The Catskill Center, a non-profit organization formerly known as the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, has been an advocate for this area since its inception in 1969, instigated by Sherret Chase, Armand Erpf and Kingdon Gould Jr, to tackle preservation issues and “foster harmonious economic development” in the region.
In terms of conservation, this region has an advantage over neighbouring areas because it supplies New York City with its drinking water, which travels unfiltered to the city in huge underground tunnels. Should anything sully the NYC drinking water supply, a billion-dollar filtration system would have to be built, something that New York State is keen to avoid, so the waterways are protected by regulation. This regulation hampers development, a significant disadvantage to the local economy, so the proceeds from year-round tourism – 2.5 million tourists annually – are our biggest benefactor. The people of the Catskills sacrifice the growth of their economy so that New York City can drink pristine water.
Next week Tuesday February 10th is Catskill Park Awareness Day, on which members, volunteers and employees of the Catskill Center and other members of the Catskill Park Coalition will visit Albany to campaign for more municipal funding for the region. The coalition includes organizations such as the Catskills Center, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Heritage Alliance, Catskill Mountain Club, Catskill Mountain Foundation and many others. The coalition is seeking more funds to maintain the park in all its glory; fund extra park rangers, signage, camping, fire towers, trails, information stands and otherwise keep the Catskills the tourist destination that Travel & Leisure voted Number 2 on its list of places to visit for 2015.
Individuals are invited to attend the event with the coalition which meets at 9.30am in Meeting Room D or NYS Museum, NYS Capitol / Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12224. You can register here.
If you can’t attend, you can also look up your Assemblyperson or Senator and write them a handwritten letter or give them a call to express your support for Catskill Park, which costs nothing but a few minutes of your time.
Please consider a charitable donation to the Catskill Center. The world would be a far different place without dedicated campaigners who offer their time, effort and expertise to rally for the preservation of our environment.