OLIVE, NY (September 26, 2017)—Building on four decades of land protection in the Catskill Park, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has conserved more acreage in this celebrated region for recreation and water protection. The newly-conserved property, which drains into the Ashokan Reservoir, will also help safeguard drinking water supplies for New York City.
The “Watson Hollow” property was purchased for $450,000 and consists of two forested parcels. The 120-acre northern parcel is near the Slide Mountain Wilderness area of Catskill Park, while the 95-acre southern section is adjacent to the park’s Sundown Wild Forest area. Watson Hollow Road bisects the two parcels.
“The protection of Watson Hollow will help preserve the Catskills’ rural character while opening up more wild areas to outdoors enthusiasts from near and far,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “OSI is proud to support this project and our four-decade effort in the region, and is thankful to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for their skilled expertise and partnership.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York’s magnificent Catskill Park has no better friend than the Open Space Institute. The addition of the Watson Hollow property will expand access to world class outdoor recreational experiences that support sustainable tourism in the region, while simultaneously safeguarding the drinking water sources of millions of New Yorkers. DEC is proud to join with our partners at the OSI to help advance Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improve, promote, and protect this valuable New York State treasure.”
The largest and most popular wilderness area in Catskill Park, Slide Mountain Wilderness offers remote hiking and is home to the tallest of the Catskill Peaks, the 4,182-foot Slide Mountain. The 120-acre Watson Hollow property lies along the southeast of 2,450-foot Hanover Mountain, which also rises within the Wilderness.
To the south, Sundown Wild Forest covers a wide swath of the southeast Catskills and features mountains, waterfalls, valleys and rivers rich with trout. The 95-acre property will increase access to the existing Wild Forest. The property also contains a section of the Bush Kill, which feeds into the Ashokan Reservoir.
To the east of Slide Mountain Wilderness and Sundown Wild Forest, the Ashokan Reservoir is the city’s deepest reservoir and one of several critical storage areas that provides New York City with water.
Since the 1970s, OSI has conserved nearly 30,000 acres in the legendary Catskills, an area that draws a million visitors each year to hike, swim, camp, bird-watch, rock climb, canoe and fish. The Catskills’ importance extends well beyond its regional border, since it is also the source of pure drinking water for nine million New Yorkers. Looking ahead, OSI intends to transfer the property to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as an addition to the Catskill Park.