Saturday, November 19, 2011

Plattekill Rocks Winter In The Great Western Catskills

 Folks are hoping that this winter season’s snowfall is on par with last year’s amazing records. Many New York area skiers have learned that staying close to home and driving to the Catskills is far better than getting on a plane and heading west.  It’s time to reacquaint skiers with one of the East coasts’ best kept secrets – Plattekill Mountain in the Great Western Catskills.  As long as mother nature provides cold nights, Plattekill skiers will be satisfied with all the snow making that’ll be going on at the mountain. 
Getting to know a ski mountain and making it your favorite, requires a few visits. Do I like the mountain? The lodging options? Can I do other things besides skiing?    Here’s some insight into the family mountain that rocks.  Plattekill is situated in Roxbury, NY tops out at 3,500 feet in elevation making it the highest peek on the western edge of the Catskills capturing all that weather flow off the plains and lake effect storms.  You’ll find 1,100 vertical feet of downhill glory, serviced by three lifts, with the longest trail topping off at 2 miles.  The resort rounds out its offerings with ski school, lodge with three levels with fireplaces, cafeteria, bar, child care, and of course, tubing.  Here’s some new additions for the 2011-2012 season.
*  16 new snow guns pushing it to over 100 guns on the mountain

*  Additional water capacity for longer sustained snowmaking

*  All new "Snowkidding" Childrens Learning Center

*  Widening of the popular Powder Puff Beginner Trail

*  New PLATTY 5-PACK with 5 discounted fully-transferable non-holiday tickets
    $250 adult, $200 jr/sr

*  Expanded base lodge deck

*  Expanded food service offerings with locally grown produce and meats

*  Improved parking facilities
There are two reasons people who love skiing, ski here. The first is that Plattekill is an incredibly family friendly mountain and affordable.  No crowds, relaxed atmosphere and the personal touch make everyone feel at home.  The other reason is that people who love skiing, love skiing on Plattekill’s trails.  They’re challenging for serious skiers, fun for boarders, and there’s plenty of them for all.
Incentive pricing is also available this coming year through Plattekill's Value Club Card - only $59!!  For this great price you get:  (1) FREE ANYTIME Lift Ticket, $10 OFF Weekends*, 50% OFF Fridays*, $5 OFF Holidays.  The Value Club Card can be purchased for adults, juniors, students or seniors and is valid for the individual purchaser only, non-transferable.  Discounts are applicable to full-day ticket price based on age of purchaser.  *Check website for holiday blackout dates.
A number of nearby lodging facilities and private home rentals have partnered with Plattekill Mountain to offer money-saving packages. The most popular offering is the Kids Ski Free option. When visitors stay with a participating lodging facility, children 17 and under will receive one free lift ticket for each paid adult ticket (limit two). For families with more than two kids or with no kids Plattekill has a great new buy one get one BOGO discount. Buy your lift tickets for Saturday and get Sunday’s lift ticket free.  Plus they have increased the Kids Ski Free age to 7 and under.
Signing up for e-blasts from the tourism office at and from Plattekill Mountain will keep you up to date on the great offerings and ski conditions in our area.  The ski area is open Friday-Sunday from 8:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Plattekill will also be open daily during the week between Christmas and New Years as well as in February for the Presidents’ Week holiday.  Saturday nights are especially exciting with snow tubing available from 5-9 p.m and every night during holiday weeks.
If your winter adventure tastes are more leisurely, Delaware County has many fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing options. The local favorite cross-country or snowshoe route is the 26-mile rail bed known as the Catskill Scenic Trail.  Use of the trail is free. This expanse of flat terrain is maintained during the winter by the snowmobile club members.  Snowshoes can be rented at Plattekill Mountain and cross country skis can be rented in Highmount.  For additional information on the rail trail visit

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is an easy day trip from New York City metro area, Albany, or Binghamton and a great weekend getaway or vacation destination for all. To learn more about outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages or any other activities in the Western Catskills, log on to:  Check out our Facebook page at Great Western Catskills.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Comes First to the Great Western Catskills

Labor Day weekend has tell-tale signs of fall on the mountains with isolated trees turning to their fall burgundy or deep orange colors. Cool evenings and recent rains are setting the stage for a spectacular fall foliage season. In New York State the leaves turn first up in the northern part of the Adirondack State Park, and here on the western slopes of the Catskill Park. Altitudes of 2-3000 feet and cool evenings bring on the Fall foliage season first. As the leaves turn throughout September, hikers, mountain bikers, fly-fishing fans and kayakers get their last outings during the warm days amongst the changing landscape. Farmers markets are jam packed with folks bringing home the harvest. Farm tours, workshops, and more delight locavores.

