivates you, odds are you're looking to spend quality time with Mom this weekend. Julia Ward Howe founded Mother’s Day on this continent in 1870, calling out for an international celebration of peace and motherhood. Before that, there was "Mothering Sunday" in England -- working class folk were given a day off to go see Mom, and they also took a day off from Lent. We may have largely lost the knack of matriarchy and Goddess worship, but if you’re looking for a way to celebrate yo’ mama, the Catskills have plenty of options lined up.

Here's our county-by-county guide to 2013 Mother's Day events in the Catskills. 

DELAWARE COUNTY

The Annual Mother’s Day Wildflower Hike to Kelly Hollow is a four-mile ramble sponsored by the Catskill Mountain Club You’ll enjoy sparkling streams and an active beaver pond, and have a chance to experience spring ephemerals like violets and jack-in-the-pulpit. Participants will gather at the Old Schoolhouse 2.2 miles west of Margaretville at 10:30 on Sunday. There’s a limit of 20 people- call Howard Raab at 845.586.3112 for reservations.

Also in Margaretville, prep Mom for a season of gardening at gardenFest, a Main Street extravaganza of gardeners, food vendors, petting zoos, live music, and all things flowering and green on Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch with Lindsey Webster and an awesome menu will be served up at the Andes Hotel in Andes between noon and 3pm.

At Catskills Escape in Franklin, Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday includes a Mandarin Souffle lovingly crafted of local eggs, organic citrus, and butter, and your table will be resplendent with a seasonal bouquet.

The Roxbury Arts Group has a very special treat lined up for Mother’s Day Eve. On Saturday night, the First Lady of Woodstock, folk-rock stunner Melanie, will perform with her son Beau Jarred Schekeryk in Roxbury

At Tay Home in Andes, the mother-daughter chef team of Mary Elizabeth (mother) and Chef Nicole Roarke (daughter) will share recipes and stories from their cookbook "Cooking Across America" from 10am to 6pm on Sunday. Tastings and demos will abound. 

GREENE COUNTY

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Town gas bans can stand, appeals court rules

Two upstate New York towns that faced lawsuits over their gas drilling bans have won in appeals court, delivering a major victory to proponents of town "home rule." 

The towns of Dryden and Middlefield faced separate lawsuits seeking to overturn their drilling bans: Dryden from an out-of-state gas company, and Middlefield from a local dairy farmer seeking to lease her land. Both towns prevailed in lower court, but the cases were appealed by the plaintiffs. 

On Thursday, the state appellate division upheld both of the lower court's judgments. Gannett reporter Jon Campbell reports the news for Politics On The Hudson, and notes that the verdict is likely to stand:  Read more

Thanks for all the photos!

Above: "Fiddleheads", May 8, 2012, at Frost Valley YMCA, by Robin White. Just one of the 60-odd photos submitted to our photo contest. 

Wow, you Catskills folks take a lot of photos.

Submissions from across the Catskills poured in last night to our 2013 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest. At midnight, when the contest ended, we had a total of sixty-something entries. (I'm not sure of the exact number because of duplicates.)

You can see all of the final entries on our Facebook page, on the Central Catskills Great Outdoor Experience Festival's Facebook page, and on our Flickr page. If you see a missing or duplicate photo, let me know!   Read more

Last day to submit your photos to the 2013 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest!

Above: Just some of the entries in this year's Catskills Outdoor Guide photo contest, as pictured on our contest Flickr group

The contest is now closed. Winners will be announced on May 28, 2013. Thanks!   Read more

Swarmageddon: Northeast braces for 17-year cicadas

Photo by Dan Century of cicadamania.com. Published under Creative Commons license.

Brood II: It sounds like a low-budget horror movie. But it's real, and it's poised to engulf the East Coast from Georgia to Connecticut, an onslaught of giant bugs that have lain dormant underground for the last 17 years.

The periodical cicada is the Methuselah of insects, spending long years underground in larval form before emerging en masse in tremendous numbers. Groups of 13-year or 17-year periodical cicadas that emerge together are known as 'broods,' and New York State is home to several of them, along with several species of annual cicadas that emerge every year. The last mass cicada emergence in New York, of the 17-year Brood XIV, happened in 2008.   Read more

Thunderstorms across Catskills

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Sullivan County, along with much of Pennsylvania, for Friday afternoon and evening. (Update, 9:30pm: The area is no longer under tornado watch.)

Sullivan County, along with the rest of the Catskills region, can expect thunderstorms, heavy rain, and gusting winds of up to 40 or 50 miles per hour as a cold front moves through the area from west to east. 

As of around 4pm, Hudson Valley Weather reported, the line of storms was moving through Western Pennsylvania. 

Update, 8:30pm: Delaware and Sullivan Counties are both under severe thunderstorm warnings until 9pm:  Read more