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Nature Watch
Bobcats in Beaverkill
contributed by Patricia Adams, August 15, 2016

Photo by Zelda Adams.
Click on image to enlarge.

A small bobcat was spotted between the Adams house and the church on Friday, August 12th. It looks like a young bobcat that has been "pushed out" of the nest.  He/she seemed almost tame and we (John, Patricia and Zelda) were able to watch it for quite a while as he/she pounced, cleaned itself and then stretched out on a log for a rest.

Tom Burnham and his family also saw a Bobcat, on Sunday the 14th in their yard on Ragin Road.
We’ve seen Bobcats on and off for years. They are very shy and hard to see, but these two may be "kittens" just learning to fend form themselves.


Brandon's Bach
Tenor Sax in Church
contributed by Virginia Lawrence, posted August 15

At yesterday's service SUNY junior Brandon Sparkman, the Beaverkill Community Church keyboard artist, played an exerpt from a Bach cello suite on his tenor sax.  This will be Brandon's final musical offering for the season - next week at this time he'll be back in class at Fredonia. 

Click on image to enlarge.


Burglars at Campsite
Rangers' Cabin Broken Into over Weekend

Contributed by Virginia Lawrence August 3, 2016

On Tuesday, August 2, 2016 a State Trooper drove up to our house to report a break-in at the Ranger's Cabin next to the covered bridge sometime during the weekend of July 30-31.  He wanted to know if we had seen or heard anything unusual.   No, we hadn't. 

At this time, the cabin is used as the office of the covered bridge restoration construction team.  The burglars broke a window and a lock to get inside, but left empty-handed, unable to remove the computers which were there. 

The Trooper asked that anyone who sees anything suspicious at the campsite should call the State Police at (845) 292-6600.




Contributed by Patricia Adams, July 31

The Campsite has been very busy this summer with hundreds of day use people as well as all 52 campsites filled every weekend, even though the bridge continues to be under construction.  John Roucek and Darlene Rodrequez, with their staff, Alex Serdiouk and Derek Shultis, have done a remarkable job of keeping the area safe, clean and welcome to all.

The campsite and bridge are undergoing a major renovation. With the help of individual donors working with John Adams and Erik Kulleseid from The Open Space Institute and the Alliance for New York State Parks, a Beaverkill Master Plan is being developed. This plan includes a history of the Tannery built in 1832, the bridge construction supervised by John Davidson in 1865, the establishment of the public campground in the 1920s and work by the CCC in the 1930s. 

Open Space Institute // Alliance for New York State Parks

Beaverkill Master Plan

Click here to go to the report.

The plan highlights opportunities for restoring historic features on the site (bridge approaches and abutments, CCC and other DEC structures); interpreting four major historical themes (early industrial development; fly fishing in the Beaverkill valley; CCC campground development; and land conservation in the valley); and assessing and restoring the compromised ecology of the site.

An effort to “restore the compromised ecology” started this June.   A group of young people, 10 men and one woman, with Excelsior Conservation Corp  (ECC) summer program worked in the campsite. These interns are with AmeriCorps and come from as far south as New York City and as far west as Buffalo. They basically work for food and place to sleep (in a tent) and a few dollars a week.

Seeing them in the campsite reminds us of the fact that in the 1930s a very similar group of young people worked to build the campsite with the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC).  Over 300 young men came to Beaverkill to work on building cabins, tent sites, laying pipes for water throughout the campground and building fireplaces.

Today the primary goal of these workers is to get rid of Japanese Knotweed, Multiflora Rose and Barberry, invasive species that have become rampant in the campsite.  Under the supervision of John Thompson, the CRISP (Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership) coordinator and Evan Sweeny, both from the Catskill Center, they dug up Barberry and Multiflora Rose. The knotweed is more challenging. They have bent the plants over all through the campsite and in September, they will spray a mild herbicide over them.  This is less labor intensive than putting herbicide down each plant root and also uses less herbicide. It is an experiment; no one has found a sure fire way to rid the riverbanks from this plague. 

Below is a map of the knotweed infestation in the campsite. Bill Rudge, Natural Resources Supervisor for Region 3, reported that the Excelsior Conservation Corps is returning to level more knotweed from August 15- August 24. Any homeowners who have knotweed and would like to participate in this experiment, can contact John Thompson at jthompson@catskillcenter.org. He may help you draw up a plan.

  Click on map to enlarge.

The architectural firm, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture has come up with a vision document that will help guide our work to protect and enhance the site and its special resources.

As a part of enhancing the campsite, the Theodore Gordon FlyFishers, Inc. has commissioned two benches that were designed and made by Bob Batchik. His carpentry company, Sunfish Wood Works, is in Michigan. The benches will most likely be placed on the island near good fishing spots. Bob brought his daughter with him when he delivered the benches and was lucky enough to spend a day or two with Bert Darrow, President of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc. He and his daughter caught some impressive fish.

Click on bench to enlarge.
The arms of the benches are trouts!
Click to enarge.

With support from the Friends of Beaverkill Community, the Beaverkill Covered Bridge was put on the Historic Register when George Pataki was Governor.  Now, under Governor Cuomo, and the support of both the DOT and the DEC, two million dollars have been allocated for renovation of the bridge. DEC has set aside an additional $250,000 for the restoration of the old stonewalls which form the abutments on the east side of the bridge.

Joseph Boris has been contracted by the DOT to supervise the renovation of the bridge and he has consistently talked with interested residents about the progress. He also gave John Adams over 100 wooden ‘pins’ that were taken out of the bridge.  John plans to give these historic objects to donors to the project.

Supervisor Joe Boris for the Bridge Rehabilitation Project.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photo to enlarge.

This reconstruction of the bridge and campsite has been a true team effort. Bill Rudge, from DEC has been incredibly supportive from the beginning. Both state agencies the DEC and DOT have worked to maintain the integrity of the bridge and a great deal of progress has been made so far. Donors contributing to this effort to ensure that the campsite will be greatly improved and we will all be able to enjoy a living history of our section of the Beaverkill River.

Text in pdf format.


Rambling Outdoors
Tales of Forest, Field and Stream
Lloyd Barnhart, July 29, 2016


The Roscoe Free Library now has  copy of Lloyd Barnhart's new book, Rambling Outdoors: Tales of Forest, Field and Stream.  

A number of the pieces in Rambling Outdoors have also appeared on this website.

Click on photo to enlarge.    


Bridge Restoration Update
The Boris Brothers and the Acrow Bridge
Contributed by Virginia Lawrence July 19, 2016

Supervisor Joe Boris for the Bridge Rehabilitation Project.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photo to enlarge.
Master Carpenter John Boris standing in front of the Acrow bridge.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photo to enlarge.


Yesterday I walked down to the Covered Bridge in the early morning where I spoke with the Supervisor, Joe Boris, who explained that in the next two or three days the construction team was going to remove some shims, and that something (?) would be lowered by about 3 inches.

When I got home, I realized I didn’t really understand what was going to happen, so I went back to find out more.  During the course of three more trips to the covered bridge the Boris brothers, Supervisor Joe and Master Carpenter John, explained the bridge rehabilitation project in a very clear way.

Rehabilitation Project

John said that the bridge was constructed with a slight arch from end to end known as a camber.  He illustrated this concept by lacing his fingers together palms down.  When the bridge is resting on the two foundations at either end the weight of the bridge pushes down (he pushed his hands down), the trusses tighten, and the whole structure becomes rigid.

The diagonal lattice pieces were held together with wooden dowels, “trunnels” or “treenails.”  In order to replace the damaged timbers it would be necessary to remove the trunnels.   However, the camber  of the wooden bridge would first need to be loosened by raising the wooden bridge off its foundations.  Again, John illustrated with his hands.

The wooden trusses are pegged together with wooden dowels, known as either "trunnels" or "treenails."
Photo Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photo to enlarge.

Here is where the Acrow bridge came in.  An Acrow bridge, made of steel trusses, was assembled inside the wooden bridge.   It rested on the new stone ramp at one end and on Ragin road at the other  Once in place, it was raised with shims (small wedges) so that the wooden bridge was lifted off its foundations by about three inches.  With the wooden bridge hanging in place, supported by the Acrow bridge, the structure was no longer rigid.  The trunnels could be removed and the timbers replaced.

The gray steel structure behind the construction worker is an Acrow Bridge, a temporary extendible bridge.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photo to enlarge.

Time Line

In the next few days (July 19-22) the shims under the Acrow bridge will be removed, the Acrow bridge will be lowered about 3 inches, the wooden bridge will settle back onto its foundations, and lattices and trunnels will be tight again.  Joe told me the difference will not be visible. 

The Acrow bridge is due to be removed sometime in August, and that will be easy to see.


John Boris says that he’s worked all over the place in the State of New York, but that this specific location is his favorite.  He has seen eagles flying over and trout jumping out of the river.  He loves being here because of the site's peacefulness and beauty. 




Town's Lattice Truss.
Click on diagram to enlarge.

Joe told me the Beaverkill Covered Bridge was built in a style known as Town’s Lattice Truss,  patented on  January 28, 1820, by architect/civil engineer Ithiel Town. 


Solarize Sullivan
is launching at the Catskill Brewery on Thursday July 28th at 6PM
contributed Ilene Ferber July 18, 2016

Solarize Sullivan is a program of Catskill Mountainkeeper that makes it easy to install solar at discount prices and reduce your carbon footprint.   Solar consultants walk you through the entire process from planning to installation.

To RSVP, please click here
For more info click here


Bridge Restoration Update
The Stone Ramp
Contributed by Virginia Lawrence July 18, 2016

I was descending into a giant gravel pit.  July 18th.
Photos Virginia Lawrence. Click on photo to enlarge
Having only website photos to keep myself up-to-date on the restoration of the bridge during my 10-month winter absence, I was not prepared for what I saw when I walked down there yesterday evening for the first time since my return.  As I came down the hill into the campsite, the bridge was not fully visible at first.  My impression was that I was descending into a giant gravel pit. 

Eric Hamerstrom had explained in February that a new temporary ramp had been built up to the height of the bridge floor so that long steel truss supports could be slid into place through the bridge. They were to rest on the new fill at one end and on Ragin road at the other, and would support the bridge from inside while the damaged wooden timbers were replaced.

There were plenty of photos of this ramp, of course, but the ramp itself never caught my attention.  I was more interested in the progress on the bridge.

Yesterday (July 17th) was Sunday, and in spite of the ongoing construction, the picnic area was full. I had seen a convoy of a vehicles drive in around 11am.  When I walked down there at 6pm the beach goers just packing up to go home.

I went back down this morning (July 18th).  The beach goers were gone, but the construction workers had begun to arrive.     
Straight ahead the Rangers' garage.  The roof of the
Rangers' cabin is visible at the left.  July 18th.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Stone ramp seen from the downstream side.
The gravel-covered beach is fully visible at left.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Stone ramp seen from the upstream side.  About 10
Sunday beach goers are still gathered round their picnic tables.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Closeup of the stone ramp seen from the upstream side.  
This stone ramp extends from the bridge to the
driveway of the rangers' cabin.
Click on photo to enlarge.


Rust in Peace
Paintings by John Hamilton Adams

Click on photo to enlarge.


Saturday, July 23-Monday, August 1

Opening reception 4:30 - 6:30 Saturday, July 23rd

John and his family, Toby, Lulu and Zelda, are moving back to Beaverkill after 4 wonderful years in California.  His new work is a compilation of rusty images from a steady diet of camping and road trips around the southwest combined with the dormant metal he knows so well here in the Catskills.  From old beer cans to beat up farm trucks this show will have everything in all sizes but only if it’s been kicked around long enough to look experienced.

Morgan Outdoors
46 Main Street, Livingston Manor


garden at Berry Brook Farm
open on Saturday, July 2nd, from 10-4:00.

310 Henderson Hollow Road 
Roscoe, NY

We’re proud and excited that The Garden Conservancy is hosting our garden for its national Open Days Program. Please come, walk around, linger, picnic, ask questions about plants, stones, soil, water, horses, old trucks, endless expansion. . . an undying obsession with beauty & place or the crazy conundrum of working hard to cultivate wildness. 

~ Mermer and Eric

For more information, here’s the link to the Open Day at Berry Brook Farm and the other four surprisingly unique gardens in Delaware County.

Click on photo to enlarge.


Second Annual CAS Gala 

Saturday, July 9, 2016 | 6 to 9pm | at Beaverkill Valley Inn 

Guest of Honor:  NY State Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther 

$150 per person, $125 per CAS Member 
$1250 per table of 10, $25 per child under 8 

RSVP by July 2 
Tickets at www.catskillartsociety.org/donations
or contact us at 845-436-4227 or info@catskillartsociety.org 


Bridge Restoration III
Latest photo contributed by Roger Lawrence, June 1st, 2016

Click on photo to enlarge.



Nature Watch:
Spring Colors in the Beaverkill
Contributed by Patricia Adams, May 21, 2016

This spring has been slow, with snow falling as late as May 15, but perhaps this has enhanced the colors that we’ve seen. Rather than spring bursting out in full color, the greens have slowly gotten richer while the yellows and whites deepened. Yellow primrose and blue violets blanketed the forest.
The fresh green grass provided a perfect background for new visitors in our back yard. For the first time we saw Scarlett Tanagers, who at first look like Cardinals but are much more orange and brilliant. Migs Wright and I were walking up by Beech Hill Road and a beautiful tanager hoped along beside us for at least a quarter of a mile. One afternoon we saw two Indigo Buntings sharing the yard with a couple of Robins and at lease six Goldfinches. They were all eating dandelion seeds. We’ve had one of the largest crops of dandelions as well.  Two Baltimore Oriels are back, fusing at one another.  We usually have two nests, at opposite ends of our lawn. We haven’t seen a bluebird, although others have seen them in the valley.

A beaver has been working hard in the stream that flows by Sally Shea’s. He/she has a series of dams that seem to grow almost daily. However, I’ve never see the beaver at work. But last week I did see a head moving through the water, so I crouched down to watch what was happening. This animal smoothly swam up past the dams holding green grass in its mouth. It dove down into a hole by the side of the stream and then surfaced. But it wasn’t a beaver, it was a Muskrat. I watched as she made three trips with grass to her den, so must have a brood there. We’ve also seen a muskrat in our pond. (Which unfortunately will have the invasive lilies blanketing the pond again this year. We do have a clear reflection pond from October to May, but the lilies return regularly.)