Fall pops into high gear by the last weekend of September, showing a gorgeous array of scarlet, burgundy and pumpkin mixing in to the mountainside greens. The weekend of September 24th and 25th kicks off the fall celebrations. Delhi’s Harvest Festival on Saturday showcases area crafters and music. Just down the road is a quilting workshop at the historical society. And all weekend long, Plattekill Mountain is hosting their first ever Antique Show. You’ll be able to bid on of the finest things from a bygone era by a variety of dealers. For extra fun you’ll be able to ride the chairlift and enjoy the magnificent Catskill Mountain fall foliage views. And you won’t go hungry - the full cafeteria will be open for faster appetites & a restaurant with a bar for the more refined. And there will be local musicians to entertain guests all weekend.

October is sure to please everyone looking to feast their eyes on the best fall colors – the first two weekends including Columbus weekend are resplendent in orange and gold. This coincides with the annual Lark in the Park – ten days of guided hikes and workshops in and around the Catskill Park, October 1st-10th. Easy hikes, difficult hikes, fire tower treks, kayaking and woodlands workshops will be occurring mid week and on the weekends, hosted by avid outdoors people sharing their skill and passion for the Catskill Mountains. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the Catskill Park is here. There is no main gate to enter through and the Park itself is a collection of public and private lands. Spearheaded by the Catskill Center and the Catskill Mountain Club, this year’s choices range from easy to moderately difficult hikes – many to fire towers in the Park, bike rides, kayak or canoe paddles, and forestry workshops. As more volunteers create great events they’ll appear on the event website: This is a great opportunity to learn more about mother natures playground.

Columbus weekend brings the second annual Taste of the Catskills to Delhi. A joint venture lead by Quarter Moon CafĂ© and hosted on the grounds of Maple Shade Farm – this Columbus weekend event is sure to please adults and kids alike. is the website to find out more. The area’s most talented musicians will provide entertainment all weekend. There will be lots of kid’s activities each day. Children will be able to meet the Dairy Princess and enjoy the 4-H fair. On both days children can visit the pick-a-pumpkin patch, navigate the corn maze, and pet farm animals. There will be live children’s music each day at noon.

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is an easy weekend get-away destination for travelers – just 3 hours from the New York City metro area. To learn about great outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages or camping in the western Catskills, log on to: For free brochures on kayaking, antiquing, public fishing access map and other literature, call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail: For a bounty of great events in the area visit

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hiking is a Zen Experience In The Great Western Catskills

New York State’s Great Western Catskills in Delaware County have long been a place for those who love to get away to the beauty and quiet of the mountains. With summer in high gear, it’s time for hiking, and camping in and around the mountains and rivers of the western Catskill Mountains.
Hiking in the Catskills really is one of the best kept secrets of the region.

Most travelers consider the Catskills home of the borscht belt resorts of decades gone by. Ignore this label if you are an outdoor adventurer. The ability to trek almost completely alone, through pristine forests, passing breathtaking vistas, traversing mountains creeks, amongst the wild forest animals and plants – finding your own special mountain peace, will make you a true believer in the zen to be found in the mountains.

Catskill Forest Preserve
In 1885 a law was passed by the NY State Congress which established the Catskill and Adirondack Forest Preserve. From the beginning this land was protected by the State constitution as ‘Forever Wild’ land, never to be subjected to development or extraction of natural resources. In 1904 the Catskill Park was designated, which established a boundary, or ‘blue line’, around the Forest Preserve, and private land as well. Over the years the Forest Preserve and the Catskill Park grew, with the Catskill Park now comprising approximately 700,000 acres, about half of which is public Forest Preserve.

Hiking opportunities abound in the Catskill Park. There are approximately 300 miles of marked, maintained hiking trails on public Forest Preserve land. Stewardship and development of these trails is shared by the New York State Forest Rangers and local chapters of hiking clubs such as the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference and the Catskill Mountain Club (

The favorite local park trail is the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest Area and it’s Dry Brook Ridge Trail. Located in the southwest corner of the Catskill Park, Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest contains more than 13,500 acres of "forever wild" Forest Preserve. With an extensive trail network to several ponds, this wild forest is ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, backpacking, canoeing and cross-country skiing. The Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest can be accessed from the Village of Margaretville along State Hwy 28, or from parking areas along Dry Brook Rd to Millbrook Road.

