2022 Annual Members Meeting – Minutes

Following a wonderful string quartet concert at the Church, featuring JENN AHN MISNER and guest members of the MANOR CAMERATA, the FOBC held its first annual members meeting since 2019. Minutes from the meeting reported by new acting Secretary Barbara Trelstad below.

Minutes of the Friends Of Beaverkill Community

Annual Meeting

Sunday – July 31, 2022

CAMPSITE AND RIVER TRAIL:   Interns Noah and Jordan,  from Catskill Mountainkeeper, gave a presentation on current projects and issues near the Covered Bridge public access area.

FOBC has been involved in several past preservation issues in the area, among them are:  1)  restoration of the covered bridge, 2) restoration and maintenance of the old Methodist church (now Beaverkill Community Church), 3) replacement of the Iron Bridge in Craigie Clair and 4) Issues concerning use (sometimes overuse} and ongoing maintenance of the day use area by the Beaverkill Campsite.

Ongoing projects include clean-up and maintenance of the beach area under and around the Covered Bridge; ongoing conservation issues as the past decade has seen much more use of the beach area under the Covered Bridge.  New York State is trying to minimize overuse which is an ongoing issue.

There is an ongoing concern about overuse.  Communication with users is a major issue, currently there is only one staff member who speaks Spanish, the language of most of the current users.  The presence of household pets and loud music are further issues

The Trap Valley Farm Trail on the opposite side from the Beaverkill Campsite provides access to the meadow abutting what was once Trapp Valley Farm.

CHURCH:  Mary Hall gave a brief report on the church.  The church opened its doors in 1882 as a Methodist Church.  In 2012 conversations were held between valley residents interested in preserving the church and the Methodist Church.  The land that the building sits on is its footprint…no larger.  In 2012 the church was bought by the community and today services take place there on summer Sundays.  Services follow the Methodist liturgy.  Sermons are posted on-line.

BEAVERKILL VALLEY LAND TRUST:  The Beaverkill Valley Land Trust began in the 1970’s.  It is the current owner of Beech Mountain Lake Preserve.  The Preserve has recently been opened to use.  To gain information about use, contact: Info@CatskillMountainKeeper.org.  And to use the cabin call Mountain Keeper for the combination to the lock on the gate.

There is current discussion about a potential “Interpretative Trail” in the area.  This is currently being discussed with the forester and it is hoped that it can be made handicapped accessible.

NEW OFFICERS:  Chris Kissock will take over as President, Judith Katz will be Vice President, Josh Grier will continue as Treasurer and Barbara Trelstad will be Secretary.  We would like to have at least wo other members at large to complete the Board.  Volunteers are welcome.

FOBC EMAIL DATABASE:  Josh asked for emails from all members…he currently has 290, some of which need to be updated.

HISTORICAL ARCHIVE:  Barbara reported that she has been storing the Archive which contains some primary materials referenced for the various books on the history of the Beaverkill along with many photographs of prior events, mainly tennis tournaments.

FOBC BOOKS FOR SALE:  Patricia noted that the History of the Beaverkill books are on sale in Roscoe and there is also a cookbook comprised of recipes from longtime residents on sale in Roscoe as well.

Respectfully submitted

Barbara Trelstad, Secretary

FOBC Events this Summer – July 31

Summer has arrived, and we’re sure there will be a lot going on locally so wanted to let everyone know that FOBC has a couple of events in store on Sunday July 31.

JENN AHN MISNER with members of MANOR CAMERATA

Internationally recognized performer (and local Valley resident) Jenn Ahn will bring her violin and three musical companions back to the area for a string quartet concert at our own Beaverkill Community Church (101 Craigie Clair Road in Roscoe) on July 31.  The concert will begin at 2:00pm.  Tickets are $30 per person will be available at the door, or can be purchased in advance by sending a check (payable to “Friends Of Beaverkill”) to P.O. Box 704 – Roscoe NY 12776.  You can also log-on to our PayPal account via contact@beaverkillfriends.org and reserve your seats there.  If paying online make sure to include your name in the message box.

ANNUAL FRIENDS OF BEAVERKILL COMMUNITY MEMBERS MEETING AND POT LUCK

We’re pleased to bring back our annual members picnic and social gathering (after two years COVID hiatus).  This year’s event will be held at the home of Patricia and John Adams, and will start shortly after the String Quartet performance, around 4:00pm, July 31.More information on this you can email Patricia Adams – pbrandonadams@gmail.com

Update on Campsite Trail repairs…..

FOBC member Carl Obecny has – under direction of the DEC – continued his repairs and upgrade to the trail along the Beverkill River across from the Covered Bridge day use area. Carl’s report as follows:

It doesn’t really matter in what part of the world or during what season, there isn’t a much more enjoyable and comforting pastime than a walk along a river. And, here in the Beaverkill River Valley, we are fortunate to have access to one of the most scenic rivers anywhere. However, over the past few years, a section of a favorite trail just below the Beaverkill Covered Bridge on the west side of the river and used by hikers, fishermen, campers and nature lovers was in jeopardy of becoming too dangerous to safely traverse and at risk of being washed out entirely.

While high river levels due to springtime or strong rainstorm flooding have washed away part of the trail, the primary cause of the trail damage was water coming from a spring on the opposite side of the trail from the river and slowly over the years eroding/undercutting the trail along a thirty foot stretch.

In an effort to save the trail, with the assistance of John and Patricia Adams, I contacted the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) and was informed of a program called the “Volunteer Stewardship Program” under which private citizens can be authorized to perform certain work (i.e. trail repair and maintenance) on public lands. I completed the application process and after a few meetings with Cindy Yaekel, the local representative from the DEC, to discuss the nature of the proposed trail repairs and maintenance, my application and the proposed repair and maintenance plans were approved. Subject to the DEC’s oversight, I am now a “Volunteer Steward” in charge of the repair, as necessary, and maintenance of the trail for the next five (5) years.

In December during a period of unusually warm and dry winter weather, I commenced work on the north end of the damaged section of trial with the installation of a 15” diameter culvert pipe approximately eleven feet in length to carry the water flowing from the spring under the trail and to the river. Initially, considering the tenuous conditions of the trial, I was forced to use my relatively light-weight, small BX24 Kubota tractor to do the work. For those who enjoy ice formations, I placed a splash rock below the outlet of the culvert pipe with some brush underneath in the hope of creating some interesting ice formations this winter.

Thereafter, working from the south end (campsite side) of the damaged portion of trail, using a much larger M62 Kubota tractor, I started digging up and moving material from near a large discarded mulch pile located a little further down the trail. My plan was to harvest material from just in front of the pile and then, when finished, fill in the anticipated pit with the mulch. At one time having been river bottom, the material in the area where I was digging up was perfect material (river bottom sand and small stone) for rebuilding and repairing the washed out and undercut portions of the trail. Working forward, I would compact a roughly four foot section of the compromised trail by pounding it down with the tractor backhoe bucket and then cover the newly compacted section with the river bottom material. Interestingly, there were sections that were so dramatically undercut and eroded that when pounded they collapsed as much as three feet. Those sections of trail, had they not been repaired presented a significant danger to anyone attempting to walk on them and would very likely have been entirely washed out within another year or so.

In addition to the water coming from the more active spring and routed thru the first culvert pipe, there was a much smaller amount of water flowing from another spring near the campsite end of the damaged portion of the trail as well as evidence of a substantial amount of spring runoff down the hillside. So, in accordance with the plan, a second 15” diameter culvert pipe approximately fourteen feet in length was installed at that end of the compromised portion of the trail. That culvert pipe, in part, was kindly donated by Siobhan Loizeaux-Bennett and Martin Estrada.

With the trail in far safer condition for all to enjoy and winter setting in, the remaining tasks (installing stonework around the culvert pipe ends, planting grass seed and relocating a few pine trees) will wait until warmer weather returns next spring.     

More Campsite Improvements….

Local resident Carl Obecny, via his local steward role with the DEC, has been busy in Dave Hoag’s tractor and back-hoe, down by the river just downstream from the Beaverkill Covered Bridge. As Carl reports: “It was a fun project. There was a section, roughly 10 feet in length, which had been undercut so dramatically by erosion the ground dropped anywhere from 1 to 2 feet when I pounded on the ground with the bucket of the tractor.   A potentially dangerous situation now remedied.” Future projects include replacement of the industrial style gate (the one right by the Regan Road entry to the bridge), locating some stones to hide the new culvert pipe and additional tree plantings to further secure the river bank.

Minutes and Reports from 2021 Annual Members Meeting

NOVEMBER 27, 2021

The meeting was held in the barn at the home of Patricia and John Adams.  Approximately thirty members were in attendance.  Reports and announcements began at 3:30pm.

INTRODUCTION.  FOBC President Josh Grier and Patricia Adams welcomed everyone to the meeting, and noted that due to COVID this was the first official in-person gathering of the membership since the summer of 2019.