The peepers have left but we have a whole new crop of singing frogs along the banks of the river. We keep watching for newts but have only seen a few. Snakes have emerges but are moving slowly.
Above I’ve been watching the pair of Blue Heron’s we see each year and I’m trying to figure out where they have built their nest. Last year it was in the tall hemlocks on the West side of the river just down the river from the bridge. We also have a pair of eagles that fly up and down the river, but no idea where they have their nest.

On the ground and in some bare branches I saw hundreds of spider webs on Mother’s Day. I was amazed at how quickly they had appeared. But was even more amazed at how quickly they disappeared; they were all gone on Monday morning. We did have a heavy rain that night but how ephemeral those delicate looking but strong little webs are John Burroughs said, “To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday.”  I’ve found I learn a great deal by taking the same morning walk along the Beaverkill.


Bridge Restoration II
Latest photos contributed by Roger Lawrence, May 17th, 2016

Note: The beach has been transformed into a rocky roadbed.
Click on photos to enlarge.

A worker finishing the treenails, the pegs that
attach the various structural pieces


Bridge Restoration MAY UPDATE

photos contributed by Roger Lawrence, May 5th, 2016

Click on photos to enlarge.


Bridge Restoration
Temporary Build Up

Contributed by Patricia Adams, April 10th, 2016

The DOT (Department of Transportation) is doing the job in coordination with the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation). The DOT’s main concern is safety and expense, so the Bridge committee - right now represented by John Adams and Eric Hamerstrom - meets with the supervisor, Joe Boris at the work site as well as Bill Rudge from DEC. 

The plan is to complete the heavy re-construction by August, then there will be landscaping, beautification work that will continue into the fall.

Our committee is advocating restoring the bridge as historically accurately as possible. Two issues are the ramp leading up to the bridge from the east side and the west side bridge support which is now cement. The goal is to have the ramp restored with laid up stones  and the cement on the west side covered with stone work. It would help a great deal if there were pictures of the bridge before 1950 that shows  how these ramps were done originally. (We have one that Eric sent John, but there could be more somewhere that gives a better view of the ramp.)


If any FOBC members have pictures of the bridge with the original stone work, could they fax a copy to John Adams at 845 - 439-4704.


Bridge Restoration
Temporary Build Up

Contributed by Eric Hamerstrom, February 14, 2016

Click on photo to enlarge.
The photo shows the new temporary ramp built up to the height of the bridge floor so that long steel truss supports can be slid into place through the bridge. They will rest on the new fill on one end and the road on the other, and will support the bridge from inside while the damaged wooden timbers are replaced.  The roller is on top of the pile and the big excavator is parked at the bottom.

cold hearts for Valentine's Day

Today's temperature in Roscoe is expected to climb to 5 degrees during the day, and plummet to -4 tonight.  (www.wunderground.com)


In memory of Tim Foote

contributed by Peter Malik, January 10, 2016

Tim reading The Color Kittens to Blake.
Click on image to play movie.

Tim called the house one weekend last October, saying he had a few books for our Blake, then 18 months old. I started to discuss plans for a dinner or some such involved thing, but Tim interrupted me gently, simply suggesting to pop over right away. He stepped out of his car in our driveway 10 minutes later.

Blake, a naturally friendly fellow, took to Tim with particular ease. Perhaps to reward him, Tim proceeded to read to him from The Color Kittens by Margaret Brown, one of the books he brought.

Everybody enjoyed this pop-up book club. And one of the guests who were staying over even had the quick wit to catch it all on his phone.

I don't think Tim was even aware.


Remembering tim Foote


Tim and Audrey Foote at Beaverkill, 2003.
Click on image to enlarge.

Timothy Foote died at home in Beaverkill on December 22, from mesothelioma.   He was the son of John Taintor Foote, a writer and film producer, and Jessica Todhunter, a stage actress from Canada.

Though born in London during the 1926 general strike, he spent his childhood in Beaverkill.   He was  sent in 1937 to the Bishop Ridley school in Ontario, joining his older brother Peter.  This initial foray into education was not congenial; subsequently he spent part of each school in Grammercy Park in NYC, attending Friends Seminary.   This was more fruitful, with memorable teachers and meeting Audrey Chamberlain.

Failing the eye exam for the Marine Corps, he entered the Navy in June 1944, immediately after graduating from Friends.   He served on the USS Block Island, an escort aircraft carrier, in the Pacific, including the battles of Okinawa and Balikpapan, and the liberation of British POWs.

Entering Harvard in 1946, he studied English Lit, graduated with prizes and high honors in 1949, and went to work for LIFE magazine in New York.   After a year off trying teaching in a prep school in Missouri, and another year at Harvard for an MA, he returned to LIFE, and was sent to Paris in 1954 as a correspondent.

For four years, he covered stories throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Near East.   Back in NY, he stayed with LIFE as an editor until 1962, then transferred to TIME as the Books Editor.

In 1982 he moved to Washington DC, to join the Board of Editors of the Smithsonian Magazine.  Retiring in 2000 at age 73, he continued to live in Washington, caring for his wife Audrey through 12 years of Alzheimer’s, before returning to Beaverkill after her death in 2012.   He much enjoyed the conviviality of the Beaverkill community.

He is survived by four children and five grandchildren.   A memorial service will be held next summer in Beaverkill.

posted January 5, 2016


Beaverkill Valley
Forest Habitat Workshop

Contributed by Mia Wilkinson. posted September 20, 2015

Click on image to enlarge.

Kindly register by September 28th by contacting Suzanne Treyger at streyger@audubon.org or (607) 254-2122.


Storm Clouds over Church

contributed by Bruce Janklow, posted September 5, 2015

Photo Bruce Janklow.
Click on image to enlarge.


Daughters of the American Revolution coming to church on FRiday, October 11 for historical fete

contributed by Mary Hall, posted September 5, 2015


Yes, it’s true, after just having a conversation with Carol Norris, it seems that the Sullivan County DAR is called the Beaverkill Chapter and they will be having an historical fete at the church, as follows:

“The Beaverkill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will be celebrating Revolutionary War heroes on Sunday, October 11, 2015, at 2:00 PM, at the Beaverkill Cemetery, adjacent to and across the street from the Beaverkill Church, at 101 Craigie Clair Road in Roscoe, NY.  The ceremony will include a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Beaverkill Chapter of the DAR and a keynote address by John Conway, author and Sullivan County historian.

The Beaverkill Chapter of the DAR represents all of Sullivan County.  The church will be open for the event.”


Top Chef to the Manor
Renowned Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini Plans Chocolate & Coffee Factory in Sullivan County

Posted September 2, 2015

Johnny Iuzzini has made desserts for many of the world’s rich and famous, including creating petit fours in a chocolate room he built at Manhattan’s celebrated Restaurant Jean Georges. As executive pastry chef at the Michelin-starred icon for nine years, he was twice nominated and once crowned the James Beard Foundation’s outstanding pastry chef. He has studied in France and worked for some of the biggest names in New York City’s restaurant industry, including Daniel Boulud. He has written two critically acclaimed cookbooks and been featured on most of the food shows you’ve heard of, including Bravo’s “Top Chef,” for which he serves at head judge of the “Just Desserts” version.



Beavers in the Zendo
contributed by Donna and Peter Malik
posted September 2, 2015

My wife Donna and I spent several wonderful hours in the Buddhist Zendo not far from Balsam Lake last Saturday. We often wondered what it was like on our trips to and from the Balsam Lake fire tower -- one of our favorite hikes -- so we jumped on the opportunity to see it courtesy of their annual Open Family Day.



Dollar General eyes The Manor
from the Sullivan County Democrat, by Dan Hust

Posted September 2, 2015

Yet another Dollar General store is being proposed in Sullivan County, this time in Livingston Manor. The former Vitale Lumber Mill is being eyed by Dollar General developers. They formally approached the Rockland Planning Board this month, which told them to either scale back dimensions to meet setback requirements or to seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

A Dollar General just opened in Jeffersonville, joining existing stores in Liberty, White Lake, Fallsburg, and Wurtsboro.  A similar store proposal is wending its way through the planning process in Eldred.



Lee Siegal

Former Town of Rockland Supervisor Lee Siegel, Always Involved in the Community, Dies at 95

details and video

Posted September 2, 2015


Brandon's Bach
Tenor Sax in Church
contributed by Virginia Lawrence, posted August 16

At today's service SUNY sophomore Brandon Sparkman, the Beaverkill Community Church keyboard artist, played two Bach Bourees on his tenor sax.  Alas, this will be Brandon's final musical offering for the season - next week at this time he'll be hitting the books in Fredonia once again.

Brandon has promised Bob Jones and Ed Cerny to return next summer.  Thanks, Brandon!

Photos Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photos to enlarge.


AGM DRAFT MINUTES: LAST Year's Annual General Meeting August 16, 2014

Contributed by Steve Levine, posted August 16, 2015

These DRAFT minutes were reviewed by the Board on August 8 and will be presented for approval by the FOBC membership at this year's AGM on August 29.  Please read them in advance.



Contributed by David Barnes, posted August 13, 2015

Saturday, September 12
5:30 to 9:30pm
At the Beaverkill Valley Inn



Cat Hollow Sand & Sand & GraveL
Winter Sports in June
Contributed by Judy Rosen, posted August 12, 2015

I stopped to look at the action down there as I drove past. Asked some questions: what happens when they sink? Do the machines get hurt? The answer was that they pull them out and they are back in action in about ten minutes! Go figure. I didn't pay and go in but I pulled up off 206 and watched for a few minutes.

Re: July 20 news item: here


Dundas Castle Myths Debunked
Was she crazy?
Contributed by Bruce Janklow, posted August 12, 2015

The History of the Dundas castle is shrouded in a significant amount of local lore and misinformation. There are many stories about Scottish nobility owners, a castle built for a young beautiful Scottish bride, a mentally unstable wife who was locked up there and eventually went mad, even heart shaped pools that fill with blood at the full moon.

continuation here

Dundas Castle June 3, 2015 Plannng Board item: here


Flood Resistant Riverpath
Excerpted from Nathaniel DePaul / Manor Ink
Posted August 10, 2015

Livingston Manor is applying for a grant to build a riverwalk, a path behind the businesses on the river side of Main Street. The plan is proposed to take place over the course of the next couple years.

With some outside grant funding from the Sullivan County Funding Corporation, and in partnership with the Sullivan County Planning Department, the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce hired the global planning firm Hart-Howerton to create plans for this project.

The plan theoretically connects Renaissance Park to Main Street by a path of roughly 200 yds. It would go around the back of the businesses on the creek side of the street. The installation of the path would be done in a way that it would be flood resistant, as that area is definitely part of the floodplain.

Any questions, comments or concerns about the plan should be directed to Lisa Lyons, Chamber of Commerce President, at Morgan Outdoors, 46 Main Street.  Full article on Manor Ink website.

Letters of Support:

from Catskill Art Society CAS
from Friends of Beaverkill Community FOBC

If you would like to express your support for this project, please write to Robert Eggleton, Town Supervisor, Town of Rockland, Town Hall 95 Main Street, Livngston Manor NY 12758


Dollar & Dundas Debated
Two items of interest from the Rockand Planning Board minutes June 3, 2015
posted August 10, 2015

Dollar General
"Vitale Mill property [old Livingston Manor lumber yard] - an environmental company has done some soil test drilling and may come before the board with a subdivision plan and site plan for a Dollar General store."

Dundas Castle
"An e-mail had been received from Mr. Handel concerning Dundus [sic]
Castle. Mr. Handel would like to renovate the castle and turn it into a bed and breakfast operation with a restaurant. This may be a historical property with conservation restrictions attached to it. Chairman Ellison will contact Mr. Handel."

June 3, 2015 Rockland Planning Board minutes in pdf format.

Note:  Town of Rockland Planning Board minutes are posted
on the Town's website.  At the top of this page you'll find
a link to archived meeting minutes including the latest draft
for July 1, 2015.


Down in the Dugway
Who's in charge?
posted August 10, 2015

Sometime between 11am on Sunday the 9th and 10am on Monday the 10th a largish dead tree came down across the dugway on Craigie Clair Road.  It would have been bad news indeed for anyone in its path!  As it was, a civic-minded person stood the tree back up leaving only a wide band of bark from one side of the road to another.

Who's in charge here to make sure trees come down in a controlled way while there's still a choice?  Aerial tree specialist, Bob Boddy, can do it, but he needs to be asked.  -- Virginia Lawrence


Trout Valley Farm Lands in Church
Fred Banks unveils painting to congregation
Reported by Virginia Lawrence, August 2, 2015

When lay pastor Mary Hall asked for announcements, Fred Banks stepped to the front with a blanketed parcel.  Unwrapping it, he revealed a painting given to him by his son on his (Fred's) 77th birthday showing Trout Valley Farm, and across the road the house where Fred was born. Down the road on the golf course amid its hazards sheep are safely grazing.

Because we see the church in the distance, we cannot be sure if the original pointy steeple was still in place (it was still there in 1910) or if it had already been replaced by the stubby shingled pyramid that Steve Lott took down last year in order to install a new copper spire.

Fred likes to look at his painting every day, so he declined to leave it in church. However, he has promised to bring it back once a year on his birthday. 

Photo Archives:

Beaverkill Yesterday:  here
Steeple Stories - here

This is what you would have seen on the Craigie Clair Road
at the turn of the 20th Century.  Trout Valley Farm in the center with its barn to the left;  the house on the right where Fred Banks
was born; the Beaverkill church in the distance. 
Painting by E. Sipple.  Photo Virginia Lawrence.

Click on painting to enlarge.


Nature Watch:
Give the Monarchs a Chance!
Contributed by Patricia Adams, July 30, 2015

Don’t’ touch that Milkweed! It is the primary and absolutely necessary plant to help keep the Monarch Butterflies in existence. These Butterflies have decreased by 90% since 1995, and one of the major reasons is because milkweed has been removed from so many fields and open areas. We have a great deal of milkweed here in the Beaverkill – and although many do consider it a weed, it is essential for the Monarchs.

