Nov. 12, 2014
Paula Piatt, Trout Unlimited Eastern Sportsmen Organizer, 570-886-1609
Mark Taylor, Trout Unlimited Eastern Communications Director, 540-353-3556
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The historic region offers an abundance of fishing and hunting opportunities.
WASHINGTON, D.C.Trout Unlimited is featuring New Yorks Catskill Park in a new report highlighting outstanding public fishing and hunting areas in the Central Appalachian region that are at risk from shale gas drilling and hydrofracking.
The organizations 10 Special Places report focuses on areas that are rich in fish, game and natural beauty, and that have for generations provided abundant opportunities for hunters and anglers. It covers threats to the specific regions and offers recommendations for the best approaches sportsmen and women can use to protect these areas from potential risks.
The Catskills region is the sixth of the 10 Special Places to be announced. Trout Unlimited will announce a new place weekly this fall, releasing the full report in December.
I think one of the reasons this is such a special place is not only do we have the highest concentration of trout fishing east of the Mississippi, but were also close to major population centers, said Evan Lavery, owner of the Beaverkill Angler fly shop. It allows people to get away in a way that they cant in a lot of other parts of the country.
Catskill Park is known as the birthplace of American fly-fishing. Brook, brown and rainbow trout thrive in famous streams such as the Esopus, Kaaterskill, Neversink and the Beaverkill. Abundant wildlife populations support a rich hunting tradition. An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 black bears live in or near the Catskill Park.
For fly-fishermen, the Catskills feel like home, said Paula Piatt, eastern sportsman organizer for Trout Unlimited. You are surrounded by streams and creeks and the famous pools of your fishing ancestors.
Aside from the sheer incongruity between a gas drilling rig towering over the landscape and the almost imperceptible rise of a trout, there are some very real concerns for Catskills streams as the possibility of pipelines and other development linger.
Trout Unlimited promotes responsible energy development and, in collaboration with others, seeks to ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to avoid or mitigate the impacts such development may have on important coldwater resources, such as the Catskill Park.
To protect the parks resources, Trout Unlimited and sportsmen and women want New York officials to uphold the proposed ban on surface drilling on all state lands within the park, and to develop strict standards to govern energy development on private lands within and near the park, if drilling is allowed to move forward in the state. Such standards should, at a minimum, include significant setbacks between well pads and the edge of state land and surface waters.
The report and related content are available online at tu.org/special-places.