Meeting set for Route 28 towns

Tue, Jun 17 2008

By Patricia Breakey

Delhi News Bureau?

The first public meeting on the state Route 28 corridor will be held by the Central Catskills Collaborative at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development in Arkville.

The center is located at the junction of Route 28 and Delaware County Route 38.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert Elliott will discuss ?Intermunicipal Cooperation and Smart Growth,? officials said.

Elliott founded the Historic River Towns of Westchester County, a 13-community consortium focused on waterfront development, tourism and Main Street economics. As deputy secretary of state, he serves on New York?s Smart Growth Cabinet, an interagency initiative created by executive order of then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer in December.

The Central Catskills Collaborative is a group of six towns and villages along the corridor in Delaware and Ulster counties. Andes, Fleischmanns, Middletown and Margaretville are among them.

Donald Kearney, of Fleischmanns, is a town of Middletown councilman and is representing the town on the CCC. He said the group, which is still in the formative stages, has met twice.

?This stems from the push to help the upstate economy,? Kearney said. ?We have been discussing the development of a scenic byway and coming up with some kind of uniform advertising and developing ideas like a scenic bicycle route.??

Peter Manning, Catskill Center regional planner, said the group has been engaged ?in a regional dialogue focused on protecting and promoting the scenic, cultural, historic, and economic well being of the Route 28 corridor and the central Catskills.?

The state-sponsored Central Catskill Mountains/Park Smart Growth Program was announced in April, and made $500,000 available for local improvement projects along the Route 28 corridor and in the hamlets.

The CCC has developed recommendations to improve economic activities while sustaining the Catskills? sense of place, officials said.

The recommendations include:

 Improved interpretation of and access to the Catskill Forest Preserve; greater CCC participation in rail corridor revitalization;

 Exploring the creation of a scenic byway;

 Pursuing intermunicipal funding opportunities; engaging educational institutions to assist the CCC in its objectives;

 Regular communication with DEC and DOT; and

 Implementing recommendations from planning documents.?

For more information, call Manning at (845) 586-2611.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.


Introduction to Catskills

Catskills Travel Guide

The groundbreaking American conservation movement originated in the Catskill Mountains, 6,000 square miles of mountains, rivers, forests, and parkland considered America's First Wilderness. Though just 100 miles north of New York City, the region's natural state has been remarkably preserved, thanks to the state constitution that designated a quarter of a million acres "forever wild" forest and the region's importance as the watershed for New York City and almost half the state. Yet natural beauty is not what many people know the region for: Mention "The Catskills" and most Americans of a certain age conjure either nostalgic or dreaded notions of resort vacations from another era.

Infamous to many Americans through Hollywood movies like Dirty Dancing and A Walk on the Moon, the Catskill region is an area in transition, if not a full-blown identity crisis. For most of a century it was the summer vacation area for New Yorkers, beginning in the late 19th century, when steam trains deposited elegantly dressed vacationers at stations for their horse-drawn carriage rides to massive mountain lodges and boarding houses, and continuing through the 1960s, when it became famous for the kind of resorts -- many of them ethnic enclaves where family men from the city joined their wives, kids, and neighbors on weekends in the mountains and engaged in 9-to-5 schedules of planned activities -- that earned it the sobriquet the "Borscht Belt."

Today that type of vacationing has fallen out of favor. The Catskill region, still boldly beautiful and remote, is busy addressing its fall from grace in the latter half of the 20th century and repositioning itself as a new kind of Catskills, open to new types of visitors and new forms of leisure activities. The new Catskill Mountain Region has not only renamed itself but set about recapturing its essence, the Great Outdoors, and holding on to an easygoing, rural lifestyle.

And so it should. The spiritual and natural heart of the region is the 700,000-acre Catskill Park and Forest Preserve, a dense area with 35 peaks soaring to elevations of 3,500 feet. This scenic area overflows with lush hills and valleys, forests, farmland, waterfalls, trout streams, reservoirs, and six major river systems. It is regarded as one of the world's greatest fly-fishing areas, and anglers make pilgrimages from across the globe to wade in its trout streams. The Catskill Mountains practically beg for outdoors enthusiasts to sample the incredible variety of hiking and biking trails, sheer cliffs for rock climbing, and peaks for skiing. But you don't have to be a fleece-clad extreme-sports fan to enjoy the region, which is also home to a great number of historic homesteads, out-of-the-way antiques shops, and nostalgic attractions like old trains, vintage "base ball" (yes, it was two words originally) teams, and pick-your-own co-ops and dairy farms.

Locals are anxious for visitors to know that this is no longer your Granddad's Catskills. Today mountain bikers plunge down Plattekill Mountain caked in mud, and luxury inns and spas have sprouted, offering individual rather than massified service. Refugees from New York City and elsewhere are being newly awakened to the natural beauty, small towns, and tranquil pleasures of the Catskill region. Young couples are moving in and starting up small businesses and inns, while chefs trained at the Hudson Valley's Culinary Institute have taken to the region to gain a foothold for their restaurants and bars. And though prices have been steadily skyrocketing, weekenders weary of the Hamptons and other chic destinations are finding what amount to second-home bargains in the area.

