Newsletter Volume V Fall 2009

Catskill Mountainkeeper Newsletter


Volume V Fall 2009

In This Issue
Special Event on Sept 20th
Threats to the Catskills
Get Involved!
Barn Fest Success!

Upcoming Events

9/19/09 Gasko Meyer Beer Fest supporting CMK

9/20/09 Free CMK Sponsored "Split Estate" viewing at The Settlers Inn

9/20/09 CMK at Bethel Woods Harvest Festival

9/23/09 CMK to testify at DRBC Public Hearing on water withdrawal from the Delaware 

10/3/09 CMK sponsors the Beehive Collective at the Liberty Free Theater

10/3/09 CMK Supports Morgan Outdoors "Environmental Film Festival"

10/11/09 Beaverkill Mtn. Road Race proceeds for CMK

10/19/09 Rochester Gas Forum featuring CMK

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Our Mission


 By promoting economic revitalization, environmental protection and education, Catskill Mountainkeeper serves as a strong advocate for the protection and enhancement of the Catskill Mountains.  Through a network of concerned citizens, we work to promote sustainable economic growth and the protection of natural resources essential to healthy communities.
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Click here for fun facts about the Catskills!


CMK ‘Zine 
cmk ezine
Brittany McNamara and Eleanor Blakeslee-Drain, our summer interns, created a hand-crafted ‘zine for us.  Content includes articles about  gas drilling and sustainable electricity, a crossword puzzle, how to make yogurt, cool Catskills critters and lots more.  Get a copy of the ‘zine by emailing us or look around stores and shops in your area for a copy.

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4054 St Rt 52
PO Box 381
Youngsville, NY 12791
(845) 482-5400


Check us out! We’re on:


This summer we have seen the emergence and intensification of critical issues that affect the environment, the local business community and the very fabric of life in the Catskill region.
During this very active time we have been:

·     Leading the fight to prevent massive off reservation casinos from invading our area
·     Preparing for the release of the DEC’s draft supplemental which will eventually govern gas exploration in NY
·     Making sure that new gas regulations include all necessary protections needed if gas drilling is to begin in the Catskills and other areas of NY
·     Shining a spotlight on large scale real estate developments that threaten to destroy the integrity of our ecology
·     Addressing opportunities for sustainable development and economic expansion
We’re sending you this newsletter to bring you up to date on what we’re doing, what needs to be done as well as ask for your help. We know that we are asking a lot at a time when you may be cutting down or eliminating the causes you support, but we hope we are earning the right by taking on the issues that matter the most to you, right here in the Catskills.

dimock drill site
As someone who loves the Catskills we urge you to get active, read this newsletter, understand how the issues affect you, tell us what you think, pledge to support us with your time, skills and financial contributions.

Best Regards, 
Ramsay Adams
Executive Director


A Special Mountainkeeper Event
Join Catskill Mountainkeeper Program Director Wes Gillingham at The Settlers Inn for a viewing of the critically acclaimed documentary "Split Estate". Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health. 
split estateSunday, September 20th, 6:30 pm 
The Settlers Inn
4 Main Ave, Hawley, PA 18428 
This event is free and open to the public.  Registration is required as space is limited.

"’Split Estate’ is a must-see film for any elected official who deals with natural resources issues and the impact that oil & gas extraction can have on a community. Anyone who sees the film will be changed by the experience – for the better."
Brian Egolf, New Mexico State Representative


Threats to the Catskills


Drilling for natural gas in the Catskills has the potential to be a reality very soon.  The NYS DEC will rule this month about whether and under what conditions gas drilling can commence.
Why It Matters to You
Serious environmental and social concerns accompany gas drilling.   There are powerful questions about whether hydraulic fracturing as it is being done is safe at all.


What Catskill Mountainkeeper is doing about it:

With the possibility of gas drilling becoming a likelihood in some form  Catskill Mountainkeeper is playing a critical role in making sure drilling is monitored, controlled and abuses will be identified and addressed quickly.
Click here to learn more about gas drilling



There is a new and aggressive push to get the Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to change the rules that prohibit Native American tribes from building casinos hundreds of miles away from their reservations. If successful Sullivan County will likely see the development of at least three off-reservation Atlantic City sized casinos.  Based on a recent tour by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior pro-casino activity is likely to accelerate.
Why It Matters to You
Proposed casinos if approved will threaten our air quality and our drinking water supply as well as transform the quality of life and the character of our region. 
What Catskill Mountainkeeper is doing about it:
Catskill Mountainkeeper made sure the voice of opposition to casinos was heard by Larry Echo Hawk, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior when he made his recent listening tour by putting together a coalition of concerned groups and lobbying hard – face to face with Mr. Echo Hawk.
Click here to learn more about the casinos scheme