The terrain is a combination of high mountain ridges, steep sided valleys, numerous brooks and ponds, with elevations ranging from a low of 1,740 feet along Mill Brook to a high of 3,723 feet at the summit of Balsam Lake Mountain.

Catskill Scenic Trail
The Catskill Scenic Trail lies on top of the former rail bed of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad. The 26 mile Rails to Trails project offers a hard-packed surface that makes it perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. The Trail's very gentle grade is a unique feature, with only a four hundred foot change in elevation over the entire 26 miles. The young and the young-at-heart will find this an easy trek through some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
The trail can be accessed at several points between Bloomville on State Hwy 10 to South Kortright. Moving on to Stamford, the trail turns east, mirroring State Highway 23 to Grand Gorge and then south along State Highway 30 to Roxbury. Look for the small parking areas and blue and gold "CST" signs.

The Trail is owned and maintained by the Catskill Revitalization Corporation, a not-for-profit organization. For more information on the Catskill Scenic Trail visit For a FREE trail map call 866-775-4425.

Headwaters Trail System
Headwaters Trails are a mix of over 30 miles of public and private trails and focus on the Bald Mountain Recreational Area. Headwaters Trails is actually 30 miles of trail, with linkage to the Catskill Scenic Trail, which adds another 26-1/2 miles of trail. Most of Headwaters Trails is on privately-owned land that allows public access – so please be respectful of the land and the generosity of the owners. They are enjoyed mostly for hiking, mountain biking and snowmobiling. Horseback riding is also a popular use of the trails, as is snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Best access to Headwaters Trails is off Murphy Road along Route 23 east of the village of Stamford, or on the Catskill Scenic Trail off Crestline Drive going south on Route 10 out of the village. There is parking along the street and at the mouth of the farm road. The best three accesses to Headwaters Trails’ Bald Mt Rec area in general are, in order, 1) Archibald Field (Route 10 north out of the village across from NYSDEC) 2) The Belvedere parking lot (Prospect Street) in the village, and, 3) Blazer and Travis Ponds both have excellent and direct access to Headwaters Trails, as well as parking.

Emmons Pond Bog
The history of the pond and bog date back 11,000 years when the retreat of the last glacier left a depression which was soon filled with water. Sphagnum moss and other bog plants grew in the shallow water around the edge of the pond. Plant materials broke down slowly because of the acidity and low temperature of the water. As a result, the plant materials accumulated to form a floating doughnut-shaped mat around the pond. Beavers dammed the outlet stream in the late 1970s, so the bog mat is now ringed with water.

The striking and somber view of the pond and bog includes the Sphagnum moss and special plants that can survive the acidic environment (such as leatherleaf, buckbean, cottongrass, pitcher plant, and sheep laurel). Wildlife includes blackbirds and frogs.

North of the pond, the trail passes through mature woods where you will see old stone walls and a majestic oak tree. West of the pond, the trail passes a smaller pond--a good location for bird watching. The trail is easy and is marked with orange markers and is 1.4 mi long, circles the pond in a counter-clockwise direction.

The site is situation in the Town of Davenport about 4 miles southeast of Oneonta. From the Exit 15 ramp off I-88, turn left toward Rte. 28 South, then right on 28 South. In 0.7 mi, at the first traffic light, turn hard left onto Southside Drive. Continue 2.7 miles on Swart Hollow, then left on White Hill Road. The preserve entrance, which is well-marked, is on the left in 1 mile.

Both primitive and amenity camping opportunities abound in the Catskills. Primitive camping is allowed in the Wilderness and Wild Forest areas of the Catskill Forest Preserve, so long as you follow certain guidelines designed to protect sensitive summit forest communities and water quality of the streams. Wilderness camping rules include not camping within 150ft of a trail, stream, or pond, and not above 3500ft elevation except in winter.

