Places We Work » New York » Catskills
The Catskill Mountains, known as “America’s First Wilderness,” is a land of pristine water, protected woods and working landscapes. The Catskills encompass 6,000 square miles in upstate New York that include rugged peaks, six major river systems, forests both working and protected, historic villages and hamlets, and picturesque farms.
In 1904, the State of New York recognized its value and designated 700,000 acres as Catskill Park, including a quarter of a million acres of land that is protected as forever wild forest and set aside from the checkerboard of privately- and publicly-owned land that makes up the rest of the park.
Technically, the Catskill Mountains are not actually geological mountains, but instead a mature uplifted plateau eroded over eons.
The area draws a million visitors each year who come from near and far to hike, swim, camp, bird-watch, rock-climb, canoe, fish or simply go for meandering drives through the hills as autumn leaves put on their fall display.
The importance of the Catskills extends well beyond its recreational potential; it is the source of pure drinking water for nine million New Yorkers. New York City controls an area of over 1,900 square miles in the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley, which is comprised of the Catskill/Delaware and Croton watersheds. This region delivers 1.4 billion gallons of water daily, mostly by gravity, from upstate mountaintops to New York City kitchen taps. Yet the purity of this water, coming from the largest unfiltered surface water system in the world, is only as secure as the quality of the lands from which it is drawn.
OSI in the Catskills, continued
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