Catskill Mountain region advocates are excited that the long-promised but much delayed Catskill Interpretive Center along Route 28 in Mount Tremper may soon become a reality. New York State’s 2013 budget includes $1 million in funding for the project, and designs for an approximately 2,000-square-foot facility are being finalized by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Hopes are high that the building will be constructed shortly.
The project began more than three decades ago, when interpretive centers were being designed and built in the Adirondack Park. The state purchased land for the center and completed initial site work, but progress same to a stop when priorities changed. Nevertheless, local organizations and activists continued to push for completion of the project, which promises to promote tourism and economic benefits to the Catskill Mountain region.
Today the Interpretive Center is a private/public partnership led by DEC, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and the Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center. The Trail Conference is represented on the Friends group by Jeff Senterman, our Senior Program Coordinator.
While pressing for construction of the center, the group oversaw the installation of an interpretive kiosk on the site with 16 panels of information about the Catskills (photo).
The Center will be staffed by a group of non-profit organizations, including the Trail Conference, and volunteer support will be key in providing interpretive services. The building will feature large open spaces for interpretive displays, public restrooms, space for educational and training events, and many acres for hiking trails and other outdoor activities. The Trail Conference is currently working on the site to design a trail to the ridgetop above the Interpretive Center site that offers a commanding view of the Esopus Valley and Romer Mountain across the valley.
Former Congressman Maurice Hinchey secured more than $350,000 in federal funding for the project, and the center will bear his name.