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

Lightning strikes couple camping in Catskills forest

Above: Two hemlock trees scarred by the lightning that hit a husband and wife in Tannersville on Wednesday, March 16. Photo by Forest Ranger Rob Dawson. 

A man and woman from Princeton, New Jersey were struck by lightning while camping in the Greene County Catskills on the night of Wednesday, March 16, according to the New York State Department of Conservation.

The married couple, a man and a woman in their twenties who are otherwise not being identified, were camping in the Catskills with their dog on Wednesday night. 

They had set up their campsite in a hemlock grove about three-quarters of a mile from the North-South Lake Campground in the town of Hunter, New York State Forest Ranger Rob Dawson said.

Around 6 p.m., as they were cooking dinner, a thunderstorm swept over the area, Dawson said.

Lightning struck two hemlock trees located about five feet away from where they had pitched their tent, Dawson said.

“It basically had its bark blown off,” he said of one of the trees.  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 


Maple Fest: Celebrating the Wonderful World of Maple Syrup

March 19, 2016 - 10:00am

Location:  Agroforestry Resource Center, 6055 Route 23, Acra, NY

Cost: Free

No registration required

Experience a taste of the “sweet world of maple sugaring” as part of the New York Maple weekend here at CCE’s Agroforestry Resource Center.  The event will provide an opportunity to learn about sugar mapling procedures, including demonstrations in our own sugar shack, fun “maple syrup” taste testing, and displays of antique maple sugaring equipment.  There will an opportunity to buy maple sugar products from the diligent local maple producers.  Delicious pancakes with pure maple syrup will also be available for sale in case you get hungry.  Plan on joining us to participate in this annual spring ritual in the Northeast representing a few weeks of intense labor that leaves behind a year’s worth of healthy sweetness.

518-622-9820 x0

Trail to Devil’s Kitchen now legal, thanks to climber’s land donation

Above: A view looking up through Upper Devil's Kitchen. The newly-legal trail towards Platte Clove Road is on the right. Photos by Marty Molitoris/Alpine Endeavors. 

An unmarked trail that is the safest way into the Devil’s Kitchen has become public property, thanks to the efforts of a pair of ice climbers, one of whom has donated a two-acre piece of land in Platte Clove to New York state.

The Devil’s Kitchen in Greene County is one of the Catskills’ most picturesque—and dangerous—attractions. The cliff-lined gorge in the steep, rocky section of the Platte Clove valley in the town of Hunter, is a hugely popular spot for hikers and ice climbers, and is also scene of many accidents and even deaths. (One climber fell 80 feet and miraculously survived last summer.)

Until recently, portions of the Devil’s Kitchen were only accessible through private property or treacherous unmarked trails on public land. Access was not only dangerous, it was also sometimes illegal.  Read more

Artist killed by car in Greene County while walking dog

Above: "Catskill Snow Storm in October" by Francine Barbet. Image via

Seventy-eight-year-old Francine Barbet was killed in the Greene County town of Jewett on Friday, Feb. 26 when she walked with her dog into the path of an oncoming Jeep around 6:30 p.m., police say.

Barbet was walking her dog at Beecher's Corners, the intersection of Route 296 and County Road 23C, while wearing dark clothing, according to a Daily Mail article.

Left: Francine Barbet. Image via 

As she walked into the southbound lane of Route 296, she was hit by 65-year-old Joseph Disanti of the Long Island hamlet of Shirley, who was driving a 2004 Jeep, according to a press release from the New York State Police.  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

The First Catskill Computer Art Show

Dear Friends and Art Lovers,

I hope you will join us at the opening of The First Catskill Computer Art Show at Atelier Progressif on Friday, March 11th, at 6:00 PM.


The Exhibition will showcase digital art by talented MOCA (Museum for Computer Art) artists from all over the world who have contributed their work for the show. It will be a representation of the most original and dramatic work created on the computer in its various forms and manifestations, including 3-D rendered art, fractals, enhanced photography, animation, mixed media, and computer-painted and -drawn art.


The Show is a reflection of our mission to seek out and identify individuals who utilize technology to create and promote meaningful new artwork.  We want to be an integral and vital force in shaping how art is created and consumed in the digital era.


Atelier Progressif Creative Art Space is looking to give space and support to artists who use digital tools to create art and art projects that benefit society.


We hope to see you there,


Yechiam Gal / Principal

   Read more

Heavy rains cause minor flooding across Catskills


There is minimal flooding at the West Branch of the Delaware River at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Walton this morning. This is a view facing Kraft.

Posted by The Walton Reporter on Thursday, February 25, 2016

Above: The Walton fairgrounds flooded on Thursday, Feb. 25. Photo via the Walton Reporter's Facebook page.

The heavy rains that fell across the Catskills on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and through the night into Thursday, Feb. 25 have caused minor, localized flooding across the region.

The West Branch of the Delaware River is flooding several towns along its banks on Thursday morning, including the towns of Hamden and Walton, according to hydrographs and eyewitness reports. 

In Hamden, Basin Clove Road in is closed from Route 10 to the intersection of Back River Road due to water across the roadway, according to the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services.

In Walton, muddy floodwaters have covered the county fairgrounds, according to the Walton Reporter. Flooding in Walton was predicted to peak around 11 a.m. at 10 feet, according to Walton's hydrograph. Flood stage for the West Branch of the Delaware River in Walton is 9.5 feet, according to a flood warning alert issued by the National Weather Service in Binghamton

Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties are under a hazardous weather outlook warning for flooding through Thursday evening, according to NWS Binghamton and NWS Albany. The weather service reports that "widespread river flooding is not expected" in those counties. 

There was minor flooding of the Schoharie Creek in the town of Prattsville on Wednesday evening, according to the river's hydrograph, but waters have already fallen well below flood stage on Thursday morning. 

The Esopus Creek in Ulster County was under a flood warning on Wenesday and Thursday issued by NWS Albany. The Esopus overspilled its banks at 20.51 feet on Wednesday evening in Mount Marion, according to the Mount Marion hydrograph, and had dropped back to 19 feet by 11 a.m. on Thursday morning.

In Cold Brook, the Esopus crested 12.39 feet on Wednesday night, a level where water overflows the creek's banks above the Ashokan's Reservoir but causes little damage, according to the Cold Brook hydrograph. The water level at Cold Brook has also dropped down quickly on Thursday morning. 

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