Roscoe and Beyond
With a population of just over 500 residents, Roscoe, New York is a beloved town located just inside the boundary of the Catskill Park and serves as the “junction point” of the Beaverkill River and Willowemoc Creek. The town, which is named after former New York State Senator Roscoe Conklin (1867-1881), is also considered the gateway to the Catskill Park. Roscoe is surrounded by over 20,000 acres of State Forest Preserve. The Preserve is filled with wildlife fish and game across miles of forests, rivers and lakes. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the area, including: camping, fishing, golfing, hiking, biking, kayaking, birdwatching, hunting, or simply enjoying a day in the outdoors.
Fly Fishing Roscoe
In the early 1800’s, fly fishing began to “come of age” in the lower Catskills. Both writers and fishermen – including the great Theodore Gordon – documented their experiences fishing the Beaverkill River – particularly the junction Pool, which was rich in fish because the trout could not decide which river to swim up: the Beaverkill or Willowemoc Creek.
Today, the town of Roscoe celebrates the opening of each trout season with its “Two-Headed Trout Dinner”. The town is also famous for its many fly tyers who preserved the techniques known as the “Catskill Style Dry Fly”. Our famous tradition of fly thing dates from the time of Gordon to families like the Darbees, the Dettes and the Wulffs, and individuals like Rube Cross, ‘Pop’ Robbins, Art Flick, Roy Steenrod, just to name a few. Today, there are a number of local tyers that demonstrate and teach the art of fly tying in our area. Conservationists have fought long and hard to protect the natural resources in the Roscoe area for healthy populations of trout. New York State has designated several miles of our rivers as NO KILL SECTIONS. These sections can be identified on maps provided by the NYDEC or in our local fly shops. For the non fly fisher, there are many local guides who offer expert advice and lessons in fly fishing.
Through the early Colonial years, the southern Catskills were considered unchartered territory, as they were very difficult to navigate. Only Indian trails could be found through the dense forests. Early settlers first trapped animals for the fur trade, and later sawmills and tanneries made up the strongest industries of the area. In 1789, the area known as “Westfield Flats,” which was the home of the Delaware Indians, became the town of Roscoe. Today, these early industries have disappeared, but remains of their existence can be found by hikers exploring the many trails through the very same forests.
Roscoe has long been known as a popular destination for hunting. In fact, a local Indian once guided the Marquis de Lafayette on a hunting trip into the Beaverkill valley after the Revolutionary War. Afterwards, Lafayette presented him with a rifle for his hunting experience. At different times, the Catskill forests have been a refuge for dee, elk, moose, wolves, bear, panthers, and other fur bearing animals. Wild geese, ducks, and turkey have provided ready food at all times. Today, you can even still find wild mink running along the far bank of the river in our Park.
Stewart Avenue, which serves as Roscoe’s main street, was named after Jehiel Stewart and his brother Luther, who settled in the area in the early 1800’s. Today it is the charming center of the hamlet. Recently, the NYS Assembly awarded two Golden Feather Grants for Roscoe’s efforts in the revitalization and beautification of its downtown space. In 2010, Roscoe was awarded the Main Street Grant, which provided funds to the community for improvement of the local buildings and upgrades to Stewart Avenue.
Trout Town USA
Roscoe has been known as “Trout Town USA” for decades – both here and overseas. Five of America’s top trout streams and numbers reservoirs and lakes are located within a short distance from Roscoe Campsite Park. Fish species include the trout fisherman’s grand slam: brook, brown and rainbow trout. Our reservoirs contain trout, bass and panfish in large quantities for our visitors. And in June 2011, Roscoe was named the “Ultimate Fishing Town – USA” by the World Fishing Network.