Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve

Ridgelines #180

Autumn 2015  #180


Autumn is amazing – and active – at Mohonk Preserve! During “leaf peeping” time, the Preserve welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world who come to enjoy nature’s fall splendor.

In this issue of Ridgelines you’ll find out how you can join the 2016 edition of Rock The Ridge, the Preserve’s spectacular 50-mile endurance challenge, either as a participant or supporter; learn about exciting trail partnerships in the Mohonk Preserve Foothills; and be introduced to the Preserve’s new calendar, featuring stunning images from the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers!

For owl lovers and night owls, we have two great upcoming programs in November – Northern Saw-whet Owls: Mohonk Preserve’s Silent Visitors with Preserve Research Associate Dr. Glenn A. Proudfoot on Nov. 6, and The Million Dollar Night View with the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association at Spring Farm on Nov. 20. Reserve early for these popular programs!

Rock The Ridge 2016

Lace up your running, walking or hiking shoes and get ready to Rock The Ridge in April 2016! Combining a unique physical challenge with a commitment to environmental stewardship, Rock The Ridge is a 50-mile endurance challenge with a 24-hour time limit. After three successful years, preparations are underway to Rock The Ridge again on April 30, 2016.

Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the U.S. Marines to complete a 50-mile march in 24 hours, Rock The Ridge revives this American spirit of fitness. Covering 50 miles in one stretch is a major achievement, but the 24-hour time limit allows for people with a wide range of abilities to participate by running, jogging, hiking, or walking, and the joint individual and team format makes for a unique experience.

Ridge Rockers may participate in one of three divisions: Individual 50-Mile, Team 50-Mile, and Team Relay. In addition to competing in the event, participants will also fundraise for the Preserve to support critical stewardship needs, enabling the Preserve to meet the ever-growing demands of the land and visitors, including conservation, environmental education, visitor safety, and carriage road restoration and maintenance.

In 2015, Rock The Ridge hosted over 320 elite athletes and many first-time 50-milers, including several teams that walked the entire distance. For the third year, noted ultramarathoner Ben Nephew was the first finisher, breaking his own course record with a time of 5:56:15. The first female finisher was Laura Koogan with a time of 7:13:49. All of the participants finished in under 20 hours, meeting the Kennedy Challenge and demonstrating that Rock The Ridge is as much an event for hikers and walkers as it is for runners. And we're proud to report that over 90% of the participants successfully completed the entire 50 miles.

Between now and race day, all participants can take advantage of critical support and training from our Rock The Ridge team, including conference calls with our official trainer, Lisa Smith-Batchen and guided “Taste of Rock The Ridge” training run/hikes led by event organizers Todd Jennings, Ken Posner, and Joe Alfano, one of which will be held on Saturday, December 5. Participants also receive fundraising support and advice from the Preserve’s Development staff.

This year, the Preserve is proud to be teaming again with Team Red, White & Blue, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical activity, and with Team Fox, the grassroots community fundraising program at the Michael J. Fox Foundation, supporting funding for Parkinson’s research.

Whether you walk, run, or do a mixture of both, Rock The Ridge will be a spectacular outdoor adventure and an opportunity to help fundraise to support conservation at the Preserve. Register by Nov. 30 for an early registration discount. Next year’s race will be bigger and better than ever, so reserve your spot today and join your fellow Ridge Rockers in April 2016!

Even if you can’t be a Ridge Rocker, you can still support Rock The Ridge participants by visiting our Crowdrise Page.

Partnering on Pathways to Nature

Mohonk Preserve and the Open Space Institute recently teamed up to restore and improve carriage roads and trails in the Mohonk Preserve Foothills.

The projects included restoration of the Old Kleinekill Farm Road, the restoration of the lower section of Duck Pond Road, and re-establishing a previous foot trail route with a new, multi-use shale surface on the White Oak Bend trail between Pine Road and Lenape Lane.

These Foothills Carriage Road Restoration Projects were made possible with the assistance of grant funds from Open Space Institute and the OSI BCF Shawangunk Ridge Special Projects Fund, designated for protecting land in the Shawangunk Ridge area of New York State. Also supporting these restorations were the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation and Hudson River Valley Greenway.

