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.