Of course, this remains the Catskills, and a handful of old-school resorts still exist in what can only be described as a nostalgic time warp, charmingly resistant to change. If you want a trip down a musty memory lane, you can still find megaresorts where you can play shuffleboard at 11:30am, attend pool games at 1pm, and get your hair set before a bland buffet dinner and the night's entertainment of Rocco singing Italian love songs. But those yesteryear places are quickly being outnumbered in the new Catskill region -- one that is returning to its progressive, outdoors roots.

link to original article is here:


Bright Waters and an Old-Time Catskills Feel

Havens | Livingston Manor, N.Y.
Chris Ramirez for The New York Times

ARTISTIC TEMPER The Catskill Art Society on Main Street opened in 2007 and offers classes and rotating exhibits.

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Published: June 13, 2008

WILD turkeys coursing through the backyard and coyotes howling at the full moon might be among the reasons to buy a second home in Livingston Manor, N.Y. But many weekenders are drawn to the town, which sits at the western edge of the Catskills, by its low-key, artistic temper.

“We loved the house,” said Carolin Walton-Brown, who lives in Manhattan. “But it’s also because the arts are becoming a big foundation of the community here, partially because of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and the Catskill Art Society opening here in town.” (The arts center is in nearby Bethel.)

Ms. Walton-Brown, who owns a kitchen store in town, and her husband bought a four-bedroom house on a hill in 2007 for about $300,000.

Many residents savor Livingston Manor, a hamlet in the town of Rockland, for its views, woods and sense of time slowing to a crawl. “In midsummer there are large stretches of time,” said Catherine Hall, who is chief operating officer of the New York Restoration Project and lives in Manhattan. “It has that old Catskills feel — people walk to the lake at the same time every day.”

Ms. Hall and husband bought a three-bedroom A-frame with access to Hunter Lake in 2003 for $140,000. “It feels like an old-time summer camp,” she added, “with a little float deck out there and kids bopping up and down.”

That old-time feel may partly stem from the hamlet’s borscht belt heritage. “The railroad that opened up Sullivan County and created a hotel industry here came through in 1872,” said John Conway, Sullivan County’s historian. “Despite being off the beaten track, Livingston Manor had a number of well-known Jewish hotels, and was most famous for the White Roe Inn, where Danny Kaye worked for six summers, honing his craft before he became a famous actor.”

The region’s character has changed a lot since Kaye’s era, but the scenery has not. The dark woods are complemented by lakes and ponds, and hills plunge into valleys through which the silvery Beaverkill and Willowemoc waver and weave.

Jim Krul, executive director of the nearby Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, said: “The great thing about Livingston Manor and Roscoe is that there’s more trout water in this area in a half-hour radius than any other place in the country. It’s challenging water, not easy water to fish. Some days you get skunked and some days you succeed.”

And there’s plenty of public access to those streams: much of Willowemoc Creek’s 27 miles, which flow through Livingston Manor and end in Roscoe, are accessible. The upper Beaverkill runs about 20 miles to Roscoe, and most of that is private. But from Junction Pool, where it meets the Willowemoc, it flows 19 more miles to the East Branch of the Delaware, and much of it is public water.

The rivers are what lured Dave and Diane Beveridge, Westchester County lawyers who have two school-age children. “It is just so relaxing to be out there standing in a stream fishing,” Diane Beveridge said. “Even if you don’t catch anything.”

The Beveridges bought a 100-year-old farmhouse on 120 acres for $300,000 in 1995. Now they also own some 420 acres, a stone cottage and the Antrim Lodge, a defunct hotel that they’re renovating. And the appeal is more than the fly-fishing. “In spring we make maple syrup,” Ms. Beveridge said. “In summer we can have great barbecues. In winter and fall we hike through the woods, make fires and drink hot chocolate and roast marshmallows.”

The Scene

The arts are alive on Main Street, which is one long block parallel to the Willowemoc. The Catskill Art Society, which opened last year, includes classes in acting, drawing and pottery, and features rotating exhibits.

The main gathering place in town is Hamish & Henry Booksellers, an independent — and intimate — bookstore on Main Street that was opened in 2004 by Jeffrey Christensen and his wife, Sue Barnett, former Manhattan weekenders who became full-timers. The bookstore hosts open-mike readings and reading groups.

The Shandelee Music Festival sponsors an August chamber music festival in Livingston Manor. And nearby, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts runs a summer music series. Its 2008 lineup includes the Del McCoury bluegrass band, the Klezmatics and the New York Philharmonic.

“What’s cool about living up here is that the art scene varies so much,” said Andrea Brown, who owns the Outsider’s Studio in town. “You can find musical theater and experimental theater, or listen to alt-folk music.”

But there is quiet for those who crave it. “During the week, I’m in this very glamorous, urban enclave,” said Alison Zuker Gould, who lives in Manhattan, “which is why it’s so nice to go to Livingston Manor and figure out where I want to plant my carrots.”

She and her husband bought a house — previously a camp mess hall — on a semiprivate lake in 2007. “For the price of a large one-bedroom in Manhattan we were able to get 6,500 square feet of space,” Ms. Gould said.


The state-owned Catskill Forest Preserve covers almost 300,000 acres and is a draw for hikers. Lisa Morgan, who owns Morgan Outdoors in town, says her favorite place in the preserve is Balsam Lake Mountain. “When you get to the top before you see the fire tower,” she said, “you have to walk through a balsam glade. And if you touch or run your hand along the boughs, it releases the balsam oil and there’s just nothing like it.”


