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For Release: Friday, August 18, 2017

DEC Announces Completion of $48,000 Rehab of Hunter Mountain Fire Tower

Supports Adventure NY Initiative to Connect New Yorkers with Nature

Celebration Planned Saturday, August 19, for 100th Anniversary of Tower

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the completion of $48,000 in improvements to the Hunter Mountain fire tower in the town of Hunter, Greene County. The improvements are part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature. In honor of the 100-year anniversary of the fire tower, a celebration is planned for Saturday, August 19, at 12:00 p.m. at the tower atop Hunter Mountain. A plaque to commemorate the 100-year anniversary will be unveiled during the small ceremony.

"Fire towers not only represent the rich history and heritage within our forest preserves, but also offer great tourism potential and magnificent views of some of New York's most prized natural areas and resources," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "These improvements, through Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, are just a sample of the recreational upgrades that New York has underway to better serve everyone who wants to enjoy our state's great outdoors."

The rehabilitation of the tower included replacing the roof that was damaged by high winds over the winter, painting the entire tower, replacing the metal grates around fire tower landings, and repairing the tower windows.

At 4,040 feet, Hunter Mountain fire tower is the highest elevation fire tower in New York State. The original tower on Hunter Mountain-constructed of logs-was built in 1909, and was the first of three fire towers constructed in the Catskills that year. The original tower was replaced with the current steel tower in 1917.

"We are excited to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower," said Gordon Hoekstra, Chairman of Friends of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower. "With enthusiastic support from the DEC and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the Friends of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower Committee runs the Volunteer Interpreter Program and performs minor maintenance on the tower and observer's cabin. We are grateful to DEC for supporting and funding the Tower Rehab Project in time for today's dedication. With continued cooperation we look forward to preserving this precious historic asset for visitors to enjoy for another 100 years."

Under Governor Cuomo's new Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative will support the completion of more than 75 projects over the next three years, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative.

The Catskill Fire Tower Project is a joint initiative of The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development and DEC. Through the dedication of partner volunteers and DEC staff, the last of the five remaining Catskill towers was restored and reopened to the public in 2000. Since then, volunteer-based committees organized for each of the towers have continued to maintain the structures, and in many cases renovate the observers' cabins as well. Today, a network of more than 100 volunteers also act as "summit stewards" by greeting visitors on weekends from May through October.

For more information on Fire Towers in the Catskills, visit DEC's website.

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