BEAVERKILL VALLEY LAND TRUST.  Kate Adams spoke about the activities of the BVLT, and its assumption of the efforts to enter into and curate existing conservation land easements in the area.  She pointed out that BVLT has taken over much of this responsibility, which was previously managed by the Open Space Institute.  Kate O’Connor – our resident forest and environment professional who is currently working locally under the auspices of BVLT — spoke about the efforts to save the local forests from invasive pests, and about the renovation and re-opening of the Beech Mountain Nature Preserve.  A more detailed summary of BVLT activities is attached below.

COVERED BRIDGE CAMPSITE.  Carl Obecny spoke about on-going efforts to maintain and improve the Campsite day use and camping areas.  As a “local steward” working directly with the DEC in Albany, Carl is initiating a number of projects to keep the riverbanks intact and to preserve the area’s rural appearance.  Carl mentioned that he’d welcome any volunteers to assist in his efforts.

BEAVERKILL COMMUNITY CHURCH.  A report from Ed Cerny was read by Patricia.  Full text of that report attached below.

RAIL TRAIL EXPANSION.  Josh Grier and Jennifer Grossman reported on the intended expansion of the biking/hiking rail trail from Hurleyville to Livingston Manor, then possibly on to Roscoe.

CATSKILL MOUNTAINKEEPER UPDATE.  Executive Director Ramsay Adams spoke briefly about CMK priorities, including opposition to the proposed widening of Route 17 from Harriman to Liberty.

CANNABIS LEGALIZATION.  Sheila Shultz reminded everyone that the Town of Rockland will be considering the legal opening of retail and usage establishments in the Town – to either opt in or opt out of the NY State legalization of marijuana.  The open hearing is being held at Town Hall in Livingston Manor at 7pm on December 2.

BEAVERKILL VALLEY COOKBOOK.  The publication of Stirring Up Memories of Trout Town USA. A cookbook compiled of recipes from local residents was announced.  The book is available for sale at the Roscoe Free Library or by emailing Sally Cerny at sallypcerny@gmail.com

TREASURERS REPORT.  The bank account balance as of November 28 was $5940.40.  New member dues contributions of $775 were collected at the meeting.

CLOSING.  All members were encouraged to check out and possibly contribute to the FOBC website – friendsofbeaverkill.org.  

2021 Annual Members Meeting – Saturday November 27

Thanksgiving Weekend is coming up soon!

A reminder that we’ll be hosting a gathering of friends and families for all members of the Friends Of Beaverkill Community at the barn next to the home of Patricia and John Adams – on SATURDAY NOVEMBER 27 from 3:00PM til 5:00PM.  We hope some of you can stop by – its been awhile since we’ve convened in any organized manner.  Visiting family members, non-member friends and kids are welcome and encouraged!

Patricia will be hosting a Nature Walk through the Covered Bridge Campsite area, leaving from the barn at 2:30pm.  There will be a short meeting in the barn at 4:00pm, with some announcements about FOBC activities planned for 2022 and short presentations from the following local personalities:

KATE O’CONNER and KATE ADAMS – Beaverkill Valley Land Trust

CARL OBECNY – Renovations and improvements to the Covered Bridge Campsite grounds.

RAMSAY ADAMS – Catskill Mountainkeeper

ED CERNY – Beaverkill Community Church

We’ll have some food and drinks, for snacking and sipping.  Please feel free to bring along any contributions to the snack table that you may have.

COVID Policy:  For the health and safety of all, we’re requesting that all adults be vaccinated, and masks are encouraged when inside the barn.

FOBC Dues for 2022 are coming due in January.  You can save yourself the postage and bring cash or a check to the party.  Annual dues going forward are now $50 PER HOUSEHOLD.  Checks can be made payable to Friends Of Beaverkill Community.  A copy of Bruce Janklow’s new collection of impressionistic photos, all taken in the Beaverkill Valley,  “Homage” will be distributed to all members renewing their participation for 2022.

Hope to see you all then and there.

As usual, questions or other feedback can be sent to us at contact@beaverkillfriends.org.

Children’s Service at the Beaverkill Community Church

On August 1 (this Sunday), there will be a Children’s Service at the Beaverkill Community Church. The Bible story of Jonah and the Whale will be the theme.

Children who want to sing are invited to join in.  We will sing “Morning Has Broken”.  You can practice by listening to Cat Stevens on Youtube, and/or come by at 9:30 and we will practice it together.

