Conserving an Iconic Landscape
In 2011, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to preserve one of the most significant landscapes in the Hudson Valley was realized when the Open Space Institute acquired over 850 acres of ecologically and historically important lands on the eastern flank of the Shawangunk Ridge from Smiley Brothers, Inc., owners of the Mohonk Mountain House and longtime Preserve supporters. Mohonk Preserve is honored to be partnering with OSI to manage and, as resources permit, incrementally purchase portions of the land, now designated as the Mohonk Preserve Foothills.
The Mohonk Preserve Foothills property includes the iconic Testimonial Gateway, the former entrance to the Mohonk Mountain House; three scenic and historic farms; hundreds of acres of open fields and rolling forested hills; streams and marshlands; and important segments of the historic carriage road system that extends into the Preserve, Mohonk Mountain House, and Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Mohonk Preserve Foothills lands are among the last large tracts of open space on the Shawangunk Ridge and offer significant recreational and educational opportunities.
Land Asset Management Plan
Since September of 2011, Mohonk Preserve has been actively studying and managing the OSI lands and planning future conservation uses. Working with planning firm DiMella Shaffer and a team of Preserve staff, board members, volunteers, partners, neighbors, and the local community, the Preserve developed a comprehensive Land Asset Management Plan for the Mohonk Preserve Foothills, with support from Hudson River Valley Greenway and the New York State Conservation Partnership Program and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The New York State Conservation Program is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Land Asset Management Plan has served as a catalyst for bringing the community together to develop concepts and design alternatives for access, stewardship, interpretation, and conservation of the lands, and to look at ways to connect the Shawangunk Ridge to the surrounding area.
The Land Asset Management Plan (141 pages, 6MB) includes information on the Mohonk Preserve Foothills’ history, ecology, and regional context, along with goals, objectives, and management and implementation plans for the Testimonial Gateway, Farmland, Marshland, and Ridgeland areas. The Land Asset Management Plan Summary (18 pages, 4MB) covers highlights of the full plan.
Hard-copy versions of the full Land Asset Management Plan are available for viewing at the New Paltz Town Hall and the New Paltz Elting Memorial Library.