New York State bans wild boar hunting

Above: A trailcam in Delaware County catches a nocturnal glimpse of an elusive wild boar. Photo taken in August 2013; courtesy of USDA APHIS.

A statewide ban on the hunting and trapping of feral swine -- also known as wild boars or Eurasian boars -- went into effect on Monday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced in a press release

Until recently, boars were largely unknown to New York State, even as burgeoning populations of wild pigs wreaked over a billion dollars' worth of destruction a year across other parts of the country. But in recent years, feral swine have been found breeding in the wild in a few parts of New York State, the descendants of boars that escaped from private "canned" hunting preserves. 

Many other states have encouraged the hunting of wild boars in an effort to control their populations, but without much success. Banning the hunting of an animal that state officials want to rid the landscape of seems paradoxical. But scientists who study the animals say that allowing private hunting can interfere with state-sanctioned efforts to bait and trap boars, and has even encouraged hunters to release more of the animals into the wild for sport.

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Flood watch in effect across Catskills

Above: A graphic from the National Weather Service in Binghamton, showing the flood watch area across upstate New York and Pennsylvania that is in effect Wednesday through early Thursday morning. 

Heavy rains are in the forecast for eastern New York and Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon and evening, prompting the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue flood watches across the Catskills region.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to arrive this evening and overnight, with between 1.5 and 4 inches of rain forecast for the Catskills. Forecasters at NWS and Hudson Valley Weather say the eastern Catskills will get the most rain, with lower totals expected for the western end of the region.   Read more

Gilboa Dam bald eagles hatch eaglets, again

Above: An adult eagle and an eaglet in the bald eagle nest near the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County. Photo via the NYC DEP's Flickr account. 

For the second year running, a pair of bald eagles nesting near the Gilboa Dam has hatched a pair of fuzzy gray eaglets, according to a press release from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which runs the dam.

The eagles built the nest near the dam's west support wall -- an active construction zone in the midst of a $400 million rehabilitation project -- in 2011.  The couple didn't successfully hatch any offspring until 2013, when two eaglets successfully fledged and became favorites of the DEP staffers working nearby.    Read more

Man severely injured after losing control of ATV in Sharon

A man was severely injured after losing control of his all-terrain vehicle on Route 10 just north of the village of Sharon Springs on Thursday, April 24, according to press releases from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office.

The man, Franklin Butler of Sprakers, was driving a 2003 Arctic Cat south on the highway at 7:56 p.m. on Thursday night when he lost control and was ejected from the ATV, according to the press release.

Butler sustained head and neck injuries and was airlifted to Albany Medical Center. As of 11 a.m. this morning, he was still at Albany Medical Center, diagnosed with "severe head trauma."

The Sharon Springs Fire Department and Rescue Squad, the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, and Schoharie County Medics responded to the accident.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the cause of the accident.

Join Us for a Free & Informative Seminar

For most people their home is one of their most valuable assets. Therefore, it is a good idea to carefully consider options regarding this asset when reaching retirement age and beyond.  Many people prefer to "age in place", while others are ready to downsize and each scenario raises many questions.

Topics covered include making modifications to typical senior problem area: bathrooms, kitchens, doorways, entrances and also details like hardware, faucets and light switches.  Gerry Murphy will discuss how to analyze cost/benefit when it comes to larger renovations jobs, like modifying a floor plan to accommodate a downstairs bedroom.

Peggy Bellar will present important tips that seniors should consider when selling their homes.

In addition there will be professionals to answer legal and tax questions.

Location at M Gerard Country Home,  44310 Route 28,  Arkville, NY 12406   845-586-1114  Read more

Happy Earth Day, Catskills

Nature's always close at hand in the Catskills, on Earth Day and every day. Photo by Kellsey Buerge; submitted to our 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Earth Day turns 44 this year. In cities across America, environmentally-minded citizens are celebrating the holiday with big green-themed fests, parties and exhibit fairs. 

