Lark in the Park offers outdoor fun

Arkville — Once again the Catskill Park will be a flurry of activity as two local organizations sponsor the 2009 Lark in the Park celebration, to be held October 3-12. 
This is the sixth annual Lark since the event was conceived in 2004 as a commemoration of the centennial of the Catskill Park. The 10-day Lark provides numerous opportunities for people to explore the deep history and culture, as well as the unique natural environments and recreational opportunities found in the Catskill Park and the surrounding Catskill Mountain Region.  This year’s offerings include numerous hikes and interpretive walks, cycling events, public forums, and festivals.
The 2009 celebration is being co-sponsored by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Devel-opment (CCCD) and the Catskill Mountain Club.
Lisa Rainwater, executive director of the CCCD, explains “this is a great opportunity for people of all ages to join the many guides, who will help you explore and interpret the richness that our mountains have to offer at this beautiful time of year. While the events are centered on enjoyment and appreciation of our natural wonders, the Lark also builds greater awareness of how the region’s diverse attractions are a keystone of the Catskill Mountain economy.”
Jack McShane, Catskill Mountain Club Outings Committee member, describes the CMC as an “open member organization made up of outdoor enthusiasts interested in experiencing and promoting fishing, hiking, paddling, hunting, bird watching and other nonmotorized outdoor activities in the Catskill Mountain region. CMC recognizes the need for, and participates in good stewardship of our mountain region and supports other organizations with like-minded interest in caring for the integrity of the Catskill Mountain environment.  By co-sponsoring the Lark with the Catskill Center, we are able to showcase the opportunities available for outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship.”
New opportunities for recreation this year, include boating on the Cannonsville reservoir, and hikes on NYC DEP land. 
Duncan Schmitt, a NYCDEP forester and Lark event leader describes some of the opportunities on DEP property.   “October is an ideal time to enjoy the Catskill Park, particularly those areas that are now owned by the New York City DEP.  Thousands of acres of recently acquired land are open to the public, many without an access permit under a partnership with New York State DEC.   For those hikers who enjoy the path less traveled (or no path at all) DEP lands provide new opportunities for through hikes over the ridge from one public road to another. Permits are available at www.nyc.gov/dep under the “most requested” link for watershed recreation.” 
CCCD educator and event leader Ben Murdock says, “The Lark is an example of how region-wide collaboration can help the Catskill Mountain Region succeed.  This celebration of the Catskills highlights the mountains at one of the most beautiful times of year, and will provide a variety of events to help both residents and visitors gain a deeper appreciation of their surroundings.” 
To view the range of activities available and participate in the Lark in the Park, please visit www.catskillpark.org.