Category Archives: Press Release/Announcement

Department of Environmental Protection Announces 2015 Reservoir Cleanup Day

DEP will partner with watershed community groups to remove litter and recyclables from public recreation areas at nine reservoirs in the Catskills and Hudson Valley

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it will team up with school groups, business leaders, local nonprofits and citizens across the watershed to remove litter and recyclables from public recreation areas at nine reservoirs in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. More than 150 volunteers are expected to participate in Reservoir Cleanup Day on Oct. 4 to remove debris from areas that are generally used for fishing and boating access. The effort is co-sponsored by the Catskill Watershed Corporation, which will provide gloves and bags for the volunteers.

This year’s cleanup follows a successful effort in 2014, which removed an estimated 2,500 pounds of recyclables and debris from dozens of miles of shorelines at Cannonsville, Kensico, Lake Gleneida, Neversink, Pepacton and Rondout reservoirs. Volunteers last year collected 114 bags of debris that had blown onto reservoir property from nearby roads, or had washed ashore from recent storms. Some had also been left behind at public access areas for fishing and boating.

DEP’s Reservoir Cleanup Day is among dozens of similar events happening across the state as part of the American Littoral Society’s annual New York State Beach Cleanup, which organizes volunteers to remove debris from beaches, lakes and other popular bodies of water. DEP is among the government agencies, businesses and foundations that sponsor the statewide effort. In 2014, the New York State Beach Cleanup included more than 6,800 volunteers who removed some 46 tons of debris from 245 miles of shorelines across the state.

“I would like to thank the outdoor enthusiasts, school groups, local business owners and other volunteers who are pledging their time for Reservoir Cleanup Day,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “The pristine nature of our reservoirs and forests attracts thousands of people, including local residents and visitors, to enjoy fishing and boating each year. We’ve been able to keep these natural resources free of debris thanks to this annual event and the year-round work of our dedicated staff at DEP.”

“In keeping with our tradition of providing supplies and tokens of appreciation to groups and individuals who keep our streams litter-free, the CWC is very happy to participate in the Reservoir Cleanup,” said Alan Rosa, Executive Director of the Catskill Watershed Corporation. “We all have a stake in clean water, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure it stays that way.”

“We are pleased to have the New York City Department of Environmental Protection participate in the New York Beach Cleanup,” said Don Riepe, Director of the American Littoral Society’s Northeast Chapter. “This year we are celebrating 30 years of organizing this annual event, which is the largest volunteer event affecting the shorelines and waterways of New York State. By cleaning the city’s reservoirs and the protected lands that surround them, DEP is providing a great example of environmental stewardship.”

Cleanups this year will happen at Ashokan, Cannonsville, Kensico, Lake Gleneida, Muscoot, New Croton, Neversink, Pepacton and Rondout reservoirs. Each cleanup at these locations will begin at 1 p.m. and is expected to finish no later than 3 p.m. Volunteers will meet at central locations designated for each reservoir, which are listed below.

To help reach potential volunteers DEP has worked with local nonprofits, schools and community groups to establish captains for the cleanup effort at each reservoir. The captains will help recruit volunteers from their groups and others in the communities that surround the reservoirs. Those who wish to volunteer can also reach out to DEP by calling (800) 575-LAND or by emailingrecreation@dep.nyc.gov.

The captains and central meeting places for each reservoir are:

Ashokan Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by the Rondout Valley High School Community Service Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Ashokan Center, and Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail. Volunteers will meet at the Olivebridge Dam parking area on Route 28A.

Cannonsville Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by Tina James, who leads the Future Farmers of America program at the Walton Central School District. Volunteers will meet at Cannonsville Bridge on Route 10, just north of Sands Creek Road.

Kensico Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by members of Trout Unlimited NYC and the organizers of WestchesterFishing.com. Volunteers will meet at the Kensico Laboratory located at 19 Westlake Drive in Valhalla.

Lake Gleneida: The cleanup effort will be led by the Carmel Civic Association. Volunteers will meet on Route 6 near the Sibyl Luddington Statue.

Muscoot Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by the Watershed Agricultural Council and the Lewisboro Land Trust. Volunteers will meet at the end of Old Bedford Road, near Goldens Bridge.

New Croton Reservoir: Volunteers will meet at Boat Area 20 on Route 100, located about one-quarter mile from Muscoot Farms.

