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.