Catskill Center to lead Scenic Byway Project

Arkville — The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development will lead the effort in pursuing a Scenic Byway designation for a 50-mile stretch of Route 28 in the Catskill Mountain Region.
A designation will stimulate local economies through tourism and recreation and open the door to federal and state moneys. The Central Catskills Collaborative, a group of seven communities along the Route 28 Corridor, recently contracted with The Catskill Center to guide the development of a Corridor Management Plan, a requirement in the Scenic Byway nomination process. The 50-mile section wends its way from West Hurley in Ulster County to the hamlet of Andes in Delaware County. The project is supported by a grant from the Catskill Watershed Corporation.
“The Town of Olive is excited to be working with our partner communities to undertake this scenic byway nomination,” noted Supervisor Berndt Leifeld. “The Catskill Center has been a tireless advocate in promoting the resources along the Route 28 Corridor, and we are pleased that they will provide professional leadership to this project.”
Catskill Center Executive Director Lisa Rainwater welcomed the news, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Collaborative and formally begin the nomination process. Our Regional Planner, Peter Manning, has worked closely with all of these communities, helping to overcome funding challenges and keeping their visions on course to help bring this corridor the recognition it deserves.”
A Scenic Byway is a road that has a story to tell through the preservation and promotion of a series of unique scenic, recreational, cultural and historical qualities. Successful nomination requires the preparation of a Corridor Management Plan, which is created through collective grassroots efforts of the involved communities. The Central Catskills Collaborative (representatives from the towns of Andes, Hurley, Olive, Middletown, Shandaken and the villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville) agreed to pursue the project in 2008. Earlier this year, the Town of Olive, in conjunction with the Collaborative, secured a $50,000 award from the Catskill Watershed Corporation’s Local Technical Assistance Program, giving the project a big boost.
In recent years corridor communities in the region have increasingly recognized the value of Scenic Byways as economic development tools and catalysts for regional cooperation. Inside the Catskill Park, the Town of Hunter and its villages, with assistance from The Catskill Center, have proposed an expanded Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway, which is currently being reviewed by New York State. Just outside the park, designations have occurred in the Shawangunk Mountains and along the Delaware River.
Alan Sorensen, a key organizer of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, commends the efforts of the Route 28 communities: “Certainly the Catskills have so much to offer and it’s great to see this team come together to being to package and promote the abundant resources on this central corridor. There’s no question the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway has boosted tourism, marketed our heritage and increased overall cooperation among the river’s communities.”
As part of the project, The Catskill Center and Central Catskills Collaborative will host a series of community meetings to define the project, gather information and identify volunteers. Members of the public are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Peter Manning at 845 586-2611 x. 104 or pmanning@catskillcenter.org.