Hamden

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New York Invasive Species Awareness Week

The mission of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to h elp stop their spread by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state and encouraging them to take action. Please join in the fun and help out with the effort!  Activities of all kinds take place July 6th- July 12th. Check out nyis.info and click on the logo for more information!

Early Detection, Rapid Response

Preventing the introduction of invasive plant species is the first line of defense against new invasions.  The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership announces a special workshop on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM at the Cornell Cooperative Extension meeting room at 34570 State Rt 10, Hamden, NY.  The event is free but registration is requested by calling 607-865-6531 or emailing Janet Aldrich at [email protected]

John Faso: Experienced politician faces voters who are fed up with "insiders"

Above: John Faso. Image via the Faso campaign.

In the increasingly negative race to replace retiring Republican Congressman Chris Gibson in New York's 19th Congressional District, former State Assembly Minority Leader John Faso has all the hallmarks of a traditional general election contender. But that might not help him, because 2016 is no traditional election year.

Nationally, maverick candidate Donald Trump has ousted more traditional Republican candidates from the race for president. In the race for the 19th Congressional District, which represents the Catskills and Hudson Valley, Faso’s opponents hope to do the same to him.

Faso, a Republican, began his campaign for Congress with high name recognition and a time-tested fundraising apparatus. He spent 16 years in the New York State Assembly from 1987 to 2002 and made an unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial bid in 2006 against Democrat Elliot Spitzer.

Now, Faso's status as an experienced politician and elected official has become both a blessing and a curse.  Read more

Presidential primary day in the Catskills

Above: Photo by Justin Grimes, via Flickr. 

For New York state voters who are registered with a political party, today--April 19, 2016--is the day to vote in New York state's presidential primary election.

It's one of the most exciting primary races in years, with Donald Trump expecting a landslide of Republican votes in his race against Ted Cruz and John Kasich while Hilary Clinton dukes it out with Bernie Sanders for the state's Democratic voters. 

The national and international press is watching New York voters--including some in the Catskills--as they go to the polls today.  Read more

Delaware County will tax commercial solar farms

Above: Michael Sabansky, Delaware County's director of real property tax services, gave a presentation on solar farms to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors on April 13. Photo by Robert Cairns. 

With the possibility of commercial solar electricity generation coming to Delaware County, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors has taken steps to make sure that solar developers pay property taxes.

The board, at its meeting on Wednesday, April 13, adopted a resolution to enter into “host community benefit” agreements for commercial solar installations. The resolution circumvents state rules, which provide property tax exemptions for such installations for 15 years.

Michael Sabansky, the county's director of real property tax services, said that 6,500 letters have been sent to Delaware County landowners soliciting leases for solar installations.

“I'm sure we're going to get a few in the county,” he said. “We do have lots of land and lots of power lines.”  Read more

Catskill Park passed over in New York budget, again

Above: Rick Roberts, the president of the Catskill Mountain Club, advocating for dedicated funding for the Catskill Park in the 2016-2017 New York state budget in Rep. Kevin Cahill's office on Feb. 9, 2016. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

Despite months of fierce lobbying in Albany, advocates for the Catskills region of New York did not convince lawmakers to earmark a package of funds for the Catskill Park in the 2016-2017 New York state budget, which was hammered into agreement in the wee hours of Friday, April 1.

Advocates for the Catskills spent the first months of 2016 lobbying hard for the state to create $4 million line item for the Catskill Park in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), a request they have repeated for years. 

On Feb. 9, during a Catskill Park Awareness Day lobbying event, about 60 people representing the Catskills went door-to-door among legislative offices in Albany to urge lawmakers to commit dedicated funding to the region.   Read more

Trout season opens across the Catskills

Above: "Peter with a Brown Trout,” by Joan Challacombe, one of the runners-up in the 2015 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest. (The 2016 photo contest ends tonight, so enter now!) 

It's the first day of fishing season in the Catskills, and the oddly warm weather should be especially inviting to anglers across the region today.

The annual first cast at Junction Pool on the Beaverkill happened this morning in the Sullivan County town of Roscoe--aka "Trout Town USA"--at 7:30 a.m., and the celebrations continue all weekend with dinners and fly-tying celebrations, according to the Roscoe NY website.

Trout Unlimited - The Way of a Trout from Bill Strockbine on Vimeo.

Above: A vintage 1969 video made by Trout Unlimited about the life cycle of the trout. Thanks to the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited for sharing. 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 2016 Coldwater Fishing Forecast reports that fishing in the East and West Branches of the Delaware River in the western Catskills should improve this year because of improvements to the stream habitats for fish: 

Two new in-stream habitat improvement structures were installed in the East Branch tailwaters near Shinhopple and the Tomannex State Forest. The rock and wood structures are intended to provide cover where trout habitat has historically been marginal. Additionally, a large scale restoration project was completed on Sands Creek. A number of habitat structures and floodplain reconnection work was conducted along a one mile stretch of Sands Creek. Sands Creek is an important spawning tributary to the West Branch Delaware River.

