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ARCHIVES - This is a history of the project. See updated new information that is now available.


Catskill Heritage Alliance statement re: ORDA and Belleayre - Saugerties Post Star - Apr 2, 2012

Review of a Proposal to Transfer New York State’s Belleayre Mountain
Ski Center to a Public Authority

CHA statement on Hydrofracking

CHA Statement on ORDA Click Here     Mid Hudson News Coverage

Authority backs off Belleayre takeover

Contribute to Flood Relief!
CHA has established a flood relief fund to funnel contributions to three area organizations helping Catskills families and businesses: Helping Hands of NY, the Interfaith Council, and the Watershed Agriculture Council's Farmer Relief Fund. From now until October 31 you can make a PayPal contribution to CHA for flood relief. Click the yellow Donate button on the left column of the page to make a contribution.  Or mail a check to CHA, PO Box 88, Shandaken, NY 12480 (note flood relief in memo line) All monies will be divided equally among the three organizations.


Statement by the Catskill Heritage Alliance on Big Indian Land Purchase Announcement

[Pine Hill, New York - September 20, 2011]

The following is a statement from the citizens’ group Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA), www.catskillheritage.org, responding to the September 9 announcement by the New York State Comptroller’s office that it approved a contract under which NYSDEC will purchase 1200 acres of forest land on the east side of Big Indian from developer Crossroads Ventures for $5.6 million. The purchase is part of a larger deal which, if approved, would allow Crossroads to build the Belleayre Resort, a large, private luxury ski resort, on the west side of the mountain: 

Read the entire press release


Winner of CHA Catskill Heritage Essay Contest 2011

Olivia Todd  Fleischmanns, N.Y.  Margaretville Central School

Review of a Proposal to Transfer New York State’s Belleayre Mountain Ski Center to a Public Authority(download PDF)   Read Press Release

New SDEIS is available for review  

Belleayre Resort Info SDEIS is available to review. For over a decade the Catskill Heritage Alliance has opposed plans to build a megaresort beside the state-run Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in Highmount. Over the years our members, volunteers from the community, have kept the public aware of the harmful effects of resort development on the environment and rural communities. Read about our efforts here.

Fracking Drilling for natural gas using the technique of "Fracking" (high volume horizontal hydrofracking) posses a serious risk to human and environmental health and threatens communities and watersheds from the Catskills to far western New York. The Catskill Heritage Alliance opposes fracking. Read about fracking facts, with links to gas drilling websites, here.

108 Ways The 108 Ways project describes how people earn a living in rural communities surrounded by the large wilderness acreage of the Catskills Park. If you’d like to add your “way” to our database and perhaps serve as a mentor to others, contact us at 108@catskillheritage.org. Click here to see the list of job categories and the ways others are adapting livelihoods to the Catskills.

Catskill Cornucopia

The CHA, Catskill Mountainkeeper and The CCCD collaborate to create a series of presentations and discussions on an abundance of subjects of importance to our communities, including field trips and special events. Always stimulating, energizing, free and open to the public.

Preview the next Cornucopia on our events page

Heritage Moments  Over and over again people fall in love with the Catskills and its natural beauty and peacefulness. Visitors and residents alike share the experience of coming to terms with the landscape, and, if they stay long enough, of allowing the landscape to shape their lives. Each generation and each person does this on his or her own terms, acknowledging the past while creating an identity in the present. This makes up the heritage of the Catskills. If you’d like information on the specifics of this project, have an idea for a video, or would like to offer technical support to help others complete their films, contact moments@catskillheritage.org.  Now playing: "Matt Frisch and Family", also, "The Tanbark Trail" by Dave Channon

Ridgeline Protection
Regional Organizations Seek Proposals to Define Value of Public Lands
The Catskill Heritage Alliance, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and Catskill Mountainkeeper announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) to quantify the economic value of the public land resources in the Catskill Region. The concentration of public lands and their recreational and scenic assets represent an economic value to the region’s communities; however, a comprehensive valuation of these resources has not been undertaken. The project will evaluate how more than 350,000 acres of publicly accessible lands and reservoirs of the Catskill Forest Preserve and Catskill-Delaware Watershed affect the economies of local communities. The findings of the study will help communities and partnering organizations better understand how the region's outdoor assets are used and where efforts can be focused to support recreation and tourism. You can read the RFP Download PDF

 

Mountain Watch Issues:  Spring 2010  Fall 2010  Spring 2009    Summer 2009   Winter 2005


The huge proposed Belleayre Resort dwarfs nearby hamlets of Pine Hill and Fleischmanns.


Winner of CHA Catskill Heritage Essay Contest 2011

Olivia Todd  Fleischmanns, N.Y.  Margaretville Central School


Catskill Heritage Alliance Scholarship Essay

Throughout an individual’s lifetime many different experiences can influence one in ways that will affect them for the rest of their life. Sometimes the little things in life are those which have the greatest impact. At times it is who our friends are, or a sport’s team we are a member of, or a middle school teacher. However when we open up our eyes to the bigger picture of life perhaps the things like where we live for example is what influences us to pursue our dreams in life. Growing up in the Catskill Mountains has made me aware of how lucky I am and how much I love the area I have grown up in. The Catskills have offered me opportunities, learning experiences and personal growth that I may not have been able to experience if I had grown up somewhere else.

I have lived in the Catskills all my life. I was born in Rhinebeck, New York and have lived in the same house in Fleischmanns ever since. Growing up I was lucky enough to be able to experience the many outdoor activities that were available to me, right outside my door step. I learned to ski and snowboard at Belleayre Mountain, located less than ten miles from my house. I took full advantage of the four seasons present in the Catskill Mountains by making the most of each season and the weather it brought. During the summer’s I found a love for; swimming in the local rivers, ponds and lakes, biking, hiking and running. Fall brought more hiking and biking, especially through the color enriched mountains. Skiing, snowboarding, sleigh riding, snow tubing, ice skating, and hot chocolate were common events during the winter time. With spring came a sense of a new beginning, walking and running were accompanied by the blossoming trees and sounds of nature. I was always encouraged to go outside and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and to this day love to be outside.

In addition to loving the outdoor excursions offered in the Catskills I have also been influenced in other ways. This area has influenced me to return to the area after pursuing my dream of becoming a pediatrician. I was very fortunate to have an internship, since January 2011, with a local practitioner Dr. Paul Llobet. Dr. Llobet, owner of Llobet Medical Group located in Margaretville, New York, has taught me a vast amount about medicine and business in a rural area setting. I am now more certain than ever that I would like to one day return here, to this area, to practice medicine and once again enjoy the wonderful opportunities the Catskills has to offer.

I am most certainly a “small-town girl” who has enjoyed growing up in the rural town of Margaretville. I feel that I have been lucky to be able to grow up in a safe and quiet surrounding which has allowed me to participate in many different outdoor activities. I look forward to returning to the area after college and medical school to pursue my dreams and continue enjoying the beautiful and peaceful landscape of the mountains.


Regional Organizations Seek Proposals to Define Value of Public Lands Download PDF

Ridges Work for Us
On a clear day from a Catskill summit outcrop you can see tree-covered ridges as they drop down to valleys and hollows, extend up to mountaintops, and repeat their varied topography over and over again as they stretch to the horizon.
It’s an act of faith that because these ridges are within the Catskill Park they are protected, yet of the roughly 700,000 acres within the Blue Line, a little less than half is in the state Forest Preserve or in New York City DEP holdings. Individuals and towns own the rest, and this is subject to the designs of owners and the limits of zoning.
Fortunately, many landowners are good stewards and maximize the environmental integrity of their acreage to preserve its scenic beauty. The “economic services” of these undeveloped ridges and slopes are vast. They filter water, control erosion and runoff, provide natural habitat, and offer scenic views. This is a tremendous benefit to the public. Towns save money on infrastructure to control storm water and flooding and to treat drinking water. Businesses are guaranteed a natural attraction that never ceases to draw tourists to Catskills for scenic views—south of us the Shawangunk Ridge system of parks and preserves has a positive economic impact of $12.3 million and supports 358 local jobs. Not to forget the animals and plants: Without intact ecosystems, they wouldn’t have a place to roam and grow.
The Catskill Heritage Alliance has long sought to preserve the harmony between the mountains and the hamlets, and the connection between preservation and economic well-being affects all of us. Recently, CHA joined in discussions with Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, landowner associations, town supervisors and planners, and other citizens about ways of communicating the economic benefits of ridge and mountaintop protection. CHA sees this as an opportunity to extend its advocacy and offer tools for landowners and towns to practice sound land use policies.
Several public lectures and workshops are being planned to feature visionary town ridgeline and open space plans, best stewardship practices, studies of the economic benefits of ridge protection, revitalization of traditional working landscapes, and the positive contribution of new entrepreneurs and philanthropy to rural economies.


September 11: Catskill Cornucopia:Gasland Comes to Fleishmanns.
Fleischmanns Community Church, Main Street, 7:30 pm. Come see the
award winning film about hydrofracking, followed by a panel discussion
moderated by Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Alan White of
Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and others. Opening
remarks by Peg DiBenedetto of the Congregational Life Community.


Marcellus shale gas mining threatens our area. Watch this video


Fracking Video by Earthworks Action

FrackAction: Pete Seeger and Mark Ruffalo Speak Out in Albany

Mountainkeeper Had a great event in Beaverkill on 7/11/2009 The CHA was well represented. Ramsey Adams gave special thanks to CHA for our great work. Robert Kennedy, Maurice Hinchey, Kingdon Gould and many other Important folks were there.

"My Catskill Heritage" Scholarship Award Essays 2010

Announcing the 2009 Scholarship Award Winners: Chloe Burklund and Caitlyn Roberts

Northeast climate change report

Skiing, maple syrup, trout at riskALBERT F. APPLETON INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT WRITTEN TESTIMONY FOR SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES OVERSIGHT HEARING June 4, 2009 10 A.M.

