The Catskill Park, which contains the headwaters of some of the cleanest rivers in our state and is one of only 10 areas in the eastern half of the United States that has wilderness of over 50,000 acres, is under threat. If fracking is approved in New York State, the privately owned land within the blue line of the park could be fracked, which could destroy the pristine beauty of the park, poison its waters, and cripple eco-tourism.
Not only is the park under threat from fracking, but it is danger of neglect because it only gets a small fraction of state money compared to its big brother – the Adirondack Park.
For these reasons, Catskill Mountainkeeper has taken the following steps to “Save the Catskill Park”:
Co-founded the Catskill Park Coalition
Catskill Mountainkeeper co-founded The Catskill Park Coalition in 2013. The mission of this advocacy organization is to preserve the park’s historic and scenic integrity; keep ‘industrial’ development, such as fracking, out of the park; work with government officials to make sure that the Catskill Park gets its fair share of state resources and strengthen the recreation-based economy of surrounding communities and region.
Parklands Study of Catskills Economic Value
In 2013 Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (CCCD), and the Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA) commissioned the “Economic Valuation Study for Public Lands in the Central Catskills,” which found that outdoor recreation on Catskill lands brings 2.5 million people; thousands of jobs and $115 million dollars to the area each year.
The study examined the recreational opportunities of the Catskills’ publicly owned state and New York City lands plus private lands open to the public and found that they draw over 1.7 million visitors annually, have an economic impact of $46,207,000 and support 980 jobs. When it added the number of people who come to enjoy other privately held land within the Catskill Park, the totals grew to almost 2.5 million visitors who create an economic impact of $114,768,000 and support 2,413 jobs.
This hard data confirms the exceptional economic contribution and potential of our world-class wilderness.
Video to celebrate the Catskills
We are in the process of putting the final touches on an original video titled “Catskill Park” that brings to the screen the majestic beauty of the Catskills – its history, wilderness and waterways. It will be premiering in New York City in the spring of 2014 and will be used to raise awareness of the value of the Park, and the importance of protecting it and its water sources from threats like fracking, over-development and neglect.
Catskill Interpretive Center
Catskill Mountainkeeper is supporting plans for a new visitor’s center at a major gateway to Catskill Park on Route 28 in Mount Tremper, NY. Construction of the Maurice Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is planned to begin in the spring of 2014, and we are one of a core group of organizations that have committed to staffing the center when it opens the following fall.