# # #Photo Caption: A letter and photograph from First Lady Michelle Obama stating the Town of Hunter's designation as a Preserve America community was received in Hunter Town Hall last month.
Haines Falls, NY - The Mountain Top Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Town of Hunter has been named a Preserve America Community. Hunter is the first community to be so designated in Greene County. The Society applied for the Town's designation which makes it eligible to participate in a federal program administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Park Service. A letter from First Lady Michelle Obama was sent to Hunter Town Supervisor Dennis Lucas last month announcing that Hunter was one of 26 communities nationwide to be named as Preserve America communities this year. (For the full release see http://www.preserveamerica.gov./news090804.html ) The program provides recognition of a community's historic significance and achievements in preserving it, while providing funding to enhance the contribution of heritage tourism and other economic development strategies. Mountain Top Historical Society Executive Director Barbara Mattson said, "As soon as I read about this program, I knew that it was right for the Town of Hunter. This year we are celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the MTHS which was founded specifically to help preserve and protect historic assets on the Mountain Top. This designation includes recognition for everyone who has been working to develop appreciation of our historical resources, natural beauty and tourism potential. The Preserve America Community designation is a welcome acknowledgment of that work and a strong endorsement to continue it." To obtain this designation, the MTHS had to prove the Town's historical importance, detail how Hunter protects and celebrates it heritage and describe how these historical assets can be used for heritage tourism programs. The Mountain Top Historical Society's Annual Open House (this Saturday), participation in the Hudson River School Art Trail and maintenance of the historic Train Station and Visitor and Art Trail Center on the Haines Falls campus were key to proving the community's interest in preserving and promoting the Town's historical assets. One of the benefits of the Preserve America program is eligibility to apply for Preserve America grants. Possible projects could include interpretive signage in the parking lot of the Visitor and Art Trail Center or development of a potential Rails-to-Trails project starting at the historic Ulster and Delaware Train Station on the MTHS Haines Falls campus. A new trail along the old Ulster and Delaware right of way could expose views of Kaaterskill Falls not seen in over a hundred years. Preserve America is a White House initiative to encourage community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of our country's priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's heritage, and support for the economic vitality of our communities. More information about the Preserve America initiative can be found at www.PreserveAmerica.gov. The Mountain Top Historical Society is celebrating its achievements at a 35th anniversary party on August 28 at the Haines Falls campus from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is invited. For ticket information, call or e-mail 518-589-6657 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Society's mission is to discover, preserve, interpret and share the Mountain Top's history and to enhance our community's identity through the effective use of our historic assets. The Society maintains the Mountain Top Visitor and Art Trail Center and the historic Ulster and Delaware train station. Both of these buildings are located on the MTHS campus in Haines Falls on Route 23A at the gateway to the Mountain Top. For more information about membership in the Mountain Top Historical Society, its programs and events, please visit our newly redesigned website at www.mths.org.