Take action to stop casinos in the Catskills –


Major ridge-top developments have been proposed near the Belleayre State Park Ski Center and along the Bashakill Ridge in Sullivan County as well as proposal’s in various stages in Delaware, Greene and Ulster Counties. These threaten the character of our region, will destroy natural resources and negatively affect our way of life.
Why It Matters to You
The development of our ridge-tops is one of the most significant threats to the Catskills.  The destruction to the land by clear-cutting, bulldozing and blasting results in deforestation and erosion. This leads to the danger of excessive flooding which threatens existing homes and properties.  More importantly it is the undeveloped nature of our mountains that makes them so unique and valuable.  Development on mountaintops ruins view sheds and dramatically impacts the scenic nature of the region.  Visit the Catskill Heritage Alliance website to find out more about the Belleayre development proposal.

What Catskill Mountainkeeper is doing about it
Catskill Mountainkeeper will host a "Summit on Summits" with the Catskill Heritage Alliance in Spring ’10 to discuss ways to protect our ridgelines from destruction.  We will send you more information as plans are finalized.  If you are interested in helping organize the summit email us at


We are researching hillside and ridgetop regulations that have been enacted in areas throughout the country to document best practices to ensure we are able to support aesthetically pleasing development and protect mountains and slopes.
Click here to learn more about development threats


Opportunities for Sustainable Development

The work of Catskill Mountainkeeper is equally about creating, and supporting new opportunities as it is about fighting threats.  Here are some of the efforts we have been spearheading in the last few months:
Mountainkeeper is acting as the catalyst and facilitator to create a campus of the New School University in Sullivan County.  

This would be a partnership with the Center for Discovery, the largest private employer in Sullivan County and would focus on offering degrees in healthcare, agriculture and music therapy.  Serious exploration of this opportunity is currently taking place and progress will be reported as soon as possible.
Mountainkeeper is a founding partner with model farm imageNOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY) and seven other nonprofit organizations to create a model working farm where prospective farmers can learn everything about sustainable farming from crops and equipment to business and product strategy. 


The Catskills is ripe for a farming resurgence – we have the land, we have access to markets, but we don’t have enough people who either want to stay in farming or go into farming. 

By helping them acquire 21st century expertise they will be able to use less land, grow higher profit crops and become successful niche farmers that can compete with the megalithic corporate farms.

Read about the news story about the model farm project here


Get Involved!


To continue to identify and pursue the opportunities and problems that directly affect you and the Catskill region, we need you to contribute your time, effort and financial support. Even a donation as small as $25 can make a big difference. Click here to donate.
Volunteer! Route 28 Adopt-a-Highway Program

Mountainkeeper has adopted two sections of Route 28 in Ulster County to help keep the Catskills clean.  Our next clean-up day is scheduled for September 22nd starting at 10:00am.  We provide the bags, garbage picker-uppers, cold water and jokes. If you would like to volunteer, please contact our office at 845.482.5400 or email us at for more information.


CMK Route 28 Section 1  Route 28 Section 2


Barn Fest Success
On July 11th we held our first annual Barn Fest and Field Day to celebrate all things Catskills.  Over 400 people attended despite the rain.  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. gave a heart warming speech about the significance of protecting the places we love.  We also had fabulous local food from vendors like Gasko and Meyer, the Beaverkill Valley Inn, and Flour Power Bakery.  Great music was also provided by the Stoddard Hollow String Band, Kurt Knuth and guests.  The event was a great opportunity to learn about local art and history.  Andrea Brown from The Outsider’s Studio curated our silent auction, Lisa Lyons of Morgan Outdoors shared her extensive map collection and Sabrina Artel brought "Trailer Talk".
Our celebration of the Catskills was definitely a success, and we are looking forward to another wonderful event next year.  We will let you know the date/time/location soon so you can put it in your calendar.

RFK Movie Clip
click the picture above to watch a clip of Kennedy’s speech


We have done all this with a staff of three and many volunteers.  These are tough economic times but at Catskill Mountainkeeper a little goes a long way.
Consider making a donation in time or money to Mountainkeeper today.   



Ramsay Adams              Wes Gillingham           Beth Scullion
Executive Director         Program Director        Office Manager