Study Co-Sponsored By Mountainkeeper Shows Outdoor Recreation on Catskill Lands Brings Millions of People and Millions of Dollars

Posted on February 18, 2013 by

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PDF of Catskills Study

February 6, 2013 —

REGION — The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is touting the beneficial impacts of its reservoirs and other holdings on the Catskills, which are highlighted in a new study commissioned by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (CCCD), Catskill Mountainkeeper (CMK), and Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA).

According to the study, outdoor recreational activities that rely on public and protected lands attract a total of 1,717,927 visitors annually. These visitors had an estimated economic impact on the region’s economy of $46,207,000 and supported 980 jobs. Furthermore, all outdoor recreational activities, including both those that rely on public and protected lands and those that rely on private lands, attracted a total of 2,496,753 visitors. These visitors had an estimated economic impact of $114,768,000 on the region’s economy and supported 2,413 jobs.

“This economic impact study confirms with hard data the exceptional economic potential of this landscape of mountains, forests, streams, farmland and villages,” said Kathy Nolan, chair of the Catskill Heritage Alliance. “It shows the choice before us in dollar terms: erode what nature gave us and undermine our economic sustainability, or build on the potential to strengthen the economic future of the region.”

“The new numbers confirm what we’ve known for a long time,” echoed Ramsay Adams, founder and executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “The natural beauty of our region is a unique, world-class asset.”

Carter Strickland, the commissioner of the DEP, which employs nearly 1,000 people in the watershed, said, “We are proud that our efforts to encourage recreation throughout the watershed have strengthened the tourism economy that has been a hallmark of the Catskills for decades. New York City currently owns 114,833 acres in the Catskills that are open for fishing, hiking, boating and other forms of low impact recreation that attract people from other regions of the state and country. In the past five years alone, we have removed the permit requirements from 52,198 acres of that recreation land, making it even easier for our neighbors and visitors to enjoy.”

The economic impacts generated by recreational activities, and of the operations of organizations that protect and manage the natural areas of the Catskills, were estimated using the Money Generation Model (MGM) economic impact. These models were developed for the National Park Service and have been used for similar evaluations of many parks around the country.  READ THE ENTIRE RIVER REPORTER ARTICLE HERE

WATCH THE VIDEO PRESENTATION BY STUDY AUTHOR BRIAN ZWEIG,  KATHY NOLAN FROM MOUNTAINKEEPER AND OUR OTHER STUDY PARTNERS.

Breaking News: Huge Victory – Fracking Delayed in New York

GOVERNOR CUOMO DELAYS FRACKING DECISION

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COMMISSIONER DR. SHAH SAYS HE NEEDS MORE TIME TO COMPLETE HEALTH REVIEW FORCING THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION TO MISS KEY DEADLINE

In an incredible victory for Mountainkeeper and activists across New York State – Dr. Shah, the State Department of Health Commissioner sent a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens stating:

“As we have been reviewing the scope of these studies, I have determined — and prudence dictates — that the DOH Public Health Review will require additional time to complete based on the complexity of the issues. My team and I will be in Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days for first-hand briefings on these studies and their progress, which will assist in informing the New York review. I have also extended the term of the DOH outside expert researchers to continue to assist my review. I anticipate delivering the completed Public Health Review to you within a few weeks, along with my recommendations.”  Read the entire letter here

In response Commissioner Martens issued a press release stating:

“Commissioner Shah advised me today that the Public Health Review of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) of high-volume hydraulic fracturing is still on-going.  The Department of Health’s (DOH) Public Health Review, which was undertaken at my request, is important to our consideration of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and I will not issue a final SGEIS until that review is complete and I have received Dr. Shah’s recommendations.  He has indicated he expects his review to be complete in a few weeks after he has had an opportunity to review recent studies underway which are pertinent to the evaluation of high-volume hydraulic fracturing impacts on public health.”  Read the entire press release here

According to Dr. Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL Catskill Mountainkeeper’s High Peaks Regional Director:
“As Mountainkeeper has long recommended, Dr. Shah is wisely taking the time to come to a careful decision about what needs to happen to protect New York from the harmful effects of fracking.  We hope that his future plans include a call for a rigorous, comprehensive, open and participatory Health Impact Assessment that will define and quantify the full range of health hazards involved in the production and distribution of natural gas.”

Catskill Mountainkeeper commends the Governor, Commissioner Shah and Commissioner Martens on their decision to take the prudent approach to this very controversial issue by proceeding with the utmost caution.  We hope that the DOH and the DEC will continue to recognize the need for more in depth study of this dangerous practice.  We will keep you updated as we learn more.

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