Arkville

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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

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

Pair stole thousands of pain pills from Margaretville pharmacy, police say

Two Margaretville residents have been arrested for allegedly breaking into Miller's Drug Store in Margaretville and stealing thousands of pain pills last month, police say.

Twenty-four-year-old Lucas M. Labumbard and 20-year-old Anna Christina Bubko were arrested at their Hubbell Hill home on Monday, March 14 and charged with felony drug possession and tampering with evidence, according to a press release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

While searching their home on Monday, police found stolen hydrocodone and oxycodone tablets and more than $1,400 cash, the press release states.

Left: Lucas Labumbard. Photo via the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.   Read more

John Burroughs Spring Lecture: Author Stephen Silverman

April 2, 2016 - 4:00pm

Stephen Silverman, author of The Catskills: Its History and How it Changed America, will give a talk on John Burroughs' role in the region and his relationship with another famous Roxbury native son, Jay Gould.

Co-sponsored by John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge and Catskill Center for Conservation & Development.

Free! Refreshments, including cake to celebrate John's 179th Birthday April 3!

Catskill Center, 43355 State Highway 28, Arkville, 12455

845-586-4973

Fire at Hubbell homestead destroys pole barn; injures two

Above: Firefighters battled a blaze that destroyed a pole barn at the Hubbell Family Farm on Wednesday, March 9. Photo by Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography and Design. 


An afternoon fire destroyed a pole barn and injured two firefighters at the Hubbell Family Farm on Route 30 outside the Delaware County village of Margaretville on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

Although officials at the scene were unwilling to state the cause of the blaze, John Hubbell said that it likely began when round hay bales sitting outside the pole barn caught fire.

On Wednesday night, Margaretville Fire Chief Gene Rosa confirmed that the cause of the fire was accidental.

Above: An excavator housed in the pole barn was destroyed by the fire. Photo by Rebecca Andre.   Read more

Maple sugar season comes early to the Catskills

Above: Sap buckets in the sun. Photo by Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography and Design

“A sap-run is the sweet good-bye of winter. It is the fruit of the equal marriage of the sun and frost.” - John Burroughs, “Signs and Seasons," 1886

Commercial sugarhouses, mom and pop sugar shacks, homesteaders and hobbyists alike are busy catching up to the flowing maple syrup during this year’s early—and prolific—sugar season.

Most years, maple tapping does not begin in the Catskills until late February, with the highest syrup production happening towards the end of March or early April, according to Andrew Campbell, who managed the Hubbell Family Farm in the Delaware County village of Margaretville.

But this year, an unseasonably warm week early in February gave a head start to local maple production.

“We tapped the first week in February,” said Toby Hubbell.  Read more


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