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The Northern Shawangunk Ridge

In 2011, Mohonk Preserve acquired two iconic parcels in Rosendale, Giant’s Ledges and Waterworks, which will link the Preserve to prime bouldering areas, and extend permanent protection to the northernmost section of the Shawangunks.

These properties are both historically and ecologically significant. Known locally as the “Giant’s Ledges” for their impressive boulders and “Waterworks” for their proximity to Rosendale’s reservoir, they played an essential role in the town’s celebrated cement industry.

The parcels, with their deep forests and dramatic views, are home to rare species of plants and native animals, including the Eastern Box Turtle, Scarlet Tanager, and Timber Rattlesnake. They also include significant talus fields, made up of rock fragments from the Shawangunks, and bouldering areas that are prized by climbers.

Mohonk Preserve is currently developing a plan for expanding opportunities for hikers, bicyclists, rock climbers, and others in the Northern Shawangunk Ridge area, while also ensuring protection of the land.
The Preserve’s goal is to work with our partners, members, neighbors, and visitors to maximize the recreational potential of the area, while minimizing the environmental impact by encouraging activities that are light on the land.

In addition to our own land management planning, the Preserve, Open Space Institute, and Wallkill Valley Land Trust collaborated on an open public planning process for the entire Shawangunk-Joppenbergh recreation and preservation areas in Rosendale.

The overall goal of the SJPPP was to establish a plan for interconnectivity between and access to Preserve and WVLT recreation and preservation areas in and around Rosendale. The SJPPP was a focused public engagement assignment, encompassing twelve team and public meetings, including two Stakeholder meetings and one Community Engagement meeting from September through December 2012.

The process was conducted by AKRF, Inc. and Taconic Site Design & Landscape Architecture, supported with funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The New York State Conservation Partnership Program is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Since the completion of the SJPPP, the Rosendale Trestle has been opened to the public, the Town of Rosendale has opened its Binnewater parking area, and the town has secured planning money from the state and county to further plan for and implement the streetscaping connections between the rail trail and the hamlet. The Preserve will be formally opening its Lime Kiln Loop trail off of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in fall of 2013.

The Shawangunk-Joppenberg Public Planning Process Final Report and Recommendations Plan includes a road map for implementing short, medium and long-term recommendations to achieve interconnectivity between the various recreation resources and the Town of Rosendale. View the body of the report here.

Banner Photo by Gerald Berliner