The Mountain Top Arboretum is open for the public's enjoyment, 2500 feet above sea level in the rugged high peaks region of New York's Catskill Mountains.
It is a preserve and a garden. Native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers live side-by-side with exotic transplants hardy enough to survive the elevation and harsh climate.
The Arboretum is educational and recreational. You can stop to smell the flowers or stay to study them. Stroll the walkways breathing pure mountain air, feast your eyes on scenic views, or rest for a while by the pond. Even take a personally-guided tour and get a crash course in horticulture.
The Arboretum is an active cultural resource in the northern Catskills offering lectures and programs on nature, the arts, and local history.
The Arboretum is an open space for all to enjoy, a living museum, and an ongoing research project. It is unique. And it is yours.
The Mountain Top Arboretum is a tax exempt corporation, organized under New York State law. Their annual administrative and operating costs are covered through public support and donations from their friends and visitors. Without your support they would be unable to provide their programs. They encourage your donations which are tax deductible for federal and state income tax purposes.
The Mountain Top Arboretum was born in 1977 when Dr. and Mrs. E. H. Ahrens, Jr., decided to share their love of plants by developing a portion of their property into an Arboretum and donating it for use as a public resource. The property was transferred to The Mountain Top Arboretum, Inc., which was incorporated in 1977 and declared tax exempt in 1979. Its board has administered the Arboretum ever since.
Plantings of unusual and exotic trees and shrubs began in 1981. Their precise locations within the carefully gridded landscaping plan of the collection are pinpointed on computer, together with records on the growth history and fate of every acquisition.
The Woodland Walk
An additional 3 1/2 acre parcel has been developed alongside the original Arboretum. This shaded woodland walk area, as a contrast, features some indigenous plants of the Catskill Mountain forest, including medicinal goldenseal and ginseng, maidenhair fern, hepatica, blue cohosh, and more, as well as interesting non-native, shade-loving exotics. The native growth of trees has been selectively cut as a demonstration of good forest management.
The East Meadow
They have acquired eleven acres of meadow and woodland. This land, the gift of a benefactor, is virtually contiguous with their Main Meadow and Woodland Walk. All their facilities, including the new land, abut Maude Adams road, the private-way that leads into their buildings. The new land has prolific springs, providing running stream water even in drought years, and will be of particular interest for the teachers and children who are students in their Outdoor Awareness Program.