The butterflies actually go through 4 generations in a year– the first generation comes back to the U.S. from Mexico and lays eggs in the Spring.   These hatch, last about 6 weeks, lay eggs again, and die.  A third generation does the same – but it is the fourth generation that hatches and flies back to Mexico for the winter. It is this generation that is essential for the survival of the butterflies, and without milkweed, they cannot hatch, eat and fly south. Many ‘blame’ Mexico for destroying the winter habitat, but a great deal is being done there by the government to protect it.

A quote from Wikipedia says: A 2014 study acknowledged that while “the protection of overwintering habitat has no doubt gone a long way towards conserving monarchs that breed throughout eastern North America,” their research indicates that habitat loss on breeding grounds in the United States is the main cause of both recent and projected population declines.

Last fall I only saw 4 Monarch Butterflies – but we’ve already seen a few this summer – so please leave your milkweed until after the first frost and give the butterflies a chance.


Bridge Restoration
Update July 25
Photo Mike Teitler, July 25, 2015

Click on photo to enlarge.

~Bridge Restoration
Beginning of Third Day 7am
Photo Virginia Lawrence, July 22, 2015

It is no longer possible to sneak across the covered bridge on foot if that should be your inclination.  A full plywood shield has replaced the flimsy orange plastic fencing at the bridge entrance.

On the job from 7am to 4pm the workers have already piled the old siding in the picnic area and stacked the original floorboards where the snack shack used to be.  Lots of progress very fast!


Click on image to enlarge.

~Bridge Restoration
End of First Day

Photos Virginia Lawrence, July 20, 2015
Swimmers under the bridge at the end of the afternoon.

Swimmers under the bridge by 4pm.
Click on image to enlarge.

~Bridge Work Begins
Photos Virginia Lawrence, July 20, 2015

Work on the restoration of the bridge got underway this morning.

Click on images to enlarge.



Burning Bush at the Church
Contributed by Virginia Lawrence, posted July 20, 2015

July 19 was Children's Sunday at the Beaverkill Community Church, and the service was attended by half a dozen little ones. They were all in voice and joined the choir for a lusty interpretation of "Let My People Go."  After the musical introduction, the congregation was treated to a dramatic performance of "Moses and the Burning Bush."  

This critic found Bob Jones completely believable as GOD.  Judith Katz, as a cheeky Moses, finally capitulated to his (GOD's) demands that she (Moses) travel to Egypt, confront the Pharaoh, and deliver her people to the promised land.

Moses and the Burning Bush Drama - script
Photo Margaret O'Connell
Click on image to enlarge.



Cat Hollow Sand & Gravel recycled
Contributed by Virginia Lawrence, posted July 20, 2015

Now that the Sand & Gravel business next to Hodges has closed, the pit has been flooded to create a water sports arena.   Snowmobilers, grateful to extend their season into the summer, gathered there in June for a meet.

Apparently, if it can maintain its speed, a snowmobile can glide on the water without sinking.  Those that did sink were easily brought back to the surface, I was told.  The lake isn’t more than a few feet deep.

Judith Katz heard the racket, but couldn't figure out what it was.

Are any of you aware of this new recreational venue for our area?  My source for the info was the Car Service driver who brought me here from Newark on the 16th.


Limo from Newark
posted July 18, 2015 by Virginia Lawrence

I flew into Newark on July 16 and was met by a driver from the Roscoe-Rockland Car Service who delivered me to Beaverkill.  Not too expensive, and it certainly was easier than renting a car and driving myself here.

Roscoe-Rockland Car Service
Phone: 607 498-4400
Email: dclark9686@aol.com
The dispatcher is Danny (Daniel Clark) working out of Walton.


Beaverkill Bridge Closure Imminent
Rehabilitation to begin on Thursday, July 9
Contributed by David Barnes, July 7, 2015

On July 6 David received an official letter, dated July 2, from NYS Dept. of Transportation:

"Re Beaverkill Covered Bridge Rehabilitation --- Work to rehabilitate the bridge has been awarded to Sullivan County Paving and Construction of Cochecton NY, through a competitive bidding process. Construction work is expected to begin immediately. During construction it will be necessary to close the bridge to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Weather permitting, the bridge closure will begin on July 9, 2015. Traffic will be detoured along Beaverkill Valley Road, Holiday Brook Road and Campsite Road, a total distance of 6.3 miles round trip.

Based on the current construction schedule, the bridge is expected to reopen in time for the 2016 summer season. This schedule is weather-dependent and subject to change based on details of the project or other field conditions. During construction, an engineer will be on-site to oversee the contractor and address any concerns that may arise Please contact Mike Schwartz, P.E. Construction Supervisor by phone at 607-721-8091 or at Mike.Schwartz@dot.ny.gov  ."


The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory
by Stacy Wakefield
Contributed by Josh Grier, June 15, 2015

Click on image to enlarge.

Stacy Wakefield, Livingston Manor resident, has just had her second novel “The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory" published by Akashic Books.

This novel, a semi-memoir chronicling a young woman’s adventures in the “squatter” culture of NYC’s Lower East Side and Williamsburg in the mid-‘90s, is another product of Mermer Blakeslee’s fiction writing workshops.

Stacy, together with several other Akashic writers, read from the book recently at Catskill Arts Center.

Available on Amazon in various formats.


Campsite Progress Report
Restoration/repair of the Covered Bridge
Reported by Patricia Adams
Posted June 6, 2015

This is to bring FOBC members up to date on the progress with the restoration and repair of the Covered Bridge. 

Representatives from OSI, CMK,TNC as well as interested residents recently met with Bill Rudge and Assistant Commissioner Cathy Moser of DEC. The contract for the bridge, initiated by the DOT,  is out for bid and may already have been awarded. The price is larger than the original $1,000,000 but it appears that DOT will make up the difference. Work could start as soon as the contract is finalized, perhaps this summer.  Once started, the repair could last as long as 15 months.

OSI and TNC have recommended that there should be an study by experts on historical structures and public use,  to assure that the historic nature of existing campsite buildings,  including those  constructed by the CCC in the early 1930’s, be preserved.  This would include the old ranger cabin, the original springhouse as well as a number of buildings in the old part of the campsite. 

An historical architect will cost around $30,000 but would assure that the issues of historical interest that we have discussed would be preserved. This is important because our campsite is one of the oldest in New York State and is unique in its ‘old fashioned’ family camping spots. 

Several people have put up initial money to start a fund to cover the cost. An architectural firm with a practice specializing in historical restoration has been hired to draft an outline of the project. 

If any members of FOBC would like to contribute to this fund for the historical plan and preservation, please send a check to either OSI, 1350 Broadway, Rm. 201, NYC 10018 or Catskill Mountainkeeper, P.O. Box 1000, Livingston Manor, NY 12758,  with a notation that it be used for the Covered Bridge Project. 

Silent Services Auction
on day of Trout Parade
posted June 2, 2015

Evan Padua of Sweetwater Guide Service with Brown Trout
Bid on a half-day float fishing or nature trip on the Delaware River
Cliick on image to enlarge.

The Annual Livingston Manor Library’s Services Auction returns to the Catskill Art Society on the day of the Trout Parade, Saturday, June 13 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Similar to other silent auctions, bids are recorded anonymously. However, rather than tangible items, bids are placed on services donated by community members and library supporters. 

For a peek at the list of services and a chance to bid early, go to livingstonmanorlibrary.org and click on the Services Auction link between now and June 12. For more information call:
845 439 5440


March 7: Beaverkill Bridge reopens
The snow fell off the roof.
reported by Suzanne Bevier


UPDATE: Bridge Restoration

Courtesy Adams family.
Click on image to enlarge.

Contributed by Patricia Adams

Posted February 8, 2015

With the NYSDOT (New York State Department of Transportation) and a pledge from Uncle Sam of $1,000,000 the bridge is scheduled to be restored. The DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) has pledged $250,000 for work to be done, which could include restoration of the original laid up stone ramps and work on the existing bathhouses and ranger cabin. This will provide opportunities for education centers and historic information for campers and visitors.

There was a public meeting about the bridge restoration a year ago, but a final schedule for beginning restoration has not yet been announced by the DOT. FOBC members can contact the DOT to try and get information, but as of this date, there has not been a public announcement about the schedule of work.

full text in PDF format


Born at DUNDAS Castle

contributed by Roger Martin, January 16, 2015

My parents, Eugene and Babette Martin.
Click on photos to enlarge.

I was born on the grounds of the castle on Apr. 12, 1941.  Eugene and Babette Martin were caretakers and we lived in the stone house.  Dad reconstructed the (arched) windows of the castle. He was a cabinet maker by trade.  I remember the castle very well. I was
surprised it had an intercom system. As a baby, my mother bathed me in the Beaverkill river.  I loved the tall pines.

Bio: Rog Martin is really just a country boy at heart, raised in the Catskill Mountains in the small town of Roscoe, New York, population 600. At age fifteen, he asked for and received his own radio show on WVOS in Liberty, New York, and later ended up in Southern California where he now hosts the TV show "Out and About with Roger Martin."

more about Dundas Castle here


Nature Watch:
No Time for Bats to rest easy

 from the NY Times, January 12, 2015, 
contributed by Peter Malik, January 16, 2015

Pallas’s long-tongued bat, above, is a valuable pollinator. Hibernating bats are vulnerable to white-nose syndrome, which has killed at least six million of them in North America. Credit Merlin D. Tuttle/Bat Conservation International
Click on image to enlarge.

If we look up around sunset, we all see bats, these wonderful creatures which flutter about above our porches and beyond. For some reason I have always loved them. Mysterious, furtive, ruling over the nocturnal realm.

When we came to the valley one of the first things we did was to buy a bat house, in the hope that the bats that live in the rafters of our porch would move there. So far no cigar, the house is empty I think we have to rehang the house to allow early sun to reach it. 

This NY Times piece is a wonderful scientific accompaniment to this affection.    Full article here.

Bats in Bat House.  Google Images.
Click on image to enlarge.



Poster by Joan O'Connor

Nature Watch:
Leave it to Beavers

  contributed by Peter Malik, November 17, 2014


Earlier this week there was a fabulous documentary about beavers on PBS (link below).  What amazing and industrious builders! Not only our valley benefits from their presence; in fact much of the landscape in North America has been shaped by them. Sure, sometimes they dam and flood what they shouldn't but then again, that's only our perspective.

Whenever I walk the "bridges loop" I look for them in the two beaver ponds I am aware of: they are on either side of the Beaverkill, pretty much opposite each other off of Craige Claire and Beaverkill Valley Road, respectively.

Enjoy !

If you are unable to view the video above
click here to view it on the PBS website.


Weather Watch:
Winter around the Corner

  contributed by Carl Obecny, November 12, 2014

We’ve had a few days of snow showers with little accumulation. But, still lovely. Looks like the truly cold weather starts to set in tonight!


New Steeple in Place

posted October 30, 2014 ~ Updated November 7, 2014


The Beaverkill Community Church has a new steeple,
put in place at 8am on Wednesday, October 29 at 8:00 am. 
Click on images to enlarge.  Photo by Ed Cerny
Full Story and Photos here


Nature Watch:
Another Mountain Lion

  contributed by Tim Foote, October 24, 2014

Cold spell here, accompanied by a hail of mouse droppings.  Leaves already mostly underfoot.

Another mountain lion sighting. Two weeks after Steve & Maureen's.
Arriving guest of mine,  Marine Sgt., overshot  our driveway on Craigie Clair Rd. Passed Lott's yellow house that used to be Jim Marble's, when abeam the flat just before back road to Amber Lake saw Mountain Lion.  Had not heard of Lott sighting. Had seen Mountain Lions elsewhere.

Arriving guest of mine,  Marine Sgt. overshot  our driveway on Craigie Clair Rd. Passed Lott's, yellow house that used to be Jim Marble's, when abeam the flat just before back road to Amber Lake saw Mountain Lion. 
Had not heard of Lott sighting. Had seen Mountain Lions elsewhere.

So many turkey, does with fawns , if I were a Mountain Lion I'd stay awhile.


Nature Watch:
Monarchs on the Move

  contributed by Ed Cerny, September 25, 2014

This Monarch is on its way to Mexico, stopping to
visit the Cernys' butterfly bush.
Click on image to enlarge.


Steeple to rise up at end of month

Church pre-1904.  
This picture is hanging in the church.

Click on image to enlarge.


  contributed by Steve Lott, September 17, 2014

The new steeple is scheduled to be raised on Wednesday, October 1, probably early afternoon. The removal of the old structure will be done the previous morning (Sep 30). The time between is to enable repair/reinforcement of the sub-structure.



Nature Watch

~ Bobcat on Ragin Road

  contributed by Les Mattis, September 11, 2014

Rose and I had just returned from an overnight trip to Brooklyn to see our new grandson, Augie, and  after unpacking noticed that the thistle seed feeders behind the house had been half emptied in a day.  Having learned last week that American Goldfinches build their nests and have their young in the fall we've been making sure the parents are well fed and will hopefully nest close to the house as they are among the birds that winter through with us.

Just after refilling them I noticed the movement a tan-skinned very large cat coming up the hill from the Beaverkill just inside the tree line separating Sam Bennett and us.  As it came out from behind our woodshed there it was, a large bobcat trotting along, and then onto Ragin Road, crossing it then up and over Carl and Joan Obecny's stone wall.  At the same instant there was a loud "bark" of a deer which appeared and was tailing the bobcat uphill.  The deer, all stiff-legged and on the qui vive, continued after the bobcat, stridently barking every few seconds then, both out of sight but easily heard in the afternoon quiet, noisily chased it up to the top of the Kinch Hill ridge and then gone.

Remembering Steve and Marlene Lott's sighting of a mountain cat (lion) and not wanting be disputatious (recognizing that all of us of a certain age have eyesight that ain't what it used to be), I can say with certainty the cat I saw was a bobcat, its short bobbed tail with the flash of white on the underside unmistakeable.  I saw a mountain lion 28 years ago one night along the southern side of the Pepacton and have a witness (an anthropologist pal of mine), so they've been around despite any claims of their non-existentence from the DEC.

