Protecting Our Natural Heritage and Empowering Communities

Happening Now

High Use & Overuse in New York's Forest Preserves

Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 06:00 PM
Zoom

In search of wilderness, thousands of visitors traveled to the Catskills and Adirondacks this past summer, but many discovered "hot spots" littered with trash and overrun with people. Their cars lined roads never designed to include parking, crowding passage and creating hazards.

Join Katherine Nadeau of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Andy Mossey of The Catskill Center, and Rocci Aguirre of The Adirondack Council who will tackle these challenges, share what they saw on the trails, and brainstorm potential solutions.

Ingrid Peterec from the National Parks Service will offer her perspective about how these issues are addressed in our national parks and tactics New York might be able to use to better manage visitors to the forest preserves. And Katharine Petronis, Deputy Commissioner of Natural Resources at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will discuss how New York is promoting sustainable use of state lands, particularly during the State’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Via an interactive webinar, attendees will submit questions in real time, and panelists will provide concrete ideas about what individuals, organizations, communities, and our state partners can do to balance the goals of providing a great visitor experience while protecting our natural resources. The webinar will be closed captioned for greater accessibility.

Click the button below to sign up. Once you register, you'll get an email with your unique link for the webinar. Any questions? Don't hesitate to email katherine@catskillmountainkeeper.org

October 6, 2020--In recent years, US beekeepers have seen almost one-third of their hives decline. Bees pollinate 80% of the world's crops, including chocolate, coffee and almonds--without them, our food systems will fail. While there are many overlapping reasons for this ecological crisis, one of them is the overuse of toxic herbicides. In response, Mountainkeeper is mounting a campaign to get the worst of these herbicides off store shelves. Join us today--tell Home Depot and Lowe’s: stop selling glyphosate.

Glyphosate is one of the world’s most commonly used herbicides, and it's the main ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup. While it effectively kills weeds, glyphosate is one of the most deadly things a bee can encounter. 

The University of Texas in Austin studied Roundup by taking 2,000 bees from a hive. One group was fed sugar syrup, while the other was given glyphosate. The bees who were fed the herbicide had intense gut infections, and only 12% survived

Aside from compromising the well-being of pollinators, glyphosate is also a human health hazard. In fact, the World Health Organization named Roundup a carcinogenic back in 2015. 

In 2019, Costco stopped selling Roundup because it causes cancer. Demand that Lowe’s and Home Depot take the same action to put human health and ecological conservation first. And please forward this email to a friend--we need all the help we can get standing up to the big box stores.

October 1, 2020--It goes without saying that summer 2020 was unlike anything we’ve experienced before. The global pandemic changed much of our day-to-day lives, including the way we think about travel, vacations, and what we value in the places we love. Folks throughout our area and neighboring regions discovered--or rediscovered--the allure and splendor of the Catskill Park, one of New York’s two constitutionally protected “forever wild” parks.

But as the summer went on, many visitors discovered that the park did not feel very wild or pristine. Today Mountainkeeper is releasing a short film highlighting what was going on at some of the "hot spots" where we saw trash-littered trails, crowds of people overwhelming natural spaces, and cars creating traffic hazards as they lined roads that were never intended to accommodate parking.

Screen grab of a long line of people at a trailhead with a play button and text that says \

Infographic. Top panel: Take Care of the Catskills Together written over a vista of the Catskills. Middle right panel: Make a plan and a backup plan. If you get to a parking lot or trailhead and it's overcrowded, head to Plan B. Middle right panel: Leave no trace. If you pack it in, pack it out. and leave the park better than you found it--bring a bag to grab trash on the trail. Bottom left panel: Email your elected officials. Tell them what you saw--was teh trail beautiful or a mess? Now, more than ever, the Catkills need their help. Bottom right panel: Call Governor Cuomo: (518) 474-8390. Our parks are our saving grace in this pandemic. We need him to invest in the Catskills.To be clear: parks across the state and nation saw a huge influx of visitors this summer and many of the agencies managing these lands struggled with the same problems. What we saw at the “hot spots” in our region is not the result of inaction or mismanagement by any one entity--we all have a role to play in protecting the park. But here in the Catskills, where focused attention on effective park management is a relatively recent phenomenon, we’re behind the eight ball.

The good news is that this is a problem created by people that can be solved by people working together. Our regional advocacy groups (including Mountainkeeper), state agencies, municipalities, and residents must take what we’ve learned from this summer and collaborate to devise better ways for people to get into the park safely, while protecting our natural resources. We need to maintain a welcoming, accessible park for visitors to enjoy, while conserving pristine wild places for the benefit of nature and the well being of all the creatures who live here.

Mountainkeeper is thrilled that so many New Yorkers are discovering the gem that is the Catskill Park; we are proud of our region and want to share its beauty and bounty with visitors from near and far. And we’re excited to work with friends like you--along with state agencies, municipal leaders, and others--to address these issues of high use and overuse head-on.

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