Three-sided, roofed ‘lean-to’ shelters have been constructed on several Catskill backwoods trails. The NYSDEC maintains seven public campgrounds in the Forest Preserve; North/South Lake, Devils Tombstone, Kenneth Wilson, Woodland Valley, Mongaup Pond, and Little Pond. These campgrounds have tent and trailer sites, restroom facilities, and other amenities varying by location. For more information regarding Forest Preserve Camping opportunities, contact the DEC Region 4 at (607) 652-7364.
To obtain a free copy of maps for state lands, contact the NYSDEC Region 4 office at 607.652.7365. New York/New Jersey Trail Conference hiking maps of the Catskills can be ordered by visiting their website at Check out our new blog on hiking at

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is an easy day trip from New York City metro area, Albany, or Binghamton and a great weekend getaway or vacation destination for all. To learn more about outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages or any other activities in the western Catskills, log on to: Call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 for a FREE copy of our guide to Recreation and Cultural Attractions. Any time of year, come visit the Great Western Catskills of Delaware County and “Let the magic of our mountains move you.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Great Western Catskills Offer Weekends Packed With Fun. Hike! Fish! Pedal! Paddle!

Every one is raring to get outside now that spring is officially here. The trees are budding out into a thousand shades of green and dressing up the mountains with their finery. Mother Natures Playground is what we’re often called. But if your sidekick wants to chill out - we’re known for that too. Check out our website for more packages like 5 course tasting dinners, farmer for a day stays, raw food workshops, or plain old good discounts when you stay longer.

Waterways and Mountain Trails Lure Travelers

I Like To HIKE! What kinda hike do ya like? A steep incline up to an amazing view? A lush nature walk full of flora and fauna? A tranquil jaunt around a lake? A trek to a cleansing waterfall? The Roxbury’s package includes: maps and a planned itinerary for a fantasmagorical hike based on your enthusiasm for exertion; a cool Roxbury tote bag stuffed with a bottle of fine Bordeaux, some trail mix and power bars for extra energy; your choice of picnic fixings – deli sandwiches, cheese variety; complimentary two-day passes to the glimmering Shimmer Spa; and our extremely popular two-hour couples massage. This package offers a 10% discount off of their published room rates when you purchase the whole package! Package price starts at $553 for a two-night, high-season weekend studio room. Even less if you go for midweek! Additional items like a romantic tasting menu dinner for two at the scrumptious Peekamoose Restaurant can be added for an additional cost. Check availability online at or call 607-326-7200!

I Like To FISH! Margaretville Motel, located next to the East Branch of the Delaware River, one of upstate NY’s best trout fishing streams, is providing lodging and continental breakfast for Fishing Season for $49.50 single and $59.50 double per night. With highly successful fishing spots right across the road, sporting goods store in town where you can obtain a fishing license and bait, this will be a breeze to get out on the water and cast away! Margaretville Village shops and restaurants are just a short stroll away. You can take the Trailways Bus from anywhere in their service area and get off the bus at the front door of the Margaretville Motel - you won’t even need a car. Call to make a reservation 845-586-4464 or visit for more info and photos of rooms. Available Sunday - Thursday night stays Non Holidays until June 23, 2011.

I Like To BIKE! Here’s your chance to rouse your adventurous spirit and test your metal (what does that even mean?) during a two day adventure in the Catskills! Your wild weekend adventure will include two nights stay in one of The Roxbury’s award-winning rooms with amenities galore, passes to the Shimmer Spa where you can steam or soak freshly challenged muscles, receive a delicious, deep tissue massage treatment, and a round of libations at Public Lounge right next door. And then there’s the biking! Whether this is your first trip to the Mountain or the first trip in a long time, the folks at Plattekill are ready to help push you to new levels!! For those getting their first taste of the sport of mountain biking, the mountain offers over 60 miles of trails from which to choose. For the more advanced, Plattekill’s steep chutes and big drops are par for the course and have been known to give some of the world's best riders a run for their money. This package includes all the biking gear you’ll need, lift passes, a personal, one-on-one 2 hour guided tour on the trails (either downhill or cross country), and, of course, the bike! Cowabunga!! Package starts at $674 for a two-night high season weekend in a studio room. Check availability online at or call 607-326-7200!

