Exploring Hudson River Islands

There are six notable islands in the Hudson River below Albany, from an unnamed islet north of Saugerties to Rattlesnake Island off of Coxsackie. Accessible only by small boat in the summer, and completely inaccessible in the winter, these islands have dodged civilization – though there are houses, industrial plants, even small cities on either…

Here’s Why the Hudson Valley and Catskills’ Population is Falling

The northern Hudson Valley and Catskills’ population has fallen faster than greater Upstate New York in recent years. Seven counties — Columbia, Greene, Ulster, Delaware, Putnam, Sullivan and Dutchess — saw a loss in population from 2010 to 2017, with Orange, Westchester and Rockland counties seeing an increase, according to an analysis of Census data.…

Smoking and Staggering Up Balsam Mountain

“You don’t have spikes?” The middle-aged man had planted himself in the center of the trail, hands clenched around his hiking poles at stomach level like he was really excited to be asking Morgan this. “Nah…” Morgan was not wearing spikes, the hiking boot attachment that gives one traction in the snow, and in fact…

Here’s How Climate Change Could Affect the Hudson Valley

Temperatures are expected to rise in the Hudson Valley and Catskills more drastically than most of the U.S. due to climate change, with the region seeing temperatures four-to-five degrees higher by 2050 when compared to the late 20th century. These predictions come from the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a voluminous report produced by the National…

Dodging Trespassing Signs to Poet’s Ledge

The trailhead to Poet’s Ledge is easier to find than you might think — just follow the highest concentration of barriers unfriendly residents have erected to make it hard to find. My friend Megan (of Nerding Out at the New York Ren Faire fame) and I drove up Route 23A in Greene County to Palenville…

‘New York’s Mount Rushmore’ in the Catskills

Prattsville, a small town straddling the Schoharie Creek in northwestern Greene County, is home to Pratt’s Rock, a site once called “New York’s Mount Rushmore” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not. It was here the town’s founder and namesake, Zadock Pratt, employed a series of itinerant stonemasons to carve his life story in a cliff…

Environmental Groups Attack Proposal to Separate Hudson River from Atlantic

Six proposals are on the table to protect New York City and its surroundings from catastrophic flooding, including two plans to separate the city’s harbor — and therefore the Hudson River — from the Atlantic Ocean with a combination of seawalls and gated storm surge barriers. Hudson River environmental groups have attacked these two plans,…

Climbing Blackhead and Black Dome in the Catskills

Scaling Blackhead Mountain and Black Dome Mountain not only allowed me to cross the third and fourth highest peaks in the Catskills off my list, it marked one of the few hikes in recent memory where I did not get lost. I set off early one weekday morning with my friend Ellen, who is making…

North-South-Lake

North Point: The Catskills in the Quiet Months

The North-South Lake area in the eastern Catskills is packed with gawkers in the summer months. The road leading to Kaaterskill Falls, the jewel of the area (and by ‘jewel,’ I mean ‘most easily accessible’) is crammed with pedestrians giving motorists heart attacks as they wander along the twisting mountain lane from their cars to…

catskill-game-farm

Abandoned Zoo in the Catskills

A clump of dried weed crushed under my foot as I stepped onto the split pavement of the Catskill Game Farm’s deserted parking lot. As soon as the door clicked closed, I heard a series of conversational meows, and a cat the size of a baby panther trotted towards me from the thicket he had…