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
State Awards More Than $1 Million to Minnewaska
On May 17, Governor Cuomo announced $90 million in NY Works funding for almost 90 construction projects to upgrade and repair more than 50 state parks and historic sites across New York. Among the parks to receive funding is Minnewaska State Park Preserve, which will get $1,050,000 to rehabilitate the Phillips House as a new visitor center and park office.
Phillips House was the residence of Ken Phillips, former owner of the Lake Minnewaska Resort. Although the property was acquired by N. Y. State in 1987, Phillips and his wife were permitted to continue living in the house until their deaths more than 10 years ago. The house is still currently configured as a residence and will need substantial changes and improvements to make it suitable for public access.
(Item posted May 21, 2013)
DEC Grants Awarded to Local Land Trusts
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has awarded Conservation Partnership Program grants totaling $1.4 million to 57 nonprofit land trusts across the state, including several local organizations. The grants, funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will be matched by $1.3 million in private and local funding.
Among the recipients is the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, FOS partner in the Joppenbergh Mountain project. The Trust received $25,000 to support its work with the Town of Rosendale to plan, design and build a connecting trail that will provide safe and convenient access for visitors and area residents to the new extension of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the recently renovated Rosendale Railroad Trestle.
The Cragsmoor Conservancy received two grants totaling $9,000 to support its land protection efforts in the southern Shawangunks. This includes work to complete surveys and boundary marking of three recently donated parcels comprising 4.7 acres of undeveloped land near Sam’s Point Preserve.
The Open Space Institute (OSI), with which FOS has worked closely over the years, received $30,000 to strengthen its partnerships with several Ulster County partners, including the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. These efforts are focused on the 5,000 acre Binnewater Hills area.
The Mohonk Preserve received $48,000 for the Mohonk Gatehouse Trailhead Project. The grant will enable the Preserve “to plan and develop public access to use of one of the Hudson Valley’s most iconic and scenic open spaces, enhancing local recreation while protecting the high-traffic Shawangunk Ridge from overuse.”
(Item posted May 15, 2013)
D&H Canal/O&W Rail Trail to Be Extended Through Nevele Property
A five mile segment of the former rail corridor from Ellenville to Spring Glen through the Nevele Resort property is to become part of the D&H Canal/O&W Rail Trail. An agreement in principle to accomplish this welcome addition has been reached with the new owners of the Nevele Resort.
Scott Carlsen, Town of Wawarsing Supervisor, said the trail extension will provide “an incredible benefit to local residents and economic development efforts in our town.” And Ulster County Executive Michael Hein said the deal “is a wonderful commitment by Nevele Investors to the people of Wawarsing and the people of Ulster County.” Hein added that “It’s a very exciting opportunity to extend the rail trail.”
(Item posted May 11, 2013)
DEC Says Hudson River Valley Resorts Final Environmental Impact Statement Needs Revisions
The following statement has been provided by Save the Lakes.
“On June 1st, just 11 weeks after Hudson River Valley Resorts submitted their 500+-page ‘Final’ Environmental Impact Statement, the DEC has, after careful study, informed them that “revisions and additional information are necessary”. The FEIS was supposed to respond to all substantive comments made by the public on the 7000+-page Draft EIS released by HRVR in May 2011. The 10-page DEC letter lists over 40 responses that are inadequate and 13 substantive comments for which no response at all was provided. Among the concerns expressed by DEC:
•HRVR repeatedly includes in percentage-of-land-use calculations the 411 acres of the property already under conservation easement since 1999, land which cannot be developed.
•Several responses address only some of the issues raised by a commenter, leaving others unanswered.
•Several responses make assertions that are not supported by data.
•Outright errors of fact and at least one case where a claimed ‘worst case’ analysis of projected fiscal benefit is actually a ‘best case’ scenario, thus exaggerating the benefit.
•Missing details regarding public access via a day-pass system “subject to use by resort guests and residents of the Project”.”
(Item posted July 6, 2012)
Sam’s Point Preserve Update
The following is from the agenda of the June 2012 meeting of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.
“The Nature Conservancy has indicated they will cease operation of the Sam’s Point Preserve Visitor Center in the next two years. The Open Space Institute has proposed conveying the remainder of this parcel and several others adjacent to the Commission. These parcels from OSI include Sam’s Point, South Gully, Mt. Don Bosco, Davis, and Ukrainian National Assoc. Parks/PIPC anticipates closing on the first four projects during FY 2012-13. Parks/PIPC will close on UNA when state funds are available, hopefully in 2013-14. All purchases will be at fair market value as determined through the state’s standard appraisal processes.
“Discussions with OPRHP, OSI and TNC have resulted in a proposal for the Commission and State to acquire these parcels and take over operation of the Sam’s Point Visitor Center. In order of offset the additional operational cost to operate these properties, a portion of the acquisition costs of these and some additional future properties would be donated back to the Commission/State as an endowment/dedicated fund in the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT). The donations to the fund will total approximately $2.3 million over the next few years. Operation of the Sam’s Point Visitor Center by the Commission would not occur until mid-2015.”
(Item posted July 6, 2012)
Williams Lake Project
Friends of the Shawangunks is supporting efforts to prevent inappropriate development of the Williams Lake Resort in Rosendale. To make a tax-deductible donation for that purpose, send us a check made out to Friends of the Shawangunks, with “Williams Lake Project” in the memo space. Or you can donate online putting “Williams Lake” in the “Designate my donation” box.