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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

Andes Roundtable at The Hunting Tavern

April 6, 2016 - 7:00pm


Bill Rudge will give a presentation on "Bicycling in the Catskills and beyond"; an overview of road and mountain bicycling opportunities in the Catskills which will include important skills like fixing a flat, lubrication and common adjustments.  Discussion of riding opportunities within and beyond the region, tales of adventure as well as advice on how to keep the peace on a tandem bicycle! 

   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

Andes Roundtable at The Hunting Tavern

March 30, 2016 - 7:00pm

Mike Zagata a teacher and academic with a Ph.D in wildlife ecology has a long track record of positions both in government and industry including NYS DEC Commissioner and most recently retired from the position of president and CEO of the Ruffed Grouse Society, an international wildlife organization promoting sound forest management for the benefit of both hunted and non-hunted wildlife.. Mr.  Read more

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

Broadlands mansion, lands listed for sale

Above: The Broadlands mansion–the former Gerry Estate–which has been listed for sale. Photo via a listing on the Douglas Elliman Real Estate website

A century-old mansion and nearly 2,000 acres of land, once part of the famous Gerry Estate, are for sale for $12 million.

Broadlands, once known as Aknusti, was built by tycoon Robert Gerry in 1912, destroyed by fire in 1953 and rebuilt, according to a history written by its current manager, Andy Wos.

In recent days, it was rumored to be at the center of a proposed resort that has not developed

Last week, Broadlands appeared on the real estate website  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

Andes Roundtable at the Hunting Tavern

March 23, 2016 - 7:00pm

Kathy Mario, an avid hiker and backpacker will discuss her amazing hiking trip of September, 2015 where she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) and subsequent safari in the Serengeti of Tanzania.
She will share her photos as well as describe the women’s group she hiked with. Kathy Mario and Peter Cowan are familiar faces to the Roundtable. They live in Delhi, and have hiked throughout the Catskills.

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 


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