Being a watchdog for our region’s special parks and promoting usage of our many beautiful trails is an important part of Catskill Mountainkeeper’s mission to protect our region and promote the sustainable economic growth that comes from tourism, the number one income generator in the Catskills.
This year we co-founded the Catskill Park Coalition, an advocacy group whose main goals are to protect the Park from industrialization; strengthen the recreation-based economy of the communities surrounding the Park; and ensure that the Park gets its fair share of state resources so that its historic, scenic, and ecological integrity can be preserved. To do this, we formed an advisory board of key environmental groups in the region to influence our elected officials in upcoming legislative sessions. Other work to support the Saving the Catskill Park campaign include a commissioned Economic Study of Parklands and a documentary on the Catskill Park, which will be a compelling tool to help visually connect people to the stunning beauty of the Catskills.
Catskill Mountainkeeper has created Trailkeeper Network ® to promote public awareness among Catskill residents and tourists of our spectacular multi-purpose trails; expand existing trails; connect people to area food, lodging, and attractions near trailheads; and encourage year-round, health-promoting outdoor activities like hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Facilitating enjoyment our beautiful public trails and nearby local businesses will increase stewardship among our residents and the dollars we earn through eco-tourism. Our first major project of the Trailkeeper Network ® has been to partner with several Sullivan County groups to launch trailkeeper.org, a comprehensive online resource that maps every public trail in Sullivan County and surrounding attractions.
Preserving our region’s natural beauty and managing industrial development is not just an aesthetic issue, though that’s important; our mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and villages are a major economic asset that attract visitors, residents, businesses, other organizations and jobs. Mountainkeeper is working to make sure that this part of our heritage is not lost.