Eastern Forest Partnership

Focus Areas


Northern Forest


Catskills/Berkshire Plateau


Cumberland Plateau/Allegheny Plateau


Highlands Region


Southern Appalachians


Southern Coastal Forests


Catskills/Bershire Plateau Map

The Catskills/Berkshire Plateau

The Catskill and Berkshire Mountains are home to some of the East’s largest mountains and most significant waterways.

The Catskills contain numerous peaks over four thousand feet and are ribboned with world-renowned trout fishing rivers like the Beaverkill. These same waterways feed a system of reservoirs that is the primary waterworks for New York City. The nearby Berkshire Mountains, lying northeast of the Catskills, boast equally impressive peaks and expansive forests that are traced by the Appalachian Trail. The Berkshires, along with other forested areas in western Massachsetts, provide much of the drinking water for the more heavily populated eastern half of the state.

Special Features

  • High mountain ranges offering outstanding hiking, skiing, hunting, and other recreation
  • Pristine rivers and other waterways that provide drinking water supplies to major population centers like New York City as well as world class trout fishing
  • Important habitat for many species of wildlife, including songbirds and free ranging species like bobcat and black bear
  • Easy proximity to major population centers - reachable from Boston, Hartford, and New York in under two hours by car

Conservation Threats & Opportunities

Both areas have seen a recent upswing in development pressure for second homes.  Their close proximity to major cities combined with the impressive scale of their mountains and natural areas has drawn interest from potential buyers who might once have looked farther from home.  Downhill ski areas have become a particular source of development growth.  Remarkably, Massachusetts ranked fifth in the nation for rate of forestland loss in a recent federal study.

The Catskills are largely within the proclamation boundary of New York’s Catskill Park, offering a permanent opportunity for more conservation.  New York has been aggressive in purchasing land within the park boundary and also conserving private inholdings under conservation easement, but much more remains to be done.  Forest Legacy funding has been used to help and should be in the future.  The Berkshires are the subject of new conservation interest from the state and a coalition of non-profit organizations, with many new conservation projects under study.  Given the cost of land in the Berkshires, there will definitely be a need for federal funding to match state, local, and private conservation investments.

Take Action

For more information on the Catskills, visit the website of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development.  For more information on the Berkshires, visit the Appalachian Mountain Club.


EFP Focus Area Contacts


Appalachian Mountain Club


Catskill Center for Conservation and Development



Catskill Map


Berkshire Forest Reserve Proposal


Berkshire Forest Reserve Proposal Map