Our Mission

Friends of the Shawangunks, along with our land trust, The Shawangunk Conservancy, is dedicated to protecting the Shawangunk Mountains of New York from adverse environmental impacts. Please Join Us.


Minnewaska Trail Closure Updates

Castle Point Carriage Road is reopened in its entirety effective Friday, August 1, 2014. The Battlements Terrace restoration project has been completed and Castle Point is reopened making the connection to Lake Awosting and loop with Upper Awosting Carriage Road.

The Hamilton Point Carriage Road Restoration Project will continue throughout the 2014 season and will be closed to all users seven days a week for the duration of this project.
(Item posted August 12, 2014)

New Threat to Shawangunk Ridge Greenway – Action Requested

  • The following is from a press release by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

    The 110-mile long natural corridor that is the Shawangunk-Kittatinny Ridge, and the Trail Conference project to complete the continuous greenway in New York, is threatened by a high-end housing project in Mamakating known as Seven Peaks.

    Developers are currently putting the finishing touches on their Final Environmental Impact Statement. The Trail Conference and other groups, including the state Department of Environmental Conservation, posed numerous challenges and questions to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project in 2010. A recent workshop session between developers, planners, and representatives of the Trail Conference and the Basha Kill Area Association left the latter two groups dissatisfied with developers’ responses and concerned about the future of the ridge and its environs.

    The Trail Conference’s would like to preserved the entire parcel as open space but, short of that, our position is that the Mamakating Planning Board should not approve the project unless, at a minimum, provision is made for an adequate wilderness corridor along the western edge of the property. This corridor would provide a route for the Shawangunk Ridge Trail for the public to enjoy. The applicants plans currently indicate a narrow corrider, about one-mile long, unconnected to any other trail, and accessible only by being admitted past the community gate.

    The Trail Conference remains willing to work with developers on creating an adequate, feasible plan for a trail through the property that is part of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail.

    The Trail Conference asks for your support of the efforts to protect a natural trail corridor on the Shawangunk Ridge. You can do this by conveying your concerns about the impacts of the Seven Peaks development project to the Mamakating Planning Board by June 1, in order that they be part of the ongoing critique of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. You can email your comments to: Planning Board Chair Mort Starobin and Board Members lindafranck@citlink.net

    The Trail Conference asks that you indicate your support for their vision of a protected Shawangunk Ridge and the Trail Conference Shawangunk Ridge Trail project. The Basha Kill Area Association suggests additional talking points that relate to Seven Peaks’ impact on water in the Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area in Sullivan County and on the Shawangunk Kill in Orange County. For more information on these topics, visit Basha Kill Area Association.
    (Item posted May 15, 2014)

    Campground Ground Breaking Announced


    The American Alpine Club and Mohonk Preserve have announced that construction is underway at the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground. Since 2006, the American Alpine Club, Mohonk Preserve, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission have been working in partnership toward the creation of a campground in the Shawangunks.

    The 50-acre campground will include approximately 50 campsites within walking distance to the Trapps and Near Trapps where the great majority of rock climbing in the Gunks takes place. Located along Route 299, the campground is also just a short walk from the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center.

    The American Alpine Club, in cooperation with Mohonk Preserve, will manage the campground. Campground amenities will include an outdoor central gathering and cooking area, bathhouse facilities, and indoor space for visitors to gather during rainy weather. The anticipated date of completion is spring 2014.
    (Item posted October 1, 2013)

    Minnewaska Carriage Road Restoration Project

    Minnewaska State Park Preserve has announced that a complete restoration of Hamilton Carriage Road began on July 30, 2013. The project is expected to take 300 days to be completed during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Hamilton Carriage Road will be closed to all users for the duration of this project. Additionally, numerous pieces of heavy equipment will be utilizing the Lake Minnewaska area and the beginning of Millbrook Carriage Road from the main parking areas to the trail head of Hamilton Carriage Road. Park users should be aware of construction vehicles in these areas and please yield to construction vehicles in an effort to speed project completion. Multiple signs will be placed in appropriate locations to notify patrons regarding the project, trail closures and trail detours.

    The historic carriage road network was designed and built by the Smiley family more than a hundred years ago and needs restoration to be in sustainable condition. The carriage roads are magnificently laid out to follow the graceful contours of the land, highlight the most beautiful natural features and take full advantage of the most impressive views. The carriage roads offer visitors easy access to the majestic scenery surrounding the lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing a safe and comfortable journey to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. The resulting network of carriage roads continues to provide people with the same participatory experience in nature envisioned by the Smiley brothers more than a century ago. Preservation and restoration of this historical system of carriage roads is much easier if the process begins before nature has erased all identifiable attributes.
    (Item posted September 17, 2013)