The 18th Annual Catskills Lark in the Park is Saturday, October 2nd through Monday, October 11th, 2021
The Catskills Lark in the Park for 2021 is almost here. This year we are happy to return to offering in-person events. Though fewer in number, they are just as exciting, beautiful, friendly and varied. See the spectacular fall foliage, the ponds, the lakes and the streams. Climb the mountains, visit the fire towers, paddle the rivers and reservoirs. Visit an arboretum or a sculpture garden. Find beauty from the comfort of your vehicle or take a short hike to some great views. It’s all right here for your and your family’s enjoyment – just click on the links in the right hand menu and choose an adventure right here in America’s First Wilderness. Click these links for guided hikes and for guided paddles.
Due to COVID’s continuing threat, we will limit group sizes and ask all participants to follow recommended guidelines for social outings. These will vary slightly depending on the type of event. We want to be sure folks are as safe as possible and that means limited contact with folks from outside our households or local areas. Individual event listings will specify guidelines. See the in-person and all other events by clicking on the side menu headings. Click on the links for guided hikes and for guided paddles for full event descriptions and to register.
We will also feature the new exhibits at the Catskills Visitor Center, a great starting point for any visit to the Catskills. Climb the fire tower for sweeping views of the Esopus Valley and talk with staff to find the attractions you are interested in.
We are very excited to offer the popular Views from the Watershed program in a new format this year. Working with area artists and historians, educator Lize Mogel has created a podcast tour of the watershed that will highlight the history of and impacts of the NYC water supply system in the Catskills. The tour will feature interviews with many authorities on the subject, offering information from different perspectives. The podcast will even have an original soundtrack by Catskills musician Suzanne Thorpe, a founding member of the widely praised indie group Mercury Rev.
All in all, there are lots of exciting features to look forward to during the 18th Annual Lark in the Park.
Be sure to look below for our listings of self guided tours for hikers, cyclists, paddlers, art lovers and more.
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Hike the Six CMC Hiking Trails and Earn a Star!
Introducing a new hiking program from the CMC, this hiking tour will take you on a journey touring the six remarkably varied trails built and maintained by the CMC in partnership with the NYCDEP, local governments and with the generous cooperation of private landowners.
Hike them all and for your efforts you can earn a beautiful embroidered patch. If you have hiked some of them previously, those count. Just finish the list, send in your application and we’ll send you your award at no charge. Click here for to learn how you can get you star!
Paddling is a great way to enjoy the foliage and with easy social distancing! Explore one of the beautiful NYC reservoirs or take a trip down the East Branch of the Delaware like John Burroughs. See our paddling suggestions here.
This Lark in the Park, take the trail less traveled. Since the pandemic started, the more well known Catskills trails have seen a significant increase in usage. We think it is more fun to explore the trails the crowds don’t know about. Check out our suggestions for those here.
It’s hard to beat fall bike riding. The weather is cool and comfortable and the scenery is spectacular. Some of the best rides in the Catskills are found in the scenic farming valleys and around the reservoirs. Many of them are relatively flat or ascend gently towards the head of a valley on dead end roads. Check out where to ride by the pictured view and other great biking suggestions here.
Scenic Byways, Scenic Overlooks and Scenic Walks
Scenic drives are a great way to see big views and spectacular foliage while social distancing. To help you find some of the best, see our recommendations here. The Palmer Hill scenic overlook is pictured .
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Since its inception in 2004 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Catskill Park, the Lark in the Park has brought together thousands of people who have participated in hundreds of events sponsored by dozens of organizations, all aimed at heightening awareness of the Catskill Mountain region of New York State.
Recognized as America’s First Wilderness, the Catskills have played a crucial role in forming our sense of wilderness as a place of intrinsic value that should be protected. Early American artists such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand and Frederick Church celebrated and popularized the notion of nature as sacred in their Hudson River School paintings. Similarly, authors such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant wrote stories, novels and poems that spread the word about the Catskills worldwide. A few decades later, Catskills native John Burroughs famously wrote about the area with the eye of a naturalist. One of the most important early writers of wilderness and nature, his articles were published in national magazines and his books sold widely. The modern conservation and environmental protection movements can be traced to the Catskills, in no small part as a result of these early works of art and literature.
Today we celebrate the Catskill Park and Mountains annually with the Catskills Lark in the Park. From hiking to paddling to cycling, and from natural history to human culture to stewardship service the Lark offers everyone opportunities to live and learn in and about nature. There could be no more appropriate place for this celebration than the Catskills. We hope you will join us.
The coordination of this event is managed by a partnership of the Catskill Mountain Club, The Catskill Center, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Catskill Park and its Forest Preserve is a 705,000-acre patchwork of public and private lands in the Catskill Mountain Region of New York State, including nearly 300,000 acres of public lands . The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for managing the forest preserve lands within the Catskill Park, which are designated “forever wild” in the New York State Constitution.. The purpose of the designation is to conserve these lands, to protect the environment and to provide public access to outdoor recreation. In addition to the Forest Preserve lands, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection owns and manages over 150,000 acres of land to protect New York City’s watershed for drinking water. The remaining land of the Catskills is owned privately and hosts services for visitors and residents, including lodging, restaurants, cultural institutions, farm stores and entertainment venues.