Letter to editor from Chairman of CHA In support of the Belleayre Ski Center

CHA had a booth at Fleischmanns Day May 23, 2009 see the photos

Who's reviewing the stimulus? Belleayre is just one example Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 am Oneonta Daily Star By Richard Schaedle

Read the February 2009 issue of Mountainwatch Download PDF

The Course That Got Away: Economic woes have closed golf courses in resort developments across the country   NYT 1/8/2009

A Letter To Governor Paterson


Business Blueprint for the Blue Line

As business owners who live, work, and are planning our futures within the blue line of the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve, America’s first wilderness, we wish to promote development while we protect quality of life.

We favor commercial development that capitalizes on the unique cultural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources our communities offer.

We believe that such development must be of appropriate scale, environmentally as well as economically sustainable, and in harmony with the special considerations of the watershed in which we live and work.

We seek to empower our communities with upgraded infrastructure and telecommunication services that are integrated into the environment rather than imposed upon it.

We wish to promote development within existing population centers.

We want to protect from development the delicate web of ridgelines and mountainsides inside the blue line, recognizing that to alter these fragile treasures would be to compound destructive flooding, potentially harm our own water supply, and undermine the wilderness environment that is our region’s economic anchor.

We believe that these values offer a balance between development and protection of our quality of life that can bring prosperity to all in the years to come.

 


A list of important issues concerning the Proposed Belleayre Resort.

Casino Gambling in the Catskills - In December, 2004, Governor Pataki proposed five Indian-run casinos for Sullivan and Ulster counties instead of the three casinos the legislature had earlier approved. The move galvanized public opposition. The Sullivan County legislature, however, voted to approve the measure, which would also require Federal approval.

Hydro Fracking and Natural Gas Drilling in the watershed Belleayre Mountain Ski Center's Unit Management Plan (UMP) - The ski center is in the process of producing a new UMP. UMPs are plans that identify opportunities for recreational use and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate public use. In the Catskill Park, UMPs are developed in compliance with Catskill Park State Land Master Plan guidelines.

Local Demographics - On May 23, 2002, the US Census Bureau released a detailed demographic profile of New York State based on 2000 census data. This profile series presents information on general demographic characteristics (sex, age and race) as well as school enrollment, educational attainment, marital status, income, poverty, employment status, occupation and housing. We provide links to profiles of our local communities.

Issues and Opportunities for a Rural Economy - a look at the economic issues facing areas like the central Catskills

Comprehensive Planning - Towns in New york State are being encouraged to adopt comprehensive plans. These are blueprints for future growth. We look at examples of such plans and why it is prudent for municipalities to consider their adoption.


Selected DEIS Comments and Proposed Issues for Adjudication


Guest commentary: Who's reviewing the stimulus? Belleayre is just one example Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 am Oneonta Daily Star

By Richard Schaedle
Now that the state budget has been passed, New York's $24.6 billion share of federal stimulus money should start hitting the streets fast.
Perhaps too fast: Most will be spent in 12 to 24 months.
Moving so much money so quickly could let slip many millions in slushy spending benefiting developers and not the economy. The New York State Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet must be hypervigilant to avoid a special-interest feeding frenzy.
Clearly, projects that aren't shovel-ready, have questionable or negative fiscal, economic and environmental impacts, and are divisive and controversial rather than consensus-building, should not be candidates for stimulus funding.
But that won't stop developers from seeking it.
One case in point is the Belleayre Resort, a high-priced, high-elevation, high-density, steep-slope, sprawling, speculative ski condo and golf course developers want to build on a sensitive Catskills mountaintop.
You'll find it listed under Delaware County-area proposals on the 774-page list of stimulus proposals under state review (www.recovery.ny.gov/assets/pdf/internet_20090325.pdf).
There is listed a request for $62 million to expand the publicly owned Belleayre Ski Center "and with it, the development of the privately owned Belleayre Resort."
It's widely agreed expanding the public center is a good thing, provided for in the state constitution. But the private, exclusive resort is a different, more-controversial matter, so it tries to piggyback on broad support for expanding the center. Developers purposely blur the line between the two, but the resort is a separate, inappropriate profit grab that should be cut loose.
Ulster County Legislature Chairman David Donaldson recently wrote Gov. David Paterson urging him to approve stimulus money for the center; the letter doesn't mention the resort. Donaldson seems genuinely unaware of any possibility that money would go to land purchase and trail development for the resort.
But he is not alone in this confusion; they are so deliberately enmeshed even experts can't always tell where the center ends and the resort begins.
The blurred line between them also confuses permitting. Donaldson's letter claims the project is "shovel-ready," but the resort is no such thing. It hasn't passed the environmental impact statement, or EIS, phase. Permitting is contested and at best a long way off.
Building would trigger loss of irreplaceable mountaintop habitat, huge water consumption, increased erosion and flooding _ already at dangerous levels _ and compromised water quality and reservoirs.
The resort's energy-intensive snowmaking and traffic impacts would aggravate the region's Clean Air Act compliance problems, making it harder and costlier to get federal transportation funds.
Stimulus funding would signal a presumption that the resort would be getting built regardless of environmental impacts, prejudicing the environmental review process.
Its likely economic impacts are no better. Paterson's office has said that stimulus spending in New York should give a 20-to-1 return to the economy. But instead of a positive multiplier effect, spending on the resort would mean more taxpayer costs.
Claims of the project generating 600-800 jobs are unsubstantiated and overblown. There is no commitment as to how many jobs will result, salary levels or whether local residents will get them.
If the resort employs cheap labor from outside the community, that would strain local services and cost taxpayers, in addition to the huge hidden subsidies and unpaid service costs that most greenfield development entails.
Citizens have seen no fiscal impact analysis supporting the positive environmental impact claim, and Freedom of Information Law requests for it have been denied.
Meanwhile, independent research shows destination resorts suck money from local municipalities and compete with local tourism businesses, which is what the 2006 Draft Environmental Impact Statement said the Belleayre Resort would do _ provided it stays open.
Comparable high-end ski resorts that boomed in the early 2000s are now closing.
Giving the resort stimulus funds would also undercut worthier, genuinely shovel-ready projects that deserve them.
The regional transportation authority wants new roads, bridges and pavement on state Route 28 from Hurley to Shandaken.
As state health budgets shrink, Margaretville Memorial Hospital, built in the 1960s, is in need of a $17 million renovation. Projects to protect area water resources, suffering from DEC budget and staff cuts, merit federal support.
Our long-term future is in skilled jobs such as Tech City and the planned solar consortium in Ulster County.
Those are the sorts of stimulus-worthy projects New York needs, and around which broad consensus forms. At best, the Belleayre Resort confounds and divides local opinion.
Nevertheless, there it is, on the list of projects under consideration for stimulus funding and arranging special pleadings to the governor.
There are some 15,000 projects on the list; I happened to track this one only because my group is fighting it.
But it makes me wonder, what other inappropriate, destructive projects lurk under the radar on that 774-page list, and how can the Recovery Cabinet police them all?
___
Schaedle is the chairman of the grass-roots organization Catskill Heritage Alliance, which is online at www.catskillheritage.org.

P.O. Box 88, Shandaken NY 12480

A letter to Governor Paterson


November 16, 2008 Dear Governor Paterson
,


Mindful of your call for “shared sacrifice” in this time of crisis, we approach your budget proposals with appreciation for the difficulty of your task and with an acceptance of the need for reductions in public spending.
We note the unfortunate cuts in education and healthcare, affecting primarily the youngest and the oldest among us.
We note the added burdens being placed on workers asked to take less and on students asked to pay more.
We note the cuts for home healthcare, nursing homes, mental health, foster care… the elimination of math and science initiatives and teacher mentoring… the closing of youth facilities… the reductions in spending for the arts… the cuts in municipal aid that will mean diminished operations in libraries and senior centers.
We note the reduction in public spending for environmental protection to the tune of $50 million for 2008-2009.
And we note the savings to taxpayers in reduced support for or the elimination of such economic development initiatives as tourism matching grants ($1.5 million), JOBS Now ($1.5 million), and several research and technology development centers. Total economic development savings: $8 million in 2009-2009, $9 million in 2009-2010.
We are mindful of the impact that these cuts in public spending—and more to come—will have on the quality of life of many New Yorkers.
Yet nowhere do we see even a hint of any cut in the estimated $60 million of taxpayer money earmarked for a private commercial mega-resort development on Belleayre Mountain in the central Catskills.
Under the current Agreement in Principle engineered by your predecessor for that proposed project, an estimated $14 million of the $60 million would be used to purchase land from the developer to keep the land from being developed—although $14 million is well in excess of the market rate. Taxpayers would shell out the remaining $45 million or so for ski lifts and snowmaking facilities aimed at making the public Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, BMSC, more attractive to patrons of the private resort; indeed, some of the improvements for which the public would foot the bill would be primarily for the use of resort patrons. Moreover, once constructed for the benefit of these private guests, the ongoing operation of these facilities would represent an additional annual operating expense, to be borne by the public, that, as our planet continues to warm, is likely to rise consistently and substantively. In addition to these direct costs, the developer has applied for municipal tax abatements and for further taxpayer-funded incentives under Enterprise Zone legislation.
The Belleayre Mountain Ski Center and the Catskill State Park and Forest Preserve of which it is a part constitute a precious public asset that has long been a “destination resort” for millions of New Yorkers and others. The public budget rightly funds these facilities and the family-centered, affordable, low-impact activities that take place there.
Asking taxpayers to fork over tens of millions of dollars to, in effect, induce a private development company not to build an environmentally intolerable project but rather one that is merely environmentally disastrous—as well as economically unsound—strikes us as a bad idea at the best of times. In our current crisis, when so much is being asked of so many, we suggest that this kind of public spending to support private interests makes no sense at all. We respectfully urge that you review this $60-million public expenditure in our state budget—which we hold to be an unnecessary and, in the present crisis, an excessive burden on taxpayers.The Catskill Heritage Alliance

