Welcome 2021……..

Wishing all of our members – and everyone who lives and visits the Beaverkill Valley – a healthy and happier New Year!

The FOBC will be back in the Spring with its usual slate of activities and events to share with the membership. This year’s officers are in place and we currently have two active committees which we encourage everyone to contact and/or join if you’re interested in being involved.

For current updates follow us on Instagram – @friendsofbeaverkill.

Josh Grier - President
Chris Kissock - Vice President
Alissa Shipp - Treasurer
Steve Levine - Secretary

BEAVERKILL COMMUNITY CHURCH COMMITTEE:

Mary Hall (marymotthall@me.com)
Patricia Adams
Bob Jones
Steve Lott
Boyd Johnson

COVERED BRIDGE CAMPSITE COMMITTEE

Josh Grier (j.grier@icloud.com)
John Adams
Peter Malik
Eric Hamerstrom
Ramsay Adams

Christmas Eve Candlelight Caroling Canceled

In compliance with CDC and New York State guidelines, and exercising an “abundance of caution” by keeping safe and distanced this season, we’ve canceled our annual Candlelight Caroling – traditionally held on Christmas Eve at the Beaverkill Community Church. We wish everyone an enjoyable holiday and the FOBC looks forward to reactivating our usual group events in 2021.

Mac Francis in Conversation

Legendary angler and renowned author Austin “Mac” Francis made a “virtual” appearance on the Willowemoc Creek on September 27. Mac was the subject of an extended interview with Peter Crosby – a highlight of the Emerging Anglers Dinner held in Livingston Manor at the Catskills Fly Fishing Center and Museum.

Watch the interview here, with the pre-imminent expert on Catskill fly fishing:

FOCUS on Bruce Janklow

Bruce Janklow, long time Valley resident (since 1984), has found a fresh vision through his  camera’s lens. Having become very competent at taking what he calls “pretty pictures” (see his image in our heading above for evidence of that), Bruce has recently been pursuing a more challenging approach to his photographic work.,

Introduced to photography at an early age by his father Leonard Janklow – an accomplished  creator of op-art kinetic constructions – Bruce began snapping pictures in the mid 1950’s with a very simplified 35mm camera, a Kodak Pony.  He grew up to spend his professional years in New York City, in various advertising and marketing agencies and endeavors…while continuing to hone his interest and craft in the photographic arts.

Since retiring in 2008, Bruce and his wife Ilene split their year between their house on Craigie Clair Road and a winter residence in San Miguel de Allende – in Mexico’s central state of Guanajuato.    In addition to over 35 years shooting in the Beaverkill Valley, Bruce combined his passion for world travel with his full time commitment to his photography – circling the globe with his cameras.  From Uzbekistan to India to the Mississippi Delta, Bruce’s journeys have produced a large portfolio of unique photos.

A small folio of Bruce’s current work – titled “Unfinished Stories” – is linked below, mostly shot in the Beaverkill Valley, this work emphasizes the more abstract possibilities of the medium.  As Bruce describes the collection is “an unexplained call to the viewer to participate in exploring the mysteries of the photograph”.

For those interested in further exploring Bruce’s works – you can contact him at  beejay455@gmail.com   Click on the link here to view the collection:

 Unfinished Stories

Beaverkill Community Church – Summer Sermons 2020

As reported, despite the pandemic, the Beaverkill Community Church held Sunday morning services from June through August. Outdoors with masks and social distancing observed. Only one week was cancelled by rain. Transcripts of five of the sermons delivered this year are linked below, all given by local FOBC members.

DEC Meets With Local Environmentalists To Address Increased Use of Sullivan County Recreational Sites

This past Friday (August 7), Bill Rudge (Natural Resources Supervisor for the NY State Department Of Environmental Conservation) met at the Covered Bridge Campsite  with Ramsay Adams and Wes Gillingham (Catskill Mountainkeeper) and Lisa Lyons (Catskill Forest Preservation Advisory Council). Patricia and John Adams were also in attendance representing the FOBC.  The meeting was to discuss the impact of the Corona Virus on the Beaverkill Valley generally, and specifically the increased use of public campsites and day use areas in the Sullivan County section of the Catskill Park. 

The focus was on using what is currently available from the DEC to address the potential over-use of state lands resulting from the increased tourist traffic, plus set a plan in motion to add resources to that effort.   The DEC currently provides guidelines/regulations, enforced by .State Forest Rangers, and  Stewards (hired for the summer months only) to monitor and control use in some (but not all) public access day-use sites. Plus there are a few non-profit organizations such as The Catskill Center and Catskill Mountainkeeper who work alongside the DEC. 