The DEC also reports that the "the tailwaters of the West Branch continue to be one of the most productive fisheries for trophy trout in the northeast," but adds that some of those streams between the villages of East Branch and Hancock in Delaware County don't open for fishing until April 16 this year. 

To get you in the mood for fishing, the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited is sharing several trout fishing videos in their newsletter, including a vintage 1969 video made by Trout Unlimited about the life cycle of the trout (see above).

For a more modern take on the atmospherics of trout fishing, watch a short film about fishing on the Esopus Creek in Ulster County near Phoenicia, below. Look closely and you'll see some familiar Route 28 sites like the Phoenicia Diner.

Below: "Autumn Tailwaters - Fall Fishing & Wild Trout in the Catskills," was produced by Day Trip Films in partnership with Orvis in 2015.   Read more

See video

Delaware Co. appoints tourism advisory board to oversee bed tax proceeds

Above: Delaware County Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis, pictured here at an October county board meeting, is one of the seven members of the new Delaware County Tourism Advisory Board. Photo by Robert Cairns.

The members of the Delaware County Tourism Advisory Board, a group that will decide how money from the county's new bed tax will be spent, were appointed at the Wednesday, March 23 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.

As outlined in the new law authorizing the two percent tax on overnight stays, the advisory board is comprised of the county's economic development director, two members of the board of supervisors and four representatives of the tourism industry. The law also provides that at least two of the industry representatives must be from lodging businesses.

As is typical of advisory committee appointments, board Chairman James Eisel made the appointments without a vote of the board. There was no discussion of the issue.

Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis was appointed to a three-year term, as was Teresa Allen, the co-chair of the Upper Delaware Business Coalition.  Read more

Catskills sugarhouses open for Maple Weekend

Above: Maple syrup on pancakes at Buck Hill Farm in Jefferson. Photo by Heather Phelps-Lipton. 

Shake off the late-winter blahs and come celebrate Maple Weekend--actually two weekends of open houses--in the sugar shacks of the Catskills. The first of the two weekends of maple events begins tomorrow, Saturday, March 19 and runs through Sunday, March 20. The second weekend is on April 2 and 3.

Last year’s maple syrup crop was outstanding, with 601,000 gallons of the sweet sticky stuff flowing from New York producers, according to the New York Times.  Read more

St. Patrick’s Day in the Catskills

Above: The full Irish treatment awaits at Gavin's Irish Country Inn this weekend in East Durham. Image via the Gavin's Irish Country Inn Facebook page.

The Irish love affair with the rocky, rolling green of the Catskills spans generations. In the Greene County hamlet of East Durham, especially, immigrants with roots in Ireland have made the region a second home.

So it’s only natural that our communities celebrate the season of St. Patrick in fine style. Here’s our five-county guide to celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday, March 17) that are happening this weekend.

Want an introduction to the long history of the Irish in the Catskills? A new documentary that premiered last week, "The Irish Catskills: Dancing at the Crossroads," tells the story of the inns, hotels and bungalows that have catered to Irish Americans throughout history--you can buy the DVD or watch it at Narrowbackfilms.com. 

DELAWARE COUNTY  Read more

Delaware County to form emergency response team

Above: Gary Ramsey, a BOCES law enforcement instructor, pitched the advantages of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Photo by Robert Cairns.

Delaware County is looking to form a team of volunteers to supplement the emergency services provided by fire departments and emergency medical personnel.

Gary Ramsey, a law enforcement instructor at DCMO BOCES in Masonville, gave a presentation on Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) at the Feb. 24 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.

The county's emergency services director, Steve Hood, said he expects that a resolution to form a CERT will be on the agenda at the board's next meeting.

Ramsey explained that a CERT would not replace the services provided by police or volunteer fire and emergency medical departments, but would provide less skilled services. A CERT in neighboring Broome County, he said, is often called upon for traffic control and search-and-rescue operations.

Ramsey noted that Delaware County's history of floods and said emergency responders could use the help.  Read more

“Living in paradise:” The economics of Catskills outdoor recreation

Above: Aaron Bennett speaks about the East Branch of the Delaware River at a lively forum about outdoor recreation and economic development in the Catskills on Saturday, Feb. 27. Photos by Rebecca Andre.

Dozens of Catskills residents attended the second of a four-part series of economic growth forums took place on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development in the Delaware County hamlet of Arkville.

Fifty-two people attended the forum—more than double the attendance at January’s event—to discuss outdoor recreation being key to economic development in the Catskills.

Geddy Sveikauskas, the founder of the Woodstock Times newspaper and a member of the board of the Catskill Center, moderated the lively two-and-a-half hour discussion.

Local outdoor guides, chamber of commerce members, hotel employees and a representative from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection all spoke about the importance of outdoor recreation in the region.  Read more