I Like To PADDLE! There’s no better way to experience the natural beauty and serenity of the Susquehanna River combined with the valley views of the foothills of the Catskill Mountains than gliding along in your own canoe or kayak. Rent for a half day or be really adventurous and book a full day trip with a guide. Seeing bald eagles nesting along the river is a great experience. Fishing gear and bait can be added to enhance the experience. Harmony Hill Retreat is a nature preserve unto itself with 70 acres to hike and a meditative stone path labyrinth to walk. Known for their two tree house yurts – the Hill provides a true back to nature experience. If you need something larger, consider renting the Chalet. Visit their website for this package or choose for others that celebrate your living life large. Call 607-278-6609 to discuss other services such as Reiki work. Yurt and Kayak packages start at $340 for a two night weekend stay for two with rentals.

Learn more about the Western Catskills
Just three hours from Manhattan, an hour south of Cooperstown, the western Catskills makes for a great weekend getaway. For more information on great things to do when you’re here, visit For information on local events, visit For a free fishing map or art gallery and antique dealer directory, call 866-775-4425.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Registration Now Open for the June 5th Inaugural Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon

Today is the opening of registration for the inaugural Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon, a brand-new event in and around the Cannonsville Reservoir in the towns of Deposit, Tompkins and Hancock. The race features a 10K (6.2 mile) run, followed by a 3.9-mile paddle, and finishes with a 12-mile bike ride. The paddle, bike and run courses will feature some of the most breathtaking scenery in Delaware County, set along the pristine waters of the Cannonsville Reservoir and rimmed with the forested beauty of the Catskill Mountains. The race takes place in the final year of a three-year pilot program to expand recreational boating opportunities at the Cannonsville Reservoir, which means that permitted kayaks, canoes, rowboats and small sailboats are allowed on the reservoir. Previously, only fishing boats with proper permits were allowed. DEP is currently evaluating whether to extend the pilot.

The Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon, also being called the CAT Race, is a team effort led by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, which is being assisted by Delaware County Economic Development, the town and village of Hancock, local and state highway departments, the Delaware County Sheriff’s office and New York State troopers, the Hancock Chamber of Commerce, Hancock Partners, the Deposit Chamber of Commerce, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Funding for the inaugural race is being provided by the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

“Delaware County has been working closely with the DEP on the three-year pilot boating program on the Cannonsville,” stated Jim Eisel, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Delaware County. “This race is a great way to cap off the third year and transition to a permanent program with a great annual event to celebrate the reservoir, outdoor recreation and hopefully a boost for our local businesses in Delaware County.”

“The Cannonsville Reservoir Pilot Boating Program is real-time demonstration of a collaborative project that has the potential to conclusively prove that economic development and water quality protection can coexist,” said Michael Triolo, Economic Development Director for the Catskill Watershed Corporation. “CWC has funded the pilot program to encourage boaters to use and enjoy the fabulous landscape and pristine water that are the reservoirs. We are particularly excited the CAT will bring in participants and spectators to what will hopefully become an annual event on not only the Cannonsville but also other DEP reservoirs.”

“It’s no surprise that Cannonsville Reservoir—with the astonishing beauty of its pristine waters nestled in the scenic perfection of the Catskills—is an ideal site for a triathlon,” said DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway. “Running, paddling and biking in this setting adds to the excitement of the race for the athletes and spectators alike. We are thrilled to be part of the Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon, an event that encourages tourism and benefits the local economy, while at the same time protecting the water supply for nine million people—nearly half of New York State.”

Glenn Nealis, Director of Economic Development for Delaware County, sees greater awareness for the Catskills as a destination for active travelers. “Outdoor recreation-based tourism is vitally important for the economic sustainability of Delaware County. The availability of boating opportunities on our rivers and reservoirs in conjunction with the development of events such as the Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon will help establish the Catskills as no lesser an attraction than the Adirondacks for outdoor enthusiasts.”

“Working with our local chambers and business leaders is an exciting opportunity to promote the outdoor recreational opportunities of Delaware County, which in return, helps to build a more sustainable economy,” stated Mary Beth Silano, Executive Director of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Gross, President of the Hancock Area Chamber of Commerce, is ready to welcome racers. “The Hancock Area Chamber of Commerce is excited and pleased to co-host the Inaugural Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon. We are looking forward to having the racers, their families and the spectators visit our community, and hope they find a home away from home here in our beautiful town.”

