Mohonk Preserve Foothills update

The Testimonial Gateway Tower (photo by Scott Snell)

Site preparations have begun for the Testimonial Gateway Trailhead at the Mohonk Preserve Foothills in New Paltz. Temporary construction fencing and flagging are in place and work began on January 28. The initial phase of the trailhead project involves selective tree removal for the parking area, visitor contact station and connector trail. The Testimonial Gateway Tower area is closed from Route 299 and Gatehouse Road to the beginning of the Pin Oak Allee. The Preserve has planned to minimize the extent of tree removal and mitigate potential disturbance to nesting Indiana Bats. Some of the cut trees will be recycled for use on-site in rustic benches and a Mohonk-style “summer house.” The remaining trees will be incorporated into the new trailhead for shade, natural carbon storage, air pollution filtration and to absorb rainwater and lessen runoff. The heritage White Oaks to the west — part of the historic Arbuckle’s Woods — will also be preserved as an intact forest tract. The new trailhead is scheduled to open later in 2019.

There is one comment

  1. FunkieGunkie

    It’s saddening that the Preserve chose to put in two more parking lots along Route 299. There were other options but they chose to place the these parking lots in areas that wil be visible from a road that has been known to have traffic issues. The traffic report prepared was insufficient in recognizing this mainly because the Preserve and the consultants ignored the traffic concerns of the state and the local neighborhoods and collected their data during inclement weather which downplayed the actual traffic pattern. If there were minimal impacts as the Town has decided then why the new traffic pattern at Gatehouse Road (taxpayer funded), the 4 way stop on Butterville, and the constant petition by the Preserve to the State to lower the speed limit? The parking lots should have been constructed off of Pine road as to not impact the scenic byway and prevent the expensive job of clearing existing trees for parking. Pine Road has open fields that do not get used, would be unnoticed from the Scenic Byway and would have multiple routes for egress and ingress to the parking area from the nort and south. As for selective tree cutting, one look at the construction site proves there was no selection. This article says it was written by staff because the Mohonk Preserve wrote it themselves. Trying to make it sound like they care about bats, trees, carbon sequestration, air pollution, runoff, etc is ironic as they create another parking area that goes completely against conservation and caring about the community. Ever since this project was announced, over a dozen homes went up for sale and people left the area. OSI’s new parking lot overflows and has created traffic concerns. This is the canary in the coal mine. There will now be 8 parking lots within view of the Shawangunk scenic byway that was spawned by the Preserve. Currently there are existing Preserve parking lots that are not maintained during winter because of insufficient staffing. Cars parking on the road is a regular thing with no enforcement and a blind eye turned toward these issues. This was a queit neighborhood, now it will become a circus of people driving cars from surrounding states creating more air pollution and traffic issues. Not to mention the disturbance of the flora and fauna that occupy this area. Building this is a major mistake that continues to showcase the Mohonk Preserve’s political clout and carelessness managing these landscapes. The parks are overrun with ecotourists and extreme sport fans (climbers) coming from far and near. There are no conservation easements on over 83% of their holdings. This is done on purpose so construction of thier ecotourism racketeering can continue to expand indefinitely and support thier egos, wallets and the Mountain House. All this started over 50 years ago when the Mohonk Mountain House spawned the Land Trust to avoid taxation of their holdings and it continues indefinitely. The Town needs tax revenue badly but this organization is a tax exempt ecotourism destination with 25 million in assets (undervalued tremendously) and no taxes to pay.

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