Hike funding

Bramley Mountain fire tower receives major funding

DELHI – The Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower has received a total of $55,000 for the redevelopment of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower.

The Delaware County Office of Economic Development’s Tourism Grants Program provided a $25,000 capital improvement grant and the Catskill Watershed Corporation contributed $30,000 toward reserve funding.

Capital Improvement Grants from the Delaware County Office of Economic Development are intended for the construction of properties owned by municipalities and non-profit organizations that have a direct connection to tourism in Delaware County.

“Outdoor recreation is a key attribute of Delaware County for tourists and residents alike,” said Glenn Nealis, director of the office of economic development. “The redevelopment of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower will dramatically improve the hiking experience of the current trail and create a real tourism asset for the community and surrounding area.”

The Catskill Watershed Corporation supported the fire tower by allocating $30,000 to a reserve fund in case the tower needed to be taken down.

These funding awards, added to the $60,000 already raised, bring the tower much closer to construction, said Ann Roberti, president of Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower.

Jason Merwin, Executive Director of CWC, said this project “will have a significant positive impact on the local economy, tourism and outdoor recreation in Delaware County and surrounding watershed communities.

The hiking trail to the top of Bramley Mountain already attracts over 3,000 hikers a year. Based on statistics from other Catskill Mountain fire towers, Friends of the Tower predicts that once the tower is in place, the current number of hikers could easily triple to more than 10,000 hikers per year.

Many of these potential hikers will come from outside Delaware County and they will eat, drink, stay and shop in nearby towns.

According to the 2019 Economic Valuation Study for Public Lands in the Central Catskills, in 2018 outdoor recreation attracted 2.7 million visitors who spent an estimated $169.7 million with local businesses. These visitors spend an average of $62.70 each, and these funds have supported 1,882 jobs.

Based on this study and based on the projection of additional visitors to the area, the restored Fire Tower on Bramley Mountain could bring more than $400,000 to Delaware County.

More information about the project can be found at https://bramleymountainfiretower.org/