Race day will start with a pre-race meeting at 8:00 am in Deposit. Participants will be shuttled to the starting line, which is just east of the Roods Creek launch site. The race will start at 10:00 am with a shotgun start for the run leg. Runners will proceed east over the Cannonsville Bridge to the Patterson launch site where they will transition to their boat. They will paddle to a buoy set at the Apex Bridge, turn around and paddle back to Patterson. A short run up from the waters edge to the parking area will get racers to their bikes. They will head south on Route 268 and into the village of Hancock. The finish will be in front of the Hancock House Hotel. There will be an awards ceremony complete with a post-race dinner and live music.

Classes of racers will be individual and team/tandem, separated by boat length (regular and pro), and by gender (male, female, mixed) and age (in ten-year increments) with a minimum age of 18 as of race day. There will be awards in all classes that have a minimum of five participants. Registration cost is $70 for an individual and $150 for a team. Registration will be online only at the IMAthlete website at The CAT Race will be capped at 300 team and individual entries, thus ensuring an uncrowded and enjoyable race experience.

For more details, go to, which features race information, a link to online registration, ongoing race updates, volunteer and spectator information, Google maps of the race course, and nearby lodging, dining and activities.

DEP boating access rules require that the canoes and kayaks be steam cleaned prior to the race. To ensure all boats are properly cleaned, racers must make appointments at any of the five local boat cleaning businesses prior to race day and then deliver their boat to the Patterson launch site, where the boating leg begins and ends. Security at the boat launch will be provided from Friday through Sunday by local law enforcement and monitored by DEP Police. There are five area boat cleaning businesses surrounding the reservoir from Downsville to Deposit, to Walton and Sidney Center. All race participants (individuals and each team member) must acquire an Access Permit from DEP. Permits are free and easy to obtain online at The Access Permit number is required to initiate the registration process online.

Last year, DEP opened five additional square miles of Cannonsville Reservoir for recreational boating at the start of boating season. The recreational space was expanded westward from the Cannonsville Bridge to 500 feet from the Cannonsville Dam. The previous year DEP launched a three-year pilot program to expand recreational boating opportunities at Cannonsville Reservoir, which meant that kayaks, canoes, rowboats and small sailboats were allowed on the reservoir.

The Cannonsville Reservoir features nine boat launch sites that ring the shoreline, all outfitted with parking areas and port-a-johns. The waters, while flat, have currents and provide a great boating experience. Bald eagles nest along the eastern portion of the reservoir and can often be seen scouting the waters for fish. A free map with rules and regulations for boating on Cannonsville Reservoir is available by calling the Delaware County Chamber at 607-746-2281 or stopping by their office at 5 ½ Main Street in Delhi. The reservoir is open for recreational boating from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.

Placed into service in 1964, Cannonsville Reservoir is located at the western edge of Delaware County, southwest of the Village of Walton. The 16-mile-long reservoir holds 95.7 billion gallons at full capacity, has an average depth of 61 feet, and a surface area of 4,703 acres. Cannonsville is one of four reservoirs in the City’s Delaware system and the newest in New York City’s water supply. The Cannonsville watershed’s drainage basin is 455 square miles, the largest basin in the City’s system.

For more information about the CAT Race, sponsorship opportunities, or to volunteer, please contact Mary Beth Silano at For travel information on the Cannonsville area visit

For DEP-related inquiries contact Farrell Sklerov or Michael Saucier at (718) 595-6600.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Get Hooked On Fishing in the Great Western Catskills

New York State's trout season opens April 1 and for a growing number of fishermen, the lure of the Great Western Catskills makes Delaware County the place to be for this rite of spring.

Natural area trout streams, which eventually flow to the Delaware River, provide freestone stream fishing. These rivers combine with the Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs to total 11,000 acres of water habitat. Constant reservoir releases of cool, clear waters have enhanced the West Branch and East Branch to create unique tailwater fishing. Optimal year-round trout conditions ensure the serious angler and the adventurous visitor the most challenging and demanding fly-fishing in the Northeast.

The Beaverkill, the East and West Branches of the Delaware River, the Willowemoc and the Bushkill are among the renowned trout waters that flow through Delaware County. The "Birthplace of Fly Fishing" has been popular among anglers for more than a century and each year Catskill rivers and streams attract new legions of fishermen.

While fishing in the region is great in every season (including ice fishing in winter!) the thrill of early season angling is unsurpassed. The sights, sounds, smells and of course the hatches of April and May converge to make Catskill Mountain fishing an unforgettable experience.

