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For Release: Thursday, June 4, 2015

Seasonal Summit Steward Pilot Program to Launch in June at Slide Mountain in the Catskills

DEC Seeks Volunteer Summit Stewards

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, in collaboration with the Catskill 3500 Club, today launched a pilot seasonal Summit Steward Program will focus on Slide Mountain in the Catskill Park, the organizations announced today. Slide Mountain is the Catskills highest summit and one of its most popular destinations.

NYS DEC Regional Director Martin Brand said, "Slide Mountain is one of the most visited high peaks in the Catskills. As such, it is the perfect place to teach visitors how to be stewards of the fragile summit environment, while enhancing their enjoyment of the mountain and the Catskill region."

Jeff Senterman, the Trail Conference's Senior Program Coordinator and Catskills staff representative, said, "This new partnership between the Trail Conference, the Catskill 3500 Club and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation illustrates the collaborative nature of efforts to improve the Catskill Park. Our Summit Stewards will help interpret and introduce the Catskill Park while educating the public on the importance of the Catskill Forest Preserve and its open spaces."

The seasonal Summit Stewards, hired and managed by the Trail Conference and supported by a generous gift from the Catskill 3500 Club, will spend summer weekends on the summit of Slide Mountain through Columbus Day Weekend. The stewards will be trained in Leave No Trace backcountry ethics, the fragile summit elevation environment, and the history and importance of the Catskill Park and forest preserve. They will greet, educate and assist the public and will also help the NYS DEC Forest Rangers respond to emergencies in the area.

Summit Stewards will help visitors to Slide Mountain's summit (elev. 4,180 feet), showcasing this spectacular Catskill destination. Stewards will offer information on good trail routes and hiking safety, and how to support the Catskill Park and other hiking trails in the region.

This program is another step to advance Governor Andrew Cuomo's efforts to develop additional access for outdoor recreation activities and promote tourism.

In addition to the paid seasonal stewards, the Trail Conference will offer interested individuals the opportunity to become a volunteer summit steward who will support the seasonal staff. Those who are interested in volunteering should visit the Catskill Conservation Corps volunteer page (link leaves DEC website.) To learn more about hiking, trail conditions, trail maps and Trail Conference programs in the Catskills, visit the Trail Conference's Catskill web page (link leaves DEC website.)

Follow the Trail Conference on Twitter (NYNJTCCatskills) to keep up with weekend news from Slide Mountain, see photos and hear the Steward's stories from the summit.

New York and other states will celebrate National Trails Day® this Saturday, June 6, 2015. The American Hiking Society's National Trails Day® is the country's largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day® is a nationally recognized trail awareness program that occurs annually on the first Saturday of June and inspires the public to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in outdoor activities, clinics, and trail stewards hip projects. National Trails Day® is a registered trademark of American Hiking Society.

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