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West Shokan Troop 163

Catskill Aqueduct Trek 2011 Ashokan Reservoir to NYC

From August 19 through August 27, fifteen boys from West Shokan Boy Scout Troop 163 – along with their scoutmasters – will hike from the Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County to the Central Park Reservoir in New York City.  This 92-mile trek commemorates the 100th anniversary of Troop 163 formed by Sydney Clapp and other engineers who were engaged in building the Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Aqueduct.  The trek route will follow the Catskill Aqueduct, North County Trailway (for 20 miles of biking) and the Old Croton Aqueduct. Throughout the trek, the scouts will participate in educational programs and local service projects to learn about the NYC water supply system.

Retracing the Roots of Boy Scouting – Merit Badge Troopers will receive for this historic endeavor

The Trek

On August 19, fifteen boy scouts, ages 10-14 years old, from West Shokan Boy Scout Troop 163 will embark on a nine-day, almost 100 mile trek from the Ashokan Reservoir to Central Park in New York City.  The scouts have spent the summer biking and hiking to prepare for the long trek that follows the route New York City’s water travels from the watershed to the taps of almost nine million people. The trek commemorates the 100th anniversary of "Scouting in the Catskills" and will conclude on August 27 at the Central Park Reservoir where Catskill water was first introduced in 1917.

West Shokan Boy Scout Troop 163 was formed in 1911 when Sidney Clapp, an assistant engineer working on the Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Aqueduct with the NYC Board of Water Supply, organized 20 local youths into one of the first Boy Scout Troops in the US.  Concerned that young boys were hanging around the dangerous Ashokan Reservoir construction site and getting into trouble, engineers Sidney Clapp and J. S. Langthorne gathered them together into a group that became Boy Scout Troop 1.

According to The Delaware Water Supply News (April 1, 1945), Sidney Clapp was a Civil Engineer who was head of the Hydrographic Section of the Board of Water Supply in the Catskill and Delaware Watersheds.  In 1905, Mr. Clapp was assigned to work with Chief Engineer J. Waldo Smith and then placed in charge of borings and test pits for the Ashokan Reservoir.  He was friendly and well-liked throughout the Catskill Mountain region.  When not working, Mr. Clapp was involved with the Boy Scout movement and  awarded the Silver Beaver, the highest honors in scouting.  He also lectured on his hobbies – bees and plant life; some of the majestic spruce trees that surround the Ashokan Reservoir were raised and planted by Mr. Clapp.

Itinerary of the Journey

Ashokan Reservoir to New York City – View the itinerary on Google Maps.

The Catskills to Central Park trek will take West Shokan Boy Scout Troop 163 along the path of the Catskill Aqueduct that Civil Engineer Sidney Clapp, considered the father of the original troop, worked on a century ago. The trek route follows the Catskill Aqueduct from the Ashokan Reservoir in Olive to Marbletown, through Mohonk Preserve to, two days later, Cornwall, New York for a tour West Point Military Academy and Stewart Air Force Base.  Crossing the Hudson River where the Catskill Aqueduct also crosses, the scouts will hike Breakneck Ridge and then head south into New York City, arriving three days later.  The scouts will enter New York City at the Bronx border with Westchester County where they will be greeted by boy scouts from a Bronx troop who will escort the boys through Van Cortlandt Park along the Old Croton Aqueduct and then the subway into Manhattan.  After a night spent in the American Museum of Natural History, NYC boy scouts will again escort Troop 163 to the site of the closing ceremony when there will be appropriate fanfare to celebrate their accomplishments.

Visitors can see a detailed interactive itenerary mapped out in Google Maps.


Trek Updates In the News

Keep up-to-date on the progress of Troop 163 as they make their way toward New York City.

Boy Scouts of America

Experiences and lessons like those gained from the trek give these young men the tools to make good decisions when life gets complicated.

Catskill Aqueduct Trek 2011