The easiest way to gather information about fishing in the Great Western Catskills is to contact the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, which offers a full-color fishing guide/map with public access points. The fishing guide may be ordered free of charge by contacting the Delaware County Tourism office at 866-775-4425, or by e-mail: Website visitors are welcome to sign up for e-mail updates at

For those in search of "trophy trout" the Pepacton and Cannonsville reservoirs present great spots to "land the big one." Fishermen on these waters will want to pack a camera, too. When their respective seasons open, trophy brown trout, smallmouth bass and pickerel, are among the species that challenge sporting enthusiasts on these waters. Fishing the reservoirs is truly a treat, especially if you live in the City and use some of the 1 billion gallons of water that are sent from the system each day. The New York City DEP, which oversees these waters, has made it easy to get fishing permits for the reservoirs by placing it online. Go to and search for Watershed Recreation. Regular DEC fishing permits are easy to get at almost any local sports stores.

Seasoned fishermen recognize that the way to "live large" while seeking the big one is to rent a private cabin with all the comforts of home - and great fishing just minutes away.
From Downsville down to Hancock and Deposit, camping, affordable motels, and cabin rentals abound. Fish beneath the historic covered bridge in Downsville where lodging options range from on river Pepacton Cabins (, the classy Yellow House B&B (, private house rentals like A Frame on the River at A House Around The Bend (, or the always affordable Downsville Motel ( - a favorites among anglers. The conveniently located Al's Sports Store in Downsville ( supplies everything an angler needs - from gear to a private river guide. When fishing time is over, the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant ( is a great place to dine and spin some fishing yarns.

For fishermen visiting the Hancock area (where the East and West Branches of the Delaware River converge), a full service resort such as the West Branch Angler ( is a great place to stay. The resort comes complete with a restaurant, an Orvis store, and knowledgeable river guides on staff. Bass Cabins ( is nearby too and let's you (or the spouse) combine fishing with a love of golf at their French Woods Golf Course. Hancock boasts a fine new hotel, great motels and B&B's both in and outside the village. After an exhilarating day on the water, anglers will enjoy telling fishing tales at the new Bluestone Grill ( This casual eatery serves lunch and dinner, topped off by a popular list of homemade desserts.

For those visiting the Deposit area and the lower edge of the Cannonsville Reservoir, lodging options include the Deposit Motel, the new Eagle Valley Cabins ( or private home rentals, such as Dream Catcher Lodge ( with one mile of river front access.
But landing trophy fish is only part of the experience. The Catskill Mountains have a special appeal that makes "just being here" a large part of the attraction - catching fish is a special bonus.

To learn more about fishing in the western Catskills and the Upper Delaware River region, or finding the right campground or lodging host to stay with, log on to:
When it's time to fish, visit the Great Western Catskills of Delaware County and "Let the magic of our mountains move you."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breathtaking Venues for Weddings Found in the Great Western Catskills

Many a bride and groom have set themselves against the backdrop of the spectacular mountain vistas, open river valleys, and bucolic farmland of the western Catskills, to the delight of their family and guests.  Weddings here offer the perfect outdoor setting at an affordable price while giving guests the opportunity to feel like they’re on a mini-vacation with so much to do before and after the main event.
Wedding season in the mountains runs from mid-June through the mid-October. Choosing the season is highly personal. Early summers is resplendent with brilliant hues of green as the trees leaf out and as the hayfields green up, while perennial flower beds and fruit trees can be found flowering everywhere.  Summer’s warmth, evenings with shooting stars, and tables set with wildflowers appeal to many. Probably the most popular time, though, is fall with the sugar maples turning a kaleidoscope of colors from gold, to chartreuse, to pumpkin, to burgundy and bronze.  A few intrepid souls do choose a winter theme – a wedding that probably has guests riding a chair lift, skiing down a mountain, and dining fireside as part of the festivities. 
Many weddings are held here because couples are looking for more affordable options where they can do much of the planning themselves.  Do-It-Yourself weddings are intimate and fun and offer plenty of opportunity for personalization and savings.  Imagine: Rehearsal dinner hosted on the vintage train ride.  The bride arriving by horse drawn buggy or vintage car.  Ceremony next to a restored farmhouse out on the lawn.  Wedding reception in the old barn or under a tent, maybe even pondside. Local fiddlers tapping out atune.  A huge bonfire in a field maybe.  And starry, starry skies for sure.
Another aspect much appreciated by the happy couple and their guests are the great locavore food resources.  Creating the perfect menu featuring locally raised meats, cheese, and veggies is easy.  Plan for a pig roast, chicken BBQ if your wedding is more casual.  Local goat and sheep farm supply cheese, yogurt and organic milk to whip up delightful appetizers or desserts.  Grass fed beef, pork and poultry farms provide delectable main dishes – remember to work far enough in advance to place your order.  Organic vegetable farms provide everything from micro-greens to heirloom tomatoes to a bounty of root vegetables and squashes – as well as perennial flowers for the tables.
If you want a little help with the planning, wedding support services are growing in number. The quirks of hosting a wedding high up in the mountains is made easy when local planners know all the ins and outs to ensure everyone has the best time possible. Two local companies – Catskill Weddings, as well as Celebration Creations -- offer their skills and insider knowledge to help the happy couples out.
Most area lodging has a two night minimum, so wedding guests become vacationers as well. But they’ll never be at a loss for things to do or places to relax. Guests often amuse themselves with golf, fly fishing, biking on a rail trail or down a ski trail, horseback riding, kayaking, yoga, antiquing or simply lounging on the porch or next to a river or pond. 

