A Pristine Setting

The Catskill Watershed Region is an area of 1,600 square miles that includes all or parts of 5 counties, dozens of towns, 9 villages, and hundreds of hamlets. A collection of 6 man-made reservoirs hold water from mountain rivers and streams until it travels through a century-old gravity-fed system of tunnels and pipes, to New York City.

Much of the region overlaps with the Catskill Park, 700,000 acres of land protected since 1904 by the State of New York and frequently visited by New Yorkers in search of outdoor adventure, peace and quiet, and extraordinary natural beauty. Logging and agriculture were once the most important industries in the region and the agricultural heritage is still visible in this pristine rural setting.

Today, tourism drives the economy. In towns like Shandaken, up to 75% of the property is owned by the State of New York and the City of New York and is held as forever wild. Those protections help to insure that New York City will always have clean water and that visitors to the area will always be able to enjoy four-season outdoor recreation, fine performing arts, crafts and other cultural attractions, all offered in a setting of unspoiled beauty. Many visitors buy weekend homes. Some telecommute, splitting their time between jobs downstate and personal lives here in the Catskills.

We invite you to learn more about the watershed towns, their history, and the historic agreement with New York City.

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