If you’re spending time anywhere near Arkville, you need to know about the Catskill Recreation Center (CRC). Set like a gem on six acres amid glorious mountainscapes, the Center features a 2,000-square-foot gym, 25-yard lap pool, and year-round events and programming for the whole family, presented in a state-of-the-art, fully accessible, eco-friendly 24,000-square-foot building full of natural light and high-spirited community.
The Catskill Recreation Center features a gym, lap pool, and year-round events and programming for the whole family in an eco-friendly building full of natural light.
It’s the legacy of one Kingdon Gould Jr., a decorated WWII vet and businessman who turned his 1% roots around into a life of activity and service, including but not limited to serving as ambassador to Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Kingdon spent summers in the Catskills High Peaks, at the family estate just west of Belleayre, and had a fierce love of the region; he felt that people here deserved a place like this. The mission: “to offer year-round swimming, fitness, and recreational opportunities that promote healthy lifestyles for people of all ages from the surrounding communities.”
Kingdon died in 2018, having seen his dream become a reality, opening in June of 2014 as a not-for-profit 501(c)3. The Catskill Rec Center of 2022 is helmed by Becky Manning, and in summer of 2022, she was a woman on a mission: training and certifying lifeguards, lots of lifeguards.
In the face of a nationwide shortage, the CRC pool was rock-n-rolling to certify lifeguards for Frost Valley YMCA, for the towns of Delhi and Stanford and Olive, for the beach at Pine Hill Lake. “We even certified a lifeguard from New Jersey,” Becky says in an email. “Oh, and we certified lifeguards for the CRC.”
Day-use and membership fees are reasonable, and an easy-to-use appointment system helps the crew make sure you’ll have access to the facilities you want when you arrive.
The pool also hosts swim lessons for all ages and a recreational swim club. You can reserve lap lanes or time in the Family Pool by the hour, or take classes in Deep Water Buoyancy and water aerobics. Spin classes—including a combo “Spin, Strength and Stretch” group—meet regularly, as does Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinsons.
You can also reserve a 45-minute session in the gym, equipped with all sorts of bikes and weight-training equipment, Nautilus, treadmills, and punching bags and all the accessories. In short, the CRC has everything you need to stay active even when the Catskills weather isn’t cooperating with your longing for the streams and trails. And when the weather is nice, they’re there for you too; they’ve got a half-mile walking trail, sand volleyball, and even a place where you can steam-clean your boat to DEC specs and paddle on the reservoirs.
The CRC is sponsoring two cycling events this fall: the Catskill Cycling Challenge for recreational road cyclists in early September, offering three route choices, and the Cross Mountain Crusher in October, 55 mettle-testing miles featuring five hefty hills and 5,000 feet of elevation gain, both featuring camaraderie and some of the most glorious backcountry roads in the world. The cycling events will help support the center’s year-round programs.
Day-use and membership fees are reasonable, and an easy-to-use appointment system helps the crew make sure you’ll have access to the facilities you want when you arrive, so everything will be meticulously sanitized and ready to go. The welcome is warm, inclusive, and completely unpretentious; the instructors get high marks for skill, patience, and kindness. “Now,” says a Catskills local in a review, “I feel like I can survive the winter.” Survive, thrive, and meet some nice folks besides? Those chilly months will be flying by.
The pool also hosts swim lessons for all ages and a recreational swim club. Those chilly months will be flying by.
Catskill Recreation Center
651 County Highway 38, Arkville