Richard Schaedle, Chairman
Cc. John Bonacic, Senator
Kevin Cahill, Assemblyman
Clifford Crouch, Assemblyman



The Course That Got Away
FAIRWAY VALUES Economic woes have closed many golf courses
By KRISTINA SHEVORY Published: January 8, 2009 New York Times KAY AND SAM GARDALI spent so much time playing golf and visiting friends at a golf community outside Modesto, Calif., that the couple decided it would be better to buy a home there than to keep visiting their friends on weekends. Second-home owner Sam Gardali is concerned about his investment.
Two years ago, they bought a three-bedroom house at the Diablo Grande Winery & Resort, a new luxury golf development in Patterson, Calif., a bit more than an hour and a half east of San Francisco. For $500,000, they got a home set on one of the resort’s two golf courses. Although the development was only about 45 minutes away from their main residence in the town of Turlock, they considered it a good investment and toyed with the idea of buying an additional house to rent out.
It was good they didn’t. Over the last year, the winery shut, the two golf courses closed, if only temporarily, and home construction ground to a halt. The developer filed for bankruptcy and the development was sold at a court sale in October, leaving homeowners unsure about what would happen to their property values and membership fees.
“We don’t know if the money we’ve paid to belong to the golf club will be honored or not,” Mrs. Gardali said. The couple paid $25,000, on top of the house price, to join.
Many people have bought second and third homes in golf developments for the high-end courses designed by well-known professional golfers, the tight-knit community and the plush clubhouses. But now a number of owners across the country are finding closed clubhouses and courses, lost membership fees and a direct hit to their home values as developers file for bankruptcy and can no longer maintain their courses.
Of course, the same problems that have pummeled the real estate business generally — recession, tight credit and plunging prices — have hurt the market in golf communities, leaving many developers unable to meet payments on their loans. The collapse last September of Lehman Brothers, a major investor in real estate deals and a backer of many golf communities, reduced the pool of buyers, according to Jeff Woolson, managing director and senior vice president for the golf and resort properties group at CB Richard Ellis in Carlsbad, Calif. In California alone, Lehman sank $2.5 billion into projects with the SunCal Companies, a community developer, many of which are now in bankruptcy proceedings.
And institutional investors that would have bought an ailing golf course when the economy was good are no longer interested.
“I’m spending hours a day speaking to appraisers, lenders, people who can’t make money and have to sell their course,” said Mr. Woolson, who once did roughly two golf course deals a year but now has at least seven listings on his books.
The new owner at Diablo Grande, World International, a group of real estate investors, is still working on its official plan for the property but said this week that it expected to make some announcements soon. World International said it would probably maintain the original developer’s goal of 1,600 new houses — probably over five to seven years — in addition to the 400 or so that have already been completed. Golf memberships would somehow be grandfathered in, and plans for a hotel, possibly in a different location, would still be included. A name change is in the works, along with a long-term water-quality project.
In Bonita Springs, Fla., the Ronto Group shut the golf course at the Palmira Golf and Country Club in late September because it could no longer pay for its upkeep.
“It’s really a victim of the current climate. You can’t find any equity,” said Anthony Solomon, a vice president at Ronto, based in Naples, Fla. Ronto sent Palmira homeowners a letter in late September that said the course would be closed. Bernard Poirier, who owns a second home at Palmira, didn’t even get the letter and found out about the closing from friends who live there. The course had always been well managed, he said, and the developer never dropped any hints that it was having financial problems.
Given the deep housing problems in Florida, with drooping prices and a glut of homes on the market, homeowners couldn’t afford to lose the 27-hole course. “If the golf course goes, my property value will drop even more than it already has,” said Mr. Poirier, a tax accountant in Warwick, R.I., who estimates that the value of his Palmira house has shrunk by 20 percent in the last two years.
A group of homeowners is now fighting to save the course and has raised enough money to run it temporarily. They have negotiated a deal to buy the course outright from GMAC Financial Services and have lined up outside financing for an undisclosed amount. A deal should be signed by the end of the month, said one of the homeowners who helped negotiate the agreement.
During the housing boom, golf courses were a well-tested way to sell homes at a hefty premium. Buyers would pay up to 25 percent more for a lot at a golf course community than for those at typical subdivisions, Mr. Woolson said. Golf also provided additional benefits: it allowed developers to use the courses to meet municipal drainage and open-space requirements, rather than simply having undeveloped land that does not produce revenue.
“People are attracted to golf because it’s an embodiment of a lifestyle they want to live of fun,” said Henry DeLozier, a Phoenix-based principal at the consulting firm Global Golf Advisors. “Golf in America seems to have aspirational qualities that seem to affirm status achieved. Why else would someone pay a premium for the same house?”
“They didn’t care how much they spent on the golf course because they were making so much money on lot sales,” said Michael Allan Wolf, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville and a specialist in golf course property conversions.
Many builders carved out space for golf courses and clubhouses even if they knew nothing about the sport. A course generally costs about $5.2 million to build, double if a clubhouse, restaurant and pro shop are included, according to a 2005 study by GOLF 20/20, a coalition of equipment manufacturers, course operators and golfing associations managed by the World Golf Foundation, a group founded 15 years ago to promote interest in golf. But courses aren’t cheap to operate, with maintenance costing $800,000 to $1.2 million a year.
The National Golf Foundation, a separate industry group, says there are some 16,000 golf courses of every type in the United States, including more than 3,200 that are linked to residential real estate developments. Over 50 residential courses have closed since 2006.
Even high-end fractionals, partial-ownership properties that generally attract wealthier buyers, have not been immune to the housing fallout. Last fall, Wasserman Real Estate Capital mothballed its project overlooking the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, one of golf’s most famous sites, when it did not sell enough units. Only a third of the residences, priced at $1.8 million to $3.7 million, were sold. This year, the real estate group plans to remarket the residences as full-ownership units.
“Many people wanted what I had, but they couldn’t pay what I was asking. Others wanted the entire units,” said David Wasserman, principal of the firm, based in Providence, R.I.
Outside Las Vegas, developers are looking to abandon a golf course at a luxury resort development so they can stop losing millions on its upkeep. The Falls golf course, at the entrance to Lake Las Vegas, a luxury resort development with three golf courses, multimillion-dollar homes and upscale hotels, may be abandoned this month if a bankruptcy judge agrees. According to court filings, the championship course was expected to lose $1.9 million last year and $2.9 million in 2009.
“We want the golf course to stay open because it helps the project. But we can’t afford to put down money on a course that’s not making money,” said Frederick Chin, president of the Nevada-based Atalon Group, which bought the resort after the original owner defaulted last year.
A hearing next week may decide whether the course will be abandoned. If it goes into foreclosure, the creditor would gain ownership.
“It’s extremely upsetting,” said Jerry McFarland, a real estate agent in San Diego who owns a home on the course. “Not only could our homes be worth less, but our golf club memberships of $21,000 would become worthless.”

Business Blueprint for the Blue Line

As business owners who live, work, and are planning our futures within the blue line of the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve, America’s first wilderness, we wish to promote development while we protect quality of life.

We favor commercial development that capitalizes on the unique cultural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources our communities offer.

We believe that such development must be of appropriate scale, environmentally as well as economically sustainable, and in harmony with the special considerations of the watershed in which we live and work.

We seek to empower our communities with upgraded infrastructure and telecommunication services that are integrated into the environment rather than imposed upon it.

We wish to promote development within existing population centers.

We want to protect from development the delicate web of ridgelines and mountainsides inside the blue line, recognizing that to alter these fragile treasures would be to compound destructive flooding, potentially harm our own water supply, and undermine the wilderness environment that is our region’s economic anchor.

We believe that these values offer a balance between development and protection of our quality of life that can bring prosperity to all in the years to come.


THE FIGHT AGAINST THE MEGA-RESORT: THE LATEST

The environmental review of the resort proposal proceeds apace. Here are the latest developments:

Summer, 2004: Administrative Law Judge Richard Wissler of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, lead agency for the state-mandated environmental review process, holds hearings to determine which issues, if any, raised by the Catskill Preservation Coalition should be adjudicated in public, trial-like hearings. The CPC comprises 11 organizations, including the Catskill Heritage Alliance, which have come together to oppose the proposed megs-resort.

September 7, 2005: Judge Wissler issues a ruling calling for adjudication of 12 issues. The ruling [LINK] is a stunning moral and public relations victory for resort opponents. The developer and his local allies announce their intention to appeal the Wissler ruling.

October 12, 2005: Congressman Maurice Hinchey proposes an alternative to the mega-resort proposal in keeping with the Wissler ruling. Hinchey’s formula would lock up the eastern portion as public land to be “forever wild” while allowing some form of smaller-scale, environmentally sound development on the west subject to full-scale scrutiny… Read the Congressman’s proposal here:[LINK]

January 17, 2006: All Appeals of Judge Wissler’s ruling are officially filed with the DEC. A deputy commissioner’s ruling—the Commissioner has recused herself on the issue—may be expected at any time…
August 5, 2006 THE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, echoing the stance of U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, has taken the position that the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park should not include any construction on the eastern portion of the 1,900-acre site on which the developer wants to build. August 11, 2006 A report issued on Thursday by Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi says developer Crossroads Ventures "understates the potential environmental impacts and economic risks of the project" because of "faulty assumptions regarding profitability and comparable developments in other areas."

 

CATSKILL HERITAGE WRITING PRIZE:
WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!

The jury worked hard to select winners among a number of imaginative and well written entries. Winners were announced first at the graduation ceremonies of the respective schools—Andes, Margaretville, Onteora, and Roxbury. Read all four >>>

 
 
 

JUDGE’S RULING IS A VICTORY FOR OPPONENTS OF THE PROPOSED MEGA-RESORT Administrative Law Judge Richard R. Wissler of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) ruled September 7 that 12 issues—virtually every issue we and our fellow members of the Catskill Preservation Coalition raised—should and must be adjudicated in a trial-like administrative proceeding. This is an unquestioned and resounding victory, and it represents a clear message from the judge that the environmental review of the proposed project must be careful, deliberate, and very thorough.