As most of our neighbors are away post Labor Day, Ragin Road is quiet save for the Lynkers, so  perhaps the cat will reappear.  The deer and their young born out in the meadow this past spring may by none too eager to see it again, others of us will be thrilled.


Verizon Update

  contributed by Les Mattis, September 11, 2014

This past Tuesday five Verizon trucks were parked in tandem at the pole on Beaverkill - Lew Beach Road just below Campsite Road.  Amid much scurrying about by the crews on these vehicles the result is that the long awaited "new box" containing post 20th century technology is here.

Unsure yet if it is completely wired up and operational, as it stands next to the dreaded "old box" which is still affixed to its close-by pole.

Stay tuned for further updates.


Knuckle Jack

  September 9, 2014

Filmed in Beaverkill and Roscoe, this film is now available on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, and across cable TV.  It's the story of a small town foul-mouthed drunk with an artistic gift for thievery who is entrusted with his young niece for the summer.  The question is not if he is ready for the task at hand -- but is she?

Written, directed and produced by John Adams and Toby Poser
Acted by John, Toby, their daughter Zelda, and other local actors

1 hour and 20 minutes




Nature Watch

~ "Ghost Cat" Visits Lotts

  contributed by Steve Lott, September , 2014

We saw a mountain lion in the edge of our field about 60 yards from the house. The sighting was on August 18 at about 11AM; the lion stopped, looked around and then walked into the underbrush towards the river. There have actually been multiple sightings in the valley over the past several years (but significantly very few multiple sightings). Chances are it was just passing through and we'll never see one again. It was a magnificent animal to see and was not at all threatening. Just part of nature in the mountains.

Even with all of the sightings in the area, I have never heard of a attack on humans. They are known as "ghost cats" because they shy away from human contact.


Nature Watch

~  Flocks and Flocks of Birds

  contributed by Patricia Adams, September 7, 2014

Although they are quiet, we have flocks and flocks of birds passing through our garden. They are not single, but flocking, I guess to head South together. We've seen finches, robins, sparrows - and others I don't immediately recognize, I would be interested in what others have observed. The humming birds are still here but will probably leave any day. We've seen a FEW monarchs, but very few.


SNOW ALERt for Covered Bridge
In the event 6 inches collect on the roof ...

contributed by Les Mattis, August 11, 2014

At the Town of Rockland  Board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 7, Highway Superintendent Ted Hartling told me that the Beaverkill Covered Bridge work will not begin this fall but is now scheduled to start fall of 2015.  As a result the bridge will remain open through the coming winter except on those days when more than 6" of snow are on the roof.  At that point NYSDOT orders him to close it.


2014: Japanese Knotweed:
Silent invasion Gaining 

July 30, 2014

Seen at Iron Bridge
On both sides of the river mammoth stands of Japanese Knotweed, prolific and invasiive, have claimed control of the bank.
Photos Virginia Lawrence.  July 29, 2014. 
Click on pictures to enlarge

Previous Knotweed Alerts

Concerns resurface after 9 years.

posted July 23, 2013  details

2005: Japanese Knotweed Update

from Steve Levine  details


prepared by the Delaware River Invasive Plant Partnership 

2005: What to Plant in Place of Japanese Knotweed

prepared by the Delaware River Invasive Plant Partnership 

2004:  Japanese Knotweed: The Silent Invasion

from the Japanese Knotwood Committee:  Ed Hamerstrom, Mary Hall, Steve Levine (chair), Lisa Lyons, Woody Woodruff. September 17, 2004  details

Reader comments about knotweed:

  contributd by Steve Levine, July 31, 2014

Thank you for posting the information re Japanese knotweed and reminding everyone of the danger that this insidious weed poses to the area and especially the river banks.  For decades I have, along with others on a committee that we formed some years ago, been evangelizing about it and am amazed at the continuing indifference and that many people still are not convinced of the severity of the situation.

The photos shown of the Craigie Claire Iron Bridge are a perfect example of what could have been done to prevent this stuff from literally taking over.  Shortly after the bridge was rebuilt, landscape management on either side could have easily prevented its proliferation.  Expensive nursery trees were planted and now they have been totally overwhelmed by the knotweed.  By this time, it has produced a very well established root system of woody corms producing very aggressive rhizomes that spread exponentially.  When it reaches this stage, it is virtually impossible to eradicate except by very expensive professional help and/or the use of toxic herbicides that are not suitable in riverbank situations.

I would hope that those of us that have properties that we manage on our own help to make even a small difference in controlling it so at least it doesn't serve as a vector for further spread beyond what we can control.  It's quite easy to manage and eradicate small clusters that appear in the Spring.  Please refer to the very helpful advisories that have been posted.


Heads up!
Bears in the neighborhood!

contributed by Virginia Lawrence, July 22, 2014

Carl Obecny reports bears being bears on Ragin Road this summer – raiding bird feeders two or three times, and two days ago making a mess of Bebe Loizeaux’s trash!  Nothing to get het up about.

On the other hand, Yodon Thonden reports seeing a mama bear and two cubs by the Beaverkill Valley Inn on July 17.  Patricia Adams confirms that others have mentioned a mama bear with 1 or 2 cubs - generally in the area.  Not right in our midst, you may say, but David Barnes points out that it's not a long hike for them to show up here at some point! 

Meanwhile, closer to home, bears have gotten into the Thonden/Toner trash cans on several occasions this summer.

Just wanted to let you know that we've had a bear in our trash bins lately.  A bear came three times on Saturday night.   And visited us last week as well.  We keep our trash in a wooden shed area outside the guest house with 4 separate trash compartments, each with its own set of flimsy doors some of which have broken off.   I was surprised by the boldness of the bear -- visiting us 3 times in one night.   I turned all lights on and made lots of noise, and went outside to check bins and secure garbage lids, and the bear returned twice.   It seemed to move off in the direction of Stuart Root's house - we found our trash strewn there in the morning.  We've had no bear visits since the bins have been in the garage (July 12).  We have ordered bear proof bins, which hopefully will arrive soon.   Just wanted to alert you, so you are aware.

After a similar visit from bears, like Yodon Thonden, Kate Adams is now a little wiser.

Something (must be the bear) got into my trash last night as we mistakenly left the garage open.  Normally we leave the trash in regular bins in the garage with the door shut and that has worked fine.  Mom and dad (Patricia and John Adams) had their outside garbage storage unit which was made of wood broken into by the bear a few weeks ago but we hadn't seen it since.

We’ll leave you, gentle reader, to extract the moral from these stories.

Readers' comments here


Neighbearhood watch
And now for the good news about bears!


John Roucek, Caretaker.  John Fairbairn, Maintenance. 
Beaverkill Campsite.  Click on photo to enlarge.


According to John Roucek, Caretaker, there have been NO bears in seen in the Beaverkill Campsite this summer.  He and John Fairbairn, Maintenance, never leave garbage cans outdoors. At the entrance they they have posted the NeighBEARhood Watch policy. 



Please note that the 15 mph limit in the Campsite is checked by RADAR.  Photos Virginia Lawrence.  Click on photos to enlarge.


Readers' Comments about the bears

  contributed by Peter Malik, August 22, 2014

Like many of our neighbors I have seen several bears this season. The best one for me was about a week ago -- my wife, our 6-month old peanut (aka Blake) and I spent 10 magical days up at the house.  One morning I went for a bike ride which initially took me past Mary Hall and David Barnes' place on Berry Brook Road. I was coming down the hill in the direction of the iron bridge, the morning was fresh and clear, and I recall thinking of Robin Williams. Maybe that's why I didn't react as soon as I would have otherwise to a grown bear sitting in the middle of the road.  I am not sure what she was thinking of but the result was essentially me slamming on the breaks and slowing down feverishly while the bear kept sitting, seemingly unaware. Finally, registering my presence he effortlessly yet rapidly bounded off to the roadside bushes. We were no more than 50 feet apart by this point. And as I rolled by a second or two later I smelled the beautiful animal. It was still there.  Musty, real. I smiled for the rest of the bike ride. 

  contributed by Kate Adams, August 12, 2014

Duke, Woods and I saw a 300-pound bear in the middle of Craigie Clair road at Allen Gerry's drive way on Sunday August 10 at about 1 pm.  The bear seemed entirely unconcerned by us, just wandered into the woods and stood looking at us for a while before he wandered off.  Interestingly, that is the same spot where last week I saw two coyotes cross the road and run up the hill into the Clear Lake property.

  contributed by Ginny Lawrence, August 8, 2014

This morning a smallish (baby ?) bear loped across the road in front of the car.  I had just passed the transfer station, going up Johnson Mountain, and the Hereford Cow sign was visible.  That is where the bear crossed.  I'm wondering how often bears cross heavily travelled roads in the daytime. 

  contributed by Debbie Lynker, August 7, 2014

I was recently startled by a very large bear in front of my house.  It was so big (about 600 lbs) and so close (6 - 8 feet in front of the Gator)! And at 7:15am I was not fully awake, so I was not as observant as I might have been. He just stepped out from behind a blueberry bush right in front of me.

We have had several bears in the yard all summer but none this large.

  contributed by Ross Francis, August 1, 2014 at 6:30 am

5 minutes ago was awakened to coyote howls just outside bedroom window and 5 minutes later saw medium size black bear about 200 yards from house up in woods maybe 150 lbs. - Tocho was very excited! 

  contributed by Brian Sullivan, July 27, 2014

We came home last evening to find we were under seige from the bear, licking clean our smashed bird feeders. I yelled and gesticulated, and he, seeming little more than annoyed, lumbered down the hill into the trees. Five minutes later we heard a crash from Bebe's, and the three of us ran to the car and drove up there. Found it over a bag of trash from her overturned cans. As I approached, shining the light on him and yelling 'hey'  over and over, he again reluctantly moved off into the woods. We saved the bags from certain decimation, and probably saved ourselves a good bit of clean up tomorrow. And we got to see a bear really close up. Pretty neat. 

  contributed by John Kelly, July 26, 2014

Just to add to this year's bear sighting material.   We saw three bears in our first two weekends at Laraway; this, against an average of about 0.85 a year over time. I emphasize that at that point in the season we had accrued zero edible trash in the compost.  I know that we are instructed, if not berated constantly, that it is our profligate and wasteful life style and slovenly disposal that attracts bears,  but not this time, I think.

What was interesting was that we had one sighting of two burly full grown bears more or less gamboling together in the meadow.  Last year we had two smaller bears chasing each other--or their mother--across the same path, and I wonder if it's the same pair still hanging out.

Gregarious is not, however,  mature bear behavior as I understand it.  We have learned to be cautious about garbage in the compost, even transporting the most delectable morsels to the city for disposal. Last weekend we had a conclave of bacon eaters in house with resultant cans full of fragrant bacon grease.  I felt that there was no satisfactory place for the contents, and, rather like a nuclear waste disposal contractor, whisked them out of the county to be the problem of others.

I  quieted  a momentary urge to smear a bit on the stone walls to attract visitors.  Bears are powerful ambassadors that seem to carry a message from the heart of the woods, and we watch them with pleasure, respect and awe.

  contributed by Suzanne Bevier, July 26, 2014

I stopped putting anything in the compost pile, bringing Racoons and others is not what I had in mind, I keep it in a large plastic bucket and take it to the dump.  I'd hear that a two-day kill on bears might be in the works.

  from Steve Levine, July 23, 2014

As a former low impact camper both here in the Catskills and as a Scouter in the Rockies, bear avoidance was a most important consideration.  Food residues, those which cannot be burned had to be disposed of or sealed in a manner and hung high on ropes that did not cause bears to get a bead on its scent.  I mention this since some folks have guests, mostly children, who wish to tent camp out on their properties and the presence of food outside is a virtual "dinner bell" for bears.  Even aromatics like soaps, lotions and some insect repellents will do the same.

We do not keep food in garbage containers at our house but rather have a pit about 200 feet behind where all perishable trash is deposited.  Any denizen of our forests can help themselves.  A trash compactor in our kitchen takes all other trash and is the best appliance that we installed besides the usual kitchen stuff.  One filled compactor bag handles that which could be equal to 3 or 4 huge Hefty bags.  Love it!

  from Anne J Ryan Susquehanna, PA, July 23, 2014

I do not live near by but came to your site via the poetry of Susan Deer Cloud. I enjoy your postings. I see that you are having an influx of bears. We have bears here in Northeast Pa as well and as people encroach further and further into the habitats of animals, they can get into trouble. One thing I have done is to take down the bird feeders. I still put some peanuts out in the morning and scatter a little seed but this does not have a draw for bears because it is quickly consumed.

A Canadian Bear Rescue group puts out an excellent small video showing bear language - or how to correctly read bear behavior.Available trash, bird feeders can cost a bear its life. This video explains some solutions and suggestions. I send it in the hope that it may be of help to you and the Bears of Beaverkill www.bearwithus.org Thank you for your lovely site

  from Suzanne BeVier, July 23, 2014

I had a large black bear about 15 ft. from my front porch and then later saw a smaller one out towards the road. My neighbor Judy was walking back from putting her horse in the field for the night when a small one ran out from the bush, it was not dark yet.

I put anything that has meat on it in the freezer and the rest in plastic bins out in a secure area. Cindy Rickman had one break her garage door down a few years back. Wear a bell around your leg if you are out for a walk to let them know you are in the area. I remember it was a event if one saw a bear, no longer true..

I did see two young buck with the horns hanging out together, sorta unusual.

from Jane Sololow, July 23. 2014

We have had bear visits and sightings off and on at the farm for the past 10 years. Our wrought iron crook bird feeder posts have both been bent double several times (they are now in the hands of Steve Forrer and his forge to be straightened properly). We have also seen bears and evidence of bears in our blueberry meadows. Ragin Ridge Hunt Club who posts and hunts our property has seen bears, but to my knowledge they have never “bagged” one during bear season. 

I think it wise to follow the advice to be very careful about food and garbage outside and to wear bells, carry a whistle or otherwise make noise when you are out hiking or working. With blueberries beginning to ripen, there will be bears around.

from Patricia Adams, July 23, 2014

I saw a young, but not a cub, bear at the Brooklyn Flyfisher's Club this morning at 8.

