In progress: The latest on the Callicoon Creek Park

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 5/12/21

MONTICELLO, NY — Work has continued apace on the ex-campground that is evolving into the Callicoon Creek Park.

Carter Strickland, state director for the Trust for Public Land, laid out a …

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In progress: The latest on the Callicoon Creek Park

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — Work has continued apace on the ex-campground that is evolving into the Callicoon Creek Park.

Carter Strickland, state director for the Trust for Public Land, laid out a possible future for the park last Thursday to the Sullivan County Legislature. The county will eventually buy a major part of the park.

The trust bought the land initially and has steered the Callicoon Park project so far. It is collaborating with the state (to relocate the boat access ramp), the Town of Delaware (which will relocate its wastewater treatment plant nearby) and the county.

“It’s a beautiful property,” Strickland said. “It’s got a lot of natural resources... it’s really the highest and best use of the land.” A large portion of it is within either the 100 or 500-year flood plain, so “you really can’t build anything else here.” 

“There are constraints,” he said later, “but there are also possibilities.” It’s in the river corridor of the Upper Delaware River Management plan, so certain rules have to be followed.

The project builds on tourism, Strickland said, “and its importance for the recovery of the economy and our communities in Sullivan County.” 

The Trust for Public Land has been operating in New York State for 40 years, he said, “protecting 123,000 acres. We’re very tangible folks.” They’ve also worked with the state to raise money. 

The Callicoon project is part of an effort to introduce the public to “one of the best, and an underappreciated, natural resource in this whole area.” 

Part of the work has been to subdivide the property and move the town’s wastewater treatment plant to a parcel there. “It’s a great location,” Strickland said, “There’s some high-elevation land there, keeping it out of the flood plain, but it’s not such a big relocation that they have to do a lot of piping.” 

The trust is in the process of handing it off to the other parties; they didn’t want to just give it to them and say, “Good luck,” Strickland said. So, he’s been working on shovel-ready plans to get things started. “There are elements of funding already at the federal level.” Stimulus funding may come in for parks, there’s the Land and Water Conservation Fund and more. “Showing that you’re ready and you have a plan goes a long way toward getting those kinds of funds. We wanted to make clear that, within this range, there’s a lot that can be done with this park and it can be built in phases.” 

The park recently hosted an event for Rep. Antonio Delgado.

People like the wild feeling of the park and the closeness to Callicoon’s Main Street. They want hiking trails, play space and access to the water. Some ideas include a pavilion and play area, easy access to the water, the binnacle or wetland area. “If we could put a bridge over it that would be great,” he said.

Legislator Nadia Rajsz asked about a timeline. “We left it open,” Strickland said. “It’s subject to the availability of money.” The trust needs to sell it to the partners, the DEC needs to get started on the boat access and the plant needs to get moved. 

“There’s a plan going forward,” he said.

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