Above: Kayakers on the Pepacton Reservoir. Photo via NYC DEP.
Sunrise this morning -- Friday, May 22 -- marked the beginning of the boating season on four of New York City's upstate reservoirs in the Catskills: the Cannonsville, the Neversink, the Schoharie and the Pepacton. Boating on the reservoirs is allowed during daylight hours from Friday, May 22 to Monday, Oct. 12.
2015 is the fourth year that non-motorized boats have been allowed to ply the waters of the city's protected drinking supply, and there are a few new additions to the program in 2015.
According to a press release from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, there are now racks at some popular boat launch sites that allow avid kayakers, sailors and paddlers to store their crafts near the water all summer long.
Also, boat rental companies are allowed to rent boats on the banks of the Cannonsville Reservoir for the first time as well, which means that all four reservoirs have rental businesses right on the water. Read more
Ah, Memorial Day: a bittersweet tang, part remembrance, part celebration. The scent of gunpowder from ritual muskets mingling with the fresh blooms of late spring and a whiff of barbecue sauce. The unofficial beginning of summer brings a host of wonderful seasonal things bursting open at once.
Come out and imbibe the heady mix. Here’s our five county guide to the best of the Catskills this weekend, May 23 to 25.
Above: The Roosa Gap fire threatens a house in the Shawangunks on May 5, 2015. Photo by Michael Wentland.
Due to a rash of wildfires across the state, including many in the Catskills, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday, May 13 that a ban on residential brush burning will be extended until May 21.
The ban, which goes into effect every year for the dry spring period of March 16 through May 14, was scheduled to expire this week.
In his proclamation, the governor said that there have been 110 wildfires across New York state in 2015, which have burned 3,589.4 acres of land, destroyed one structure and threatened 91 homes. Read more
Fire might break out at any moment in the Catskills today, but you also should cover your seedlings to protect them from frost tonight, according to the National Weather Service.
There are both red flag warnings of high brush fire conditions and a freeze warning in effect in the Catskills today, Wednesday, May 13.
NWS Albany has issued a red flag warning for the eastern Catskills, the mid-Hudson Valley and the Schoharie Valley that warns of "dangerous fire conditions" from noon to 6 p.m. today due to gusty winds and low humidity. Read more
Above: Firefighters battled feisty pop-up flames during a small brush fire in the Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville on Thursday, May 7. Photo by Rebecca Andre.
Rebecca Andre, a resident of the Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville, witnessed one of the many brush fires that have plagued the Catskills in the past week while she was out on a walk near her home last Thursday, May 7. Andre is a professional photographer (check out her work at Mountain Girl Photography and Design), so she took photographs of the blaze and sent us this report. Halcottsville Fire Department Chief Jeff Slauson confirmed that the fire was caused by a tree limb falling on an electric line. A tree-trimming crew from NYSEG has trimmed other branches in the area to prevent more incidents, he said. - Ed.
A deliciously beautiful Catskill day turned dangerous on Thursday, May 7 when a spark from an electric line ignited the top of a sap-covered birch tree, causing a small forest fire in the Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville.
On Thursday, May 7, I was finishing a foraging hike – ramps are in season now – when I heard the tone for the Halcottsville Fire Department echo through the tucked away hollow of Maegers Road.
Above: Fighting flames along the burn line. Photo by Rebecca Andre.
Less then five minutes later, when the trucks start passing my home on the private, dead-end road, I assumed they were lost. Shoes slipped on, camera in hand, I started up my driveway, only to be met by Burr Hubbell and a firefighter kicking up dust as they raced to the scene in Mr. Hubbell’s vehicle. I hitched a ride, and soon found myself at the scene, less then half a mile from my own property.
Above: Flowers at Margaretville's 2012 spring festival. Photo by Julia Reischel.
Celebrate the end of mud month and the beginning of spring in the Delaware County village of Margaretville this Saturday during the village's Spring on Main Festival. Organizers promise baby animals, music and storytelling and a rhubarb cooking contest, as well as historical tours, handmade confections, locally-made cheeses, a "hay bale garden" and vendors and crafts galore.
The rhubarb contest should be especially interesting. Rhubarb is an iconic spring plant, and it takes a good cook to turn its sour tartness into something that everybody enjoys. Cooks are invited to drop off their entries into the rhubarb contest at Home Goods of Margaretville at 784 Main Street by 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9 for a 2 p.m. tasting and judging.
Delaware County Court Judge Carl F. Becker will retire from his post as the county's top judicial officer on July 31, fewer than three years into his second ten-year term, according to a press release Becker sent to the Watershed Post on Monday, May 4.
Left: Judge Carl F. Becker.
Becker announced his decision to retire to his court on Friday, May 1, according to the emailed statement. Read more
If you’re planning to eat out today — Friday, May 1 — think of dining at one of the 23 Catskills restaurants in Delaware and Ulster counties that are participating in Fighting Hunger Friday, a fundraiser for the Margaretville’s Community Food Pantry, based in Arkville.
The restaurants, listed below, are accepting cash donations from diners that they will pass on to the food pantry. Leave your donation in a brown paper bag on your table at any participating eatery.
Some of the eateries are offering special menus and matching donations. The Arkville Bread and Breakfast is serving fried chicken and waffles tonight from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with all proceeds going to benefit the food pantry. The owners of the Crazy River Café in Margaretville will match every donation to the pantry that is made in their restaurant today. Read more
One of the woes of the Catskill Park is that it is not technically overseen by New York State’s parks office. Instead, the Catskill Park is a patchwork of wild forests, small state parks and wildernesses overseen by the New York State Department of Conservation.
This means that the Catskills themselves aren’t featured prominently in I Love My Park Day. But that’s not stopping towns and other organizations in the Catskills from celebrating it. Read more