Although issues at the Covered Bridge Campsite were specifically referenced, the meeting was primarily to develop an overall approach to protecting all of the recreational areas in the Western Catskills. These areas,  which for many city and suburban dwellers are important as an experience in nature, have lately become in need of an improved program of ‘crowd control .’ It was also noted that some level of back-up support from law enforcement officers is now essential for the Rangers (who maintain the public use areas by regulating the volume of visitors, clean up, and parking) to properly carry out their stewardship of the more popular day-use locations.  

The meeting opened up the  opportunity to raise funds and find support – to bring needed relief to the various existing lake and river parks experiencing significant increases of visitors this summer. As one component of the initiative, Catskill Mountainkeeper is prepared to organize a co-ordinated study with the DEC to identify and develop additional alternative destinations for campers, swimmers, hikers and general weekend visitors within the Forest Preserve.

 The meeting was a good start on a long term plan which will prepare our Sullivan County recreational resources for increased use over the coming years.   We will provide updates on this site as the planned studies are developed and implemented.

  • reported by Patricia Adams

The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

Hi all you tree huggers out there…if you haven’t already, meet Kate O’Connor. Kate is here in the Beaverkill Valley all year mapping and educating the area on the mighty hemlock tree and its imminent threat from the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) – an invasive forest pest native to Japan.

Kate is on a year-long assignment to our region via the Cornell Department of Natural Resources and the NY State Hemlock Initiative. A research technician and field representative, she is based out of the Catskill Mountainkeeper office on Main Street in Livingston Manor – but spends most of her time out in the field, surveying local hemlock stands, educating property owners, facilitating management strategies and scouting for biocontrol release sites. Kate works on private properties and with the DEC in their public lands and forests (e.g., the Covered Bridge Campsite, Balsam Lake Wild Forest, Willowemoc Wild Forest, Delaware Wild Forest, etc.)

As many of you know, the hemlock was an abundant and iconic mainstay of the Valley back when settlement and upstate migrations began in the 19th Century. The trees were not harvested for their wood, but for the bark – which was an essential component of the animal skin tanning process of that era. The Beaverkill Tannery was one the last to survive (still operational in the 1850s) before modernization of tanning processes began utilizing synthetic chemicals and – unfortunately – its appetite for the bark resulted in much of the local hemlock population being decimated. Only a few trees survive from before the turn of the 20th Century (the “pre-disturbance original growth”), which are now quietly protected by folks like Kate, along with her fellow researchers and forest managers. There is, however, now over a century of second growth trees – some of which have emerged from under the forest canopy to become quite large and majestic residents of the Valley.

For lots more information about hemlocks, the wooly adelgid and the biocontrols Cornell is developing, check out this website: https://blogs.cornell.edu/nyshemlockinitiative/

Also, a fine map and even more information is to be found in Michael Kudish’s book “The Catskill Forest: A History”. Available at the Morgan Outdoors shop (Livingston Manor) and on the Catskill Interpretive Center website.

You can also, and are encouraged to, reach out directly to Kate. She will gladly set up an appointment to stop by your property to examine any hemlocks you have (or think you may have) and assess what measures may be in order to keep them healthy and robust.

Katharine O’Connor – ko267@cornell.edu

Beaverkill Community Church – Summer 2020

Sunday morning services are back at the Beaverkill Community Church – just down the road from the Covered Bridge on Craigie Clair Road. Mary Hall and Bob Jones are presiding again this season. Every Sunday through Labor Day – commencing around 10:00am. For now – taking place on the outdoor lawn, social distancing and masks required. Bring your own chair. All are welcome, and its a lovely setting to spend an hour with your neighbors….so far the weather has been very cooperative!

Slow Reopening – Mid June

The Valley remains well populated during the pandemic, with most of the summer and weekend homes now with full time residents riding out the crisis in relative safety from the urban centers. New York State regulations and recommendations are finally allowing the local establishments to get back in business – and serve the locals and visiting tourists. The Farmer’s Markets are in full swing in Roscoe, Livingston Manor and Liberty on the weekends, most restaurants have take-out curb-service, and even some outdoor seating, at least a few days a week. A resourceful new addition to Main Street is Sunshine Colony and Have Knife Will Travel’s joint effort – serving grilled lobster lunches right on the sidewalk on Saturday afternoons This week we will also be announcing the relaunching of summer Sunday services at the Beaverkill Church (albeit out on the lawn!). Despite it all, its still a wonderful time here in the Catskills.