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is a three hour drive from New York City metro area, and a great central location for guests coming from eastern Ohio, to Maryland to Boston. To learn more about outdoor fun for wedding guests to have, Stay-and-Play Packages or any other activities in the western Catskills, log on to:  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lake Effect Snows Providing Great Backdrop for Winter Fun in the Catskills

The Western side of the Catskills is the first mountain range east of the Rockies that gets hit with weather systems as they cross the plains.  Not only that the Great Lakes provide just the right conditions to bring storm systems that pack a precipitation punch to the upstate region.  This translates into lots of fresh powder at area ski slopes, like Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, NY. In last years whopper of a storm, Plattekill was tapped by the National Weather Service as receiving the most snowfall of the storm – almost 9 feet!!
Plattekill maintains its charm as a challenging mountain that is incredibly family friendly.  Double black diamond runs thrill expert skiers.  The ski school offers great instruction, a bunny hill and two side trails for easier runs.   Plattekill is open Friday-Sunday from 8:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Plattekill will be open for ten days straight for school break starting with the Presidents’ Weekend holiday.  Saturday nights are especially exciting with snow tubing available in two sessions, from 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. Holiday week will have additional tubing nights as well.  Check the conditions live with their mountain cam at  New to the mountain this year is a boatload of infrastructure improvements. 
  Keeping Plattekill’s trails in peak condition is a constant effort. The mountain has almost 100 snow guns, 7,000 feet of buried snowmaking pipe, 1,000 feet of heavy electric wire (and nine electric stations) to power 2 new fan guns, a grooming machine, and new rental equipment.  A great way to understand just what it takes to get, make, and keep snow can be found on a new winter blog that features mostly Plattekill but also other winter activities in the region.   This blog has a little of everything from links to local teenagers terrain park videos, interviews with the snow making and grooming staff, as well as ice fishing and local village round-ups.
A number of nearby lodging facilities have partnered with Plattekill Mountain to offer money-saving packages. The most popular offering is one of their two BOGO (Buy One Get One) options. When visitors stay with a participating lodging facility, children 17 and under will receive one free lift ticket for each paid adult ticket (limit two).  Adults without children can save big too. Buy a full day lift ticket for Saturday and get Sunday’s lift ticket free.  The mountain boasts a great family cafeteria, upstairs lounge bar, child care center, fireplaces throughout and sunning benches on the deck.
If your winter adventure tastes are more leisurely, Delaware County has many fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing options. The ideal cross-country or snowshoe route is the 26-mile rail bed known as the Catskill Scenic Trail running between Roxbury and Bloomville.  Use of the trail is free. For additional information on the rail trail, visit All this activity is in Roxbury which boasts the award winning boutique motel, The Roxbury - check out their theme rooms at
The Great Western Catskills Facebook page now includes a Photo of the Day section so you can remember just for real how much is on the ground, and be inspired to plan a visit. When it comes to lodging options, the Great Western Catskills features accommodations that include everything from cool and hip inns, charming bed and breakfasts, affordable and accommodating motels to private rental homes complete with fireplace and firewood. For winter lodging packages visit the getaways section of the area’s travel website.