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CFFCM Awarded Sullivan Renaissance Grant

Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum (CFFCM) was awarded second place in the Community Grant Division of Sullivan Renaissance on August 7 for its “Environmental Beautification” project.  The award carries a prize of $7000, which CFFCM will use to help make the center ADA accessible.

Hundreds of people attended the Awards Ceremony at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, as over $500,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to communities throughout Sullivan County.  The ceremony was the culmination of months of work – not only at CFFCM – but also on the part of many volunteers, municipalities and community organizations to enhance gateways, public spaces and main streets.  Monetary prizes were awarded in several categories.

First prize of $12,000 in the Community Grants Division went to St. Peter’s Church in Liberty. Third place of $5000 went to Neversink Renaissance.

CFFCM’s “Environmental Beautification” project installed a new bluestone walkway to connect the museum and gallery buildings, and restored the property’s main walkway with native plants and natural gardens.  Annuals in baskets and a learning garden were added for color, beauty and instruction. 

Central to the project was developing sustainable ways to beautify and maintain a natural setting that compliments the culture of fly fishing, while inviting the public to enjoy the Catskill Mountains in all their majesty.  Fly fishermen and women have been leaders in the environmental movement. Indeed, the “catch and release” ethic is central to the sport.

This CFFCM initiative built on the center’s love and harmony with nature, by:

• Installing a bluestone walkway to connect the museum with the Wulff Gallery;

• Restoring the main walkway landscaping installed by Mary Fried, whose original work created natural garden areas that fit well in a campus that sits on an old homesteading farm surrounded by forest (most of the thousands of anglers and visitors who come to the center annually are seeking just this authentic and historic “mountain and fishing camp” look); and

• Replanting the entrance sign garden on Old Route 17 – and inventing a unique environmentally-friendly way to have it watered.

These efforts joined with the larger property enhancement plan that included:

• Field and pond restoration through mowing and cutting for knotweed eradication.  CFFCM has received a grant from the Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers to construct a handicapped accessible platform for casting by individuals in wheel chairs at this site in the future. 

• Monitoring canopy and bank stabilization plantings along the Wulff Run section of Willowemoc Creek for future additional plantings, and conducting several litterplucks to keep these trout waters clean and pure.

Replacement of the foundation plantings on one side of the museum was superseded by pending construction this fall of an ADA accessible elevated walkway to connect the museum with the Wulff Gallery.  This new initiative will receive $37,500 in funding from the USDA and the $7000 award from Sullivan Renaissance will be used as part of the match.  CFFCM still needs to raise an additional $5500 for this project.

All in all, the “Environmental Beautification” project helped take this rustic site to a new level of beauty and care.  Total cost of purchased and donated serves was $11,439.72.  Twenty different organizations participated.  Some 57 named and 30 unnamed individuals contributed 763 hours of their time.

Evan Romeo