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DEP: Artists, come get our driftwood

Above: "Driftwood Cove" in the Ashokan Reservoir. Photo via the NYC DEP.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is hosting an odd event this Friday, Jan. 23: A driftwood giveaway.

The DEP has a driftwood glut on its Ashokan Reservoir, one of the city's upstate lakes that supplies NYC's drinking water. A portion of the reservoir's west basin is dubbed "Driftwood Cove" because of the large amount of wood that piles up along its shores after washing down the Esopus Creek through the Catskills, according to a DEP press release. 

For years, the DEP has given its driftwood away to artists, who use it in sculptures and crafts. But in that past, the DEP has also burned some driftwood, which has disappointed some artists who wanted as much of the wood as they could get.  Read more

Without Valentine's Day...

February would be, well.....January!

Jim Gaffigan

 

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Ulster County makes new move toward eviction of Catskill Mountain Railroad

Above: Families board a Thomas the Tank Engine train in Kingston during a Catskill Mountain Railroad event in September. Photo via the Catskill Mountain Railroad Facebook page.  

Ulster County is preparing to file more litigation in an attempt to evict the Catskill Mountain Railroad from county-owned train tracks, according to Ernie Hunt, the spokesman for the railroad, and Ulster County Legislator David Donaldson. 

Hunt said that the railroad’s lawyers received notice on Tuesday, Jan. 13 that Ulster County would soon appeal a September decision by Ulster County Supreme Court Judge Richard Mott that prevents the county from evicting the railroad.  Read more

New early bear hunting season may have led to record kill numbers 

Above: A bear snacks on birdseed after smashing a bird feeder at a home in Andes in 2006. Photo by Peter Possenti (using a telephoto lens.) Used with permission

The spot Tim Meservey found at the base of a tree early one Saturday morning in September was a hunter’s dream. On a rise, it faced a gully that is a country lane for wildlife. A few hundred yards away is a farm where bears strip sweet, young corn from the stalk when no one is looking. 

Usually, bears are not on Meservey’s big game list. Not as plentiful as deer, they are also elusive, and it was rare to see one in the woods by the time regular hunting season arrived in November in Greene County, where the 39-year-old hunter and middle school art teacher lives. 

“They tend to head back up in the mountains in fall,” Meservey said.

But when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) initiated an early bear season that started on Sept. 6 – the regular season opened Nov. 15 – Meservey said he finally saw an opportunity.  Read more

Valentine's Day Raffle Returns

The New York Times jumps on the visit-the-Catskills bandwagon

Above: A double rainbow over the Ashokan Reservoir in July 2014. Photo by Rebecca Balzac, shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Joining the likes of Travel + Leisure and Fodor's, the New York Times has listed the Catskills as one of "52 Places to Go in 2015."

"Not your Bubbie and Zadie’s getaway," the NYT writes, ranking the Catskills #39 on its list. The paper names a series of Catskills establishments that have been enjoying fantastic press recently, including The Graham & Co. and the Phoenicia Diner in Phoenicia and Cucina and Woodstock Way in Woodstock--all of which were also recently lauded in a feature in Vogue.

There's also the inevitable comparison to Brooklyn:   Read more

"Arctic Outbreak" prompts some schools to open late

Above: Forecasted windchill temperatures for Thursday, Jan. 8, from the National Weather Service's Binghamton office.

Several Catskills school districts have announced delays for Thursday, Jan. 7 because of frigid temperatures expected on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

In Greene County, the Greene, Catskill and Cairo-Durham schools have all announced two-hour delays, according to CBS 6's StormWatch page.

In Sullivan County, Sullivan County West is also on a two-hour delay, according to the school's website  Read more

Chris Gibson won't run again for Congress in 2016

As Republican Congressman Chris Gibson was sworn into his third term in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, he announced that it would be his last.

In a statement, Gibson said that he will step down from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of his current two-year term:

"As I stated shortly after retiring from the US Army and first pursuing a seat in Congress in 2010, I planned to self-impose term limits. Accordingly, after much reflection and consultation with my family, this will be my third and final time taking the oath of office as a Representative in the US House. I thank the voters of Upstate NY for this privilege to serve and pledge to continue to work tirelessly on their behalf in this final term."  Read more

Winter is about to get serious

Above: Catskills icicles. Photo by Mark Zilberman, via the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Hello 2015! We're back after a holiday break, just in time for winter to really sink its teeth into the Catskills.

The National Weather Service is warning that high winds will batter Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties throughout the day on Monday, Jan. 5, that downed power lines and outages are possible, and that "loose objects may be propelled:"  Read more

Will 2015 be the year of the Catskills?

Above: Barnes Hill on a sunny fall day in 2014. Photo by Dennis Schevjda, via Flickr

If the national travel press has anything to do with it, the Catskills will be flooded with tourists in 2015.

Two separate publications, Fodor's and Travel + Leisure, have put the region on their lists of the best places in the world (the world!) to visit next year.

Fodor's Go List 2015 lumps "The Hudson Valley and the Catskills" together, and lists them as #2, right after "The Arctic" and before Namibia and Guatemala:  Read more


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