Woodstocker Books


Treasure of Watchdog Mountain: The Story of a Mountain in the Catskills

Treasure of Watchdog Mountain: The Story of a Mountain in the Catskills


"I see living forms in nature that relate to the nature of man. We have to live together and understand one another. We have asked so much of the earth, but there are limits. We must continue to help the earth, and it will continue to be helpful to us."  Alf Evers

*This is the message of Evers' pioneering classic on the environment for young people -- so important for all of us today.


*This beautifully illustrated  edition of Alf Evers' Treasure of Watchdog Mountain tells the story of how a mountain in the Hudson Valley was formed, who has lived and worked on its slopes and what has become of it.

The black-and-white (1950) original was discovered by the publishers, the Schwartzes, in the back of a library bookshelf. When they asked the noted historian if they could bring the publication out for today's young people he replied enthusiastically that it was the favorite of his 50 books.

Fortunately, there is no lack of books on the environment for children today but this was the very first and its combination of realistic and poetic language has made it a beloved. classic.

It tells the living history of Overlook Mountain in Woodstock, N.Y. -- given the fictionalized name of 'Watchdog'  because no matter how man and nature harmed it, It is as if the mountain itself seems to take the form of a 'watchdog' who offers protection. Today, it is one of the most popular of the Catskill’s peaks.

The story starts with its geological birth and takes us to near contemporary times.  The first meeting between indigenous people and the Europeans is heart-wrenching and compelling -- the Indians were manipulated and  cajoled by the newcomers who wanted the pelts of the natives' friends, the beavers. The cunning Europeans got their beaver pelts, traded for pretty beads. Endemic to human behavior, what happened changed the course of American history.

The story unfolds through the development of industries -- glassmaking, tanning, quarrying — all which took place on the bones of the mountain. Deforestation nearly destroyed it several times. The story covers the Hudson River School of Painters whose landscapes of Overlook and other Catskill peaks so influenced the proponents of America's first environment movement. This art gave Amiercains their first real look at their native land, turning eyes from European majesty to the beauty at home. The tale ends with a plea for harmony between man and nature.

Christie Scheele's  paintings lovingly and meticulously depict flora and fauna. A world traveler and Hudson Valley native, Scheele has said the Catskill range is one of the most wonderful  places in the world to paint.

Author Alf Evers was a Woodstock legend. Town historian, he walked the back woods of the Catskills for years collecting old-timers’ stories, finding episodes to add to the rip Van Winkle tales of Washington Irving’s Catskills, and learning the land.  Among his numerous children's books, The Three Kings of Saba and The Deer Jackers, were perhaps his most famous. He often talked about the need to limit development in the Catskills.  His Woodstock: History of an American Town, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock and Kingston-on-Hudson: An American Historical City are classics.

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