The 14th annual Catskills Lark in the Park will be held from Saturday, September 30 through Monday, October 9. The Lark was started in 2004 by the Catskill Mountain Club (CMC) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Catskill Park. Since its inception, the Lark has brought together thousands of people and dozens of organizations hosting hundreds of recreational events, all aimed at heightening the awareness of the Catskill Mountain region and the Catskill Park. Activities have included organized hikes, bicycle trips, paddles, stewardship, cultural and educational events. The coordination of the Lark is managed through a partnership among the Catskill Mountain Club, the Catskill Center and the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference.
During the Lark’s ten days, there will be a great variety of outdoor workshops teaching everything from fly-fishing to nature photography, kayaking to “leave no trace,” educational walks, local history, ecology, invasive plants, mushrooms and local wildlife. Each year there are maintenance workshops to improve the park’s 350 miles of foot trails and lean-tos. These events are held throughout the park within Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster Counties.
Events this year include a Backpacking Essentials hike on Saturday, September 30 from 2:30 p.m. until Sunday, October 1 at 5 p.m. An experienced long-distance hiker will host a backpacking hike and workshop for aspiring and novice backpackers. Paddle the scenic Pepacton Reservoir on Saturday, September 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A film screening of America’s First Forest: Carl Schenk and the Asheville Experiment will be held on Saturday, September 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Open Eye Theater in Margaretville. Sponsored by the Catskill Forest Association, the film explores how, at a critical time, an extraordinary group of men converged at the magnificent Biltmore Estate in North Carolina to address a critical question: Could the Scientific Revolution stop the Industrial Revolution from destroying America’s forests?
The Catskill Park and its Forest Preserve are a 705,000-acre patchwork of public and private lands. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for managing the 350,000 acres of “forever wild” forest preserve lands within the park. The primary objective is to provide public outdoor recreation and access. In addition to the Forest Preserve lands, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection owns and manages more than 150,000 acres, protecting New York City’s watershed for drinking water. The remaining property within the park is owned privately.