Baby Bear at Balsam 2012  here

Backyard Bears in Beaverkill 2011  here


Neighbearhood watch
Tracking a small bear on Pelnor Hollow Road

contributed by Cathy Clarke, July 25, 2014

These photos were taken by Cathy Clarke on her property with her Bushnell Trophy Trail Cameras.  They track the routine of a small bear which heads out in the morning around 9 am returns around 10 pm.

Note: The date on the third picture seems
"off" by a few years.

Click on images to enlarge.


Verizon Scuttlebutt:
Fiber Optics are almost here!

  contributed by Steve Levine, July 26, 2014

I heard from the Verizon technicians that the replacement of the copper wire system by fiber-optic will merely serve to improve the quality of the dial tone.  At this point in time it will not serve to deliver expanded services such as cable TV or FiOS since there are not enough potential accounts due to population density issues.  At least it will be an improvement in the service we already have.

(Verizon FiOS is a bundled Internet access, telephone, and television service that operates over a fiber-optic communications network.)

  contributed by Steve Levine, July 22, 2014

Have you noticed all the Verizon trucks along the Beaverkill Road?  Ever since May Verizon has been wiring up the area with fiber-optic based technology. Steve Levine hopes to report on details in the near future.


Nature Watch

~  NY Times: Should You Fear the Pizzly Bear?

  contributed by Peter Malik, August 18, 2014

This article does not relate directly to Beaverkill, but nevertheless it discusses the unique eastern coyote which we have in the area.  And it sheds light on a dead and eviscerated deer I saw in the winter by Craige Claire.  The coyotes took it down, surely, in light of the article.

read the article here

~  Drivers SLOW DOWN!:
Rutting Season almost here

  contributed by Suzanne Bevier, July 25, 2014

Mother deer calling her fawn. Whew just a reminder tell people to slow down.  I saw this right as I turned into Route 502 or Johnson Mountain from The Old Campsite Rd., (?) by the Adams.

People really have increased their speed on the back roads rutting season on the way.  I have two male deer hanging together, both have horns, one larger, has two horns.

  contributed by Roger and Ginny Lawrence, July 25, 2014

There is a dead fawn on the Beaverkill Road just beyond the intersection with the Campsite Road.  At the top of the Vogels' field.

  contributed by Patricia Adams, July 25, 2014

This is such a sad story I almost hate to write it - but yes, a number of us saw the dead fawn by the side of the Johnston Mountain road. Sally Shea saw it early Thursday morning, and when I drove to LM around 1, I saw the mother standing beside it. She was still there when I came back, and still there when I drove over to Youngsville at 5. The saddest, but nature is nature, is that when I drove back around 6, there was an enormous turkey vulture standing right next to the dead fawn-- mother only a few feet away. 

~  Rabbits > Foxes > Coyotes

  contributed by Patricia Adams, July 25, 2014

Another interesting nature fact/or legend. We've seen tons of rabbits this summer, but have heard no coyotes.  I've heard when there are a lot of rabbits, the coyotes are not around. The cycle is supposed to go like this -- lots of rabbits (like we have this summer) and then the fox come in to eat the rabbits. But when the coyotes realize there are rabbits, they move in and chase the foxes out. 1. rabbits, 2. fox, 3. coyotes. Then it takes a couple of years for the cycle to start again.  There were lots of coyotes last year. 

  contributed by Ginny Lawrence, July 25, 2014

I heard coyotes this morning in the woods behind the former Hamerstrom house.  High-pitched yowls folllowed by barking.

~  GOOD NEWS!  The Monarchs are back

  contributed by Patricia Adams, July 23, 2014

Monarch butterflies are being spotted. Not a lot, but more than last year. WE have them in our yard now.

~  Birdathon Totals - May 10, 2014 - here

57 bird species found in the Beaverkill Valley


Church Steeple Update

May 30, 2014

Here’s the latest on the steeple:

  • The new bell tower and steeple are being pre-fabricated off-site.
  • Design is complete, specialty materials including custom shutters and copper sheeting have been ordered and have started arriving.
  • Work to remove the old structure, replace the roof under the structure and installation of the new structure could commence as early as July and should take approximately two weeks to complete.
  • In order to avoid construction during the season, including scaffolding blocking the front door, the thought is to delay the work until September, after the final service.
  • The funds collected for the work have been put into a savings account dedicated solely to the project. A full accounting will be available as needed.

Comments and/or suggestions?

Steve Lott


Student Winners announced

CAS Sullivan County High School Art Show: 5 Livingston Manor Students among the winners

posted April 16, 2014


Black & White Drawing - Farrah Mills

“Moon,” Livingston Manor Central School, First Prize

Click on image to enlarge.

Livingston Manor Winners

Black & White Drawing - Farrah Mills
Black & White Photography - Stephanie Acevedo
Ceramics - Jordyne Shaver
Color Photography - Luke John Sanders
Digital Art - Daniel Dutcher
Painting - Farrah Mills

Complete list of student winners here



New bakery in the Manor

contributed by Steve and Michiko Levine

posted April 2, 2014

Photo Google Maps.  Click on image to enlarge.

The Brandenburg Bakery, formerly of Jeffersonville and a regular at most local farmer's markets in season, has now opened for business in Livingston Manor offering a full line of freshly made cakes, pastries,cookies and breads.  It occupies the building that years ago was Sorkin's Department Store and located just across the street from Will Hardware.  It also has several tables where one may dine on their tasty offerings along with the soups of the day and fresh coffee and tea.

66 Main Street, 845- 439-0200

A great addition to our local food culture and we wish them a hearty "Willkommen."

An Imaginary Town Becomes Real,
Then Not. True Story

Published on NPR.org - March 18, 2014

Posted on Beaverkill website March 21, 2014


From the NPR website.  Click on map to enlarge.

This is the story of a totally made-up place that suddenly became real — and then, strangely, undid itself and became a fantasy again. Imagine Pinocchio becoming a real boy and then going back to being a puppet. That's what happened here — but this is a true story.

It's about a place in upstate New York called Agloe. You can see it here, circled in blue ... ... just up the road from Roscoe and Rockland.  According to Steve Levine, "Its location is approximately where Bill and Darleen had their Cottage Lot garden shop on Route 206."

For the full story click here


A Christmas Story’s Darren McGavin's Sullivan County Link

By John Conway in the Sullivan County Democrat on December 20, 2013

posted  on February 2, 2014


Hardly anyone would have predicted when it premiered in November of 1983 that "A Christmas Story" would become a holiday classic, but the low budget Depression era story of a young boy who dreams of finding a Red Ryder BB gun under his Christmas tree has done just that.

With a budget of only about $4 million and a cast of mostly unknowns, the film seemed to have little going for it But Peter Billingsley turned in an unforgettable performance as Ralphie, the boy with the dream, and Darren Mc-Gavin - arguably the biggest name in the cast when shoot­ing began - supported ably as his father, adding up to a heartwarming and inspiring film that has now joined "White Christmas" and "Ifs a Wonderful life" as holiday viewing staples.

It is McGavin, the veteran actor with a list of movie and television credits dating back to 1945, who provides the film's link to Sullivan County. Long before his turn in "A Christmas Story," and even before he gained cult im­mortality with his role as reporter Carl Kolchak in the television series "The Night Stalker," McGavin purchased a home in Beaverkill and remained a summer resident of the area for the next dozen years.

continuation in pdf format


Church Resurrected

By Anya Tikka in the Sullivan County Democrat on December 20, 2013

posted February 3, 2014

Click on image to enlarge.


Snow for Candlelight Carols

reported by Patricia Adams

posted December 30, 2013


Choir at the Christmas Eve service in the
Beaverkill Community Church.  Photo Yodon Thonden. 
Click on image to enlarge.


On Christmas Eve, 2013, the 42nd Christmas Eve Carol Sing was celebrated at the Beaverkill Community Church. The Church was filled to capacity even though at 4 o’clock there had been a flash snowstorm that left 3 inches of fresh snow on treacherous roads.  However, the town trucks had plowed the roads by 7.3O and Jim Powell had cleared the parking area.  

The Church looked beautiful with the candle light and fresh snow.   To start the Carol Sing a choir formed especially for this service and including six children and eight adults sang ‘Once in David’s Royal City.”  Mary Hall, our Lay pastor, welcomed everyone and thanked the many people who had contributed to the purchase of the church from the Methodist Conference this year. She introduced Robert Jones who led the service. Stuart Root, who has lead the service in years past, was with his family in Philadelphia.   The kerosene lanterns were lit and with the individual hand held candle lights everyone was able to sing along as Sean Carmichael played the organ.    

During the time for announcements, Patricia Adams talked about how the church has been, in reality,  a community church for years. The organ was donated by Seth Sternberg, a man of Jewish faith; the piano donated by Grace Van Alts, who was the daughter of an Episcopalian minister; and the installation of these gifts was supervised by our Church Treasurer, Steve Lott, who is Catholic.  Every summer we have a variety of speakers at the services, which have included a Buddhist, a Baptist Missionary, and a Rabbi.  People are welcome to use the church for Musicales and Film Festivals that are not based in any religion. The Church is primarily a place for celebration in the community.

This sense of community was proved by the great support we got from the community for the purchase of the church.  With the new siding, roof and window repair the board of the church decided that this is a good time to restore the steeple, which was struck by lightning in the 1940s.  Already, $12,000 has been raised and $3,000 is still needed.   Cash contributions were left at the church, and any further donations can be sent to Beaverkill Community Church, Box 65O, Roscoe, NY 12776.  The church is closed now until Memorial Day when it will open for summer services.

text in pdf format

Nature Watch:
doe & Fawn by Apple Tree

by Susan Deer Cloud

posted December 20, 2013


Doe & Fawn seen in Turnwood on December 19 
by Susan Deer Cloud.  Click on images to enlarge.


Nature Watch:
First Winter Storm

by Susan Deer Cloud

posted December 12, 2013


Shy Bird

In first winter storm
a bird much like a snowbird
flashes to feeder
feathers mottled white and grey

A field of wild snow her hair

Lift up camera
surprise of bird flies away
in air wings unnamed
in mist mountains disappear

A shawl of shyness her skin


Photos Susan Deer Cloud.  Click on images to enlarge.


Quieter Times in Their Hands

Ice gardenias swirl from sky dark as Lady Day’s hair,
no sound.  Snow petals touch to earth, touch
after touch, and isn’t it all so soft
as kiss after kiss?

And nowhere to go, roads un-ploughed.

We talk of this afterwards …
what we women did that day similar to long slow days
of our grandmothers and great grandmothers.

One of us baked bread for the other women in her house.

One of us strung a necklace of glass beads color of her sister’s eyes.

One of us wrote a letter the old way, in green calligraphy, for her man.

One of us dreamed a poem by west window while her cat chased snow.

I was the one who tugged on white buffalo coat and sheepskin boots,
trudged through storm to forge a snow angel with the wings of my arms
flying in the rapture of millions of snow crystals making unique
love to my mouth, cheeks, eyelids, hair.

We women speak of that Catskill snowfall even now …
as my grandmother used to tell me of the days of sleighs and horses
and flashing bells, and once inside the house the kerosene lamps lit,
hands held near woodstove flames before her father took his fiddle out.

When it snows we women say we wish, we wish,
yearn for the prancing horses, bells, the fiddler’s music,
ancient dance so wild and whirling …

when women hold quieter times in their hands.


Nature Watch:
Laraway Hollow Flora & Fauna 2013

by John Kelly

posted December 11, 2013


Radiator Charley’s Mortgage Lifter.  Photo John Kelly.
Click on image to enlarge.


This is just to give some brief 2013 notes on plants, domestic, and animals, wild.  Whether or not a given year or place is demanding of anecdote, I think that over time and with a number of reports, however mundane, something interesting can evolve.   I’ll start entomologically this year by saying no monarchs remembered, very few Japanese beetles or indoor ladybugs, and little bag worm activity.

As to the animals, we saw a spike in the chipmunk population which was the greatest since our great infestation during the Clinton presidency.  That story remains to be told in a further chapter of The Herbivore Wars.  At the same time, the house mouse population dropped close to nil.  I have no theories as to either of these demographics. Some evidence that the chipmunks got thru the electric net into the garden, but damage was minimal, though pole beans were decimated and might have been plundered by climbing chipmunks or leaping deer.  Only one woodchuck sighted, but if it had done the beans [that were not within the net], the poles and strings would have been beaten down while in fact the beans and leaves were rather delicately, albeit thoroughly, ravaged.  A good corn crop, but stalks in the center [only] of the patch were broken and ears devoured.  The net seemed intact, and I have no certain idea of the identity of the marauders that just might have been deer jumping the perimeter fence and the net though I saw no hoof marks.  A limited plundering is not my usual experience, but I’m happy enough to tithe the brutes, if my own mite is preserved.

We always experiment with many varieties of tomato, divided between garden store, hopefully foolproof, hybrids, and heirlooms from Trina’s Silver Heights Farm in Cochecton.  Always lots of cherry and plum varieties on the theory that they should do better with our short seasons and morning hill shadow.  In the beginning of the season we had likely our best crop, ever, of all varieties.  Amid leafy profusion, green tomatoes of all sizes, shapes, and bloodlines.  But they seemed to glory too much in their own promise and stayed in green mode, and stayed and stayed as the weeks passed.  No ripening to speak of till September, and then the ripening and the rot seemed neck and neck to the end.  The best tomato in the plot?  It turned out to be not a tiny cherry but the classic heirloom, the huge beefsteak, Radiator Charley’s Mortgage Lifter, and some related varieties.  Almost filled two hands, ripened well, and the best old fashioned flavor of the lot.  This has happened before.  I commend them to you, though you may get only a couple of fruits per plant.

full text in pdf format



Family Winter Celebration at Library

Friday, December 20, 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

posted December 12, 2013

Families are welcome for a celebration of winter at the Livingston Manor Library, Friday, December 20, 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Participants will enjoy stories, kids’ crafts, refreshments and “Music Around the Globe,” presented by this year’s special guest, Mark Robinson, Education Programs Manager at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Children will have the opportunity to explore instruments from every continent, such as the cricket twirl, frog drum, lily harp, ocarina and shofar.

Kids and adults can shop for new and second-hand books after the program, with prices from 25 cents to $2.00.

This program is free and open to the public. Space is limited; please call to register (439-5440). The library is located at 92 Main Street in Livingston Manor.


