Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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May 6th, 2011

Mountainkeeper has great vision for sullivan county

In five short years Catskill Mountainkeeper has grown to be a major force protecting the environment in the Hudson Valley. Although I have disagreed with them on their stance on casino gaming there is so much that I agree with them.

Founded by Ramsay Adams, Mountainkeeper quickly opened up its headquarters in Youngville. Wes Gillingham, a local farmer was hired as Program Director and Beth Scullion as office director.

Today Mountainkeeper has 2743 Facebook Friends and 720 Twitter Followers. Mountainkeeper has three full time staff and dozens of committed volunteers.

Adams told me, “Sullivan County is a vast county with a number of diverse but vibrant communities; farming, residential, arts and health care. These all have economic possibilities and Catskill Mountainkeeper strongly believes that by utilizing the assets of our area we can realize the level of “smart” growth we need and not turn to high risk and unwise development”

Catskill Mountainkeeper brilliantly believes there must be a revitalization of agriculture in Sullivan County. They point out that our open land that is well suited for multiple kinds of farming. Sullivan County is also close to New York City which is the biggest market in the United States for food products. These are customers, individuals, restaurant owners and market supervisors who are looking for local meat and vegetables.

Adams said, “Although this goal has been a topic of discussion in the region for quite a while, right now the demand for what we can produce in Sullivan County is at its highest level – and it is essential that we move quickly to capture this market. This could mean a whole new future for our farmers – who have the basics for turning to this kind of farming. Time is of the essence and we need clear leadership to make it happen, and Catskill Mountainkeeper is stepping into serve as a facilitator and catalyst to help move this important effort forward, faster.”

Another area Catskill Mountainkeeper is working on is arts and education and their ‘Sense of Sullivan’ curriculum project.

They have been collaborating with Sullivan Renaissance and our educational institutions teaching about the history, ecology and cultural assets in Sullivan County.

Catskill Mountainkeeper is also exploring ways to bring us a four year college that would offer a diversity of disciplines, including Fine Arts, Agricultural Research and training in Health Care. This would also open up the possibility of revitalizing our residential areas to accommodate the students, professors and other employees of such a college.

Adams said, “All of this is also part of the ongoing effort to keep Sullivan County a tourist destination—a place where people want to come to enjoy the rural beauty, the protected forests and rivers and to also enjoy the historic integrity of so much of our county.

Creating a vision for Sullivan County and finding ways to develop these economic recourses is the goal of Mountainkeeper. And, what a great goal they have.

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