Flooding is a significant issue in Sullivan County. There were three major floods between September 2004 and June 2006. “Our topography is such that it’s mountainous, and water comes down the hills,” said Pat Pomeroy, who owns Elliot-Pomeroy Real Estate.

And dining and grocery options are limited, sending residents to the nearby town of Liberty.

The Real Estate Market

Real estate agents say the market peaked in 2005. Options range from fixer-uppers for less than $100,000 to estate houses on plenty of acreage for more than $1 million.

There are no condos in Rockland, and no gated communities. “We don’t have tract-built subdivisions, with two or three different houses, all on half a lot,” Ms. Pomeroy said.

There is plenty of new construction, though it tends to look old, like a modern farmhouse built with a wraparound porch. And the real estate developer Andrew Krieger, who has contributed to the town’s revival by buying and renovating buildings on Main Street, is planning a luxury hotel and two residential developments, said Sims Foster, who manages Krieger properties.

“Most people want some green,” Ms. Pomeroy said. “We get asked for old farmhouses on acreage, things with character and some privacy.” Her sales last year included a lakefront log cabin on one acre for $397,000, and a house and barn on 200 acres for $1.368 million.

Carole Edwards, who owns Carole Edwards Realty, says a house on Sand Pond — the most desirable lake in town — would cost at least $600,000.

The biggest problem, real estate agents say, is lack of inventory.


POPULATION 1,355, according to the 2000 census. Livingston Manor is a hamlet in the town of Rockland, whose population was 3,989 in a 2005 census estimate.

SIZE Rockland covers 100 square miles, and Livingston Manor is roughly five square miles.

WHERE Livingston Manor is in Sullivan County, in the western Catskills, and is a two-hour drive northwest of Manhattan.

WHO’S BUYING Artists, financiers, and publishing and fashion professionals from New York City.

WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING The Guest House (408 DeBruce Road, 845-439-4000; has six cottages on 40 acres near Willowemoc Creek. From $196 a night in season.


Drilling carries a hefty environmental price

Work can erode water sources, roads, home life

By Tom Wilber • Press & Sun-Bulletin • June 8, 2008

The quest for riches in the Marcellus Shale Formation is off to a rocky start -- at least in parts of northern Pennsylvania.



There, companies drilling into the massive natural gas resource have drained streams and spilled diesel fuel on pristine countryside.

Drill operators working for Range Resources and Chief Oil & Gas last month illegally diverted tens of thousands of gallons of water a day from rural streams to large-scale drilling operations in Lycoming County, west of Scranton, according to a report form the state Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP partially shut down the operation.

"We hope to have it resolved soon," Kristi Gittins, vice president for Chief Oil & Gas said Friday. "We fully comply with all regulations."

(An unidentified bulldozer operator is silhouetted against the flame of a natural gas well near Dime Box, Texas. The risks of gas drilling include noise, dust, spills and even explosions.)
(The Associated Press)

And in Susquehanna County, about 800 gallons of diesel fuel -- dyed bright red to help track it in the event of a spill -- leaked from a storage tank at a Cabot Oil drilling site, threatening a nearby stream. Emergency responders were containing and cleaning the mess last week.

For local property owners giddy about the prospects of their own lucrative land deals, it has been a sobering vision to see heavy equipment diverting stream beds and bright red diesel fuel flowing through ditches.

Yet the allure of staggering riches has many landowners lining up to cash in. In Broome and western Delaware counties, hundreds of landowners recently signed five-year leases with energy companies, taking the current offer of $2,411 per acre for mineral rights, plus 15 percent royalties. Others are holding out for more.

They sign away their property, knowing that with the rewards come environmental and safety risks.

In rural Daisetta, Texas, last month, a stadium-sized sink hole opened up, swallowing everything in its path. Geologists suspect intensive drilling operations in the area triggered the massive implosion.

Spectacular explosions at gas-drilling sites, shooting churning orange and black fireballs into the air and leaving columns of soot visible for miles, are not unheard of. One blast near Fort Worth, Texas, in April 2006 killed a worker and forced evacuation of nearby homes. Another blast in 1996, near Dime Box, Texas, killed two workers.

Explosions and sink holes are extreme and uncommon examples of what can go wrong, according to regulators and independent experts interviewed for this report. But they do happen.

More routine problems include noise and dust from intensive around-the-clock operations, and risks to water sources on and under the ground.

Susan Obleski, spokeswoman for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, said Friday the agency has received only a handful of permit applications from 23 companies actively pursuing gas in the Marcellus Shale in this region. The commission oversees water resources and consumption in New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

"One of the issues is there are so many companies, and there are a lot more coming, given the interest," she said.

Commission Director Paul Swartz cited "mounting concern over well-development practices in the Susquehanna watershed" on Friday as part of a public notice to the drilling industry to comply with permit requirements.

Extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale requires drilling horizontally through bedrock, sometimes for a mile, and forcing cracks open with high pressure blasts of water. Each well requires an average of 1 million gallons.