TheoloGy Group: Zealot

November 30, 2013 - by Tim Foote

Click on image to enlarge

“The Theology Group,” though rather grandly named, is thus far tiny, and came into being on an impulse. With the Beaverkill Church dark on Sundays, why not meet informally with Mary Hall, hoping to extend into winter the kind of cross rough reflection on moral issues and pertinent bits of Old and New Testament that she so eloquently presides over in summer.

Its first gathering (September 13, 2013) had no agenda. It was spent mildly considering such things as the extent that reason has to do with faith. Is religious conviction mainly driven by the reasons of the heart? And how much willing suspension of disbelief in the literal language of Prayers might a Church-goer experience without feeling like - or being - some kind of hypocrite.

The second meeting (October 11, 2013) did have an agenda: consideration of Zealot, a provocative new study of the life of Jesus as verifiable (or not) in reliable history. Its author: an Iranian American religious scholar named Reza Aslan.

Zealot got mixed reviews in the group, some thinking it lamentable but significant, others holding it lamentable but irrelevant to faith.

A third meeting is in prospect: John Donne’s sonnets, holy and unholy. (“At the round Earth’s Imagined corners, blow your trumpets angels.” v. “Busy old fool, unruly sun”).

Meanwhile, one member ventures a personal comment on Zealot:

book review


Who was Cornelia Laraway?

Genealogy Search by Colden Baxter from Idaho

November 13, 2013 - by John Kelly

Ginny had forwarded a website inquiry from a man in Idaho, Colden Baxter,  who read some of our historical pieces, particularly mine touching on Laraway Hollow.  He is a Laraway descendant who was doing some family genealogy, and I had a good chat with him on the phone.  He was in Millbrook NY doing some research in his field which, interestingly, is rivers and river ichthyology.  He is not a Laraway and I think is descended from the family of Cornelia Laraway, Joseph Laraway's wife.

He indicated that the name Laraway comes from the French LeRoi and that the family was French Canadian; he claimed to have followed it back to the 16th century in Europe.  The original locus in our region was Prattsville, where the family ran the Laraway Inn [still standing] from 1784.  It was founded by John Laraway's son Martinus Laraway who knew Zaddock Pratt as a neighbor.  John may well have been the original settler during the revolution.   Joseph Laraway, one of the family who worked the Inn, apparently came to Beaverkill and appears in a marriage record from there in 1845 when he married Cornelia.

Baxter has been frustrated in not being able to find Cornelia's maiden name - tho he suspects it may have been VanLoon - even her obituary from 1915 didn't give it.  She and Joe both died in Beaverkill.  He'd love any clues regarding Cornelia.

I think this goes some way in establishing Joe Laraway - who supposedly  had 9 children - as the original settler of the Hollow.   I had assumed from the Abe Laraway Civil War Soldier tombstone in the churchyard that our place stemmed from the Civil War era, but this pushes it all back to the 1840s - which ties in with the theory that Hazel’s and my place, as other hillside farms, was used to keep horses for the tanneries which began to flourish around then.  I pointed out that in addition to Abe's stone,  I had seen at the back left hand corner of the cemetery a marker for Joe Laraway.  [Last time I looked, I couldn't find it.]  Baxter wasn't much interested in Abe, however,  and suspected that he was a younger brother or nephew of Joe.  I told him that on our front porch there are the carved initials J L, and he went thru a variety of family members who could have done it.

That's all I got that touched on Beaverkill.  The family turned up later in the still pretty remote hills bordering the Delaware River on the north in the Hancock region, and Baxter said he had visited a grandfather there.  He was, of course, familiar with the Beaverkill but had not been to the town.  I encouraged him strongly to take a trip up the Valley, to the Hollow, and the church, but he's leaving for Idaho and had to convince the family to go up there with him today.  I hope he makes it.  best jhk

full text in pdf format


Which Oscar Hollenbeck?

Genealogy Search by Patrice Hollenbeck

Hello there,
My name is Patrice Hollenbeck.  My father was  Eugene Hollenbeck born in Cooks Falls in 1929 ... schooled  in Roscoe ... he is buried in the Hortonville cemetery.

His mother was Wilda Hollenbeck ... Who lived in East Branch for a while Many records seem to have her married to a Norman Hollenbeck ... but she was actually married to Oscar Hollenbeck. I actually have his marriage license and death certificate with that exact name.  He was born in 1900 and died in 1966 in the Roscoe hospital... He lived in  Livingston Manor most of his life as a trucker.

I'm writing because it seems there are several Oscars and I'm getting conflicting information...  He married my grandmother, and they never divorced,  and as far as I know my father has no brothers or sisters

I was hoping you might have some information on this Oscar as he may have liked to fish.  And all information we have is his father John lived in Callicoon.

Oscar had a brother John and a sister Mary.  I think you may be a good resource is my grandmother kept the house at the Beaverkill all those years...

Any help tips or hints be highly appreciated

Thank you,  Patrice


Nature Watch: Beaverkill Frogs

by Steve Levine

posted November 12, 2013

The frogs we have seen on our area are common green frogs, bull frogs, wood frogs (light greyish brown with dark racoon like mask), pickerel frogs (often mistaken for leopard frogs(rectangle vs. round spots respectively) and the dry skinned toads of many different brownish to black colors but all the same species.  The presence of wood frogs is an indicator of good clean environmental conditions as they are the most fragile and the amphibian's version of a canary in the coal mine.  Although we have heard them in the spring, peepers are most elusive and difficult to find.


Spring Peeper   Wood Frog
Pickerel Frog   Green Frog
Common Toad   Bull Frog
Images from Google compiled by Steve Levine

It is rare to have seen Tree Frogs, as Susan Deer Cloud did, especially during the day as their most active period is dusk to midnight and also lucky to have seen them doing their puffy throated love call.  The others that she saw mating were  common toads that leave large masses of gel coated egg strings in the still pools on the river's margins.  We didn't see much of that this year since most were washed downstream after heavy thunderstorms that quickly swelled and speeded the river currents sweeping them away.  Memorial Day is usually the height of their activity.

Every spring we visit our son Jon and his family who live in Northern Japan.  Opposite his house are acres of rice fields that are just being filled for the spring plantings and at night, the cacophony of the spring peepers is so loud, you have to talk over them in order to be heard.  Amazing!



Nature Watch: More on Monarchs

originally posted September 17, 2013

Patricia Adams would like to know if anyone has seen a Monarch Butterfly this summer.  She is disturbed to realize that she hasn't.

Also, she would love to hear a report on when people last saw a hummingbird, which would tell us when they head to Cost Rica.

You can reply here.

NEW: Reply from Jill Manage, 11/10/14. 

I have been following Monarchs for years. I believe that this is the first year since the great "freeze" that I have not seen a single one. My property has some large stands of milkweed. I can usually easily tell if the milkweed has had any nibbling from the caterpillar. This year, even with milkweed being lush from the rain, there was not a single sign of a monarch caterpillar.

I have a friend from Mexico who is originally from the town that is famous for the Monarch wintering. He told me recently that there were very few, and that the area is threatened by development. His town is concerned about the tourism that might be lost if the Monarchs are dwindling.

NEW: Reply from Susan Deer Cloud, 11/10/13. 

Very sadly, I did not see one monarch butterfly this summer.  I saw hummingbirds in September but I could not tell you the exact date I saw my last one. 

I grew up in Livingston Manor and lived away for many years until I returned in mid-April.  There were always plentiful monarchs in late summer/early autumn.

Reply from Steve Levine, 09/17/13. 

Michiko and I last saw hummers on Monday, September 9th and when we returned on Friday, none were evident and presumed they were on their way south.  I did see a few isolated monarch butterflies in early August and that was it. 

I can happily report that there seems to be a greater number of bats being observed which is a good sign.  Clearly, the white nose fungal infection had drastically decimated their numbers over the past 10 years.


Bridge Restoration Project Update

Although the bridge will be closing "soon,"
work won't be started until 2015.

posted October 21, 2013

Recently a traffic counter wire on the Campsite Road and concrete Jersey barriers near each side of the bridge have appeared.  Steve Levine contacted Mr. Devadoss, the State bridge engineer in charge of the project, to find out if the bridge restoration project, originally thought to begin shortly after Labor Day, was due to start in the near future and how long it would last.

Steve was able to speak with Mike Retzlaff, an aide to Mr. Devadoos:

Mr. Retzlaff was not aware of the traffic counter wire on the Beaverkill approach road, but the Jersey barriers recently placed near the bridge do not indicate that definitive work will actually begin soon.  They have been placed there to simply close the bridge during the winter.  The bridge will remain closed until the spring due to the possibility of snow accumulating on the roof.  A maximum a 3-ton load rating will be put in place which is the approximate weight of most empty SUVs or light trucks. 

Plans for restoration are still in the preliminary stages and work is not slated to begin until sometime in 2015 which means that the bridge will again be closed during the 2014-15 winter season.  Mr. Retzloff could not say exactly when the bridge would be closed, but just said "soon."


MET Opera Simulcasts at Sullivan County Community College

posted on October 11, 2013

This past Saturday, Michiko and I went to the Metropolitan Opera; well....... sort of.  It was only a 25 minute drive from our house and the only river that we had to cross was the Beaverkill.  SCCC in Loch Sheldrake has been, for several years now, been one of the hundreds of venues across the country that regularly show MET presented operas in large screen HD/stereo.  These programs are usually sold out in most bigger city Multi-plex theaters that show them and it's no wonder.  It's like having a front row center seat at the MET for the mere price of $20 (credit cards OK) and it comes with between act interviews of all the performance principals and explanations of the story line and history of the opera being performed.  They are all on Saturdays and start at 1:00 pm and frequently there is a pre-performance lecture about the opera in the lobby.  There is also a help yourself refreshment table with coffee, tea and baked goods available before and during the performance.  It's a great way to spend an afternoon without the hassle and expense of going to Lincoln Center.

schedule of performances for the 2013-2014 season

Steve Levine


NEW: Theology Book Group

posted September 17, 2013

Beaverkill Theology Book Group met at Mary Hall's on September 13. We discussed a number of things, but the overall topic was the question of whether it is primarily the emotions/ heart that bring people to religion. We discussed whether  science/reason  pull us in the opposite way. References were made to Donne and Milton, as well as C.S. Lewis. 

We decided that we would read "Zealot" by Reza Aslan for our next meeting, which will be held Oct.11 from 5-7pm at Patricia Adams' house.

All are welcome to join us as we develop an interesting way to exchange ideas about, not just theology, but interpretations of history, the role of religion in society and perhaps even some philosophy. Just let us know if you would like to join, or if you need directions or more information. 

Contact: theology@beaverkillfriends.org


Manor's New Sit-Down Restaurant

Courtesy D & H CANVAS, Barry Plaxen, owner and editor.

posted September 14, 2013


Sarah and Kirk Madison.  Text and photo from the Delaware & Hudson CANVAS, Sept 2013, page 15.    Click to enlarge.

With the closing of The Lazy Beagle, Main Street in Livingston Manor was left without a sit-down dinner restaurant other than the Chinese Restaurant. Sarah and Kirk Madison have remedied that Madison's Main Street Stand opened five years ago as a pizza and lunch take-out establishment with a window through which Sarah sells ice cream, drinks, lunch items and salads for take out, oversees all that goes on on Main Street, hands out copies of Manor Ink and CANVAS, and holds court and sway over the down-home thoroughfare.

"We saw a need for a sit-down restaurant. I did the layout," said Kirk, "and then we hired a contractor for our new 60-seat dining room. We re-opened August 16 with a new, basically rotating, menu. Dinner begins at 4:00pm and runs until 9:00pm."

The new dinner menu includes Soup of the Day, a half dozen or so appetizers and just under a dozen entrees - Braised Short Rib Ravioli w/ mushroom cream sauce. Pacific Cod with Lobster and Crab Risotto - to give you two examples, and pastas, fish, chicken, veal, and a 12-ounce NY Strip Steak w/sauteed Vegetables and Mushroom Risotto. And for the kids 12 years and under, there's a child's portion of spaghetti and meatballs.

"Nothing is changed at the window or the pizzeria, which are presently open from 11:00am to 9:00pm, Tuesday thru Sunday. The picnic table is still provided adjacent to the building for take-out convenience. We have yet to determine our winter hours,'" he concluded.

Madison's is located at 46 Main Street.
Phone: 845-439-4368.

Take note: the Bruschetta is changed daily!



Rosa Multiflora

new rose disease known as Witch's Broom    
moving into NY

posted September 5, 2013 - Catskill Native Nursery


Left side of rose (Rosa) plant affected by rose rosette, right side still normal.  Photo from the Missouri Botanical Garden here

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

There is a new rose disease moving into NY and it is spread with the help of the invasive Rosa multiflora. Rose Rosette Disease, or RRD, first shows up on the ends of rose branches making them look like they were hit with an herbicide, the look is referred to as "witch's broom". The end of an otherwise healthy branch starts to look raggedy, starts to "melt", turn brownish-red and eventually collapses. It can take a few years for the plant to completely die, but there is no cure once RRD appears.

RRD is caused by a microscopic mite known asPhyllocoptes fructiphilus. They are wingless and spread on the wind going from rose to rose while transmitting RRD as the mites feed on the shrubs. The invasive multiflora rose is particularly susceptible to this disease and acts as a highway for this mite and its baggage of disease. Most people are familiar with wild multiflora rose marching along our roads and over our fields. Multiflora was introduced in 1886 from Japan to the United States as rootstock for cultivated roses and to be used as a natural fence for domestic animals in areas where post fencing was not practical. Farmer's quickly learned this plant was more trouble than it was worth as it took over grazing areas faster than it could be controlled. However, it was still widely used as erosion control along new roads until the 1960's. Thanks to the highway department, and birds that eat the berries, multiflora is now pretty much everywhere in the US acting as the perfect gateway for RRD.

complete document in pdf format


Manor Ink
"youth-led library-based" newspaper

by Mary Hall

posted September 2, 2013


Manor Ink Banner by Leif K. Johansen.  Click to enlarge.


There is a newspaper in Livingston Manor called Manor Ink and its a newspaper that is created entirely by high school aged journalists.  This summer Manor Ink has just completed its first volume!  That means that in August, this Livingston Manor "youth-led library-based" newspaper has managed to come out with fifteen issues since June 2012, when they opened to great acclaim with the 2012 Trout Parade front page.  

