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

Seventh Woodstock Writers Festival to put spotlight on addiction

Above: The seventh annual Woodstock Writers Festival puts the spotlight on addiction, an epidemic in the Catskills. Image via the Woodstock Writers Festival's Facebook page. 

Editor’s note: Robert Burke Warren, the author of the new novel “Perfectly Broken,” will be speaking about his new book on the fiction panel of the 2016 Woodstock Writers Festival at 2 p.m. on April 9. His wife, Holly George-Warren, a rock biographer, is speaking on the music panel at 4 p.m. on April 9. We’ve asked Robert to preview the festival for us.

The Woodstock Writers Festival, which runs for four days beginning on Thursday, April 7, continues to grow, defying naysayers’ claims that books are going the way of the dodo. Clearly, in Woodstock at least, books are doing fine, thank you.  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

New Mount Tremper farmstand to open on Route 28 this spring

Above: Kham and Jamie Nguyen putting siding on their new Mount Tremper farmstand, which is scheduled to open in April. Photo by J.N. Urbanski. 

A new roadside farmstand is slated to open in the Ulster County town of Shandaken this spring, next door to where the controversial Hanover Farms farmstand operated for nine years before being closed by court order in 2013.

Tremper Hill Farms will be located at the junction of Route 212 and Route 28 in Mount Tremper, on the property of Kham and Jamie Nguyen. The Nguyens have built a new structure on their roadside property to house the farmstand, just downhill from their house.

An exact opening date has not been set, but the Nguyens are hoping to begin selling produce by the end of April. They are inviting local farmers, producers and small-scale growers to contact them via email at [email protected].  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 


Police: Route 28 traffic stop finds 400 decks of heroin bound for Oneonta

Over 400 bags of heroin were found in a car heading from New York City to the Otsego County city of Oneonta on Sunday, March 13, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's deputies pulled over 20-year-old Oneonta resident Francesa Lorusso in the Ulster County town of Hurley for a traffic violation on Sunday and reportedly found that she was driving with a suspended license, police say.

When deputies searched the car, they found over 400 bags of heroin hidden inside the vehicle, policy say.

Lorusso and her two passengers, 34-year-old Ricardo J. Korianski and 36-year-old Jason E. Blass, were then arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, police say. The three were "transporting a large amount of heroin from New York City to the City of Oneonta," an Ulster County Sheriff's Office press release states.

All three are being held in the Ulster County Jail on $25,000 bail, police say.

Tea Time with Valerie Tripp & Friends

April 9, 2016 - 2:00pm

Acclaimed American Girl author Valerie Tripp will speak about her creative process and the joys of writing while guests enjoy tea, tea sandwiches, and pastries from Bridgecreek Catering. Tripp will also answer questions about her stories and sign guests’ books. A raffle will be held and one lucky winner will receive a Maryellen Larkin™ doll, complete with accessories and books about her life as an American Girl in the 1950s.  Saturday, April 9, 2 pm Deyo Hall (6 Broadhead Avenue, New Paltz) Registration is required: $25 for adults and $20 for ages 12 and under  Sponsored by New Paltz Karate Academy.  Prior to the April 9 event, children ages 7 to 12 are invited to write their own Huguenot Street Girl stories from the perspective of Maria Hasbrouck, the daughter of Jean Hasbrouck and Anna Deyo, Huguenot refugees who were among the first settlers of New Paltz.  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

Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole in Concert Wed. March 9th in Phoenicia

March 9, 2016 - 7:30pm
See video

On Wednesday, March 9, Flying Cat Music presents Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole in concert in Phoenicia at the Empire State Railway Museum located at 70 Lower High Street. This unique musical experience embraces the traditional French creole music of the Ozark foothills. The doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 prompt. Admission is $16 or $14 with RSVP to [email protected] or by calling 845-688-9453.

Dirty Linen Magazine says Dennis Stroughmatt is “a jaw dropping fiddler” while Off Beat Magazine describes him as akin to “a driving demon.” Sing Out Magazine calls Stroughmatt’s fiddling style “an energetic and driving combination of Celtic, Canadian and Old-Time styles.”

Dennis Stroughmatt has performed his infectious traditional creole music with various ensembles around the world, appearing on NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keilor,” on CNN’s “World Beat” on Mardi Gras, and on many stages including the Illinois State Fair, “The Louisiana Folklife Festival,” “The Cajun French Music Awards” in Lafayette, LA, and at “Mardi Gras World” in New Orleans.  Read more

845 688 9453

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