Cristyne Nicholas,  

[email protected],  

(212) 938-0002      


Brittany Forgione,  

[email protected],  

(212) 205-6631




Announces Major Fundraiser to Spur Tourism Development

New York, NY - March 20, 2012 -Founded following the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Catskill Park Resource Foundation (CPR) has been working to raise positive attention and attract tourists to the four counties that make up the Catskills region. On March 15th, CPR's first board meeting was held at The Emerson Inn in Ulster County, where the volunteer board appointed its Directors, elected officers, adopted the organization's by-laws and finalized its mission.


The Catskill Park Resource Foundation, Inc. is a private initiative developed to improve the image of the Catskill Park and its environs, a region which has, for many years, suffered economic privation. The primary mission of the foundation is to create, promote and expand awareness of the many assets of the region, thereby attracting sufficient tourism to revive and sustain the Catskill economy.


CPR Founder Dean Gitter presided over the meeting and as a first order of business, stepped down in his official capacity.  The newly appointed board then enthusiastically cast their votes, naming Eric Frances,CFO and General Manager of Bethel Woods Center of the Arts in Bethel, New York, as CPR's first President.


"I am thrilled to join my fellow business leaders and colleagues from the Catskills to work together and combine our efforts to promote our beautiful region to expand our audience," said CPR President Eric Frances. "Much thanks go to Dean Gitter for pulling us together and taking the initial steps to galvanize our efforts."


At the meeting it was also announced that a special fundraiser for CPR will take place in late August at Belleayre Mountain. Billed as a tribute to the Catskills, CPR has teamed up with Caroline Hirsch, the founder of Caroline's on Broadway and Producer of the New York Comedy Festival - to help to format and secure talent for the event. Hirsch created the New York Comedy Festival as a way to rebuild tourism following the events of September 11th. The CPR benefit will be co-chaired by Chuck Tomajko, owner of the Fairlawn Inn in Hunter and Cristyne Nicholas who led NYC's tourism rebuilding efforts as CEO of NYC & Company and is now co-owner of Nicholas & Lence Communications, a PR firm that specializes in rebuilding tourism to impacted markets. Talent and ticket sales will be announced at a later date.



At the meeting, the following Board Members were appointed:


Ulster County


  • Rick Alfandre is the principal of Alfandre Associates, architects of a number of tourism facilities in the region and pioneers in green architecture.  Rick is finishing up as a member of the board of the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce and has been active in civic affairs.
  • Mary Beth Mills, together with her husband, chef Devon Mills, are the proprietors and operators of the wonderfully successful Peekamoose Restaurant in Big Indian, NY.
  • Jay Jacobs is the proprietor of Timberlake Camps. Jay has been a major benefactor of the effort to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Irene.  He has served as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee.


Delaware County


  • Eric Wedemeyer is the principal of Timberlake/Coldwell Banker Realtors in Margaretville, N.Y.  Eric has been a consistent supporter of every effort over three decades to restore and improve the economic vitality of the Margaretville area.
  • David Riordan has been for several years the chief motivating force behind the foundation and growth of the Delaware & Ulster Railroad, the major tourism attraction in the eastern part of Delaware County.
  • Candyce Vancko is president of SUNY Delhi.  Under her administration, major programs have been undertaken to recruit and train promising students in the areas of hospitality, golf course management, marketing and Catskill regional promotion.


Sullivan County


  • Eric Frances is the CFO and General Manager of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York. A world class cultural and tourism icon, Bethel Woods is located on the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to The Catskills. This summer's initial lineup includes Lady Antebellum, Suzanne Vega, Brad Paisley, Ringo Starr, The Beach Boys, Dave Matthews Band, The New York Philharmonic and more.
  • Paul Carlucci is the Vice President of Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center in Callicoon, New York.A Fodor's Choice Award recipient, Villa Roma operates under Catskill owned family management for decades.


Greene County


  • Rick Rasmussen is the owner of The Vienna Hotel in Windham, New York and is a member of the Greater Windham Chamber of Commerce. The Vienna offers year-round activities, spa, pool and accommodations close to Windham Mountain.
  • Chuck Tomajko is the owner and Innkeeper at the historic Fairlawn Inn in Hunter, New York. The Victorian Inn is Three Leaf Eco-Rated by Audubon International features the art and personality of the Innkeeper, an individual with over 30 years in the hospitality industry.



  • Marilyn Gelber is the former Commissioner of New York City's Department of Environmental Protection who is widely and fondly remembered throughout the Catskills for her sensitive and caring role in negotiations leading to the final Memorandum of Agreement between the Coalition of Watershed Towns and New York City.  Ms. Gelber serves as Executive Director of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.