This is a newspaper that is a collaboration between high school students and adult mentors under the auspices of the Livingston Manor Free Library.  Over the year, the paper has grown from an 8-pager to a 12-pager to its current size of a 16-pager and the interviewers and writers say that they all agree that their skills have grown immensely.  So, they say, have their grades in English.

 They meet regularly at the library with mentors in tow, discuss what topics are up for the next issue, fan out to work on them, come back to meet again, revise what they are working on, and somehow or another, the issue eventually gets done - in print and on line and with beautiful pictures too.

Manor Ink is distributed free in virtually all of the retail establishments in Livingston Manor.  It is also available on line at www.manorink.com.  The paper has garnered more and more advertising support over the year and, in addition, is supported by the Lazare and Charlotte Kaplan Foundation and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.  Donations for Manor Ink are accepted at the Livingston Manor Free Library, 92 Main St., Livingston Manor, NY.

Congratulations, Manor Ink!


New fobc Board Members
August 2013

posted August 31, 2013


President : Sue Barnett

Vice-president : Joan O'Connor

Corresponding Secretary : Jane Sokolow

Treasurer : David Barnes

Secretary : Steve Leviine

Members at large :

Virginia Lawrence

Joni Wehrli

Website : Virginia Lawrence


Progress Report on the Steeple

from Steve Lott

updated August 19, 2013

With a flurry of activity coming (the Musicale, Children’s service, wedding), the start of the bell tower and steeple restoration has been rescheduled for September 16, with completion in early October. In the interim, the scaffolding in front of the church will be removed and stored.

first post July 31, 2013

We are in the final design phase of the bell tower and steeple. Materials are being ordered and specialty contractors (copper joiner, crane) have been committed. Work to commence in about a week with completion by end of August.


Student Pilot Buzzes Beaverkill
posted August 6, 2013


Student Pilot Buzzes Beaverkill in Cessna 172
Tail Number N7721G
Tom Lawrence at the controls with Instructor Jim Cramer
out of Wurtsboro, NY August 5, 2013
photo Virginia Lawrence 

Click to enlarge

more pictures here

Beaverkill Communty Church Dedication

Sunday, July 28, 2013

posted July 28, 2013

The ceremony began outdoors in the rain. and then all entered the church to the ringing of the bell.  The prayer of Dedication was given by Ginny Carle, President of the Board of Trustees, New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Click to enlarge

The congregation.
Click to enlarge.
Church Board. (l to r) Ed Cerny, Steve Lott, Ginny Carle,
Mary Hall, Patricia Adams, Stu Root.
Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

Japanese Knotweed:
The Silent Invasion

Concerns resurface after 9 years.

posted July 23, 2013

On September 17, 2004 the FOBC alerted the community to the proliferation of Japanese Knotweed.   This summer, 2013, concerns about knotweed have again been raised.  The solutions offered in 2004 continue to be relevant.

Sept. 17, 2004.  The Silent Invasion:
Dear FOBC members and concerned landowners,

"There is a slow and insidious invasion going on in the Valley that is affecting us all. It is the proliferation of a very aggressive nuisance plant commonly known as Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum). You have all seen it and many of us even have it on our own properties and do not realize the implications of allowing it to continue to grow unabated."   full letter   here

10 tips for combatting Knotweed  here

What to plant in place of Knotweed  here

back to top


Good-bye Bakery Hello Bistro

posted July 17, 2013

Last week JR and Denise of Flowerpower fame announced that they will be opening a new restaurant at Route 17 and exit 96, in the same location as the Flower Power Bakery and Cafe, which closed in January 2013.  Steve Levine, FOBC reporter

JR and Denise in the much-missed Flower Power Bakery.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Click on graphic to enlarge

Mailing address is:
Flour Power Bakery and Cafe
PO Box 689
Livingston Manor, New York 12758


Local Farmers Markets

posted July 17, 2013

Frequently asked about, here is a list of area farmer's markets that are now regularly in business until, for the most part, Columbus Day weekend.  The Roscoe market on Sundays has recently expanded and offers a wide variety of produce from great veggies, locally made pastas, wines, baked goods, eggs and meats.     Steve Levine, FOBC reporter

Roscoe Farmers Market

Municipal Lot 206 Near Stewart Avenue
May–Mid October
Sundays @ 10:00 a.m.–2:00 --Rain or Shine


Liberty Farmers Market

Sullivan County Visitors Association
Parking Lot
100 Sullivan Avenue
June 7–October 11
Fridays @ 3:00–6:00 p.m.

Complete list of Farmers Markets compiled by Steve Levine


Beaverkill Covered Bridge:
Closed, currently Open ( closed again? )

Bridge Rehabilitation Project

July 5 - by Steve Levine

The Beaverkill Covered Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic on January 28 and later to pedestrian traffic on March 18th.

The repair process for the bridge was presented to the public on Thursday, June 27 at 6:30 pm in the Lew Beach firehouse.  

Present were several officials representing the NYS Department of Transportation, a NYS DEC representative and Mr. Dev Devadoss, Project Manager for the NYS DOT, offices of which are in Binghamton. 

Mr. Devadoss was the chief spokesperson for the project and his presentation basically was all that is printed on their brochure.  The meeting was opened to Q&A which provided an active interchange mostly related to how the project would be funded and when the project would be completed. 

The main issue was the fact that, as Mr. Devadoss related, the Federal Government would fund $1,500,00 but in reality, the total cost for all needs would be $2,018,000.  It was generally questioned by those in attendance as to why the State cannot contribute the difference since the bridge is totally within the boundaries of the Beaverkill Covered Bridge Campsite, NY State's first designated public campsite created in 1922. 

Asked if there was to be another meeting in the future, they were non- committal at this time.  Their best estimate as to when the bridge would be opened after the project was only suggested to be around the fall of 2014 should the project commence in a timely manner.  Weather conditions, especially during the winter, are a factor here.


Fight With Verizon Over Ending Landline Service Has New Front: Catskills

Published: June 26, 2013 in the NY Times

The battle between Verizon and its unionized workers over a new device that turns a standard home phone into a kind of tethered cellphone shifted this week from Fire Island to the Catskills.

On Wednesday, the New York State attorney general’s office asked utilities regulators to prevent Verizon from “illegally installing” the device, known as Voice Link. The company has been pressing customers to switch to the new service instead of having their traditional phone lines fixed.

posted 06/27/13

complete article here


Bradley Diuguid Named at CAS

posted 01/30/13



Livingston Manor, NY – The Board of Directors of Catskill Art Society (CAS) has appointed Bradley Diuguid as Executive Director, effective February 15, 2013. Originally from Monticello, NY, Diuguid is currently the Operations and Audience Services Manager for Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, MA, where he leads administration and business management for the arts education and presenting organization.



Gloria Shaver - january 23, 2013

Gloria Shaver who, with her husband, ran the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery for years and lived in Turnwood until Alzheimer's struck and she was moved to the Roscoe Nursing Home died on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.  She managed the Beaverkill Trout Club for years, too.  She was an extraordinarily vital, caring, intelligent, fun, and effective woman, and her loss is a loss to the valley. 

Funeral Monday, January 28 at 1:00pm at the Bryant Funeral Home in Livingston Manor.


No More Flour Power
Flour Power Bakery and Cafe has closed

posted 01/17/13


This notice is written with a heavy heart, because
Flour Power Bakery is closing its doors.
Monday, December 31, was our last day.

It's been a long journey from our first farmers' market to now,
and there have been many magical days, wonderful events,
brunches, gallery openings, train shows, slot cars, breakfasts, lunches
and lots of baked goods and bread shared. 
None of it would have been possible without you.
We are so thankful for the support of our customers,
our friends, and the community.
With your permission, we would like to keep in touch;
our contact information remains the same.
If you are holding a gift certificate, please let us know.

We are not sure what our next step will be,
but you all know J.R. loves to feed people.
Peace and Love for 2013.


The preceding notice was received by the FOBC Board on January 3.  No explanation was offered for the closing.


Hoos Cleanup

posted 01/15/13

By looking at the foundation since it's a stone construction
and not poured that building would likely be pre-1920s.
Photo taken on January 11, 2012 by Suzanne Bevier.
Click on photo to enlarge.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Hoos Fund please click here for  details>>.

New pictures of the fire itself by Robert Tuttle here>>


Directors of the Church in Process of buying the building

posted 12/16/12

The Board of Directors of the Church is in the process of purchasing the building from the United Methodist Conference. It will not make very much difference in our experience of the Church - we will continue to gather for Sunday services from Memorial Day through Labor Day; we will continue to have the Christmas Eve Sing, the summer Musicale, occasional presentations and events given by other community organizations throughout the year, weddings, funerals and baptisms.

The control of the Church will be with the local community rather than with the United Methodist Church. We have met with the President of the Methodist Conference and the District Superintendent, and they fully support our decision.

church page


A Visit from the Fire inspectors

posted 12/11/12


Photo Suzanne Bevier.  Click on photo to enlarge.

The fire inspectors with the dozer moving items around, Suburban propane also had a large truck parked out in front of the building on Pearl Street.


Perspective: The Historic Resource Survey

posted 12/11/12

The idea for an historic survey started about 15 years ago when we formed FOBC to protect the historic integrity of the Beaverkill Church. Since then we have talked a great deal about the numerous historic sites and buildings in our community and when we formed a committee, we found that there was a great deal of interest in researching historic sites with both foundations and residents.

Read the entire report here in pdf format.


posted 12/06/12

The Beaverkill Area Neighborhood Association and the Roscoe Rockland Chamber of Commerce contracted with Larson Fisher Associates (LFA), a historic preservation planning
firm based in Woodstock New York, to conduct a reconnaissance-level historic resource survey of the lower Beaverkill Valley. The survey covered four distinct areas: the hamlet of Roscoe, the Rockland Flats, the Beaverkill neighborhood, and farms on Burnt Hill.  

Read the report here22 MB 116 pages pdf format


Update: Verizon 8/5 - noT 24/7 

November 29, 2012 - by Steve Levine

Today I received a call from the Verizon representative overseeing our local phone issues and she has informed me that major maintenance work has been done yesterday and today which hopefully will rectify the problems.  It seems that moisture condensation causes contacts in the circuit box to fail and a heater system has been installed.  I would ask that anybody who has further problems please contact me either by phone (201 394 5115) or email as I do have a direct conduit to those who have been assigned to help us. 

previous details provided by Steve here


Follow-up: Hoos Building Relief Fund

November 29, 2012 - by Sue Barnett

Many of you asked about what is being done in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the Hoos Building in Livingston Manor. The following is from Sue Barnett on behalf of the The Community Center/Rockland Relief Fund.

Last week's fire destroyed an historic building and four businesses, and broke a lot of hearts. Three of the businesses had insurance, and they're all dealing with that now; we wish them all good luck and a speedy settlement.

But Moose-Be-Morning is not among those working out the details with their insurance providers, because Dawn had no insurance. In addition to losing everything she had for her business--convection oven, microwave, refrigerators, freezer, grill, coffee makers, cash register, tables and chairs, cookware and cutlery among them--she lost hundreds of dollars of food inventory specially bought for the busy hunting season; in addition to all that, she is still paying off the equipment that is now charred rubble in the pile that was once the Hoos building.

The Community Center is accepting tax-deductible donations to help Dawn get out from under this disaster. If you can help, please send what you can to the Livingston Manor Community Center's Rockland Relief Fund, PO Box 1096, Livingston Manor, NY 12758.

We continue to monitor the situation of the other victims of this fire; there are no immediate needs at this time, but we will keep you all posted as things develop. Thank you all so much for your kindnesses.


Explosion and Fire in the Manor on Nov 20 - 4 businesses destroyed

November 21, 2012 - reported by Patricia Adams

This is a first hand report and does not attempt to explain anything other than an immediate reaction.

I was taking something to the Livingston Manor Library on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and when I parked my car in the lot behind the library, I felt a jolt. I was convinced someone had hit me from behind, but when I looked around there was no one there. I walked round to the front of the library and saw Peggy running down the street towards the blinking light. When I called after her, she said, "Did you hear the explosion?"

We looked together to see smoke rising above the Sonoco Station and it became evident that something terrible was happening. The sirens went off at the fire station and we learned that the little coffee cafe "The Moose" was on fire. The engines were out of the firehouse as soon as the alarm went out, but the flames and black smoke were getting ahead of any sprays of water they could fire up.

The fire destroyed the entire building, the old Hoos Bakery building, now owned by the Foster family. Four businesses were destroyed; the Moose, Willow and Brown, Foster's Baseball shop and the Lazy Beagle restaurant. The fire companies, which came from all over the county,  were there until late into the night. It looked like the explosion was from gas leaking and electricity was cut off in the Manor in fear of leaking gas and another explosion.

It was very lucky that no one was in any of those buildings and no one was hurt. And it was also lucky that the flames didn't jump over to Will's Hardware and beyond.

More information can be found on websites reporting on this terrible fire.


Weather Watch: Sandy  BY STEVE LEVINE

November 15, 2012

Good afternoon all.   We were happy to see that Sandy (Oct 29) left our Catskill area without too many problems.  l believe that our power was off for about a day and a half. 

Our son Michael is an officer in the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) corps and two sites have been most helpful in showing weather conditions that you may want to know about.  The first is the NOAA Doppler radar site which covers all the US but can be viewed for any local area.

This site can be even put into a "loop" mode which shows the directional movements in real time of inclement weather systems.  The second is specifically for Lew Beach (yeah! our Lew Beach) and is quite detailed. 

These are the sites that most network news services refer to when reporting and issuing weather advisories.


Verizon 8/5 - noT 24/7  BY STEVE LEVINE

November 14, 2012

An important issue that attention should be drawn to is our on again/off again phone service a la Verizon.  It is no secret that our phone outages have been occurring with greater frequency in our area which is, for the most part, also not served by cell phone and has serious if not catastrophic implications if one needs to report emergencies (fire, medical, etc.....) 

