Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway
Celebrating Justine Hommel!
Unveiling of the Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway
Please join us in a champagne toast to a dear friend and a grand lady of the Mountain Top! (All are encouraged to wear Justine’s favorite color, red-- a flower, a scarf, a hat!)
Saturday June 2, 11:00 am at Mountain Top Historical Society (MTHS) Campus, Route 23A, Haines Falls, FREE
Come join the MTHS in honoring Catskill Mountain icon Justine Hommel and celebrate the unveiling of the entrance to Kaaterskill Clove, Route 23A as the Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway. With the sponsorship and great efforts of Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Senator George Amedore, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed bills that officially memorialize Justine’s contributions to New York State and Greene County history. This winter, Governor Cuomo signed those bills into law. The bill states in part:
Ms. Justine L. Hommel passed away on October 17, 2016, leaving a void within the Greene County community. A lifelong resident of Haines Falls, a hamlet located in the Town of Hunter, Greene County, Ms. Hommel dedicated her life to preserving the Catskill Mountain's natural beauty and championed its historical significance to American culture.
Ms. Hommel was responsible for ensuring the beauty of scenic roadways decades before anyone was noticing the significance of preserving this historic landscape. Her insistence on natural rather than man-made materials resulted in the stone retaining walls, rather than concrete, at the entrance to the Kaaterskill Clove on State Route 23A. Ms. Hommel's committed efforts ultimately led to part of State Route 23A being included as part of the Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway and it is only fitting that we designate this portion of roadway in her honor.
The "Justine L. Hommel Memorial Highway" will be a constant reminder of Ms. Hommel's remarkable contributions to the mountaintop region of Greene County and her life-long dedication to enhancing and preserving the natural splendor of the Catskill Mountains landscape. Here, State Senator George Almedore Jr. presents a copy of the official designation to Society President Cyndi LaPierre.
DEC opens Pine Orchard view
The view from Pine Orchard made famous by the Catskill Mountain House has, in recent years, been increasingly obscured by brush growing at the brink and trees growing at the base of the cliff known as the Wall of Manitou. Throughout the 19th Century the view had been featured in paintings, engravings and photographs and praised in poetry and literature.
Above - Pine Orchard Looking North December 24, 2017. ---- Below - Looking South from the same point.
When asked what could be seen from the ledge, Natty Bumpo, James Fenimore Cooper’s hero of the Leather-Stocking tales, replied :
"Creation," said Natty, dropping the end of his rod into the water, and sweeping one hand around him in a circle, "all creation, lad. I was on that hill when Vaughan burned ‘Sopus in the last war; and I saw the vessels come out of the Highlands as plain as I can see that lime- scow rowing into the Susquehanna, though one was twenty times farther from me than the other. The river was in sight for seventy miles, looking like a curled shaving under my feet, though it was eight long miles to its banks. I saw the hills in the Hampshire grants, the highlands of the river, and all that God had done, or man could do, far as eye could reach-you know that the Indians named me for my sight, lad ; and from the flat on the top of that mountain, I have often found the place where Albany stands. And as for ‘Sopus, the day the royal troops burnt the town, the smoke seemed so nigh, that I thought I could hear the screeches of the women."
Thanks to the efforts of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the work of the Operations Field Crew: Brett Byrne, Brendan O'Brien, Robert Aslaskon and Tyler Proper, that view of Creation has been cleared to an extent not seen in years. Once again the view up and down the Hudson Valley from Albany to the Shawangunks and into Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut is open and clear. It is now available as a beautiful place to stop during a walk for lunch, to pause for quiet contemplation, to bring students for an inspiring class visit or for an Easter morning Sunrise Service.
2017-18 Winter Hikes
Loop Hike From MTHS around North/South Lake
This hike will begin at the parking area for the Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls. We will walk the KRT trail to the new bridge crossing over the creek. We will then follow the yellow horse trail to the North/South Lake Road crossing over the dam and joining up with the yellow trail. We will follow the yellow trail around North/South Lake through the campground. We then will cross the road taking the horse trail back to the KRT and ending back at the Mountain Top Historical Society.
- Water - Snacks or a light lunch
- Warm clothes
- Dress in layers (Hat + Gloves too)
- Backpack - Hand and Foot warmers
- Yaktrax or microspikes in case of patches of ice
- Boots if snow cover is on ground
- Second pair of dry socks
Saturday January 13
Come see Kaaterskill Falls in all her glory from the winter perspective. See how the waterfall and surrounding land become a winter spectacular. This snowshoe will depart from the MTHS campus and proceed along the KRT 1.5 miles to the Laurel House Road parking area. From there, we will follow the path down to the Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform. Once folks are ready to depart we will retrace our footsteps back up the trail to the parking area. Then we will follow the KRT back to the Mountain Top Historical Society.
Folks wishing to participate on this walk need to bring their own snowshoes. At this time we do not have the ability to rent snowshoes but if this proves to be a popular walk we can look into snowshoe rental.
If folks wish to come on this walk without snowshoes a pair of microspikes would be highly recommended for possibility of ice on trail.
What to bring with you.
- Snacks or a light lunch
- Hand and Foot warmers
- Snacks or a light lunch
- Hand and Foot warmers
Longtime MTHS board member and mountain top community friend Doug Humm, 95 of Haines Falls and Indialantic, FL passed away peacefully, May 9, 2017 at his Florida home.
Doug was regularly host on Sunday afternoons to visitor's at the society's visitor center in Haines Falls. His long service to the society and friendly manner with everyone he met will be missed.
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