Specifically, the judge found that the following issues required adjudication: “(1)Water Supply and Groundwater and Surface Water Impacts; (2) Aquatic Habitat Impacts; (3) Stormwater Impacts; (4) Impacts to the Catskill Forest Preserve; (5) Impacts to Wildlife; (6) Noise Impacts; (7) Traffic Impacts; (8) Visual Impacts; (9) Impacts to Community Character; (10)Secondary and Induced Growth Impacts; (11) Cumulative Impacts; and (12) Alternatives (to the current proposal).”

It means that the proposed resort's potential impact in all these areas--plus, in #12, the developer's failure to offer alternatives as required--will be aired and addressed in a proceeding in which witnesses will offer sworn testimony and may be cross-examined. In a sense, today we got the chance to make our case loud and clear in a place and manner that will put it on the public record.

We owe this victory to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, to the CPC's exceptional Albany-based legal team of Marc Gerstman and Cheryl Roberts, to the rightness of our cause, and to the support, financial and otherwise, from all of you. Thanks.

Now let's dig in hard and drive our point home. We have a chance to go all the way...

Please send your contributions, needed now more than ever, to: CHA Treasurer PO Box 88 Shandaken, NY 12480

See the complete ruling by Judge Wissler… What You Can Do Now...Return to Home Page

Business Blueprint for the Blue LineAs business owners who live, work, and are planning our futures within the blue line of the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve, America’s first wilderness, we wish to promote development while we protect quality of life. We favor commercial development that capitalizes on the unique cultural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources our communities offer.We believe that such development must be of appropriate scale, environmentally as well as economically sustainable, and in harmony with the special considerations of the watershed in which we live and work.We seek to empower our communities with upgraded infrastructure and telecommunication services that are integrated into the environment rather than imposed upon it.We wish to promote development within existing population centers.We want to protect from development the delicate web of ridgelines and mountainsides inside the blue line, recognizing that to alter these fragile treasures would be to compound destructive flooding, potentially harm our own water supply, and undermine the wilderness environment that is our region’s economic anchor.We believe that these values offer a balance between development and protection of our quality of life that can bring prosperity to all in the years to come.Return to Home Page

ALBERT F. APPLETON
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT
WRITTEN TESTIMONY FOR
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
OVERSIGHT HEARING
“Unconventional Fuels, Part I: Shale Gas Potential”

1334 Longworth House Office Building June 4, 2009 10 A.M.

Good Morning, Mr. Chairman, Committee Member
I am honored to appear before this Subcommittee to testify on this issue. At one level, the issue the Committee is addressing appears simple, what is the appropriate level of environmental regulation But to address the potential of shale gas and, indeed, the other unconventional fuels the Subcommittee will be reviewing requires a rigorous approach to the underlying economics of this issue. I hope this testimony will assist the subcommittee in doing so.

Should shale gas drilling be subject to the normal requirements of good environmental housekeeping? The industry argues that this would be "overregulation" and that it would economically undermine the future of shale gas extraction. Yet at the same time, when touting shale gas, the industry promises annual revenues of many billions of dollars to state governments and local landowners, and describes shale gas as an asset ultimately worth trillions. With projected cash flows of these levels, the claim that the natural gas industry cannot afford the costs of meeting basic environmental housekeeping standards, costs every other American industry, most of whom are far less profitable than shale based natural gas, routinely pay, is not a claim that survives even the most rudimentary due diligence.

The industry also argues that shale gas extraction is environmentally safe. This is also a claim that challenges basic common sense. Shale gas extraction is dependent on hydraulic fracturing; also know as fracking, a process of using high pressure injection of sand in water to fracture the shale formations and release the natural gas trapped in the shale. But sand added to water merely sinks to the bottom. What must also be added is some liquid with the same specific gravity as sand to hold the sand in solution so that it can exert its fracturing force. As has been widely documented, these fracking fluids use a witches brew of toxic chemicals, nearly all of which are intrinsically hazardous to the environmental.

Why are they so intrinsically hazardous to the environment? The answer is simple: these compounds do not biodegrade. Once in the environment, they stay in the environment. Most of them bioaccumulate. The remainder volatize, removing them from water and land, but adding them to the atmosphere where they become contributors to global warming. The only way to protect the environment, and particularly water resources, is to prevent their introduction into the environment. Streams have no capacity to absorb these compounds; dilution is the only solution for their pollution. And because these compounds are toxic in such minute amounts, streams very quickly reached their capacity to safely dilute such compounds.

So how does fracking introduce these compounds into the environment? There are three ways.

First, fracking leaves a significant portion of the fracking fluid underground, where it is free to migrate into groundwater. The industry argues that fracking, particularly in the East, takes place at depths so far below aquifer layers that fracking presents no threat to underground water resources. Unfortunately, there are three qualifications to that reassuring conclusion. The first is that currently there is no standard based assessment of the underground hydrology required before a site is chosen for fracking. So what one has, in effect, is underground injection of wastes without any the safeguards of permitted underground injection.

The second qualification is that the industry position assumes that, as the concrete casing is drilled through the water bearing strata, it is properly drilled and maintained so its integrity is not breached, allowing fracking materials to pollute the water. To insure this, far more oversight of the drilling process is needed than takes place now.

And the third qualification is time. Fracking material may not invade aquifers immediately; it is a process that could take decades. But because those materials do not biodegrade, if they can move towards water sooner or later they will get there. And then what? The issue of delayed damages is one that has drawn almost no attention, but it is one that thirty years from now those dependent on aquifer water could passionately and bitterly care about. Time is also the enemy of concrete, yet the requirements for maintaining concrete drilling casings, particularly once a well has ceased to produce, have yet to adequately address the question of long term casing integrity. .

The second way fracking materials can enter the environment, particularly the water environment, is through surface spills. There are three sources of such spills, unplanned irruption of underground liquids, including fracking materials, to the surface; poor housekeeping; and surface floods. Fracking liquids, and the materials for them, are typically stored in open lagoons, a practice that should end in favor of off the ground, corrosion proof tanks. It should be remembered that so far shale gas extraction has operated largely on the flat, arid, sparsely populated, often publicly owned lands in the West. As shale gas extraction moves into the hilly, rainfall abundant, densely populated and privately owned East, only proper regulation and a far different standard of care can avoid an inevitable disaster.
One of the key elements of those regulations must be stormwater management, an issue that in many jurisdictions is avoided by keeping the size of the actual drilling pad to less than five acres and is exacerbated by the Clean Water Act exemptions from stormwater permitting for oil and gas production.
The third way fracking materials can enter into the environment is through the disposal of used fracking liquids. Though a significant portion of fracking material will remain underground, an even larger portion returns to the surface presenting critical problems of waste disposal. The industry has done everything from spreading these liquids on the road as deicers, to depositing them in streams, to putting them through normal sewage treatment plants. None of these are acceptable practices. The enormous loophole for oil and gas waste in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) needs to be replaced by a positive program that insures fracking materials will receive proper disposal.

The path that needs to be taken is to put waste fracking materials through an industrial strength hazardous materials treatment facility and then to properly dispose of them through a properly and strictly enforced program of planned and hydrologically safe underground injection. Though many advocate allowing discharge of hazardous material treated effluent into streams under carefully controlled limits, any disposal of treated fracking liquids in streams needs the most careful study. It must be banned in any areas that are used for water supply purposes because of the threat of bioaccumulation. Even in other areas, conclusions that treated fracking fluid can be disposed of in surface waters run the peril of misleading the industry as to how much dilution capacity a surface stream has and inducing it to depend on a resource whose limits they will soon exceed.

Though the pollution problems of fracking materials have attracted the bulk of attention with respect to shale gas extraction, they are by no means the only environmental issues that fracking raises. There is air pollution, from a combination of using diesel powered equipment, an enormous volume of drilling related truck traffic and the venting to the atmosphere of a number of gases, including methane.

Then there is the question of where will the shale gas industry get the water for the fracking process? Even if one uses the industry numbers for the amount of wells that will be drilled, in absolute terms the amount of water fracking will need is not outlandish. But that conclusion scants some critical complexities in terms of local impacts. First, the volume of water needed for a single fracking event, two to ten million gallons, can have a huge impact on local tributary streams. Second, the timing of such withdrawals can be critical in terms of issues such as fish spawning and maintaining the natural annual pulsing of stream flows to which the stream ecology is adapted. Third, water withdrawals that could be acceptable in wet years may not be acceptable in dry ones. Fourth, if the industry shifts to groundwater use, those withdrawals could have significant effects on groundwater aquifers that are providing base flows for surface streams. And finally, water withdrawals from any stream that is receiving discharges of treated fracking fluids must be coordinated with discharge planning so that the reduction in the dilution capacity of the stream is reflected in the amount of discharge allowed.

If water withdrawal for fracking purposes by natural gas drillers is to proceed in an orderly and ecologically responsible manner, a proper regulatory and planning framework needs to be created.

Here a pause to take note of industry claims that state regulation will be sufficient is particularly appropriate. Both the issues of discharge of treated fracking fluid waste, and the issue of water withdrawals are not just local ones. Many streams traverse more than one state making common rules for interstate situations essential if development is to proceed in an orderly manner and if a race to the bottom to avoid the requirements of good environmental housekeeping is not to be created.

Two other issues of environmental impact and cost externalization will complete the immediate inventory of concerns for this subcommittee should be most aware of. The first is the impact of fracking on the rural landscape, particularly in areas that support water resources. These impacts are both ecological and social. Ecologically, five acre drilling pads, surrounded by a larger leased area degraded by drilling support and combined with new pipeline corridors and new or expanded roads mean a landscape transformed from rural to industrial.

