Kaaterskill Wild Forest - Unit Management Plan
The Kaaterskill Wild Forest is located at the northeast rim of the Catskill Mountains in Greene and Ulster Counties. It lies east and south of the North Lake - South Lake Campground and extends south to the Platte Cove Road (Hunter Town Road 9, an extension of Greene County Highway 16). The unit consists of 7,620 acres of extraordinarily scenic and rugged forest with considerable elevation differential. It is, however, readily accessible by public roads and recreational trails.
The Department completed a Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Kaaterskill Wild Forest in 1987. If you would like to obtain a copy of the UMP, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015 Amendment - Kaaterskill Falls Area Improvements
This UMP Amendment proposes the construction of a new foot trail leading from the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail at the base of the falls to the Escarpment Trail at the top of the falls. This 0.2-mile trail would include construction of a stone staircase at the end of the current marked trail that would lead to a potential viewing area and then proceed upwards to the new connector trail to the Escarpment Trail.
The amendment also calls for the expansion of two nearby DEC-managed parking areas: the Laurel House Road parking area and the Schutt Road parking area. Both lots would be expanded to accommodate approximately 50 cars each. Currently, the lots can accommodate about 9-12 cars each. It should be noted that the heavily used Molly Smith parking area on Route 23A that provides parking for the Kaaterskill Falls trail at the base of the falls is managed by the New York State Department of Transportation and is not addressed in this management plan.
In addition, the draft amendment calls for the installation of up to 10 permanent anchor points in the middle pool area to assist first responders with rescue operations. The anchors would allow safety ropes to be quickly and safely secured during rescue operations. The anchor points will protect rescuers, as well as those being rescued, from potential falls and injury.
Download the UMP Amendment
2013 Amendment - New Trail Development
The Kaaterskill Rail Trail Committee (KRT) is sponsoring an initiative to complete a 1.8-mile trail connection between the community of Haines Falls and the existing trail system in the Kaaterskill Wild Forest and North/South Lake Campground. The primary component to this linkage is an abandoned Ulster and Delaware railroad bed between Haines Falls and Laurel House Road, of which 0.6 miles are in the Kaaterskill Wild Forest. An additional 0.2 miles of trail on an abandoned town road and a new bridge crossing over Spruce Creek would complete the connection to the existing Escarpment Trail. In addition to the connector trail, another 0.2 mile loop trail near the Spruce Creek crossing would provide access to the site of the former Laurel House. In all, one mile of newly designated trails in Kaaterskill Wild Forest are proposed for multiple-use, open to non-motorized recreation such as hiking, running, bicycling, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing.