Welcome to The Town of Olive!

Nestled in the Catskill Mountains of New York State is 40,000 acres named the Town of Olive. In 1824, theory has it that it was so named from the biblical story of the dove returning to Noah’s ark with an Olive branch. The Ashokan Reservoir geographically divides Olive–north and south. The hamlets around the shoreline are Boiceville, Olivebridge, Samsonville, Krumville, Shokan, West Shokan, and Ashokan.

The passing of the Water Act of 1905 led to the building of the handmade Ashokan Dam on the Esopus Creek and upon its completion in 1916 created the Ashokan Reservoir, a main water supply for the City of New York-Olive’s largest landowner. The demand for pure, clean drinking water for New York City inhabitants changed the course of history for the Town of Olive and still has an impact on everyday life. The Town center and the majority of the Town’s residents were forced from the rich Esopus Valley and relocated to the nearby foothills. In May of 1997 Land Use Regulations, which could become a model for the rest of the country, became effective as a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Watershed Towns and the City of New York to provide for protection of water quality throughout the New York City Watershed.

Traveling west on State Route 28, Olive is thirty minutes from Kingston, New York—the first capitol of New York State-and is a little more than an hour travel time to the current state capitol of Albany. Being only two hours north of New York City and totally within the Catskill State Park, Olive has been a seasonal recreational area for New Yorkers. The boarding house days and hunting camps of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s have vanished and are now seasonal second homes or primary residences for many city folk.

The major industries of timber harvesting, tanneries, and excelsior mills, which once ravaged the mountains of Olive, have long vanished as the Catskill Forest Preserve was created in 1885 keeping forever the preserve as wild forest lands. The Catskills have been a favorite tourist destination for over 100 years. Today’s Olive is primarily residential in nature, with a large percentage of seasonal residents, and a limited number of backyard farms with victory gardens.

Highway Superintendent Reminds Us About Snow Plow & Winter Driving Issues

During and after snow events the Highway Department receives phone calls regarding damage to mailboxes, either from snow plows directly or from the force of snow being thrown by plows.  If such damage is indeed caused by snow removal, it is not done intentionally.  It’s an unfortunate consequence of snow removal.  As far as the department replacing damaged mailboxes, it must be pointed out that there is no statutory or legal authority requiring the Highway Department to do so.  In fact, under Section 319 of the New York State Highway Law, mailboxes are considered highway obstructions and are only “allowed” in the right-of-way as a convenience to the owner.  An opinion issued by the Attorney General on February 28, 1966 stated, “When necessity of keeping the highway open conflicts with an individual’s reception of the mail, the later must stand aside.”  The highway crew does their best to avoid mailboxes, but often times visibility, oncoming traffic and heavy snow work against them.  The best method to protect your mailbox during the winter months is to ensure it is property attached to the post and to keep the mailbox assembly simple to limit impact surface area for plowed snow.

Over the last few years, the practice of plowing or depositing snow from private driveway or private property onto the highway has increased significantly especially after roadways are cleared and snow has been pushed back behind the shoulders by the Highway Department.  This is a dangerous practice and is strictly prohibited under Section 1219 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 214 of the New York State Highway Law.  Depositing snow or ice onto the roadway or shoulder may result in a serious accident and the person or persons responsible may face large fines.   More information can be found under “Did You Know????”.

A considerable amount of tax money is spent to ensure the roads are cleared in an efficient manner after snow and ice events.  Snow removal efforts do not guarantee bare or dry roads.  The cost to provide these conditions would far outstrip what most tax payers would be willing to pay.  Even when bare roads can be obtained, weather conditions such as wind and rapidly dropping temperatures can alter highway conditions dramatically from one area to the next.  The best course of action for anyone traveling during the winter months is to adjust your driving to meet the conditions present.  Sections 1180 (a) and 1180 (e) of New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law state that “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” Accepted safe winter driving practices include, but are not limited to, slower driving, increased braking distance, and increased vehicle separation.   Following these guidelines will significantly reduce your chances of being involved in an accident on slick roads.

Jimmy Fugel, Highway Superintendent






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