Officers of the Board were also elected:


President:                   Eric Frances

Vice President:           Dave Riordan

Treasurer:                   Rick Alfandre

Secretary:                   Mary Beth Mills


In addition to the Board, there will be a Board of Advisors consisting of representatives of the four Catskill Counties:


Ulster County:            Richard Remsnyder

Greene County:          Warren Hart

Delaware County:       Jim Thomson

Sullivan County:          Herb Clark and Roberta Byron-Lockwood



For more information on Catskill Park Resource Foundation, visit www.cprandco.org/ 



Catskill Park Resource Foundation Mission Statement


The Catskill Park Resource Foundation, Inc., is a private initiative intended to improve the lot of the inhabitants of the Catskill Park and environs, a region which has for many years suffered economic privation and which now, at this moment in late 2011, suffers the widespread and devastating effects of the flooding which occurred in late August in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The economic base of the five counties, Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster is, and has been for over a century, tourism dependent.  The region has few natural resources and those it has, such as bluestone, natural gas and above all pure and abundant water are strictly regulated.  It enjoys no transportation centrality, its freight railroad having been closed years ago.  It does not have a sophisticated and trained work force.  And it has virtually no manufacturing and, given the regulatory limitations of its overlay as a state park and a primary constituent of the New York City Watershed, any extensive additional manufacturing would be unlikely to be permitted.
What it does have is a vibrant and hardy citizenry, gorgeous scenery, 39 mountains over 3,500 feet high, four major ski centers, five fine mountain golf courses, two tourist railroads, an existing and expanding network of hospitality venues and campsites, an endless variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and a century-old record of stewardship over both the Catskill Forest and the Watershed.
What the region lacks is sufficient tourist activity to support its hotels, restaurants and municipal tax bases.

Outside the great castle hotel at Banff, Canada, stands a statute of the director of the National Canadian Railways which built the hotel. On its plinth are these words of quotation:  “Since we can not export the scenery, we must import the tourists”.
That is the primary mission of this foundation: to create, promote, and expand awareness of the many assets of the region and, thus, to attract sufficient tourism to revive and sustain its economy.

The tourism industry has been faltering and in decline for years.  The image of the Catskills, in the minds and imaginations of people in the metropolitan New York area and in the wider nation beyond, is unappealing at best, negative at worst. A persistent identification of the region with the no-longer extant and formally decrepit Borscht Belt is pervasive.

There has not been in many years a consistent and major attempt to improve that image. Individual counties have been accorded and have spent significant amounts to draw visitors to their own counties.  But if prospective visitors do not type in the word “Catskills” on their search engines, they never get to the county and similar provincial sites.

A major pubic relations and marketing effort to create and promote such a brand, an effort free of sectional and political bias, must be mounted.

Such is the sole purpose of the Catskill Park Resource Foundation and its intention to raise $5 million from private, public, corporate and individual sources. This effort will extend out for at least the next five years.

We believe that in that time period, tourism visitation can be significantly improved, with the concomitant result of major job increases in the hospitality sector; many new jobs in the construction sector; and significant increases in sales tax and bed tax revenues for the struggling economies of Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties.



Hear what Emmy Award-Winning Travel Journalist Peter Greenberg and

his guests say about the Catskills!

Listen to Peter’s Radio Show Streaming LIVE on Saturday,

January 21,2012 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET



Media Contact:                                                                             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cristyne Nicholas, 646-251-4938
Emily Banks, 212-938-0835


Worldwide Radio Personality Peter Greenberg Discussed Catskills Tourism


New York, N.Y. – January 16, 2012… The Catskills Park Resource Foundation (CPR), in an effort to attract more attention and tourists to the region, invited Worldwide Radio host Peter Greenberg to interview tourism representatives of the Catskills at The Emerson Resort and Spa in Mount Tremper on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

Interview guests included: Steve Turk, proprietor, Rocking Horse Dude Ranch, Dean Gitter; Founder of Catskill Park Resource Foundation (CPR), Kimberly Richmond; Founder and Owner of Runaway Bride Destination Wedding, Devin and Mary Beth Mills, owners of the Peekamoose Restaurant, Tony Lanza; Superintendent, The Belleayre Ski Center, Richard Heppner; Woodstock Town Historian; Chef Curt Robair, Executive Chef of The Phoenix at The Emerson.

“Catskill Park Resource Foundation's core mission is to promote the Catskills to increase tourism that will aid with the post Hurricane Katrina recovery,” said Dean Gitter, founder of Catskill Park Resource Foundation. “We welcome Peter Greenberg and his three million listeners with open arms. The Catskills is a great place any time of year, but truly spectacular in the winter with its superb skiing facilities. We look forward to welcoming Peter’s audience in person this season. The Catskills is open for business.”

“I was honored to be invited to the Catskills, which was my backyard for many years growing up in New York City. The Catskills has so much to offer and is a hidden gem that deserves to sparkle once again,” said radio host Peter Greenberg.

Peter Greenberg, national radio host and travel news journalist, broadcasts from
The Emerson Resort & Spa in the Catskills.

Known as one of the most well-respected and recognized travel news journalists in the world, Peter Greenberg’s radio show is a national syndicated radio travel show that currently has 425 affiliates around the country that carry the show at various times over each weekend. The Catskill piece will air on Saturday, January 21, from 10-1pm ET. You can also listen to the stream online as well, via http://www.petergreenberg.com/ (10-1pm ET) which is podcast after.

New Yorkers can listen to the show on the following stations:
WNYM AM 970 (Saturdays 3pm-6pm); WNYY-AM 1470 (Sundays 3-6pm); WRKK-AM 1200 (Saturdays 4-7pm); WRAK-AM 1400 (Saturdays 4-7pm); WVAE-AM 1400 (Saturdays 10pm-1am); WBAE-AM 1490 (Saturdays 10pm-1am); WTIC-AM 1080 (Sundays 8-11pm); WXTL-FM 105.9 (Sundays Noon-3pm)

The most recent locations to host the
show have been: