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COVID-19 Update from Mohonk Preserve

(March 27, 2020)

A Message from Mohonk Preserve Board Chair Russ Clune

We know that many of you turn to nature for refuge and we deeply regret that Mohonk Preserve is temporarily closed. This is one of the most difficult moments in the Preserve’s 57-year history, but we fully support Governor Cuomo’s directive for New Yorkers to stay at home to protect public health.

We realize that this is an unprecedented action, but these are unprecedented times. As always, the health and safety of our staff and visitors are our highest priorities and this temporary closure is a critical component of our response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond the state mandate, congestion points like trailheads, parking areas and traditional gathering spots on the Preserve were becoming unsafe for both the visiting public and staff. Despite the Preserve’s best efforts to manage entry and maintain healthy social distancing practices, the volume of visitation was outpacing the organization’s capacity to safely welcome people on the land. We were also concerned about the potential for accidents that would further challenge overburdened local rescue and healthcare personnel.

Across the country, many of our fellow recreation destinations are taking similar actions to curb visitation, including over two dozen major rock-climbing destinations such as Joshua Tree and Yosemite National Park. Agencies such as the Appalachian Trail Conference, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition are all actively discouraging long-distance and day hikes on their trails.

We look forward to inviting members and visitors back to the Preserve as soon as it is safe to do so and will extend all Preserve memberships for at least a month--and possibly longer--depending on the length of the closure.

Until then, we encourage everyone to enjoy nature in their own neighborhoods. We are sharing ideas for family activities from our Education team here and on our Mohonk Preserve Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Special thanks to all of our members, volunteers, visitors and supporters. Please know the Preserve’s board and staff remain committed to our mission to protect the lands in our care and the people who love them.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support through a horrendously difficult time.

Russ Clune
Mohonk Preserve Board Chair


We have implemented the following operational changes to help mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 and protect our staff, members and visitors:

  • As of Monday, March 23, 2020, Mohonk Preserve lands are temporarily closed to the public until further notice
  • Our Visitor Center is closed to the public until further notice
  • All programs are suspended until further notice
  • For more information about Rock The Ridge, click here. For more information about Bridge-2-Bridge, click here.
  • We will be providing updated public information on this page and at regarding any changes

Again, thank you for your continued support of our mission. All of us at Mohonk Preserve are so grateful to our visitors, members, volunteers, supporters, and local community. We truly are all in this together.

Following please find links to additional resources for information about COVID-19: 

Mohonk Preserve Temporary Closure FAQ

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  
NYS Dept. of Health  
Ulster County Government  


MARCH 9, 2020 — Peregrine Falcon breeding season has begun at Mohonk Preserve and we now have confirmed nesting activity at all three heritage nesting areas - the Trapps, Millbrook, and Bonticou. As a result, we are announcing the following temporary climbing-route and bouldering closures: 

Due to nesting Peregrine Falcons, the following areas are temporarily closed to rock climbing. The closure is in effect as of March 6, 2020.

  • Trapps Cliff: No climbing between and including Wisecrack and Scary Area. 
  • Trapps Bouldering: No bouldering between and including the problems Atlas and Venus in Scorpion.
  • Millbrook: Hiking only on the Millbrook Ridge Trail and no cliff access south of Westward Ha!.
  • Bonticou Crag: No climbing in the area known as The Sunbowl.

To help protect the nesting Peregrine Falcons:

  • DO NOT use ascent trails or rappel routes that access these areas.
  • DO NOT use the trails at the top of the cliff in the closure area.
  • DO NOT use the section of the cliff base climbers trail between these routes.
  • PLEASE refrain from excessive noise making while in the vicinity of these closures.

Peregrine Falcons are listed by the State of New York as an Endangered Species and we are legally obligated to protect their nesting areas at Mohonk Preserve. The Peregrine breeding season may possibly run through late summer.

The Preserve has worked collaboratively with the climbing community for decades to help protect the Peregrine Falcons and appreciates their support of our conservation mission as they continue to enjoy the hundreds of unrestricted climbing routes available at Mohonk Preserve.

For more information and updates, visit

Mohonk Preserve Foothills Update -  Site plan mandated safety guide rails are now in place along Gatehouse and Butterville Roads. Roadside parking is available on nearby Pine Road.

Click here for more information on the Mohonk Preserve Foothills Project.

Duck Pond Update - DEC has completed their assessment of  Duck Pond's infrastructure and the Preserve is working with engineers to develop a plan for repairs. Due to fluctuating water levels, the pond is especially dangerous - please stay off of the pond surface and, as always, be sure to keep all dogs on leash.

Drones and other Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) -  Please remember that Mohonk Preserve prohibits the use of drones and other unmanned aerial systems (UAS) on or above Preserve lands unless such use is approved through our permit application process. This policy supports our commitment to the protection of all wildlife (specifically in this context, birds of all species), and the safety and well-being of our visitors, as well as the quality of their personal experiences in nature. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, any and all use of drones for purposes such as aerial photography, videography and entertainment/recreational use. For more information, click here.

Banner Photo by Stephen D. Stewart-Hill