The process, called hydraulic fracturing -- or "frac'ing" -- requires resources and equipment on a scale far surpassing vertical wells traditionally drilled in the area. Drilling operations drawing on headwaters in the upper tributaries of the river "will suck them dry," Obleski said.

Roger Downs, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club, expressed similar concerns.

"We're seeing what is happening in northern Pennsylvania," he said. "We don't think the state is ready."

Industry sources characterize impacts from drilling operations as short term. While the development of infrastructure and well pads may be disruptive, the landscape is restored after drilling is completed.

"It's like a construction project," Gittins said. "When you finish building, you put your landscaping in and after that, things look good."

Downs co-authored this warning for the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Catskill Mountainkeeper: "Many citizens who entered into these agreements are unprepared for the five-acre staging areas, drilling fluid-collection ponds, reduced air quality, noise pollution, traffic, temporary road networks, and the pipelines that come with a hydraulic fracturing operation."

The warning, part of a broader statement lobbyists issued to state lawmakers, comes at a critical time, as legislation is introduced in the state Assembly that would effectively accelerate the permitting process.

"We are not opposed to natural gas drilling," Downs said. "But we want a comprehensive plan before wells go in."

Marchie Diffendorf, a Kirkwood landowner and member of the town planning board, said problems in Pennsylvania raise concerns locally. Landowners will have to be watchdogs over drilling operations on their land, and that begins with drafting lease agreements that give them control over important issues. He is confident the DEC will provide sufficient oversight of water resources and other operations, he said.

"I don't think the DEC will allow them to dam up any creeks," he said.

Risks different here

Because the Southern Tier's landscape and geology is different from Texas, sinkholes are not a threat over the Marcellus, said Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Penn State.

However, the bedrock below the Southern Tier carries another kind of risk: radioactive ores.

Water extracted from a Marcellus well is typically contaminated with salt, metals and various agents used in the drilling process.

Additionally, it sometimes carries traces of radioactivity picked up from uranium and thorium. It's the same kind of geology that creates radon, which can become a cancer risk when it collects in basements.

Engelder said concentrations from drilling and frac'ing are typically so low he wouldn't be afraid to dive into a pool of contaminated water.

Others might hesitate.

Brad Field, director of mineral resources for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said certain conditions could lead to pockets of dirt or water with elevated concentrations. That means drilling sites will be subject to tests for radioactivity, at the discretion of DEC officials.

Because the exploration and development of the Marcellus is in its infancy, supplying and disposing of water is not yet an issue in New York, Field said. That could change with a potential explosion of the number of drilling sites attempting to harvest the largest untapped natural gas resource in the country.

After water used in the drilling process is pumped from the ground, it has to be trucked away and treated. Municipal planners will have to be ready for the possibility of significant burdens on wastewater treatment plants.

"With the full development of the (Marcellus) resource, it could be an issue," Field said.

Additionally, if proper precautions are neglected to encase well shafts, drinking wells can be contaminated from turbid or salty water pushing up from deeper layers. Regulators will be kept busy as more wells begin to come on line in eastern Broome County.

Planners also can expect an influx of traffic by trucks and rigs far exceeding current weight limits of town and country roads.

Broome County officials are working with officials in Chemung -- an area with a legacy of gas wells -- to better understand issues related to drilling, said Leigh Ann Scheider, a Broome County spokeswoman. That includes drafting regulations ensuring energy companies are accountable for repairing roads damaged by drilling equipment.

Landowners lose control

The development of the Marcellus, called a play, has been moving north from the heart of Appalachia with increasing momentum, pushed by the relentless demand for energy and rocketing prices.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is hiring and training staff to help monitor a growing number of drilling sites, said Mark Carmen, public information officer for the DEP. Environmental issues in Pennsylvania and areas south, where drilling efforts are intensifying, are leading to questions about how prepared New York is to handle the impact on roads, water treatment and production, noise and unforeseen problems.

Bonnie and Don Beagel, of Kirkwood, have some experience in the unforeseen-problem department. They leased their land off Old State Road to Triana Energy in 2002. After developing a horizontal gas well there, Triana sold it to Chesapeake. The Beagels thought their headaches were over when the drilling stopped and the well was capped in 2003.

The quiet didn't last long. Chesapeake is now redeveloping the well in an attempt to tap the Marcellus.

"We didn't know they could do that," she said.

The noise of heavy equipment pounding the earth, clouds of dust settling over their house and swimming pool, and loss of control of their property are too much, Bonnie said.

"It's been frustrating," she said. "We would be happy to give it all back and go back the way it was before they came ... It used to be our private back yard. Now, there is always truck activities and men down there. I miss my privacy."

Town officials seem to be helpless in controlling booming noises coming from the site day and night. After a string of sleepless nights, Beagel complained to the operators, she said, and was told this:

"I know your neighbors aren't happy with us, ma'am. One came out of the woods at 2 o'clock last night swearing. But my orders are to keep this operation going."

link to article is here:


State to look at regulations for natural gas boom

By Tom Wilber • Press & Sun-Bulletin • June 7, 2008

link is here:

As prospectors fan out over the Marcellus Shale stretching across the Southern Tier and points south, New York state regulators are trying to stay one step ahead.

