The northern hardwood forests of the Catskill region contain a diversity of ecological systems based on unique soils, elevation and microclimates. The forests of the Catskill Mountains contain rare plants and animals and serve as the source of drinking water for nine million consumers in New York City.
After more than a century of land protection, the Catskill Mountain region represents one of the greatest opportunities to preserve large unfragmented forest systems in the High Allegheney Plateau. Building on lands conserved in the Catskill Park and on land protected for the New York City watershed there is potential to protect forest systems large enough to ensure the survival of species that depend on interior forest habitat.
Only one hundred miles from New York City, the Catskills are under increasing development pressure from resort and second home development. Relatively large undeveloped and unprotected areas are dispersed within the areas already preserved. These areas will attract development as surely as they represent conservation opportunities.
Director of Protection Programs