All are welcome to this service and we hope to sing together and see how Jonah gets out of the belly of the whale!

Summer Sermons (Part 1)

Summer services at the Beaverkill Community Church on Craigie Clair Road continue this summer, through Labor Day Weekend. Every Sunday at 10:00am. Here’s a collection of a few of the sermons so far this year…

May 26: Mary Hall, 2021 Season Opening Message

June 13: Patricia Adams, The Community of Nature

June 20: Mary Hall, A Smooth River Stone

June 27: Sally Cerny, Then and Now

July 4: Ed Cerny, Free Will and Liberty for God and Man

July 18: Mary Hall, Dancing David

August 8: Laura Silverman, On Nature

Summer Schedule – Beaverkill Community Church

Summer services will commence again this season – every Sunday through Labor Day Weekend, beginning this Sunday May 30. As we did last summer – until further notice services – will be held outside the church on the back lawn. All are welcome, things usually get going around 10am. For the moment, might be a good idea to bring your own chair. Mary Hall will again be presiding, with various other FOBC regulars presenting sermons on topics related to life on the river and life in general. Transcripts of all sermons will also be posted on this site. Any questions, please email us. The church is located on Craigie Clair Road about a half mile downstream from the covered bridge.

OXLIPS V. COWSLIPS?

Local Beaverkill Valley residents Patricia Adams and Janet Nelson both spotted the same wildflowers blooming this Spring along the river…their reflections on the origin and identification of this species below…. 

FROM PATRICIA ADAMS:

I first noticed them about four years ago.  Pretty little yellow flowers springing up along the creek that follows Campsite Road and flows into the Beaverkill just below Duke and Kate’s house. I called them Trout Lilies at first, but soon learned that was incorrect. Then I called them Primroses, which isn’t exactly wrong—they are in the Primrose family. 

I had a hard time identifying them because I had seen very few over the years.  But last spring, Mermer Blakeslee told me they were Cowslips, which was a common flower in England but has declined over the years. These flowers had been planted here by Hazel Kelly, perhaps as a reminder of her childhood in England. John Kelly confirmed this (and also confirmed that they are Cowslips, not Primroses).

The Kelly’s have a wonderful house up in Larroway Hollow, that is totally ‘off the grid’. No electricity, delicious cold spring fed water beside the house, a hand built stone and wood out building, and wonderful gardens that Hazel and John developed over the years they spent summers there. The Cowslips have proliferated downstream, along what Timothy Foote told me is the ‘Schoolhouse Brook”, because it flowed  down from Larroway Hollow past the one room  Beaverkill School.(now gone with a modern house on the site)   The stream crosses under the road just where Campsite Road intersects with Beaverkill Road.

These beautiful little flowers are throughout our part of the Beaverkill Valley – but you don’t see them on other brooks or rivers. There are none along Berry Brook or over on the Willoweemoc. The ones you see have traveled downstream from the Kelly’s and taken residence along the river, the roads and through the campsite on the east side of the Beaverkill. 

I checked on Cowslips. They  are native British wildflowers and are actually named after cow ‘piles. They flourished on English farmland back in the days when livestock was an important source of fertilizer.  As farming methods ‘improved’,by plowing old grasslands and using herbicides,  they declined. Cowslips provide nectar in the Spring, and attract bees, moths and butterflies. They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The flowers can be eaten fresh with cream or brewed into tea. 

These flowers are a gift from Hazel and a reminder of things that grow in England.

FROM JANET NELSON:

Patricia had told us there were cowslips growing along Schoolhouse Brook, seeded from Hazel Kelly’s garden in Larroway hollow. The Cowslips I had known as a child in England had grown in the open meadows rather than in shady woods and a little research on the internet proved we were right . Cowslip flowers are bell-shaped and are a rich yellow color; they have a distinct apricot smell. 

Oxlip flowers are a paler yellow and open more like a primrose, all three are in the primula family and have confusing similarities. We were not able to find where else oxlips grow wild in the US. In England,  cowslips grow where cows graze, and oxslips are found mostly in the eastern counties of Essex and Suffolk. They also grow in Norway and western Russia but don’t seem to be widespread elsewhere.

The flowers we have here along the Beaverkill look to be Oxlips, rather than Cowslips. Both are rare and even endangered in some places. So, we’re lucky to have whatever they are- bright yellow spring flowers – along with the daffodils, the first spring bloom. 

A link that distinguished the two flowers is. http://www.uksafari.com/cowslips_or_oxlips.htm

.