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COME TO OUR NEXT MEETING! 

Meetings are held on the last Sunday of each moth at 4 PM. The Catskill Heritage Alliance holds regular monthly meetings in the Pine Hill Community Center. You are welcome to attend. To find out more, email: info@catskillheritage.org



The Catskill Heritage Alliance is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving the harmony between the villages of the central Catskills and the surrounding wilderness through community revitalization and open space conservation. The CHA is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization.
(previous SDEIS)
Resort / Ski center status report: Crossroads has released its SDEIS.
It is availabe to download for review.

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NEW ISSUE OF MOUNTAINWATCH - SUMMER 2014 - CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PDF
   
Tourism information kiosk unveiling - a special event at Shandaken Day
Big Indian Park on Rte. 28 in Shandaken, Saturday, August 23, 10 AM - 6 PM

Be at the Big Indian visitor information kiosk unveiling on Shandaken Day. Everything you need to know and are not afraid to ask about native myths, artist pioneers, iron horses of old, and swimmin' holes of today. History, mystery, places to play and places to stay, on eight big graphic panels designed by Dave Channon. All mounted on a rustic structure built by local volunteers and supervised by Town Supervisor Rob Stanley. Dream steamy romance in the oversize legend of Chief Winnisook, the original Big Indian. Dig deep ecology with woodchuck eating John Burroughs, the original tree hugger. Hike nooks and crannies of topographical delight! What about the gravitational anomalies in Oliverea caused by a prehistoric Panther Mountain meteor? How did Jake Moon become a Peekamoose? Want to learn more? Are you on vacation or here for the duration? How can you not get lost in the woods? Gotta see this installation. First of four to be erected in hamlets around Shandaken.
For information about this historic and up-to-date snapshot of Shandaken, contact Dave Channon 845-688-2977 Dave@EsopusCreek.com

 

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AS DEC DECISION ON BELLEAYRE RESORT NEARS,
NEW STUDY SHOWS IT WILL FAIL ECONOMICALLY
UNLESS IT’S SCALED BACK

(download study in PDF format)

Please respond to:    Article in Kingston Freeman      Article in Watershed Post


The CHA is a proud sponsor of The Phoenicia/Shandaken Studio Tour

Outdoor Recreation on Catskill Lands Brings 2.5 Million People, Thousands of Jobs, and $115 million, Study Shows


Thank you to everyone who submitted comments in the review of the proposed expansion of the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center and the proposed Crossroads Ventures LLC resort! The Catskill Heritage Alliance supports an East Alternative and elements of the Core proposal for the Ski Center and is calling for down-sizing of the proposed resort through elimination of the Highmount Spa component. Our consultants indicate that this approach will bring the most benefit to our local and regional communities at the least cost to New York taxpayers. To understand the basis for this position, please read the following documents:
Suggested comments about Belleayre development:
As presented in the April 2013 Draft Unit Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the BMSC, the Full Build Out Alternative costs more and returns fewer benefits to the public than any of the other proposed Alternatives.

We oppose the Full Build Out Alternative because it would invest scarce public funds to benefit the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park by purchasing the Highmount Ski Center from private developer Crossroads Ventures and building lifts and cutting trails there and on the western slope of Belleayre to allow private guests of the resort to “ski in and ski out” of lodging units.

We also oppose the Full Build Out Alternative because it calls for expanded lifts, trails, and snowmaking to support a “comfortable carrying capacity” at the BMSC of 9,000 skiers per day, a figure nearly double the peak historic number of skiers/day. The historic peak number of 4,500 to 6,000 skiers occurs on a few holiday weekends in some years. Even if demand for such a huge increase in skier visits exists, the best investment to accommodate more skiers and to retain the Ski Center’s beloved “family friendly” character is the expansion of lodges and other skier facilities and services rather than the construction of new lifts for trails built primarily for the private resort.

In addition, we oppose the Full Build Out Alternative because it ignores widely agreed upon predictions about the effects of climate change on winter recreational tourism. NYSERDA’s 2011 “ClimAID Report” concludes that by mid-century, “expected annual reduction of ski-season length for three major ski regions in New York (Western, Northeastern and Southeastern) are expected to be in the range of 12 to 28 percent. Another report, “Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast: A Report of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment,” predicts that ski areas in southeastern New York are highly vulnerable within the next several decades. When climate data are so much in agreement about the future of winter recreation, it is unwise public policy to invest heavily in the construction of trails that will cost more to sustain (through greater snowmaking) for fewer and fewer days each year and for fewer and fewer skiers as the population turns to other activities.


In contrast, we strongly ENDORSE the three other expansion Alternatives set forth in the Draft Unit Management Plan/DEIS. The Core, West, and East Alternatives cost less and concentrate more on upgrading and streamlining the design of the existing layout. The East Alternative, in particular, offers new sustained expert terrain near Cathedral Glen on land already within the Forest Preserve. These Alternatives allow the state to save money while greatly improving the satisfaction of the wide range of skiers who enjoy the BMSC.

We also strongly ENDORSE the principles of the Core Alternative: a renovated and expanded base area and satellite lodges up-mountain, upgraded food services and retail spaces and choices, a modernized and well-stocked rental department, a new learning center, new and safer high speed lifts, energy efficient snowmaking equipment, and green (LEED-certified) construction with the use of solar energy when possible.