Then there are the social impacts of such drilling. These include 24 hour drilling operations, problems of noise, odor, light pollution, greatly increased volumes of truck traffic and road congestion, potential health impacts from the toxic chemicals that fracking operations put into the environment, and the disruption of well based rural water supplies. The landscape transformations from the new shale gas economy undermine rural businesses in tourism, depress the property values of those adjacent to well sites whose property was not leased for oil and gas drilling, and are often incompatible with traditional agricultural business activity.

Many will argue about the level of these problems, dismissing them as few isolated instances, but consider the numbers. Even if only 2% of proposed drilling sites generate some significant adverse impact, on the basis of industry projections of 120,000 drill sites for Pennsylvania and New York alone that would create 2,400 instances of significant impacts. Given shortages of an experienced labor force and a historical culture that has emphasized production over environmental housekeeping, if the industry expands at the rate the industry projects, one could reasonably expect to see a glitch percentage closer to 5%, or 6,000 adverse impacts in New York and Pennsylvania alone.

All of which points to three conclusions. First, shale gas drilling is completely inappropriate in any area that is a major drinking water source, such as the New York City watershed, the Delaware River Basin, and recharge areas for sole source aquifers.

Second, the above panoply of landscape and social problems can only be addressed by one tool, zoning, which most rural areas currently lack. Such zoning, designed as all zoning is, to minimize the impacts of incompatible uses being placed adjacent to each other, is essential not only to minimize harm to existing countryside residents from fracking, but to maintaining over the long term, public support for the use of fracking technology. .

Finally, it seems clear that a system of impact payments to local rural governments will be needed, to deal with issues like congested road systems, facilities for workforces, adverse impacts on traditional outdoor recreational resources, improvements in utility systems and schools and so forth.

In closing this section of my presentation, a word must be said about enforcement, which must be the companion of any restoration of the environmental standards of the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and of the other new environmental regulations needed to address the above issues.

The Department of Energy's report on Comparative Gas regulation identifies eight separate tasks involved with shale gas regulation. Moreover, because prevention is the only viable strategy for many of these issues, and because of the intrinsic difficulty in monitoring underground activity, it is clear that frequent site visits, a number of which should be unannounced, will be required, not to mention that there are a number of tasks such as supervising concrete work on drilling casings that should be independently supervised and reviewed by regulators at the time they are carried out.

Taking New York as an example, the industry currently projects 40,000 wells will be drilled in the State. If half that number, 20,000 wells are active at any one time, then New York State regulators need a staff adequate to oversee 20,000 wells. Though to offer any precise number of additional regulators that New York will need would depend on too many assumptions to be done casually, it is clear that an adequate regulatory oversight staff for fracking will number in the many hundreds if not larger. When the New York City watershed program was created, it required 400 new staff to cover an areas a tenth of the size of area of the Marcellus and to manage what was ultimately a less complicated environmental oversight task.

Addressing these issues must be the foundation of any successful long term policy towards extraction of shale natural gas. Yet ideally, this would only be the beginning.
The current debate over shale gas extraction is based on an industry approach that assumes the environment is, in economic terms, a cost center, and that the policy issue is to find a balance point where economic activity can be maximized and the costs of environmental compliance minimized. But this is essentially what should be called, for lack of a better term, the old accounting, in which industry tries, by minimizing its environmental obligations, to externalize as many costs as possible and, by externalizing them, to maximize its profits.

But as a society, what we have increasingly come to recognize is that we want is a new accounting, the accounting of sustainability, where the environment is not seen as a cost center to be avoided to the greatest extent possible, but as a profit center, where environmental stewardship becomes the key to a smooth functioning, profitable industry that maximizes overall public wealth.

The problem with the old accounting is that, while it makes money for some, it costs money for many more. Externalizing costs is, in any free market economy, intrinsically inefficient. It is a form of corporate welfare performed at the expense of all those who must pay the externalized costs, costs that in any full cost accounting system generally wind up being far greater than the sum of the benefits that come from doing so. For example, the natural gas industry projects New York State will receive a billion dollars in additional annual revenue from shale gas development. However, if such development were to undermine water quality in the New York City watershed, as it undoubtedly would, the cost of building and operating filtration works would be at least 1.2 billion dollars a year. Extend these impacts throughout the state and we have an industry whose profits would depend on an inaction subsidy from New York State's government and the costs paid by state residents would be far in excess of what it would produce for them.

There is an even more fundamental flaw, one that applies nationally, with allowing the shale gas industry to externalize its costs through a lack of environmental regulation or effective enforcement of applicable environmental regulations. The country has made a historical commitment to a green energy economy at all levels of government. Again using New York as an example, electrical power customers in New York State are paying enormous sums as surcharges on their electrical bills to support green energy.

But whom does green energy compete with as a source of electricity? It competes with natural gas powered electrical generation. If the price of natural gas is kept artificially low by government's failure to prevent the externalization of the costs of fracking produced natural gas, then government is undercutting its own green energy policy. The great economist Milton Friedman once did a famed interview where he stood on the D.C. Mall and pointed first to the Department of Agriculture saying, over there well meaning people spend billions of dollars encouraging the growth of tobacco. Then, pointing to the Department of Health and Human Services, he said, and over there equally well meaning people spend billions to fight the health consequences of using tobacco. One of these sets of people, he concluded, is wrong.

If Dr. Friedman were alive today, he would undoubtedly look at our policy of sponsoring green energy while allowing the subsidization of lower prices for its natural gas competitor by externalizing its environmental costs of production, and conclude the same thing. Until we make coal, natural gas and oil production sustainable, we will continue to face that dilemma.

Sustainable is the key word. The basic premise of sustainability is that the environment is a profit center, not a cost center, and that the integration of economic development with environmental stewardship is the way to maximize individual and social profit. This is the challenge that the natural gas industry, with its resistance to the ordinary standards of environmental housekeeping that every other major American industry complies with, is notably failing to address. In clinging to the old accounting of the past, instead of the new sustainable accounting of the future, it is the shale gas industry that is generating the opposition to its use of fracking and is feeding rapidly escalating political controversy. In orienting the shale gas energy industry towards the past, instead of the future, the Cheney Energy Amendments of 2005 did the industry no favor. The industry should be seeking to make shale gas extraction as sustainable and as green that its advertising and public pronouncements, and as its slogan of clean burning natural gas, implies.

What, briefly, would that sustainable policy look like? It would end the externalization of environmental costs by raising the standards of industry practice. It would develop non-toxic and biodegradable fracking additives. It would recognize that there are critical areas, watersheds, special scenic resources, critical resources for the local economy and densely populated areas that need to be off limits for any drilling. And it would work closely with local stakeholders to develop local zoning and regional planning schemes to avoid disastrous social impacts.

So, in the context of this hearing, how important is shale gas extraction going to be for America's energy future. Unless the industry embraces sustainability, the answer is going to be not very. For the last chapter is the drama of green energy versus traditional energy is going to belong to global warming.

We are at an interesting point in political and economic time. The country and much of the world has embraced the idea of a green energy future. But we have not yet faced the full implications of what that means for the existing energy industry.

The basic reality is that over whatever time period we choose to target, total carbon combustion is going to have to drop dramatically, if we are going to avoid the multi-trillion dollars costs of global warming that we are already beginning to experience. Transitions produce these kinds of gaps in understanding. Few things can produce more of a sense of economic unreality than to read in a business publication like the Economist a rigorous assessment of the prospects for global warming and then find five pages later an article on the new oil play in the Arctic Ocean or in deepwater off Brazil that totally ignores the impact of global warming policy on hydrocarbon demand and the on the stunted economic return likely on the tens of billions that will have to be invested to recover these resources.

With respect to global warming, once the emissions implications of current economic growth in just the four CRIB countries are factored in, the numbers are inexorable. A vast reduction in carbon combustion and a massive increase in green energy production is the only future that has any choice of being sustainable.

Over the next ten years, it will become ever more apparent that the existing hydrocarbon based energy industry will be playing a game of last man standing in which the prize will go to the industry or the components of particular industries that are more efficient and more sustainable. The billions and billions of dollars involved in extracting and using the unconventional resources this committee is reviewing, these additional billions in externalized environmental costs that have so far accompanied such developments, will not be paid by a public that is struggling with both the costs of transitioning to a green economy and with the steadily accelerating costs of unprecedented climate change.

So far, the only industry that seems to recognize this fact, even if the recognition has been somewhat begrudging and incomplete, has been the coal industry. Perhaps because it has not been sheltered, as shale gas extraction has been, from the upsurge of public opposition to unsustainable energy generation, the industry is now developing a serious commitment to clean coal and trying to make deep subsurface C02 injection work. It is far too early to assess whether they will be successful in these efforts, but the fact they are starting to face their future in this manner is a welcome development. The shale gas industry needs a similar epiphany if it is not to experience a brief burst of publicly subsidized splendor followed by a decline that leaves much of the American countryside an industrialized sacrifice zone.

Hopefully, the work of this Committee will represent a starting point in that effort.