Neversink Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by Jim Rafferty of Bradley Boat Rentals. Volunteers will meet at the information kiosk on Route 55.

Pepacton Reservoir: The cleanup will be led by Ann Roberti of the Catskill Mountain Club and Diane Galusha of the Catskill Watershed Corporation. Volunteers will meet at the Shavertown Bridge Boat Launch.

Rondout Reservoir: The cleanup will be led by Brenda Sloan from the Tri-Valley Central School. Volunteers will meet at the universal access parking lot located on Route 55A.

At each site, DEP and volunteers will keep a tally of the type and quantity of debris that is collected throughout the day. Data will be reported back to the American Littoral Society at the end of the event.

In recent years, DEP has continued to expand recreational access and programs on many of its water supply lands and reservoir. More than 126,000 acres of city-owned land and water are currently open for recreation, including fishing, hiking and boating. Of that, more than 63,000 of those acres, known as public access areas, can be used by outdoor enthusiasts without a DEP access permit. More information about recreation in the watersheds can be found by clicking the “Watershed Recreation” link on the DEP homepage.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visitnyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

AHP 2: The Revenge on Thursday August 13, 2015

New date! There are so many volunteer opportunities and so much trail work to be done, I guess a collision every now and then is inevitable! We crossed wires with another trail maintenance effort, but hey — no big deal – we’re flexible! The new and improved date for AHP2: The Revenge is August 13, 2015 — and we have some very special news about this trip! Read on for all the details!

Sequels are a time honored tradition, and who are we to argue with tradition? We had such a great day on AHP at the Trail Marking Clinic, the Catskill Conservation Corps invites volunteers to come back to this peak for another trail maintenance day on Thursday, August 13, at 9:30 a.m. to finish what we started. Side clipping, clearing waterbars, removal of brush and blowdowns, and installation of new trail markers are our tasks and we look forward to another fun-filled day on a gorgeous peak! And — this just in — volunteers will assist DEC staff in clearing a vista — so come on out and enjoy the view!

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Volunteers should be sure to wear hiking boots and clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Dress appropriately for the weather and activities; pack plenty of water and a bagged lunch; and bring work gloves if you have them. CCC staff will provide the tools, tips and tricks, enthusiasm, good cheer, and some yummy treats!

And if your heart is set on being in the woods on August 6, no worries: click here for volunteer opportunities led by the Catskill Mountain Club on that date!

Register using the form below, or email Heather at hrolland@nynjtc.org. Pre-registration is required.

Litter Pickup along Peekamoose/Sundown Road on Sunday, July 5, 2015

Some of the litter cleaned up from the Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead
Some of the litter cleaned up from the Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead at a prior litter pickup event!

The Catskill Conservation Corps will be leading volunteers in a litter pickup and trail cleanup along the Peekamoose/Sundown Road near the Blue Hole, Peekamoose Trailhead and Sundown Primitive Camping area.  The work trip will be from 1 to 3pm and volunteers will be removing litter from along the roadside, trails, campsites and vicinity.

Please make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail work activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; and bring work gloves.

The public is welcome to join the crew and you do not need to be a member of the Trail Conference to take part.

No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.

Please register below for this event, call 518-628-4243 or email catskills@nynjtc.org.

Read the full press release for this event

Notes From The Field: Welcome, Summer!

Summer solstice, Father’s Day, and some super Catskill Conservation Corps activities made for a busy and fun weekend in the Catskills!

On Saturday, June 20, a star-studded cast of characters taught and learned side by side on the scenic trails of the Southern Escarpment. NYS DEC Ranger Rob Dawson and the Trail Conference’s Catskill Program Director Doug Senterman, along with Heather Rolland of the Catskill Conservation Corps (CCC) taught the Introduction to Trail Maintenance course on the trails. Hands on learning at its finest, volunteers assessed blowdowns and used a variety of tools to remove them, cleared water bars and learned about their construction, and clipped encroaching branches. In total we cleared about 3 miles of popular trails, and enjoyed some killer views as well. We were joined by two hardworking Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns, Kalvin Murphy and Louis DiLorenzo, who helped out and learned alongside our volunteers.

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June 21 became an impromptu “undergraduate litter picking day” as the SCA interns returned with a volunteer from SUNY Geneseo! Heather led these intrepid litterpickers through the mess just off the trail at Overlook Mountain, removing 10 bags of nasty stuff from the woods. The ugly eyesores have were removed amid shouts of “hey! Look at this! Dude! Look what I found!” and as always, lots of laughter. Afterwards ice cream and people watching in the village of Woodstock rounded out the day.