OAS_AD('ArticleFlex_1'); A bill in the state Assembly addresses the massive space requirements of wells employing newly developed technology to drill horizontally for natural gas. Currently permitting regulations -- drafted for horizontal wells -- are broken down into 40-acre units. That is enough to encompass a typical gas pool a single horizontal well would be expected to tap.

Determining underground boundaries of a well is crucial as companies calculate royalties for property owners above the gas.

Because horizontal drill rigs can extract gas from an area that extends well beyond 40 acres, regulators have to issue permits under a non-conforming use, a process that requires more time and paperwork.

The bill, A10526, is intended to allow more uniform development of the Marcellus and, ideally, allow single wells to be spaced on 640-acre tracts, said bill sponsor William Parment, D- North Harmony.

"It's going to make things more uniform and make it less cumbersome for the DEC," he said.

At least, that's the intention.

Environmental advocates say the bill -- while well-meaning -- may fast-track development already moving too fast for communities and local governments to keep up with.

Several environmental groups, including the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Catskill Mountainkeeper have called on Albany lawmakers to oppose the bill, which would essentially make it easier for DEC officials to permit Marcellus wells.

The group characterized the bill as a potentially harmful attempt to ease the regulatory burden on DEC officials.

"Any attempt to streamline and accelerate this apparent gas boom without proper planning and environmental consideration is unwise," states a position paper the lobby submitted to lawmakers.

Rep. Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, said she supports the bill because it will improve oversight of the drilling process while allowing it to move forward. Lawmakers have to move thoughtfully with the public interest in mind, she added.

"There's no way around it. Roads are going to be built and trees are going to be coming down," she said. "We have to weigh the benefits of this enormous resource and find a way to get at it without infringing on people's rights or environmental protection."


Hydro projects sought at dams

Daily Star, Oneonta

By Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau

The Delaware County Electric Cooperative is seeking to harness water spilling from four New York City reservoirs to produce enough electricity to power 20,000 typical homes.

Greg Starheim, DCEC chief executive officer, said an application for a preliminary permit and a pre-application document were submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month.

Starheim said the proposed Western Catskills Hydro Project would involve installing modular design independent intake structures at New York City's Schoharie, Pepacton, Cannonsville and Neversink reservoirs.

"I am very excited about this project," Starheim said Thursday. "We started evaluating the potential to produce electricity at the Gilboa Dam a year and a half ago." The New York City Department of Environmental Protection's $600 million renovation project for the Gilboa Dam was the impetus for the idea, Starheim said.

"The timing seemed appropriate and we began discussing the preliminary engineering with DEP engineers, which led to the decision to formerly approach the DEP about submitting an application to the FERC," Starheim said.

"DCEC has reached out to DEP with an interesting proposal; we look forward to reviewing it and to further discussing it," Michael Saucier, DEP public affairs director, said Thursday.

Starheim said there are no generating facilities at the four dams included in the project.

"There is a tremendous loss of potential energy and the DCEC board is very interested in capturing it," Starheim said. "This has been a missed opportunity for hydro electric generation and in today's energy world, we can't afford to miss opportunities."

The decision to move ahead with the application process came about when DCEC officials became aware that two private international developers were interested in generating projects at two of the reservoirs.

"The way the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission works is that whoever applies first has an opportunity to pursue the project," Starheim said. "We were concerned about local projects being operated by outside companies."

Starheim said obtaining a federal license is a long process that involves numerous studies and structure milestones, but the Co-op is hopeful that the license will be issued as early as 2011. He said construction and operation would take a year or two after that.

"This is the single largest non-developed hydro project in New York and it would help the state achieve its renewable energy quota," Starheim said.

The amount of electricity generated at the dams would be seasonal and dependent on the amount of water being released.

Starheim said there would be different numbers of modular generating devices at each of the reservoirs, with the greatest potential at the Gilboa Dam. The total design potential would be to general 65 megawatts during peak water time in the spring.

The devices would be installed over the top of the dam and would run all the way to the bottom where the water is released into the rivers. Starheim said the Co-op is only interested in using available water and will not be involved in decisions about how much water is released.

The project is part of the Delaware County Electric Cooperative's effort to explore ways to secure its entire electricity supply using renewable local energy sources.


Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at [email protected].

link is here:


Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development's 1st Annual Benefit & Solstice Celebration

Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development

invites you to its

1st Annual Benefit & Solstice Celebration

of Sullivan County’s beauty, richness and potential


 > Listen to the Liberty Jazz Trio of Bethel Woods fame jam with local
professional musicians
 > See the landscape photography of local students
 > Savor locally produced cheeses, ciders & other goodies
 > Learn about our local renewable energy and other green projects
 > Expand your network!
 > Become a Member & Supporter!

 June 21, 2008,
4 - 6 pm
Sullivan County Museum
 Main Street, Hurleyville
 Contact Kathie Aberman 845-292-4895 [email protected]

Have some local fare of your own you’d like to contribute? Let us know!

‘GARDENING BASICS’ WORKSHOP: Hands-on workshop for summer and part-time residents

Wednesday, July 9, 2008:



Hands-on workshop for summer and part-time residents


[WOODRIDGE] – Sullivan Renaissance is holding a gardening workshop geared toward summer and part-time residents on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at the Woodridge Synagogue (Congregation Ohave Sholem Anshei) on Maurice Rose Street.  


The workshop is designed to help visitors who own or rent a summer home, or spend summers at a camp or bungalow colony.  Everyone is welcome.  It will start at 3:30 p.m.  Pre-registration is requested. 


Participants will receive hands-on instruction in a real garden plot while helping to beautify the synagogue’s mikvah in the process.  The instructor is Sullivan Renaissance horticulturalist Vivian Multari-Ginsberg, who will teach the basics of container gardening, how to prepare and care for flower beds, and select appropriate plants and flowers that return each year with minimal care. 


“Sometimes Sullivan County’s summer residents wonder what plants will work best when one is starting to garden in June or July,” said Vivian Multari-Ginsberg.  “This workshop is designed for individuals who want to learn about summer gardening, and also participate in the planting and beautification efforts that are taking place around the county.”   


Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Additional funding has been secured by NYS Senator John J. Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther.  Significant sponsorships have also been provided by WSUL/WVOS and by Thunder 102.


For information call 845-295-2445 or visit the website at


Catskills Meteorite Crater: Panther Mountain Meteorite Crater

Ottawa RASC Logo
Panther Mountain Meteorite Crater


Complex Craters

Clickfor full view

Panther Mountain Meteorite Crater:
• Age (ma): 375 (from geological analysis)*
• Diameter: 10 Km
• Location: New York, USA. N 42° 04' W 74° 24'
• Shock Metamorphism: Magnetic spherules, microtektites with gas bubbles and PDF in quartz.
• The relationship of the crater with the bedrock and the covering sedimentary layers suggest this impact passed through the Middle and Lower Devonian section (Y.W. Isachsen, 1998).

Click for full view(Courtesy NASA/LPI) The Catskill Mountains have evolved with the erosion of kilometres thick sedimentary rock over a period of 375 million years. This landsat image of the Catskills reveals the randomness of this mountain forming erosion. The circular anomaly indicated in the center of the superimposed square is postulated to be the result of an impact event. For reference, the Hudson River is on the right.

In the Devonian Quaternary, the probable time of impact, this landscape was a gentle sloaping plain with the Acadian Mountains to the east and the saltwater Kaskaskia Sea to the west. The life forms on earth at that time included early land plants, amphibians and ammonites. Over the next 375 million years;

  • Erosion reduced the Acadian Mountains creating an alluvial plain to the west;
  • The impact site was first filled then covered by kilometres of this sediment;
  • The sediment hardened into a kilometres thick sedimentary rock cover;
  • The layer of fractured rock under the crater compressed and caused the sedimentary rock layer above it to sag. The sagging caused the sedimentary rock to stretch over the crater rim. This formed small easy to erode joints at these stress points;
  • Throughout the Catskills the natural cracks in the sedimentary rock are formed approximately every three meters. The cracks in the joints around the crater rim are ten times that density.
  • These cracks allowed the accelerated erosion of the rim sedimentary rock from glaciers, rivulets, springs and creeks. The alluvial plain evolved into the present day Catskill Mountains, and;
  • The Esopus creek eroded a circular valley through the small joints over the rim of the crater.

Click for full view(Courtesy NASA) A magnified view of the round anomaly illustrates the circular valley formed by the Esopus Creek and suggests a “crater like” structure. It was from these images that Y.W. Isachsen began his study of this structure to seek evidence of an impact event.

Click for full viewWe approached the crater from the north along its eastern rim. This plot shows the random pattern we flew over the crater to get our images. We were limited to 3000’ above ground because of cloud cover and at this low altitude the crater feature was not easy to identify. I understood how large the feature was before I started on this trip, but when I first saw the crater, its immensity astonished me! I used the GPS to confirm that I was actually looking at the crater.

Click for full viewLooking northwest from the eastern rim, the circular shape of the feature is obvious. In these images note the road and valley veering off to the left background. This is the eroded valley directly over the crater rim. Click for full viewThe distance from the valley floor to the peak of Panther Mountain is approximately 800 meters. Seismographic studies inferred that there are concentrated joints in all parts over the crater rim. The joints make it relatively easier for streams to erode the rocks over the crater rim and form the circular shape.

At the northern part of the crater looking south, the southern rim is visible circling behind the Panther Mountain peak. Click for full viewA negative gravity anomaly centered at this peak gives evidence that there is a zone of shattered rock deep beneath the mountain. Specifically, the Earth's gravity is slightly weaker above the mountain than was expected (confirmed by gravitometer). This suggests that the rock beneath the mountain has been disturbed, making it less dense. The zone of disturbed rock, in turn, could account for the larger number of joints found along the edge of the circle. As the fractured rock material settled, the overlying sedimentary rocks sagged, and the joints formed around the edge of the circle to relieve the stress.

In these three images are viewed as we circled the crater from along its south rim from the west to east. The amount of sedimentary rock deposition and then the erosion that has occurred over the past 375 million years is displayed. The crater itself is over 800 meters below the peak of Panther Mountain. This is the area of the upper part of the Esopus Creek where closely-spaced joints in the bedrock near the stream were documented. In the lower reaches of the stream (to the north), the bedrock is buried beneath glacial deposits.

Click for full view
West to Northeast
Click for full view
South to Northwest
Click for full view
South to North

Ground Exploration of the Panther Mountain Structure

Following my crater exploration tradition, I just had to physically stand on the structure that was formed over the Panther Mountain crater. I wanted to do this even though the “crater” of Panther Mountain is under approximately a kilometre (~3300 feet) of sedimentary rock and is not physically accessible.

It is a relatively easy but long climb and hike from the south parameter parking lot to the summit. Panther Mountain at approximately 1,135 metres (3,720 feet) in elevation is the 18th highest in this uplifted Catskills region.

This image, taken at approximately 3500 feet elevation, documents the various types of sedimentary deposits in the area. Hundreds of millions of years ago the eroded remnants of the Acadian Mountains to the east were deposited here to form Panther Mountain and the Catskills. The sediments traveled westward and formed a delta into the sea that covered the area at that time. This delta was then uplifted and eroded. These 2 cm (~1 inch) pebbles inserted in the sediment are small rock deposits from a river outlet, and over these pebbles is a smooth layer of fine sediment that was deposited through deeper waters. This outcrop illustrates the various stages of deposition and erosion over the eons and is typical of the geology of the structure. The floor of the crater is over 1 kilometre (3300 feet) directly below here.

I took this image at the top of the structure looking to the north-east. Starting from the left of the image and panning to the right you will notice the “blue” colour of the distant hills compared to the true colour of the foreground hills. Hidden behind the foreground hills is a valley made from the creeks eroding through the rocks that cover the circular crater rim. The actual crater rim is buried under several hundreds of metres of rock. Looking toward the crater rim from here gave me an appreciation of the size of this impact structure as the distance to that hidden valley is the radius of the structure.

This image was taken looking to the east. The buried crater rim is located in the distance under the valley indicated by the white (X). Again, to view the absolute size of the structure is something to experience.

In summary, approximately 375 million years ago a bolide probably impacted here in a shallow sea creating a 10 km (6.21 mile) diameter crater. This crater eventually filled with sediments and through the process of uplift and erosion became Panther Mountain. The mountain took the shape of a longitudinal ridge in the center of the rough circle eroded by Esopus and Woodland creeks. The resulting “inverted relief” structure (described below) is BIG, and I am looking forward to researching any future geological investigations here.

Panther Mountain Crater “Analog” on Mars

 An “analog” of the Panther Mountain meteorite crater was recently documented on the surface of MARS by the MARS EXPRESS of the European Space Agency.



This image, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, shows part of a heavily eroded impact crater at Solis Planum, in the Thaumasia region of Mars.

The northern end of the higher region (upper left in this image) contains an almost circular plateau, which is 15 kilometres across.


This circular plateau may be an old impact crater which was filled by sediments. Over time these sediments in the crater developed a harder consistency than the surrounding material. Later, the more easily eroded surrounding material was removed by erosion and the harder inner filling remained forming the circular plateau. This phenomenon is called ‘Inverted Relief’.


  • Scientists point out that more research is necessary to be sure that an impact crater lies beneath the circular feature. I will be monitoring for any further reports about this crater;
  • Scientists speculate that the fractured rock in the crater itself could act as a reservoir for natural gas. The Panther Mountain crater may intersect rock layers that produce natural gas in other parts of the state, and similar craters have been tapped for fuel. At one time Dome Oil Company had drilled a well into Panther Mountain and for a time was producing 50,000 cubic feet of gas a day.
  • - DISCOVER Vol. 21 No. 8 (August 2000), The Panther Mountain Crater.
  • The postulated Panther Mountain buried impact crater in the Catskill Mountains is confirmed
    • Principal investigator: Yngvar W. Isachsen
    • Project years:1994 - Present
    • Keywords: impact craters, spherules, pressure deformation features (PDF's)
    • Geographic extent: Catskill Mountains, West of Kingston
    • Project description: Searching for terrestrial impact craters was greatly stimulated by the manned lunar landing experiment, and has resulted in the discovery of more than 160 craters to date, a third of them buried from view by post-impact sediments. The Panther Mountain circular feature in the Catskills has such an explanation. The mountain, located west of Kingston, is defined by an anomalous circular valley that is easily recognized in the highway pattern on a road map. Earlier evidence from satellite images, surface geologic and geophysical studies (reference below), and the recent discovery of minute cosmic spherules of iron + nickel, cobalt and chromium in deep well cuttings, led to the interpretation that the circular valley reflects the rim of a deeply buried impact crater 10 km in diameter. An ongoing study of 75 thin sections of deep well cuttings has revealed the presence of impact-generated deformation lamellae in quartz grains, which confirms this interpretation. The buried crater provides a large potential reservoir of impact-fractured rock for natural gas accumulation and storage. Present research, some of it described in an illustrated Albany Times Union article in early March, 1999, builds on that continued in an earlier publication: Isachsen, Y.W., Wright, S.F., and Revetta, F.A., 1994, The Panther Mountain circular feature possibly hides a buried impact crater. Northeastern Geology, v. 16, no. 2, p. 123-136.
    • A non-technical article on the impact crater hypothesis, based on an earlier paper by Isachsen and others, appears in a 1992 issue of Kaatskill Life Magazine. It was written by Professor Robert Titus, and is titled "The Panther Mountain asteroid impact".