Thank You. Return to Home Page

Northeast climate change report
Skiing, maple syrup, trout at risk

By FRITZ MAYER
NORTHEAST U.S. — If the federal government is to be believed, ski operations in the Southern Catskills and Poconos are already at risk of not being able to survive, and the situation will become worse in the coming decades because of global climate change.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is comprised of 13 federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce, released a report on June 16, outlining some of the expected impacts of climate change.
According to the report, ski resorts in the Northeast must have certain conditions to remain viable: the average length of the ski season must be at least 100 days, there must be a good possibility of being open during the profitable week between Christmas and the New Year, and there must be enough cold nights for snow-making operations to be successful.
Those conditions are becoming less likely in the Upper Delaware River Valley as the years pass and, if humans keep using fossil fuels at a high rate, only one skiing area in Maine will be viable by the end of the century.
The report says, “Warmer winters will shorten the average ski season, increase artificial snowmaking requirements and drive up operating costs. While snowmaking can enhance the prospects for ski resort success, it requires a great deal of water and energy, as well as very cold nights, which are becoming less frequent.
Prospects don’t look much better for ice fishing and snow mobiling.
According to the report, temperatures in the Northeast have risen by two degrees Fahrenheit since 1970, with temperatures in the winter rising twice that much. Over the next several decades, temperatures are projected to rise by as much as an additional four degrees in winter and 3.5 degrees in summer.
The report says these temperature hikes will lead to more flooding in the Northeast, with more heavy precipitation events. Conversely, it will also lead to more drought events and, at the most extreme range of predictions, the Catskill Mountains could experience a short drought every summer.
Increased temperatures are also expected to have impacts in several areas of agriculture. In the dairy industry, for instance, cows will be expected to produce less milk in the summer months because of heat stress. The report says that milk production could drop by up to 20 percent during the summer months, which for this area will include many more days with temperatures above 90 degrees and some days above 100 degrees.
Also, with the warming temperatures, maple syrup production will move increasingly northward, and under the most extreme scenarios, will no longer be viable in this area by the end of the century.
The production of some fruits will also be altered. Some varieties of apples and blueberries, for instance, will no longer thrive in the region by the end of the century.
Also fish populations will be changed. The report says, “Pennsylvania is predicted to lose 50 percent of its trout habitat in the coming decades.”
There is, however, some good news in the report. With the warming temperatures, for instance, comes an extended growing season in the Northeast. Also municipalities will be required to spread less salt on the roads in the winter to mitigate ice and snow conditions. But the good news is no match for the gloom contained in most of the predictions.
The report says that some additional warming is inevitable because of the amount of fossil fuels that have already been burned on the planet. But the severity of conditions at the end of this century will very much depend on the decisions humans make now about the use of fossil fuels going forward.
Go to globalchange.gov to see the report.

Scholarship Essays

Announcing the 2009 Scholarship Award Winners:

The 2008 Scholarship Award Winners:
My Catskill Heritage
By Brandon LaBumbard

Heritage is one of the many keys that fit the lock io our identity. Without a
heritage there would he a valuable part missing from our lives. That is why I take pride in
my heritage. I am glad to say that I grew up in the Caiskill Mountains. Here the land is
gorgeous the water is clean and the air is refreshing. In the fall the leaves change color
making the Catskill Mountains dazzling to onca eye. This all makes me thankful that I
was raised in the safe mountains where I could grow up undamaged by the lands outside
the Catskiils.
1 feel honored and gifted living in a small town because the people are friendly
and there is a strong connection between the students and teachers, who oiler !ie!p -ivhcn
it is needed. The subjects that appeal to me the most are Ihe sciences and mathematics. I
excel in the science and math subjects and plan to attend college at SUNY-ESF for
wildlife science and adolescent education in biology so that T can pass on the wisdom and
admiration for science that I have received.
One of the most influential activities on my life that I have done wss when I
participated in the BFL (Birds in Forested Landscapes) program through Cornell over the
summer. This volunteer research program is to help determine how many birds have
come back to the area to nest, record observations on the effects of pollution to the birds,
and to help determine the population of the local species. I enjoyed researching and
finding out about some different wildlife I did know know lived in our area. I enjoyed this
study so much that I plan on participating in it again this year.

Click. by Anthony Mincarelli
My vision-goggles started up, singing their little boot song, and a few seconds
later the video starts up. The video is blocked by what looks like a vaguely human shape,
which soon clears up and the figure sits down, obviously having to adjust the camera
himself. The person is my great-great grandfather, dead for almost 6 years now. He
sighs and starts to talk.
"If y:yi are watching this," he says "it must be many years in the future."
"Yeah, right." I mutter under my breath, as he continues talking.
"I am recording from the soon-to-be-gone CatskiB Mountains. I refuse to leave,
and they say the result will be a 22nd century equivalent of what happened when they
flooded what was once known as the Papacton Reservoir."
I should stop right now to say that my great-great grandfather, Anthony
Mincarelli, was a native of the Catskill Mountains. He grew up there and was fascinated
with the history of the place. When the world went to the skies, he stayed there, insisting
that the land was still livable. He was there until about 6 years ago when the Great
Fertilization happened, giving the children of the skies the food they needed to survive.
"It would be beneficial for the skies to know what happened on this land. Many,
many good things happened here that might never be remembered if they are not
recorded now."
I sighed and settled down, knowing this would be long.
"I won't make this long seeing how I want to save space for this 'Great
Fertilization'. These mountains, they have been my home. I remember fishing in the
brook at the bottom of my driveway, going up the road to the family farm to visit my
cousins. I remember every time we drove past the Reservoir, my eyes lit up when I was
little. I can remember my senior year so vividly like it happened yesterday. The trip, the
stress, the good times had by all." He sighed, "Times never to be remembered if this is
lost. The following is a few clips from my childhood."
Short clips are flashed before me, my great-great grandfather as a toddler,
gurgling on the swing set, him as a young teen holding a chicken, and him as a senior,
accepting his diploma. The picture switches back to him.
"I am sorry that this is happening. If more people were committed to saving this
land, these memories would never end, and would be added to by future generations. I
must end this now, or else there will be nothing left for the re-forming of the land."
My great-great grandfather gets up and turns off the camera. The final image
fades to green and I sigh. I was looking forward to a few more stories of the past, but I
guess there wouldn't be any. I take off the goggles and remove the video-chip, putting it
in the tube to send to the Sky National Museum of History.

Alyssa Fane
Roxbury Central School Catskill Heritage Scholarship Essay

There are several obvious reasons to love living in the Catskills: the beautiful
scenery, the seasonal sports, and the quiet neighborhoods that are perfect for retiring or
raising families. I love the Catskills for a different reason: its unique sense of community
that is found in these small Catskill Mountain towns. Acts of generosity and support that I
have encountered in my life could not have been found elsewhere. I've been lucky
enough to experience living with all classes of people and to watch how small
communities act as a web of trust and support.
The sense of community in the Catskills is one of a kind. Recently a second
home owner in the Catskills commented on how locals will ".. .talk behind your back, but
they'll be the first ones at your house if you had a fire." This statement couldn't be more
accurate. Gossip remains a problem of small town life, but I have watched as huge groups
of people pull together when tragedy strikes. For example, this past year a young child
was killed in a horrible accident in my community. Our entire town mourned with their
family. People took turns looking after the family's other children, local businesses put
donation jars in their stores, and in school we had moments of silence during the day of
the little boy's funeral. It was as if we all had lost our little brother. In a big city this sort
of combine effort on such a personal level would never be possible,
Small towns like the one I live in are a microcosm of society; rich, poor, and
middle class all live and work together. In towns with such low populations we can't help
but converse with and befriend people from different ethnic or financial classes. I am
friends with people who live in poverty as well as people who are extremely well-off.
Surprisingly we get along beautifully. In a different environment it might be odd to see a farmer and a retired Broadway performer having coffee together, but here it is a normal
occurrence. The steady influx of talented city people who move here live and socialize
side by side with our working class. As a result, we interact with all walks of life,
something nearly impossible to do anywhere else.
In a small Catskill Mountain town, residents form a network of connections; if
I don't know someone in town, my friend does. One afternoon in my sophomore year I
was fundraising for my class. I was selling pizza to a woman who lived across the street
from the business my family runs. The woman asked me what I wanted to do when I
grew up and I told her that I planned to be a journalist. She remembered that she knew of
a writer who owned a house in town, so she introduced us. This woman hardly knew me
and was only an acquaintance to the writer. This writer, Bethany, works for The New
York Times and meeting her turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to
me because of my aspiration to become a writer myself. I still see Bethany regularly and
she's currently assisting me with my college search. I love the way that little connections
like this these turn out to be such huge advantages; I believe that this sort of thing
couldn't have happened to me somewhere else.
Living in the Catskills has allowed me to see and understand many walks of
life, to be introduced to great people, and to know that if I ever have a problem, there will
be at least half a town willing to help bear the burden of my dilemma. Because of
everything this area has offered me, I am proud to call the Catskill Mountains my home. My growing knowledge for wildlife is what I am most interested in to farther
peruse my future endeavors. My passion is to help save threatened species which I
consider to be one of my most predominate strengths. I feel that we can't enjoy life if
nature isn't there to add beauty and happiness to our everyday world. I feel that it is a gift
living here in the Catskills because we are surrounded by all different kinds of fauna and
flora and were nature can be enjoyed by looking out a window. Nature is a big part of my
heritage and it is what makes me part of the Catskill like because there isn't another place
I would rather live It is always good to go away for a while but that makes coming back
even more special. I hope that after college and a successful life I can return to the
Catskills to live out the rest of my life, who knows I might even decide to return here to
raise my own family so that I can pass on the heritage that was bestowed upon me by my
relatives and community over that past eighteen years.
I love the fact that when I get up in the morning and go to school I can relate to so
many people that have lived here there entire lives and others that don't because these
lands are very open and welcoming to anyone. Most of the people are friendly and
respectful which shows that people were raised right and honorable. This place is exactly
what the Catskill Heritage Alliance states, "... preserving the harmony between people
and wilderness in the central Catskills."
This is why I am proud to say that I grew up and came from the Catskills when I
venture out on my own. Out there in the real world I will be able to pass on the same
great qualities I picked up and learned by others that live in this gorgeous, peaceful, and
secluded region of New York and why I consider my heritage to be one of the best
aspects that has influenced my life for the better.

