Once the foothills of the Shawangunks are fully incorporated into the Mohonk Preserve, there’s going to be 100 new spaces in which to park one’s motor vehicle while enjoying those lands. The opening of the foothills and the completion of the River-to-Ridge trail are expected to only increase interest in accessing these iconic view sheds, and those new parking spaces are expected to reduce parking impacts on Lenape Lane and Pine Road the way earlier development helped get rid of parking along routes 44/55. There’s a plan to stop the visitor parking on Lenape Lane altogether, but the question is whether that should be put into place now, to protect town roads being damaged by the excessive use, or wait until the new trail heads are open, which won’t be until at least sometime in 2018.
At an informational meeting held on November 2, the overwhelming opinion heard by Preserve leaders and town council members was, “wait.”
The construction of an 80-car lot by the Testimonial Gatehouse and another 20 spaces near Humpo Marsh should be enough to accommodate the additional people coming to the foothills, planning board members decided when they granted approval to this project, but parking on Lenape would likely become even more attractive. For one thing, it’s free. The road is also closer to the beauty shots than the parking area, which is a benefit to anyone with impaired mobility.
What’s planned to eliminate the residential parking are low guide rails made in a rustic style, installed six feet from the white line at the road’s shoulder. That’s not enough to get a car completely off the road surface, opening the door to a ticket for trying. While
Preserve officials liked the idea of retaining some handicapped spots there, making that change to their plans could be challenging. That’s because the site plan formed the basis of a conservation easement — which executive director Glenn Hoagland described as a “draconian covenant” — now held at the state level, alterations to which would require both time and money. Preserve board member gently noted that $500,000 had been spent just to obtain the present approvals, and considerably more must be raised for construction.
The final plan will be developed jointly by Preserve and town officials.