About a month ago and in some detail I reported our situation to the NY State Public Utilities Commission and for a while enjoyed some celebrity status while being contacted by a number of representatives from both the NYS PUC and Verizon.  I am still receiving calls from a Verizon reps asking if service is satisfactory.  I am certain that the phrase "serious liability issues" caught their attention. 

One most interesting revelation is the fact that a replacement for the offending circuit box, the one on the Beaverkill Road just before the Covered Bridge Campsite road that keeps going out, is sitting in a service facility in Fallsburg, and due to some confusing issues has yet to be installed.  I am not quite sure as to what they are.

I have had a number of calls from several Verizon service personnel that also are not quite sure why they have not yet had the "green light" to replace it.  I am still waiting to hear some answers from those Verizon people that have been assigned to inform/placate me.  

It is totally unacceptable that when informed of area outages,  they usually don't send out repair crews until days later and never on weekends.   Verizon claims to be a 24/7 company but when it comes to servicing our outages, it's 8/5.


When you live by a River by Mermer Blakeslee

October 8, 2012

Description: cid:part1.09020408.03010606@citlink.netMermer Blakeslee's new novel When You Live by a River has just been published by Narrative Library. It's a story about love, death, religion, and land which takes place in 1931 in rural New York beneath what is now a reservoir.  It's available in any form you want from the Narrative store or Amazon or the Apple iBook store. 

Narrative Store   
Amazon Store

Baby Bear at Balsam

August 8, 2012 - by Lara Gussoni and Tom Lawrence 


We saw this small black bear (possibly a cub, definitely juvenile) way upstream on the Beaverkill, not too far from Beaverkill Falls. It ran across the street as we were driving past and we stopped and got a video on the iPhone. 

back to bear sightings   here

I used to live there!

June 19, 2012 - a letter to the editors from Roger Martin


Just saw your website.  I don't know if this is of interest, but
my family lived on the grounds of the castle when I was born
in April of 1941.  My father, Eugene Martin would give
informal tours of the castle... I do remember being inside
at a very early age.  I recall the marble floors, bathrooms,
etc.  Oddly enough, I remember that there was an intercom
system and thought that unusual as it was the early 1940s.
My mother used to bathe me down from the castle in the
Beaverkil river.  I loved the tall trees on the road up to the
castle.  Dad was responsible for and indeed did, repair
those gothic windows.  He was a cabinet maker and had
those types of skills.  Thank you for your interesting website.
Dads version of how the castle came about was a little
different from what I read on your site, but generally that
is what I was told also.  However, I was told that the castle
came over stone by stone from Scotland.  ??  You have
great pictures on your website!

Roger Martin

Vaudeville Concert

March 31 & April 1, 2012 Hurleyville, NY details

In Celebration of Darkness

Patricia Adams February 15, 2012  here

Nature Post: Big Mama of the Beaverkill

Patricia Adams October 12, 2011  here

Hurricane Irene hits Beaverkill

August 26, 2011 - youtube video by Tom Lawrence below.


Massive flooding in Beaverkill NY due to Hurricane Irene.  Taken in the afternoon during the storm.

Nature Post: Obecny's Bear

posted August 20, 2011 - by Carl Obecny

While we haven’t actually seen the bear(s), one evening about 5-6 weeks ago, I forgot to bring in the bird feeders. What a mistake that was! Our feeders as well as the wrought iron holders took quite a beating. In addition, we have seen bear scat in several spots around our blueberries and red currant bushes. Just about all the blueberries, not fenced, were stripped clean this year and a few bushes have experienced some minor damage. We’re assuming the bear was the culprit. One bear even left us a little gift right on our front patio!

So, they are out there. Which I must say, I’m happy about.

Nature Post: Backyard Bears in Beaverkill!

posted August 12, 2011 - by Virginia Lawrence

On Tuesday, July 26, at about 11 in the morning, I was on the phone making a hotel reservation in Massachusetts.  Roger and Liz were in the living room.  Marina and Madeline had just gone down to spend the morning with the Adams grandchildren.  Suddenly Liz started shouting at me to GET OFF THE PHONE.

I glanced out the window, and there at the top of the stone steps right beside our back porch was a massive black bear.  I was so panicked that I couldn't remember how to call the Adams to warn them and the girls.  I kept dialing the wrong number.  Liz, meanwhile, raced out to the car and tore down the driveway to spread the alarm.

By the time I had finished struggling with the phone, the bear had vanished.  Roger said it seemed to sense that we were there and hurried up to the top of the hill past the red chairs where it disappeared from view.

Of course we discussed its size.  To me it looked massive and I guessed it to be about 400 pounds.  Roger, however, felt it would be closer to 300 pounds.  We did all note that it was shy and eager to leave us to our panic. 

The next day I ran into John Adams who told me that the bear had come down the back side of the hill towards the Adams house, but that as soon as it caught sight of him in the driveway, it had rushed over the embankment into the road, and straight down to the picnic area beside the covered bridge.  John followed and saw the bear check out the picnic tables before heading on over to the other side of the river, ambling in the direction of the main campsite.  John mentioned that a much bigger bear has been spotted this summer on Reagan Road.

We then shared the story with Judy Rosen who passed it on to Rose Brown and Les Mattis.  Les had his own bear story as it turned out.  This summer he spotted a truly massive bear on his porch.  The bear was on its hind legs playing with the bird feeder.  Les, who is over 6-feet tall himself and has to stand on a chair to reach the feeder, estimated that the bear could reach up 8-9 feet, and that it might have weighed 500 pounds.  He woke his grandson to come see the bear.  The grandson, rubbing his sleepy eyes, declared the bear "cute."

A few days later in telling the story to Ross Francis, we learned that she, too, had seen a bear in the woods behind her house this summer, the biggest she has ever seen – 500 to 600 pounds she thought.

As a footnote:  After the bear had appeared on his porch, Les called the authorities to see about having the bear trapped and moved to a less populated area.  He was told that our area is, in fact, a preferred dumping ground for any bears they catch at the other end of the Catskills.  Hmmm!  Sounds like we may be in for more bear sightings.

back to bear sightings   here


Congregation Taken by Surprise

posted August 3, 2011 - by Virginia Lawrence from notes supplied by Stu Root

On the morning of Sunday, July 31, 2011, at the Beaverkill Methodist Church, choirmaster Stu Root, who was standing in for lay preacher Mary Hall laid up at home with a broken ankle, cut short his sermon about Jacob's wrestling match (Genesis, Chapter 33) to spring a surprise on the congregation.  There was to be a wedding, and it was going to happen right then!

Lori Simpson Boomer and Bruce Boomer wished to renew their marriage vows in the church that had meant so much to Lori in her youth.

Lori is the granddaughter of Fred Rogers and Grace D. Rogers.   The Rogers family lived for many years at the corner of Campsite Road where the Wiser-Adams family now resides.  You may remember that the stained glass window at the back of the sanctuary is in memory of Grace Rogers, presented as a gift by Fred Rogers.

With Jacob's wrestling match curtailed, Lori and Bruce came to the front of the church where Lori introduced her mother, Mrs. Simpson, daughter of Fred and Grace, and a number of other family members.  Mrs. Simpson gave a few words of thanks for being in our midst, and then read from Psalm 121:

I will lift up mine eyes to the hills
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord.

Stand-in lay preacher, Stu Root, then read the vows scripted by Lori:

Lori and Bruce, more than twenty years ago you promised to love each other, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health.

Now  Lori and Bruce, please repeat after me:

Again I take you to be my partner in life…
I give to you my unending love and devotion…
And I promise to dream with you forever.

After repeating their vows Lori and Bruce exchanged rings provided by best man Bruce Simpson.

Bruce Simpson then read from Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11:

I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.

Last of all, the stand-in lay preacher closed the ceremony saying:   Lori and Bruce you may now seal your promises with a kiss.

And they did.

Berry Brook Farm Open House

posted July 4, 2011

Mermer Blakeslee and Eric Hamerstrom's garden
hosted by the Garden Conservancy
Saturday, July 9, 2011
10:00am to 4:00pm

details about the Berry Brook Farm Open House

Photos: Trout Parade July 2010 

posted December 7, 2010 - photos Jane Sokolow

Grand Master Mac Francis

more photos

John Adams Honored

November 18, 2010

President Obama has just announced that John Adams has been awarded the highest civilian honor - the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

White House press release here

Post: Birds, Beetles, and Bears

October 11, 2010 - John Kelly

I think posts of sightings, no matter how episodic, anecdotal, and unscientific, are interesting and will become more and more so, and maybe even useful, over time. Here are some of my most recent ones:

Saw the same crowd of post adolescent, uber robust, frequent flier wannabe robins that visited Patricia at about the same date in September. Haven't seen this type of mob before. Also, no monarchs at all. The tiger swallowtails still show the flag.

Very oddly, no [or very few] Japanese beetles. Usually the grape vines are crawling with them. Reasonable sightings of turkeys; one flock of at least 13, two hens, no males. Not much coyote howling in Laraway Hollow, tho a pack must have made a kill around mid-day last Sunday as we were leaving, celebrating with the usual bloodcurdling shrieks and cries. Much woodchuck action, but this will take a full historic and analytic essay. Lady deer in usual numbers and frequency--they show at the top of the meadow around cocktail hour. Not trying to cadge an invitation I think, but they stare in a most wistful way. A group of five last week with one quite young--I hope not the coyote victim.

Bears. No sightings this year and no evidence of presence. Second hand, I'm told of several sightings and porch entries at the Lotz house on the banks of the Willowemoc across from the revivified Beaverkill Garage. Also have gotten more general word of unusual numbers of bears near the river on downstream towards Roscoe. Further to bears, I am glad that this venue has become available even tho I came up dry this year.

I have found that it is impossible to relate a bear story in this group. Hardly before even the briefest and most colorful tale can be completed, a distant look comes into the eye of the Beaverkill listener, and he or she is off their own bear story, obviously topping your own.

And indeed, if the listener has no bear story to claim, they will come up just as quickly with a second hand story of how their friend Blotz managed to talk to a bear. The written word, however, foils them, and I only regret that the ursines shunned me this year.

Weather Watch: Manor Flooded Again

October 1, 2010

Click here for a video report on the flooding in the Manor.

Photos: Rainbows and Butterflies

by Jane Sokolow, posted October 3, 2010   here

Photos: Annual General Meeting

by Jane Sokolow, posted October 3, 2010  here

Nature Post: Bird Watch

Patricia Adams October 2, 2010

On September 19 a flock (at least 50) of robins landed in our yard at about 7 a.m. They kept busy pulling hapless worms out of the lawn ( I was surprised they could get them considering how dry it had been) for about an hour and then flew away. I assume they have flocked together for their trip south. I would love to hear about other flocks of birds passing through.

Our hummingbirds left around September 12. Also I only saw one Monarch Butterfly this year - and it was caught behind the window in our bathroom. Of course I let it out and he/she immediately headed south. Did anyone see Monarchs this year?

The heron is still here - has almost completely fished out our little pond.

Nature Post: A Wee Bird

Patricia Adams October 2, 2010

Louis Shawcross is the son of our cousin Neil Shawcross, who is a painter and many of the Friends bought paintings of Neil''s when we had a show for him up at the Gallery in Lew Beach a few years ago. Louis showed up at our door step, after hitch hiking from Vermont where he worked in a camp for children with disabilities.He had lost his wallet and passport so had no money or ID so stayed a month with us while he got things cleared up.I wrote about this incident to our family.

Thursday morning I was getting ready to leave to do my spots for WJFF and I saw Louis from my office window. He was walking slowing around under the apple tree looking at something in his hand. It looked like he was texting on his blackberry,  but Louis doesn’t have a blackberry. I finished up what I had to do and then as I was leaving, I went out and asked him what he had.

 “A wee bird,” he answered.

  In his hands was a fledgling – and I could see it quivering.

  “I think it’s going to die,” he said. “It’s just shaking all over. Those big blue birds (blue jays) must have injured it – they were diving at it in the grass. They were going to kill it.”

I’ve always heard that if you pick up a baby bird, the parents will not come back to it, and also, the little bird really did look like it was about to expire. But before I actually left, Louis said the bird had calmed down and he could feel its heart beat. The bird had a black cap above its eyes, and even to me, when he blinked his eyes, he looked a bit stronger.

 I left, but Louis held that ‘wee bird’ for over 2 hours in his hand. Then when he felt the bird was strong again, he opened his hand and the bird flew to his shoulder and pooped. Louis checked the bird poop to see what it had been eating, so he could get it more berries. (choke cherries) Then he went upstairs and  leaned out the window and let the bird go. That didn’t work too well, because first the bird flew back at him and hit the window. But Louis got it again and took it out on the lawn.  Finally it hopped a bit and then flew into the lilac bush, where it still was when I got home in the evening.  Louis could hear the bird and see the parents flying into the bush, but he couldn’t find the bird. He returned to the bush over and over and looked for it until the sun went down.

The next morning I had to go over to Ramsay and Ananda’s and I was in their living room with Violet and looked out the window- saw a movement – and there was the little bird! As I watched, the parents flew in and brought it food. Then I saw that they were Cedar Waxwings, who come through here in August – this must be why there is a baby bird so late in the season.

We watched Friday and Saturday – the bird flew first to a maple near the barn, the parents still bringing it food and then on Sunday flew away.

Town Plan: Town of Rockland 

posted September 1, 2010

Town Plan (pdf) 59 pages

Proposed Map (pdf) 1 page

Covered Bridge Registered

August 20, 2008   details

Flood June 19, 2007

Report Issued August 2008 from the National Weather Service  details

Musicale at the Beaverkill Church

flyer by Joan O'Connor

August 11, 2007  


For Old Span a Rite of Passage

April 2007 by Barbara Gref in The Towne Crier   details

Heritage Edition stories of the Beaverkill

Published February 2007, by Patricia Adams in The Towne Crier  details

Garlic Mustard

contributed by Ed Hamerstrom -- May 27, 2006   details

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

reported by David Barnes -- August 5, 2005 details

Japanese Knotweed Update June 2005

from Steve Levine  details

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prepared by the Delaware River Invasive Plant Partnership 

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What to Plant in Place of Japanese Knotweed

prepared by the Delaware River Invasive Plant Partnership 

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Japanese Knotweed: The Silent Invasion

from the Japanese Knotwood Committee, September 17, 2004 


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