• Protecting Special Places

    For centuries people have been inspired by the splendor of our region. Many have made a life here. Protecting what you hold dear is what we do. WLC owns key lands and partners with area landowners who want their properties to stay as they are – as forests, farms, verdant meadows, and coursing streams.
  • Getting Outdoors

    First time in the Eastern Catskills? Visiting friends and family? Looking for some R&R after a busy week in the City? You’ve found your source for experiencing Woodstock and the Eastern Catskills. With fun outdoor events throughout the year you’re sure to find something great to do. And watch for our children's programs.
  • Addressing Climate Change

    Yes, the climate is changing. Over the past few years we've experienced rain, wind, heat, drought, and cold in historic proportions. We can’t change the weather but together we can make our Catskill communities more waterproof, windproof, and any-kind-of-weather proof for our children and grandchildren.
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  • What's New
  • Featured Projects
  • Visit Our Preserve
  • Know A Place to Protect?

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Sloan Gorge Preserve

Located at the foot of Overlook Mountain near the Saugerties town line, the 88-acre Preserve is a treasure trove of mixed hardwood and coniferous forests, vernal pools, a seasonal stream, and bluestone quarries, and has the first self-guided geology trail in the area. (Download the trail guide)  pdf Learn more about Sloan Gorge from geologist Dr. Robert Titus. Click here for map


Longyear Farm Day pasture 2012

Recommend a Place to Protect

We are always looking for suggestions about places to be protected for future generations to enjoy. If you know of such a place, contact us!

Look for the opening of the Ashokan Rail Trail - Late October 2019!

(date to be confirmed)


What is it? The Ashokan Rail Trail is an 11.5 mile multi-use trail under construction along the northern edge of the beautiful Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills. The Ashokan serves as a principal source of New York City's drinking water. It is part of a 38.6 mile section of the historic Ulster & Delaware (U&D) railroad right-of-way abandoned in the 1970's and purchased by Ulster County in 1979. With a projected late October 2019 opening, soon visitors of all ages and abilities will enjoy the stunning forested beauty and scenic views along the Ashokan, without permit or fee, for the first time in a century. The high-quality hard-packed stone dust trail will be ADA-compliant and open for all ages for walking, hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. 

The trail will include interpretive signage of the region's rich history, the cultural and natural history of the Esopus Valley and Catskill Mountains, and the creation of the Ashokan Reservoir - a unique engineering and ecological stewardship model - which is one of only six unfiltered water supplies of its size in the US. 

The goal is to expand health, recreational and fitness opportunities for local residents and visitors to the region – attracting tourists while supporting local communities and businesses. Three major trailheads will be located in West Hurley, Shokan, and Boiceville. Tourist train operations, currently operated by the Catskill Mountain Railroad Co., will continue to operate out of Kingston under a multi-year permit and, starting Memorial Day 2018, Rail Explorers will begin offering their popular and unique guided rail-bike tours along a 6-mile section of the U&D next to the beautiful Esopus Creek, between Phoenicia’s Empire State Railway Museum and Boiceville.

The Ashokan Rail Trail and the Kingston Midtown Linear Park, a .8-mile urban rail trail currently in the design phase, are both part of Ulster County’s “Rails & Trails” shared-use policy for the restoration & revitalization of the former 38.6 mile U&D rail corridor. Communities from the Catskill Park to Kingston will connect to a larger county-wide and regional trail network. Ulster County’s Rail Trail network is comprised of the Greenline, D&H Canal Path/O&W Rail Trail, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Network (elected to the Rails to Trails Conservancy “Rail Trail Hall of Fame” in 2016!), comprised of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, Walkway Over the Hudson State Park & Dutchess Rail Trail. Portions of these trails are selected to be part of the Hudson Valley route of the landmark Empire State Trail (Opening 2020) – New York State's 750-mile statewide pedestrian and bicycle trail connecting New York City, Albany, Plattsburgh, and Buffalo.

What’s WLC’s Role? Since 2012, WLC and its Board Chair, Kevin Smith, have played a leadership role, with Smith currently as chair of the "Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail" (FoCMRT), in stakeholder engagement and education, advocacy with elected officials, and helping develop resources and partnerships supporting the implementation of Ulster County’s vision for the Ashokan Rail Trail and the U&D corridor.

Want to Help? Jump In! With the Ashokan Rail Trail now under construction, there will be many opportunities for interested volunteers to get involved: continued trail advocacy and education, business and community outreach, planning, helping develop historic and cultural interpretive resources, event planning, trail stewardship/maintenance, and more.  Contact the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail on their Facebook page or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further References:  http://ulstercountyny.gov/planning/rails-and-trails

Map of the trail corridor: UD_Corridor_Proposed_Use_Policy_Final_R4.5.16dd.pdf