The Marcellus Shale Formation: The Rush to Big Natural Gas Profits

The Marcellus Shale Formation

The Rush to Big Natural Gas Profits

By Steve Christ
Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Few people have ever heard of Edwin Drake, but when it comes to the oil industry he started it all with his clever new drilling innovation in 1859.

His brainstorm? It was driving a pipe down the well to keep the hole from caving in.

And contrary to popular opinion, it didn't happen anywhere near any Texas oilman. Those guys and their ten-gallon hats didn't even exist yet.

Instead, the first commercially viable oil wells were drilled in Pennsylvania, which is why there is such a thing as Quaker State and Pennzoil in the first place.

Pay dirt for Colonel Drake came 70 feet beneath the surface in Titusville, PA., making him the first person to ever successfully drill for oil. And with that single well, the Pennsylvania oil rush was born as speculators from all over the place gobbled up Pennsylvania land in the name of crude.

One of them was a guy you might have heard of. His name was John D. Rockefeller Sr., the world's first billionaire.

The Marcellus Shale Formation

Now some 149 years later, it's happening all over again with the renewed interest in the Marcellus shale formation, an area that runs through Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and New York. But it's not oil this time that has gotten everyone so excited, it is natural gas.

That's why 175 landowners showed up in a meeting yesterday in Whitney Point, New York to discuss exactly how to deal with the energy companies that have suddenly shown up on their doorsteps looking to lock up their land in search of natural gas.

The message at the meeting, however, was quite simple. It was don't give up the farm-which is what some people unwittingly did as they leased their land for as little as $100 an acre.

Meanwhile, others have hit it much bigger by negotiating leases for up to $2500 an acre along with 15 to 18 percent royalties.

"If the wells come to fruition, it will mean life-changing money," said Nicole Gwardyak, who owns 322 acres within the Marcellus formation and negotiates lease deals on behalf of energy companies in Pennsylvania.


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Naturally, the sums of money being spent in search of natural gas the Marcellus shale formation are enormous.

In fact, according to Thomas B. Murphy, an educator who runs a program to instruct landowners on their rights, companies will invest $700 million this year alone developing the Marcellus Shale.

In all, Murphy says up to 20 oil and gas companies are working the region with up to one half of that cash being invested in Pennsylvania.

Fueling this Marcellus land rush, in part is the increasing cost of natural gas. Because at present, the cost of the commodity is rising now right along with the price oil and reduced natural gas inventories.

The only question now it seems is exactly how high the price of natural gas can climb in the future.

But by comparing the price of natural gas to the rising cost of a barrel of oil these days the answer seems to be much higher.

That's because when you break down the cost of natural gas into its equivalent found in a barrel of oil, natural gas is significantly under priced at the moment.

Here's why.

Historically, natural gas typically trades at a price that is equal to the price of a barrel of oil divided by 5.8. That's because each barrel of oil contains approximately 5.8 million BTUs vs. its counterpart in natural gas.

That means with oil now trading as high as $120 a barrel, the price of natural gas would need to rise to $20.69/million BTU(MBTU) to be on par with crude. And even if you go so far to discount the price oil to $80 a barrel, the price of natural gas would need climb to $13.79 to reach its historical relationship with oil.

So with natural gas currently trading at $11.32/MBTU the commodity is likely headed much higher.

The Marcellus Formation's Land Rush to Profits

That's the simple math that has helped to spur the rush to develop the energy resources found buried deep within the Marcellus shale formation, even though we have always known that they exist.

One of the companies that is leading the way in the Marcellus is Range Resources Corp. (NYSE:RRC). They have been active in the area since 2004.

In fact, according to reports, the Fort Worth, Texas based company will invest at least $426 million in the region. Moreover, Range owns 1.1 million acres within the Marcellus that the company estimates could add as much as 10 to 15 trillion cubic feet of gas to its reserves.

To date, Range has drilled and completed 63 vertical and 15 horizontal Marcellus Shale wells and has an additional seven verticals and four horizontals waiting on completion.

Those horizontal well are key, since that is the technique considered by most experts to be the most effective in the Marcellus. In this year alone, Range hopes to drill 40 horizontal well in the play.

The results so far have been encouraging to say the least with its latest well drawing 4.7 million cubic feet of natural gas a day setting the high water mark for the company.

But Range is hardly alone in its success. Several other companies are also very active in the region.

That means that the land rush throughout the Marcellus Formation will continue. And with our energy resources currently stretched to the limit it will also mean big profits for investors in the Marcellus Formation now and in the future.

And it is all taking place in the region where it began 149 year ago with Col. Drake and his drilling innovation.

Drake, by the way, never did make much money for his troubles. He failed to patent his new drilling technique and missed out on a fortune.

Others however did earn a bundle on what he discovered. You can join them with an investment in the companies that have returned to the area where it all began.

Your natural-gas-loving analyst,

steve sig

Steve Christ

Chief Investment Analyst

The Wealth Advisory


PS. With the energy situation now getting much worse, I've identified a group of energy companies that stand to book big profits as we work our way forward to new solutions. One of them is and under the radar play with positions in both Brazil and the Marcellus. It's part of an energy portfolio that I'll be introducing to Wealth Advisory subscribers soon. To learn more about The Wealth Advisory click here.

It'll be the best $49.00 investment you will ever make.

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