Children and the Catskills
Meaghan Harper
The Catskills

.............These days, not too many seem to remember my family name. I am a Harper, yet I live
amongst Twiggs. My heritage in these mountains is a renewal of memories, although they are not my own.
.............I am a part of the legacy of Billy Twigg and the White Water Depot, and a faraway
member of the Floridian Harpers.
.............I have lived in the same house since the age of four, and the gardens surrounding it have grown as much as I have.
.............The white picket fence has long since rotted down to the nails, and by moonlight my
mother hacked it all down two years ago. Spring had just started.
.............My Catskill heritage is not one of joyous measures. I have lost many while I have lived here, and gained few. Yet woe is not me, as I have inherited much from the opposing sides of my family.
.............The acquisition of a love of music, of art, of peace, and of the understanding that life is as it is, the bad will come hand-in-hand with the good. You never know who will step through the door first.
.............I am the reminder of a double dose of alcoholic tendencies, of disconcerting mental
disorders, and the attempt to be selfless.
.............I have received the gift of nature, not pavement, while I have lived here. I have learned to find innocent fun wandering the forests, and the sun is never blocked by a building.
.............The changes this area has experienced in the last thirteen years are, in my mind, drastic.
.............I live in a small neighborhood, a small community with children that I've grown up with.
.............I have watched the effects of boredom in these mountains. The drugs, the partying, and the sex, all of it, has been the recurring downfall of my family.
.............I wonder, how could anyone, knowing the expense of it all, welcome such things?
Why would I?

The Beauty of the Catskills
By: Hannah Connelly

My Catskill heritage stared with my grandma (NaNa) coming up in the late
60's early 70's and she lived in the house that my mother, stepfather, and I
live in now. What the Catskills mean to me...
Quiet, peace, dead standing trees, open woods, bears, bees, the reservoir, the
big blue water. Lots of rain, precipitation, small-minded people, big dreams.
Beautiful nights sky, twinkling stars, narcotic chipmunks, hawks, and falcons
swarm around die cold ground. Fresh air, trees to climb, old trails to explore,
muddy boots, golden fields of grain. Green and blue colors, east, west, the
suns rise. Stuck, glide, let go your mind. Open space, old rusting cars resting
on soggy ground.
Same people, same faces, cows, pigs, turkeys, deer, big brown eyes. Feathers,
bark, run away moon. Window, cold stair, not there. Bobcats, mountain
lions, swimming fish, flooded towns, underground. Fessent, grouse, just
hanggin' out, ducks, crows, feel the wind blow.
Weather the changing seasons. Rearranging musical notes. Drums, base, free
spirit. Drugs, addiction, the darker side of town. Ignorant hicks, blind
operations, dentists, doctors, pay for clock hours. White people, no colored
skin, old pink polka dotted memories. Broken glass bottles covered by time
and earth. Soft soil, underground stream, inside scream, dance and prance,
play your chance. Drunken sleep, red necks squeak, the things you replace,
and you cannot keep. Burned down brick buildings, solemn stone fire place
stands out among the woods. Birds sing, chipmunks swing seeds in their little
mouths. Flying down the mountain on the back of a snowboard, hit my
backbone on ice, slide more than just twice. Bushy lilacs sent the sweet air, /
pollen blowing everywhere. Spring is coming soon enough. All of a sudden/
the mountains open up, and glow and sparkle low. Sunset explodes in hot,
pink, makes me think. Writing with ink, just give me a wink, innocent blue
jay, come here, my way. Leave today, don't complain, please refrain from
battering my heart Mother's milk, poison silk drips from heaven above. C)rily
love, haylo widow, black clay rises from the ashes of living things past Dusk
settles in my skin, rest awhile, fairy child. Let me believe in the impossible, let
me see the unknown. Seasons changing, spinning raging. North, south, don't
you dare doubt, me. Maybe we can change, maybe we can fix our ways.

2007 prizewinning "Our Catskill Heritage" essays Michelle Wojciechowski - Roxbury School

Many folks see the country side as a lush land of trees and a small town get-away from
the bustling city lifestyle, but under the blankets of lush green trees mirrors the hard lives of
many struggling denizens striving to get by with a small dollar. Inside the picture perfect oil
painted barn lives a city business of itself with a slightly different kind of business man which for
a portion of my life I have observed; the farmer, working hours in the fields tending to his
livestock and crops just to pay the bills, never forgetting his family and friends with his deep
heart roots longer than the Catskill oaks themselves.
I was thirteen when I was handed an opportunity greater than any, an opportunity that taught me
many virtues of life including patience, friendship, responsibility, machinery and the value of a
dollar. I arrived on the farm in the warm summer months where my brother also held a job. I
admired the hard work of the intricate machinery and the way the other workers helped each
other out as family. I watched the ways the milking machines worked to the advantage of the
fanner, the way the green and yellow of the tractor glowed proud as gold as it swept through the
golden hay like a horse with its master. Of most I enjoyed the companionship of the cows
themselves and the small beagle that also had its place. My favorite time of the year was when I
went up the mountain on the small tractor to cheek the spring, it was like you were rising above
the troubles looking out on the world. I could see the old grain mill, the train as it strolled by
slowly on the tracks and the tourists as they give you a friendly wave. Summer also brought hard
work which I learned was a large part of the farm life. Haying started at seven in the morning and ended at three then milking chores until five. We would drive through town on me tractor up the hill and we would gather on the large hay load for a lunch break as we watched the sun on the hills and talked aimlessly about nothing.
Summer came and went faster than the waters of the rivers, soon leaves began to fall and paint
the colors of orange red and yellow over the green canvas. Hay season Was done, calves began to birth and new life came with the death of the summer sun. The farm had a cold chill that set with the cast of the barns shadow, you could watch from the barns peak as the neighboring farmers came to help out their fellow farmer. It was that day that I took down the hand painted "sweet corn" sign that stood before the small farm stand before the barns drive as the locals drove by with a friendly wave During the time of winter, life slowed down and the people of the town went into hibernation but not the farm work. I still milked in the winter months and enjoyed it very much as I continuedlearning and prospering. Before I knew it, winter was gone and spring came just as fast.
On December 7th 2006, the Bouton farm sold out, an era lost. That rainy day was a sad day for
everyone that came to see the. For four years at that job I learned more than what I could have
ever learned at any other job; first to be patient because things in life will go wrong like things on the farm did, to love and to be able to love all even if they may be hard to work with,
responsibility to show up for work that must be done, the value of a dollar because if you work
hard enough, money is a gift. I also learned girls are just as capable as men but out of everything the one thing I have learned is that the mountains are filled with people who hold a heart bigger than their body who are always willing to give people a chance and their time to teach. My boss had owned a farm for 52 years and had given me a privilege of four years on it and even though his death in January 2007 hurt the hearts of many, we all remember how he touched us as well.
***** Philip Rezac Jr. - Andes School The One
I speak for all those who choose not to
I am the voice of reason and compassion
I am the mountain, (he water, and the bear
I am kind.
You are the voice of despair
Your words and thoughts are the cause
You are the machine that decimates all of me
You are unforgiving.
Together, we are influence.
We builct incredible hopes and imaginations
We show them a side that they've never seen
W& are cruel in our most basic sense
We are balance,
Together, we are the one.
*****

 

Melinda White - Margaretville Central School

Our Catskill Heritage

The Catskill Mountains surround one of the most beautiful places in New York
As a child, I grew up in Sullivan County, in an area that was still vaguely considered part
of the Catskills region but had none of the grandeur of blue misted mountains and deep
valleys. Upon moving to the Margaretville area several years ago, I was instantly struck
by the beauty of the landscapes that provided a backdrop for the town. I feel that,
because I have not always grown up around such natural wonders, I am better positioned
to fully notice and appreciate our majestic surroundings.

Many teenagers and even adults who have lived here for their entire lives never
really take the time to appreciate the Catskills. A large portion of students have never
even hiked one of the mountains, despite their proximity over an entire life-span. An
important part of recognizing our Catskill Heritage is to explore what Mother Nature has
spread out for us by climbing up Giant Ledge and spending half an hour gazing at the
picturesaue views, or trying to identify the numerous bird species that flit around your
head.
To me, a 'Catskill Heritage' implies that we are all entitled to share the Catskills,
yet we bear some responsibility for it as well. The massive amount of public lands,
hiking trails, fishing and hunting opportunities, and charming wilderness in general is a
gift from Nature to everyone. Although we may begrudge the seasonal tourists who
arrive to take advantage of our surroundings, they too are entitled to enjoy the natural wonders of the Catskills. These mountains are part of our heritage; at birth, we were
brought into an area with boundless outdoor activities and beautiful sights awaiting us.
However, we must be sure to take care of the Catskill as well, or we will have no
natural scenery to make up our heritage. This message is especially relevant for residents
as Earth Day approaches. Perhaps we could all use some reminding that if we don't take
care of our environment around us, it will disappear. We as a people need to keep an eye
on developments, energy sources, pollution, and littering in the area. Just as the Catskills
are part of a common heritage, so too are they a commonresponsibility.
I consider myself privileged to have spent a few years of my life in the Catskill
Mountain area. The immense scope of recreational activities and elegant beauty that
permeates every aspect of life in Margaretville has led to many irreplaceable memories. I
will always have a fond spot in my heart for the Catsldlls, and in future years I hope to
return and be reminded of this incredible landscape that is a part of our common heritage.
***** Claire Branman - Onteora School I Am A Mountaineer Dead Deer I'm in my room
Sitting on my bed
Thinking
Thinking
Thinking
And then I get up
And walk out my front door
Stick my headphones into my ears
And listen to the music
As I walk up my road
And swerve up the nearby hill
My speed picks up as I near
A miniature waterfall
I look down at the gushing water and sigh
Then I march onwards and upwards
A half hour passes by
And I veer around a comer where a friend of mine used to live
And I think maybe I should stop here
But instead I say to myself
Wait until this song ends
So I keep walking
And already I'm partway down a steep incline
So I instead when the song ends I keep walking
Then I reach a tree stump I've driven by thousands of times
And I decide why not keep going till I reach the end of the road
Then I stop thinking
And I just walk
I sing to the music
I breathe in the spring air
I look at the gravel and the grass at the side of road
I pass the hunters club
And I think about shaking my fist
But instead I just hope that the deer stay far away
And remain at the DEP station where no hunters can shoot to kill
Still onward I walk
Until finally I realize it's been two hours
And if I don't turn around I'll never make it home before dark
So sweaty and tired I spin to face the other way
And trek home
With my thoughts less clustered
And my body ready for sleep


