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DEC gets 50 Catskill acres for one dollar

Mar 25, 2019 12:33 am
On March 22 State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that New York State has acquired 50 acres of property in the town of Catskill. The property had been in the Maby/Mabie family since 1896, and was sold to the DEC for $1 from Edward Maby. The lands will become part of New York's Forest Preserve. "The acquisition of this Catskill property will improve public recreational access in the area and includes remnants of the historic Rip Van Winkle House," Seggos said in a press release. "DEC expresses our sincere gratitude to Mr. Maby and his family for this generous contribution to the Forest Preserve that New Yorkers and visitors will be able to enjoy for generations to come." The parcel is now part of the Windham Blackhead Range Wilderness Area in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Hiking, hunting, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing will be allowed on the land, that has about 1,400 feet of frontage on the Old Catskill Mountain Turnpike, which DEC maintains as a hiking trail that leads to the former Catskill Mountain House site at North-South Lake campground. Foundations of the historic Rip Van Winkle House site can be found along the trail. The Rip Van Winkle House was built in 1867, and served as a resting place for people traveling to the Catskill Mountain House near North Lake. When the Catskill Mountain House opened in 1826, visitors made the twelve-mile journey from Catskill by horse-drawn coach. Jeff Senterman, Executive Director, Catskill Center, said, "This acquisition represents an exciting combination of natural, recreational and historical elements that make for an excellent addition to the Catskill Park's Forest Preserve. Mr. Maby's generosity ensures the protection of this important land for future generations of New Yorkers."