The Catskill Park and Forest Preserve are New York State treasures like no other. Catskill Trailkeeper® is Mountainkeeper's program to protect, preserve, and promote trails in the Catskill Park and Region through public engagement and outreach.
Backcountry Trails and Rail Trails
Through our Catskill Trailkeeper® work, we support and advocate for both backcountry hiking trails and rail trails.
Backcountry trails provide locals and visitors alike the opportunity to get out into remote areas of the Park, immerse themselves in nature, and test their mettle by hiking some of the Park's challenging peaks. Rail Trails provide opportunities for biking, running, walking and skiing; preserve green space; increase property values; and tie communities together. By helping to attract nearly 300,000 visitors per year, both types of trails contribute to the region's strong reputation as a great place to live and work, while supporting local economies.
Our Catskill Trailkeeper® program advocates for the growing number of rail trails in our Region along with trail interconnection. Mountainkeeper is a strong supporter of trails throughout the Catskill Region including Ulster County's Kingston Green Line and the Ashokan Rail Trail--investing in trails like these and connecting them with the Empire State Trail will benefit locals and visitors alike.
State Funding to Support our Trails
The Catskill Park and Forest Preserve are also unique because they are managed differently from other state parks, and receive none of New York State's Parks 2020 funding--a program to leverage $900 million in public and private funding to modernize the State park system, which is managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic preservation. As a Forest Preserve, the Catskills' state lands and amenities are managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), while lands protected for the New York City watershed are managed by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. This unique and complicated arrangement provides great opportunities along with significant challenges. To preserve and enhance the trails in the Catskill Region for today's visitors as well as future generations, serious investment must be made in the Catskill Park, Forest Preserve, and broader region.
Catskill Mountainkeeper is a founding partner of the Catskill Coalition--a collaborative of organizations working to fully fund the Catskills Region. Working with our partners and through the lens of our Catskills Trailkeeper® program, Mountainkeeper advocates with state officials in Albany to get the investments our region needs and deserves.