Thanks to all the participating students and teachers

Prizewinning "Our Catskill Heritage" Essays from 2006 Margaretville HS
Eun Lee
March 30, 2006
"Mv Catskill Heritage"
The worn-in trails rest solitary in the rolling hills of Catskill
I sit, gazing at the rough yet poised nature of my surrounding.
The infinite closed clusters of trees stand tall and strong,
having endured many years of trials and life.
I pray to have the same luck as they did in standing tall and strong
against the challenges I will face in years to come.
The silence is broken by the blowing breeze and the twittering birds
soaring through the unguarded sky.
Blazing reds streak through the open air as the sun slowly sets down.
The sight is a wonder to behold just like my home in the Catskill.
My background, my life, my memories, stays here in the heart of Catskill.
My life was intertwined with nature though I did not care to notice.
But as I grow older and wiser, I realize that nature is precious.
Harmony is necessary for balance in life.
Fulfill humankind's destiny by uniting man and nature.
I am seventeen going on eighteen.
A new path lies in front of me, a new branch of my journey waiting to be embarked upon.
I started my journey in a worn path in the Catskill.
I find a fresh path, rugged and arduous.
That's the path I choose.
I look back at the trip I made, the path I took.
Regrets, happiness, sadness, everything was all for the better.
I look forward now, the new path waiting for footsteps to tread upon.
I step forward, fresh mud lie, slick with wetness.
I slide, I hold onto a branch. It holds me up.
Catskill is there to support me.
That’s all I need to know.
 

Roxbury Central School
Kelli Huggins
Roxbury Central School
My Catskill Heritage
Whenever anyone asks me where Roxbury is, my usual response is to say, "Drive to the middle-of-nowhere and take a left". Then after a few laughs, I actually describe the area in more exact terms. Despite my poor attempts at humor, I truly have a deep respect and appreciation for the Catskills.
I have lived in the Catskills for my entire life. Growing up in a rural area has definitely shaped my perspectives and molded me into the person that I am today. One of the most rewarding aspects of life in the Catskills is the kinship that is fostered in small communities. I have always appreciated being able to walk down the street and see people that I know and can talk to. It is very comforting to know that there are always people in the community that are genuinely concerned with your well-being and happiness. Living in a small town is like having your own personal support group, therapist, and second family all rolled into one convenient package.
Living in a town nestled in the midst of the Catskill Mountains has also given me a great appreciation for the beauty of nature. Spring in the Catskills is characterized by flowers and plants emerging from their dormant winter hibernation. The summer brings about warm days full of long hours of sunlight. In autumn, the majestic maple trees become chameleons as their leaves change from green to gold and red. Winter generally means that the land becomes blanketed by beautiful snowfalls. No matter the season, the splendor of nature is always evident in the Catskills.
The Catskills have even influenced my career aspirations. Throughout my schooling, I have repeatedly heard the stories of John Burroughs, Jay Gould, Zadock Pratt, and the many other historical figures that have come from this area. I was captivated by these figures and their contributions to the country. It always inspired me to know that they lived in the same little community as I and that they were able to achieve so many wonderful accomplishments. Unfortunately, the vast history that this region has to offer often goes unnoticed and is underappreciated. I find it upsetting to discover that some people have never heard the great life stories of our local heroes. This has inspired me to major in History at college. I hope to eventually be able to educate others about the rich heritage of the Catskills.
My Catskill heritage has profoundly affected every aspect of my life. I believe that opportunities that are provided and the overwhelming beauty of the area make the Catskills one of the best places in the world to grow up. In that case, the next time someone asks me about my hometown I will say, "The middle-of-nowhere is somewhere after all.

AP Language Seminar Paper 16
Rosie Winn 2/23/06
"My Catskill Heritage"
Old Hurley, New York. The second capital of New York State. Well, unofficially the
second capital of New York State. It was technically the capital for a few weeks, at least, when
the first capital, Kingston, was burned down during the War of 1812, an event that is
enthusiastically reenacted every summer, sometime after the Fourth of July fireworks and before
the traveling carnival comes to town. See that stone house over there? No, that stone house,
right there. George Washington slept there. Probably. Maybe. It doesn't matter that if George
Washington were to have slept in all the places people claim he did, there would have been no
time left for him to win the Revolutionary War. Our Washington House must be authentic.
Old Hurley, New York. Soar to it at eighty miles an hour through the sweet corn fields,
straight down Route 209, but remember to slow down for the state trooper barracks. Take a left
at the sign that says "Welcome to Old Hurley, Founded 1661", and drive onto Hurley's Main
Street. Another day, you'll go straight over the bridge over the Esopus Creek and see the small
people fishing below before reentering the ever-present com fields, or you'll take a left onto Old
Route 209 and pass the Country Store, where you can buy model airplanes and candy, art supplies
and hunting gear, and the Hurley Mountain Inn, deer heads tacked to the wall and men in the bar
even at noon. That's for a different day.
Today, turn right and drive past the Stewart's gas station, where in the summer you can
bike to for ice cream cones. Pass the Old Dutch Church with their preschool for all the kids in
Hurley and basement where Girl Scout meetings are held. See the old stone houses (dating back
to 1680!) on both sides of the road. Watch the library with its friendly librarian and dusty stacks
of books recede into the distance. There goes the Key Bank, the historical society, the cemetery
where Revolutionary War veterans are buried. When you were little, you might have thought the
town held everything necessary for life and happiness.
Turn right once again and continue to Myer Elementary School. The basketball courts
today are deserted; the jungle gyms are empty. Soon there will be new kids crowding the halls
and the classrooms; playing kickball in the gym; chasing each other at recess. They'll attend school "dances" in the cafeteria (4th and 5th graders only) and think long division is incredibly hard. They'll grow up here, in this seemingly idealized world, until divorce and loss and separation touch their lives.
Travel down to the dead end of the road. Leave the car and cut through someone's
backyard to Orchard Street. Walk past the houses of the neighbors, the Tschinkels' and the
Scotts', old Mr. and Mrs. Millers' and Jean's. They're all gone now- moved away or died.
Notice the white farmhouse right before the road loops back onto itself. In the side yard, a little
girl plays. Maybe she's climbing the willow tree in the backyard, where she'll remain perched
for hours reading a book. Or she's involved in an intense game of Manhunt through the woods.
It could be she's riding her bike up one hill, down another all along the street. Perhaps she's
"camping out" in the backyard, keeping the tent pitched for weeks with her best friends.
It's only a matter of time before the girl leaves Hurley. The library will lose its intrigue,
walking down Main Street for an adventure will become common and boring, she'll discover that this is a "just another middle-of-nowhere" town, filled with self admiration of its own perceived
importance. But for now, the girl will stand in awe of the second state capital status and the legend of the
night George Washington stopped here.

Andes
Josh Weaver
My Catskill Heritage
06/22/06
I used to think that my Catskill Heritage was unimportant. I thought my boring loser
laden town was the armpit of the earth. When I look back on my attitude and outlook on life in
the Catskills I can think of nothing but negativity. What I did not realize about my Catskill
Heritage, however, is that I am truly the loser. If there is one thing I have learned about growing
up in a small town it is that any given area you grow up in can be either a negative experience or
a positive one. I have found that life actually is what you make it, as my mother would say.
This area has given me a better perspective of life. I no longer look at my hometown as
"the armpit of the earth", in fact; I've come to appreciate the lack of activity. As a kid city life
seems to be most appealing, but when you look at the whole scheme of things this place is like
heaven on earth. Those very same city dwellers put their fortunes into weekend homes in the
Catskills. Some city folk retire to the Catskills to escape the over-populated and polluted city.
To quote my mother once more; "the grass isn't always greener on the other side." I
guess you do not truly appreciate the simplicity, yet, utter genius, of that idea until you grow up
and see the world around you. My opinion on the Catskills to this day is that I have learned and
grown from this place and its people. Sure, my life is dull at times, I'm an hour from the nearest
mall, and I do not live next to a Starbucks, but it is that same lack of convenience that has made me
resourceful. In summation, The Catskills have given me character. The Catskills have made me
appreciate that which I have taken for granted since birth. If I were given the chance to start a new life in the
location of my choice I would most definitely choose to live here all over again.

   

 

 



Archives

DEP Intends To Withhold Permits

New York Times article (April 24 2004)

Selected DEIS Comments and Proposed Issues for Adjudication

 

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center's Unit Management Plan (UMP) - The ski center is in the process of producing a new UMP. UMPs are plans that identify opportunities for recreational use and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate public use. In the Catskill Park, UMPs are developed in compliance with Catskill Park State Land Master Plan guidelines.

Local Demographics - On May 23, 2002, the US Census Bureau released a detailed demographic profile of New York State based on 2000 census data. This profile series presents information on general demographic characteristics (sex, age and race) as well as school enrollment, educational attainment, marital status, income, poverty, employment status, occupation and housing. We provide links to profiles of our local communities.

Issues and Opportunities for a Rural Economy - a look at the economic issues facing areas like the central Catskills

Proposed Resort Development - A 1,900-acre resort development proposal for the Big Indian - Pine Hill area was unveiled in 1999. We provide you with information regarding the project.

Casino Gambling in the Catskills - In December, 2004, Governor Pataki proposed five Indian-run casinos for Sullivan and Ulster counties instead of the three casinos the legislature had earlier approved. The move galvanized public opposition. The Sullivan County legislature, however, voted to approve the measure, which would also require Federal approval.

 

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