2018-09-05 / News

Making A Difference

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By Eddie Donoghue

By figuring out how to meld her passion for the outdoors, with her beloved community, Ann Roberti has helped shape Andes at the grassroots level.

Roberti has been a member of the Catskill Mountain Club (CMC) since its inception in 2004 and has been part of the club’s evolution. Formed to help promote outdoor recreation in the Catskills, the club in recent years has created five family-friendly hiking trails. Three of the trails are in Andes, including the rail trail, while the other two are in Delhi. The CMC is currently engaged in creating a sixth trail in Olive.

The trails are designed to be accessible so families and hikers of all experience levels can use them.

“In the Catskills, most of the trails go straight up the mountain and they’re pretty hard for the average person who isn’t an avid hiker. Our trails are intended to be for people that maybe are just starting hiking or people who have kids. The rail trail is level. They’re good beginner trails,” Roberti said.

Walk the walk

Roberti was one of the club’s members responsible for coming up with the idea, saying, “I went to a presentation about the economic benefits of trails near towns and I got the idea that that was something we could probably do and that it’d be an economic contributor to the area.”

Roberti reports that the trails have seen steady usage since their creation, saying, “It’s been tremendously successful. Thousands of people hike on these trails.”

In addition to creating trails, the club is also engaged in leading hiking and kayaking trips, snowshoeing, and also trail maintenance along state trails. Along with the Catskill Center and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the CMC helps put together and host Lark in the Park. The 10-day event is spread out through the Catskills and offers participants free hikes, paddles, and bike outings, amongst other outdoor activities.

“When you hear people are out walking on your trails and having a great time, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to be able to introduce people to the outdoors,” Roberti said. For those interested in Lark in the Park or the happenings of the Catskill Mountain Group, visit its website at catskillmountaingroup.org.

For the last nine years, Roberti, along with Nancy McShane, have organized annual litter pickup days.

“Last year, with quite a number of volunteers, we cleaned up litter on 20 miles of road in two days,” Roberti said, adding, “It’s very rewarding. You feel great when you drive down the roads and there’s no littler anymore.”

The pair hold the litter pickup days on a Wednesday and Saturday around Earth Day in April each year. While the first year saw Roberti and McShane clean up the streets of Andes by themselves, they have seen increasing community support through the years, with some regulars returning to help every year.

“We both were avid litter picker uppers by ourselves,” Roberti said of herself and Mc- Shane, “One day I was picking up trash on Tremperskill Road and Nancy’s husband drove by and said, ‘My wife would do that with you,’ so I gave her a call.”

Roberti is also one of the instrumental figures in organizing Andes Community Day where she is responsible for planning the parade. Roberti, along with Mary Davis, invite the participants, follow up with them, and create the parade line up. In addition to getting all the participants in the right place, Roberti also writes a script, so the parade MC knows who’s coming by next and can explain to the spectators who is who.

Celebrating Andes

“It’s great to see everyone in Andes out and enjoying and celebrating Andes,” said Roberti who has helped plan Andes Community Day for the last few years. Roberti, who started as a weekender, says she drifted towards becoming a full-time Andes resident. She hasn’t regretted it since, saying, “It’s just so beautiful and so charming. It’s like the small town that you think is only in the movies. The community is incredible, it’s just an amazing place to live.”

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the website address for the

the website address for the Catskill Mountain Club is www.catskillmountainclub.org, not the address in the article. Thank you
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