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The CCC wishes to thank DEC and Ranger Dawson for the advance planning regarding the Introduction to Trail Maintenance course. In order to learn in the field, we needed a number of different problem types and learning opportunities. Ranger Dawson made sure we had a great trail to work on – plenty of all manner of challenges with amazing views to enjoy. It was perfect!

Read the full follow-up press release for our workshop

Another big thank you to the SCA interns and their supervisor, NYS DEC forester Ian Dunn, for their role on Saturday – helping to fetch and carry, as well as pitching in and participating in the workshop. They also get kudos for working hard on a miserably muggy Father’s Day, picking up trash and swatting mosquitoes with good cheer.

Our next event is another litter pick up, this time near Kingston, NY, at Onteora Lake on July 5. Stay tuned for all the details on how you too can make friends, whistle while you work, and have a blast while making a difference. Volunteering in the Catskills is cool, even on the hottest of summer days!

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Become a Volunteer Catskills Summit Steward

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference in collaboration with the Catskill 3500 Club have announced the establishment of a seasonal Summit Steward Program in the Catskill Park.  The 2015 pilot program will focus on Slide Mountain, the Catskills highest summit and one of its most popular destinations.

Summit Stewards will help visitors to Slide Mountain’s summit (elev. 4,180 feet) make the most of this spectacular Catskill destination. Stewards will share information on good trail routes, hiking safety and etiquette, and how to support the Catskill Park and hiking trails in the region.

In addition to the paid seasonal stewards, the Trail Conference will be offering interested individuals the opportunity to become a volunteer summit steward who will support the seasonal staff.

Full Press Release on the Summit Steward Program from the NYSDEC.

If you are interested in volunteering as a summit steward, please complete the form below:

Devil’s Acre Lean-to Rehabilitation | Hunter Mountain | June 13 and 14

IMG_1491Volunteers from the Catskill Conservation Corps and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Catskills Trail Crew will be working to rehabilitate the Devil’s Acre Lean-to on Hunter Mountain on Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th, 2015.

The work on the lean-to will include the removal of the existing roof and the installation of a new roof.  The existing asphalt roof is in poor condition and will be replaced with a cedar shingle roof.

Other work for volunteers will include bringing materials to the site from the summit of Hunter Mountain where they are being stored and bringing out waste materials.

The crew will be working on the lean-to both Saturday and Sunday.  Volunteers can join the crew for both days or just a single day.

The public is welcome to join and you do not need to be a member of the Trail Conference  or have prior experience with the Catskill Conservation Corps to get involved.

No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.

Please be ready to hike to the lean-to work area; make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail building activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; bring work gloves; and bring a bag lunch.

For more information, please contact Heather Rolland the Catskill Conservation Corps Coordinator at 518-628-4243 or via email at catskills@nynjtc.org.

You can register for the work trip below:

Press Announcement

Free Introduction to Trail Maintenance Workshop on June 20

Volunteers taking part in an Introduction to Trail Maintenance workshop
Volunteers taking part in an Introduction to Trail Maintenance workshop

On Saturday, June 20, 2015 join the Catskill Conservation Corps and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference on trails around North and South Lakes as they teach you about the basics of trail maintenance in the Catskills.  You’ll learn what goes into keeping the hundreds of miles of Catskills trails open and discover how you can get involved in being a steward of the Catskills.

At this free workshop on the trail from 10am to 3pm, our instructor and Catskill Conservation Corps staff member Heather Rolland, will be teaching attendees the basics of trail safety, what tools are needed for the job, and you’ll be hiking the trail learning how maintainers clear back brush and weeds and remove fallen trees from the trail.  The local New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger will also be joining us to talk about the work of the Forest Rangers in the Catskills.

Through the field work, participants will learn about the assessment of trail conditions, clearing, trail marking, proper use of tools and how to report any trail problems they may come across on their segment of trail.

Be prepared to spend the day on the trail as part of the field training. Make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and trail work; bring a bag lunch; pack plenty of water and snacks; and bring work gloves.

Refreshments and snacks will be served.

This event is free and open to the public.  Please register below using the form or register on the Trail Conference website so we can maintain an accurate headcount for the day.

Press Announcement for Workshop