These restored carriage roads and trail provide important links in the overall Trail and Connectivity Master Plan for the Foothills, funded in part by the Hudson River Valley Greenway and New York State Conservation Partnership Program.

The Preserve and OSI have been collaborating in the Foothills since 2011, when OSI acquired 857 acres from Mohonk Mountain House, preserving priceless views of the Shawangunk Ridge. Following this acquisition, Mohonk Preserve agreed to manage and, as resources permitted, purchase the land, now designated as the Mohonk Preserve Foothills. In December 2014, the Preserve entered into an agreement to purchase the entire 857-acre Mohonk Preserve Foothills from OSI.

Since 2013, the Preserve has also been working with OSI, the Town of New Paltz, and Ulster County on possible trail connectivity across the New Paltz “flats” to the Wallkill River, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the Village of New Paltz. In February 2015, OSI acquired the 135-acre “Watchtower” property, linking to other previously purchased farms in the “flats” that created potential for a continuous trail from the Wallkill River to the Mohonk Preserve Foothills. The proposed River-to-Ridge Trail is a six-mile loop trail that will be free of charge to the public providing a direct link from New Paltz to the Shawangunk Ridge for hikers, runners, cyclists, and cross-country skiers. Approximately 1.6 miles of the River-to-Ridge trail will be a loop around the farmland portions of the Mohonk Preserve Foothills. The proposed trail has been submitted by OSI for review by the Town of New Paltz Planning Board. For more information, including a map of the proposed River-to-Ridge Trail, click here.

Mohonk Preserve looks forward to continuing our collaboration with OSI to provide conservation of and access to the landmark landscape of the Mohonk Preserve Foothills and the majestic Shawangunk Ridge.

Move Through the Seasons with Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve is pleased to present our 2016 calendar featuring the magnificent images of our Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers, along with natural history observations from our Conservation Science team!

Along with great seasonal images of the Preserve, each month includes natural history observations that serve as a guide to what you might experience during a visit to the Preserve. The weather data is based on both average and record-setting temperature and precipitation figures from the Preserve’s Daniel Smiley Research Center. Thanks to the Preserve’s outstanding Conservation Science team, research associates and interns, and citizen naturalist volunteers who are helping to increase understanding of the effects of climate change on weather, flora and fauna through their work.

Throughout the year, our Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers generously donate their time and expertise to capture photos of scenic views, people enjoying the land, plants and animals, Preserve programs and special events, and more for the Preserve’s publications, website, social media, and exhibits.

The goal of the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers is to capture the Preserve visually and share those images to build awareness of the Preserve and its mission of protecting the Shawangunk Mountains region and inspiring people to care for, enjoy and explore their natural world. The group meets monthly to discuss upcoming assignments and share their knowledge of photography through special workshops and group hikes.

Thanks to the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers and talented staff members, the Preserve now has an archive of over 10,000 images spanning over half a century. The photographers also have an ongoing seasonal display of their work in the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center Conference Room.

To learn more about the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers and all of our great volunteer programs, click here.

Our calendar is dedicated to the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers, past and present, who have inspired us all to “save the land for life” through their talents and generosity. To order your 2016 Mohonk Preserve Calendar, stop by our Visitor Center, call 845-255-0919, or click here.

Seasonal Updates

PHOTO GALLERY. View seasonal photographs by our volunteer photographers. See more photos by the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers on their Facebook page.

GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs including Northern Saw-Whet Owls: Mohonk Preserve's Silent Visitors, Geology of the Shawangunk Mountains; and Taste of Rock The Ridge.

IN APPRECIATION. Go to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received July 1 through Sept. 30, 2015.

CHECK THIS OUT. Looking for the perfect present? Give the gift of year-round adventure with a Mohonk Preserve gift membership.

We have many other great nature-themed gifts available at the Visitor Center, including Ron Knapp and Michael Neil O'Donnell's The Gunks Through Time, and the 2016 Mohonk Preserve Calendar featuring stunning images of the Shawangunk Ridge taken by Mohonk Preserve's Volunteer Photographers. Order the calendar online or call 845-255-0919.

MOHONK PRESERVE MEMBER REWARDS PROGRAM. Show your valid Mohonk Preserve annual or life membership card at over 30 local businesses listed here, and receive a discount or special offer. We welcome our new business members who joined between July 1 and October 28: