Trailkeeper Network launches Website

Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Trailkeeper Network, in partnership with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and Sullivan County Division of Planning & Environmental Management, the Sullivan County Visitors Association and Morgan Outdoors, are pleased to announce the launch of®.® is a one-source outlet for hiking trails and public lands in Sullivan County, NY with easy-to-read, easy-to-access maps and facilities information and guides to hiking safety.

From serious hikers to beginners testing their hiking legs for the first time, from moms with babies in backpacks to senior citizens to seasoned hikers looking for a challenge,® provides access to trail information that matches hiker to trail.® gives hikers the information they need about locations, routes, and facilities to make hiking safer, more accessible, and more fun.® is a unique partnership that brings together a diverse group of local organizations, businesses, and agencies to promote and celebrate the beauty and character of Sullivan County,” explains Emily Deans, Agricultural Coordinator at Catskill Mountainkeeper. “We are excited to launch this comprehensive, easy to use website.® is a great resource that will encourage and inspire residents and visitors alike to get out and explore this special part of the Catskills.”® connects residents and visitors to information about the shops, lodgings, and other local businesses of Sullivan County and provides news about upcoming events, activities, and attractions in the region. ® promotes and supports the complete Sullivan County experience. When people go out to hike, they stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they shop at local outdoor stores and stop by other local businesses, and if they’re from out of town, they may stay overnight. ® inspires people to get outside and connect with the hiking trails of Sullivan County,” states Melinda Meddaugh, Land Protection Coordinator for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. “To borrow a phrase from the TrailKeeper®  website, ‘look where we live!’ We have incredibly healthy lands and beautiful clean waters that people can see, enjoy, and experience when they’re out hiking these trails.® makes it easy to experience the lands, communities, and local businesses that make Sullivan County so special.” is the result of a partnership between the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, the Sullivan County Visitors Association, and Morgan Outdoors, with support from the Upper Delaware Council, Sullivan Renaissance, the New York New Jersey Trail Conference, the National Park Service, Sullivan County Community College Hiking Class, and many volunteers.

For more information on®, email

or contact Emily Deans, Catskill Mountainkeeper at 845-482-5400 or Melinda Meddaugh, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy at 845-583-1010.

Why Mountainkeeper Needs Your Support This Holiday Season

happy-holidays During this holiday season I hope that you include Catskill Mountainkeeper in your year-end giving for 2012.   A significant portion of our operating budget comes from end of year donations and it is a great time to support our work because your contribution is tax-deductible.  It is really easy to donate before the end of tax season by using our secure online donation system, by using Paypal or by sending us a check.

Why should you support Catskill Mountainkeeper?
We love the Catskills, and know you do too.  Over the last five years, Mountainkeeper has become its leading advocate, working tirelessly to protect the region from imminent threats like hazardous gas drilling while encouraging a sustainable future through smart planning and promotion of the region’s agricultural and tourism industries.  While we have made great progress under surmountable odds, the future of New York State is still unclear.  The decision on fracking from Albany is looming; we don’t have much time to ensure our voices are heard and dually represented.

We need to increase our efforts, our actions and our giving, before it’s too late.

Advocating for the Catskills needs to be a group effort.  That’s why across the region, generous members of the community are donating their time, goods and services in support of the work we do.  It is with thanks to them, that we offer the following to you:

Contribute $20 or more to Mountainkeeper between now and December 31st, and be entered into a drawing for: Heron_DinnerFor6 copy


Please join us. Click Here to make a secure donation online today.

As a grassroots organization, a large portion of our funding comes from our annual appeal.  By supporting us at this time, you will not only become an important part of our ongoing efforts to ban the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing in New York State but will also be supporting our comprehensive plan to encourage sustainable economic alternatives.  Together, we can protect the vast resources and unique character of the beautiful and irreplaceable Catskill region.

To find out more about what Mountainkeeper has accomplished this past year I invite you to read my 2012 Report to Stakeholders.  In it you’ll find valuable information about the latest steps we’ve taken in our fight against fracking, as well as the economic opportunities we are working to develop.  If you stand behind what we do, please stand with us, and donate today.

There are three simple ways to donate:

 donate_hand(1)paypal Mail a Check to:
Catskill Mountainkeeper
P.O. Box 381
Youngsville, New York 12791

To find out more ways you can become involved, visit our website at

Catskill Mountainkeeper is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductible.

As always, I remain available to answer any questions you might have. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call, send an email or stop by my Youngsville office.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season.

Ramsay Adams
Executive Director

Mountainkeeper and More than 100 Groups Launch Americans Against Fracking

December 11, 2012 By Mark Boshnack The Oneonta Daily Star

A national organization was recently formed to oppose the controversial method of oil and gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing. More than 100 groups came together this month to launch Americans against Fracking, a national coalition dedicated to banning the practice.

One of these is the Catskill Mountainkeeper, an organization that promotes sustainable growth in the Catskills. Program director Wes Gillingham said joining the coalition was important because “the regulatory process (in the state) has turned into a political process.”

This was evident with the release last week of proposed revised drilling rules covering fracking in the state, he said.

The state has had a moratorium on the practice since an environmental impact study was initiated in 2008. There is a lack of oversight on the industry nationwide that allows it to “contaminate communities nationwide,” he said. “The alliance will help the cause.”

About the new state proposals, “it makes no sense to release them now,” because the health review on the process has not been released, he said. What he has seen of the proposals, “it is completely inadequate,” he said.

Marie Lusins, a pro-drilling member of the Otsego County Natural Gas Advisory Board, said she can’t imagine such a coalition would stop the drilling nationwide. The amount of oil and gas already recovered through the process is “huge,” she said, and “is a much-needed boost to the economy.”

But activists, such as the ones involved in the coalition, will help the industry to operate in a cleaner, safer fashion.

She said she was glad to see the progress in the state regulatory procedures. While there is a question whether fracking will occur in this area, when people in the state see it done, they will be “more comfortable with the process,” she said.  Click Here for the Complete Article

The Answer is Not Fracking or Coal. It’s Neither.

Huffington Post, December 7, 2012
J. Mijin Cha

A few months ago, Joseph Martens, the Commissioner of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, rejected calls for an independent analysis of the health impacts from fracking. Martens’ solution was to ask the state’s Health Commissioner to appoint independent experts to do the review. Leaving alone the illogic of rejecting an independent commission only to ask another agency to appoint a commission, there is cause for concern on what the commission will recommend. The Wall Street Journal quotes Lynn Goldman, one of the health experts, as saying, “A decision not to frack is a decision to use more coal.” Not only is this assertion completely wrong, this type of thinking is dangerous to communities.

Goldman posits a false choice. Continuing the moratorium against fracking in New York State does not mean that New York’s only option is to use more coal. In fact, the state currently produces more electricity from renewable energy than it does from coal. Eleven percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewables and by 2020, that share could increase to close to 40 percent. There is no reason why the state couldn’t double down on expanding renewable energy production, rather than allow fracking or increase coal use.  Read more….

Dec 04, 2012 – Fracking Update: Cuomo Administration Short Changes Health Review

Let the Science make the Decision on Fracking

Governor Cuomo has promised that the decision on whether fracking would go forward in New York State would be guided by science, but recent actions by his admininistration are contrary to that goal.  The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) has now put in motion a process for the health review of fracking that does not give the medical experts the Governor appointed the time to do a thorough review and is not open to public comment.

The DEC has not given the medical experts that were appointed time to do a thorough review of the health impacts of fracking and has limited public comment.

For a quick overview of how we got to this point click here: Peter Mantius: Doctorsfracking concerns being ignored Corning Leader ‎- December 2, 2012

It appears as if the medical experts hired to review the health impact of fracking in New York State are being given just days each to review what the Department of Health (DOH) has already written. One of the experts, Lynn Goldman, made statements to the press that she had a December 3rd, 2012 deadline to complete her work even though she had signed a contract only 10 days prior and at that time had not yet seen the health review. We have learned that the state signed contracts with each medical expert that limits their work to 25 hours each.

The actions of the medical experts will not be a comprehensive independent health impact assessment that New Yorkers have been asking for.  In fact based on the amount of time they’re being given, they will hardly have time to read the data on the health impacts of fracking that has already been written. Catskill Mountainkeeper and our partners have been advocating for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) since 2008.  Our requests for a comprehensive and rigorous independent HIA that distinguishes itself from other kinds of public health investigations by using quantitative, qualitative and participatory techniques have been ignored.

  • The health review process now has NO public input of any kind, which is totally unacceptable.
  • The comment period on the fracking regulations is a mere 30 days, and the timing over
    the holidays seems designed to stifle public comment.
  • The effort to push forward the fracking decision is anything but the open, transparent,
    comprehensive process that is needed.

Please do these three things to protect New Yorkers:

Write to Governor Cuomo now using our easy email form.

Call Governor Cuomo

NYC Office (212) 681-4580

Albany Office (518) 474-8390
And very importantly, make comments on the problems with the fracking regulations as we report them to you in the next few weeks. It is critical that as many New Yorkers as possible weigh in on what is wrong with the proposed fracking regulations. On November 29th, the Governor authorized the DEC to file a 90-day extension to its initial November 29th deadline for releasing proposed regulations for fracking, paving the way for fracking to begin by spring. A 30-day comment period is in place that would start on December 12th and go through the holidays – which seems to be designed to limit public comment.