Not so in the Catskills, where Earth Day celebrations tend to be more low-key. Here, Mother Nature isn't an occasional guest to fête; she's a full-time resident. But this week, the local area holds a few special events in honor of the planet. 

Today, the Arkville-based Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and the MARK Project are setting up shop outside a few local stores to give away reusable shopping bags: The Freshtown and the Dollar Store in Margaretville, and the Great American in Prattsville. Stop by to get a grocery bag that won't end up in a landfill -- or, better yet, bring your own. 

Sullivan County's digital library of maps for hiking trails and public lands, Trailkeeper.org, is celebrating today with a family scavenger hunt at Turtle Spring Nature Trail, at 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road in Liberty. Treasure hunters of all ages will get a chance to try geocaching, in which hikers hunt for hidden capsules with the help of GPS receivers. The scavenger hunt runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. To pre-register for the event, call the Sullivan County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 845-292-6180, or email Nicole Slevin at nas96@cornell.edu. 

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Winter's last hurrah (we hope)

People across the Catskills awoke this morning to find April's first green shoots covered in snow. Above: A row of icicles that sprouted overnight from a Margaretville roof gleams under a dazzling blue sky. Photo by Lissa Harris.

According to snow reports from the National Weather Service in Albany and Binghamton, some areas in the Catskills -- like Claryville in Ulster County, Livingston Manor in Sullivan County, and the Greene County mountaintop region -- got over three inches of snow Tuesday night. 

Tuesday's bout of winter weather came just a little too late to extend the ski season, which lasted well into April this year. Over the past week or two, the four major ski centers of the Catskills -- Belleayre, Hunter, Plattekill and Windham -- all put an end to this year's blockbuster season.

Above: No BBQs on this Margaretville porch til the snow melts. Photo by Lissa Harris.  Read more

Cold front sweeps through area, bringing rain, sleet and snow

Above: Temperatures around upstate New York around 8 a.m. this morning, showing a cold front moving east across the region. The National Weather Service in Albany writes: "Current 8 a.m. temperature in Albany is 63 degrees while behind the cold front in Buffalo, NY, it is 33 degrees with a rain/snow mix."

Watch out for April showers -- and a few bouts of sleet and snow. After a few days of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s, the Catskills region is now bracing for the return of wintry weather as a cold front moves in from the west.   Read more

Senior-ize or Sell - Informative Seminar

For most people their home is one of their most valuable assets. Therefore, it is a good idea to carefully consider options regarding this asset when reaching retirement age and beyond.  Many people prefer to "age in place", while others are ready to downsize and each scenario raises many questions.

Gerry Murphy of M Gerard Country Home and Margaret "Peggy" Bellar, licensed real estate salesperson, of Keller Williams Upstate New York Properties will explore "senior-izing" your home and tips on preparing for selling your home in an informative seminar to be held at M Gerard Country Home store on Saturday, April 26th from 11AM until Noon. Also joining them will be professionals to answer legal and tax questions.
 
 




 

In the Catskills, spring is construction season

Above: The Phoenicia Library under construction. Photo by Nancy Howell. 

Spring in the Catskills means new sounds in the landscape: the patter of raindrops, the tweeting of songbirds, and the sweet, sweet sound of hammers on nails. This season brings a bumper crop of much-anticipated new construction in the area, as several long-planned projects near completion. 

It's been almost exactly three years since the Phoenicia Library, right on the hamlet's main drag, was destroyed in a catastrophic fire. It's been a long haul, but thanks to generous support from donors and the community, the library is rising from the ashes again. In the photo above, taken by Nancy Howell, roofers take advantage of the early spring sunshine on Monday.

Liz Potter, the library's director, is hoping the rebuilt library building will be ready to move the books back into by late July. "We're just tying up loose ends in terms of design," she said. "Soon they'll be putting in the electrical and the plumbing."  Read more


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