Further, we strongly ENDORSE investing in BMSC’s future to ensure that it will remain a destination and a driver of the local economy as the warming trend associated with climate change shortens winter and makes winter recreation less sustainable. Specifically, we endorse plans for BMSC to construct more trails that can be used for all-season sports (cross country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding) and that link to the trail network of the 1200-acre Big Indian Parcel adjacent to BMSC’s existing footprint and that can also tie in to the proposed regional rail trail along the Ulster-Delaware Rail Bed. We endorse the use of the lodges and grounds of BMSC for cultural events, festivals, educational courses and seminars, private events, and conferences.

 

Thank you all for coming to the hearing. Now send your written comments. Read a list of talking points

Send your comments in writing to the DEC and DEP until July 24th. Even if you were at the hearing, it's a good idea to send in written comments, which can be much more detailed than what you will be able to say in the three minutes you were alloted to speak. Send your written comments with "Belleayre Comments" in the subject line to:

NYS DEC

belleayre@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Daniel T Whitehead
NYSDEC Region 3 Headquarters

21 South Putt Corners Rd
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845)256-3801

Send a copy of your comments to:

NYC DEP

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo

>>> Articles printed about the hearing:

Mid Hudson News - "Between afternoon and evening sessions, 126 speakers were heard with comments split close to evenly in favor and against the project...   Karen Charming of Shandaken feels that the effects of the destination resort will be devastating.
“Because it is a destination resort, rather than enhancing the existing community as the hype promises, it will suck the economic lifeblood out of them the same way that Wal-mart has driven smaller stores out of business in communities all across the country,” Charming said. (Karen Charman)

Times Herald Record    Resort 'a dream come true' for some
Others say scale of $364M skiing spot near Belleayre is unrealistic

 


SIGN THE PETITION

Download the latest edition of Mountainwatch

Tell Gov. Cuomo: "Don't spend $74 Million of our taxes to Build Private SKi Trails" CLICK HERE


SDEIS for Proposal from Crossroads Ventures   Information about the proposed Belleayre Resort and its potential impacts on the community and environment.

UMP for Belleayre Mountain Ski Center  Information about several possible ski area expansion plans, from major construction to doing nothing at all, called the "Unit Management Plan".

Cumulative Impact Statement (scroll down to Part C) The combined effects and impacts of the two projects taken as a whole.

Letter to DEC concerning Belleayre

   

Suggested comments about Belleayre development:

As presented in the April 2013 Draft Unit Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the BMSC, the Full Build Out Alternative costs more and returns fewer benefits to the public than any of the other proposed Alternatives.

We oppose the Full Build Out Alternative because it would invest scarce public funds to benefit the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park by purchasing the Highmount Ski Center from private developer Crossroads Ventures and building lifts and cutting trails there and on the western slope of Belleayre to allow private guests of the resort to “ski in and ski out” of lodging units.

We also oppose the Full Build Out Alternative because it calls for expanded lifts, trails, and snowmaking to support a “comfortable carrying capacity” at the BMSC of 9,000 skiers per day, a figure nearly double the peak historic number of skiers/day. The historic peak number of 4,500 to 6,000 skiers occurs on a few holiday weekends in some years. Even if demand for such a huge increase in skier visits exists, the best investment to accommodate more skiers and to retain the Ski Center’s beloved “family friendly” character is the expansion of lodges and other skier facilities and services rather than the construction of new lifts for trails built primarily for the private resort.

In addition, we oppose the Full Build Out Alternative because it ignores widely agreed upon predictions about the effects of climate change on winter recreational tourism. NYSERDA’s 2011 “ClimAID Report” concludes that by mid-century, “expected annual reduction of ski-season length for three major ski regions in New York (Western, Northeastern and Southeastern) are expected to be in the range of 12 to 28 percent. Another report, “Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast: A Report of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment,” predicts that ski areas in southeastern New York are highly vulnerable within the next several decades. When climate data are so much in agreement about the future of winter recreation, it is unwise public policy to invest heavily in the construction of trails that will cost more to sustain (through greater snowmaking) for fewer and fewer days each year and for fewer and fewer skiers as the population turns to other activities.


In contrast, we strongly ENDORSE the three other expansion Alternatives set forth in the Draft Unit Management Plan/DEIS. The Core, West, and East Alternatives cost less and concentrate more on upgrading and streamlining the design of the existing layout. The East Alternative, in particular, offers new sustained expert terrain near Cathedral Glen on land already within the Forest Preserve. These Alternatives allow the state to save money while greatly improving the satisfaction of the wide range of skiers who enjoy the BMSC.

We also strongly ENDORSE the principles of the Core Alternative: a renovated and expanded base area and satellite lodges up-mountain, upgraded food services and retail spaces and choices, a modernized and well-stocked rental department, a new learning center, new and safer high speed lifts, energy efficient snowmaking equipment, and green (LEED-certified) construction with the use of solar energy when possible.

Further, we strongly ENDORSE investing in BMSC’s future to ensure that it will remain a destination and a driver of the local economy as the warming trend associated with climate change shortens winter and makes winter recreation less sustainable. Specifically, we endorse plans for BMSC to construct more trails that can be used for all-season sports (cross country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding) and that link to the trail network of the 1200-acre Big Indian Parcel adjacent to BMSC’s existing footprint and that can also tie in to the proposed regional rail trail along the Ulster-Delaware Rail Bed. We endorse the use of the lodges and grounds of BMSC for cultural events, festivals, educational courses and seminars, private events, and conferences.

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