Catskill Aqueduct Trek
Press Release: July 7, 2011 © Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC)
The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board of Directors at its meeting July 5 heard from leaders of Olive Boy Scout Troop #163 which is planning a once-in-a-lifetime trek from the Ashokan Reservoir to New York City August 19 through 27.
Scoutmaster Keith Davis and Committee Chairman Rob Overton, accompanied by their 12-year old sons Billy Davis and Blake Overton, described the expedition that will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the troop, one of the first Boy Scout troops established in the US.
Two engineers with the NYC Board of Water Supply which was then engaged in building the Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Aqueduct, were instrumental in forming the troop in 1911, so the leaders of Troop 163 thought a fitting tribute to them, and to their own history, would be a hike along the route of the underground aqueduct.
Davis turned to CWC for assistance last fall when the suggestion was first raised that the troop make a symbolic trek atop the aqueduct. The CWC, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Watershed Agricultural Council and other entities have since been meeting with troop leaders to coordinate the nine-day journey.
The 92-mile aqueduct starts at the Ashokan, tunnels under the Hudson River and continues along the east side of the Hudson to Kensico and Hillview Reservoirs before it reaches city taps. It carries 40% of New York City’s water and serves many upstate communities as well. For security reasons, access to the city-owned land atop the aqueduct is restricted, but for this special occasion, the DEP is assisting the Scouts with logistics and trek planning, and its officials will participate in the kick-off ceremony August 19, and the arrival celebration in Central Park August 27.
Fifteen boys will be making the trek. They have been hiking, biking and camping in preparation for the journey.
“This is turning out to be maybe the biggest event in Boy Scouting this year, it’s getting national attention,” said Scoutmaster Davis. CWC Board member and Olive Supervisor Berndt Leifeld introduced the visitors and explained that, Davis, Overton and other parents rejuvenated the troop 18 months ago. It has become very active, with community service projects a high priority.
The CWC Board stood to applaud the Troop’s accomplishments, and offer encouragement on its ambitious trek.
A fundraiser will be held at the Boiceville Inn July 23 featuring three bands and a silent auction, as well as a “Bike for the Hike” ride for motorcyclists who contribute $20 to enjoy a scenic cruise around the reservoir.
The public is welcome to attend the departure ceremony at the Ashokan Reservoir fountain at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 19, and, for $20, may also reserve a seat on buses carrying family and friends to meet the hikers Saturday, Aug. 27.
For more information on the troop’s history, the trek and the fundraiser, or to reserve a bus seat, go to www.olivescouts.org.
The CWC is a non-profit, local development corporation responsible for several environmental protection, economic development and education programs in the New York City Watershed West of the Hudson River. For more information, go to www.cwconline.org, or call toll-free 877-928-7433.