Planning to Protect
The Preserve wants the scenic beauty and astounding variety of life of the ridge to endure long into the future. That's why we actively monitor and address threats to the land through a Land Management Plan, which includes an inventory of the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Preserve. It then divides the Preserve into two sections: Group One areas designated for limited visitor use, and Group Two areas for higher levels of visitor access. In turn, 11 Land Management Units have been identified based on particularly important natural features (such as chestnut oak forest or cliff-and-talus slopes).
The plan identifies major threats in each of these units (such as invasive species, deer overbrowsing, visitor impact, or encroaching development) and strategies to manage them. In this way, we can set priorities for land management and research projects to both identify problems and find long-lasting solutions.
A Legacy of Dedication
Rick Troxell, Mohonk Preserve Trailhead Assistant, passed away unexpectedly in March 2013. Rick worked for the Preserve at the Visitor Center and other trailheads, greeting and orienting visitors from 2006 through 2013. Hiking the ridge was Rick’s passion. Over the years he developed an intimate and extensive knowledge of the landscape. He liked to say he had hiked virtually every trail and carriage road on Preserve, Minnewaska, and Mountain House lands. Starting in early spring, he would increase his mileage culminating in a 30-mile day in mid-summer. Rick was an avid photographer with a sensitive eye for the ever-changing light in his beloved mountains. Rick’s unique dedication to the Preserve as a Life Member, donor, volunteer, and staff member will be greatly missed.
Caring for Historic Carriage Roads
The network of carriage roads across the Shawangunk Ridge are a feat of engineering--especially when you consider that they were built in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries without the help of modern equipment. For generations, people have enjoyed the roads for travel and recreation.
To make sure that future visitors can enjoy the roads as well, the Preserve has been working to repair and maintain the 30 miles of carriage roads--an effort made possible by the generosity and comittment of our supporters and a grant from the New York State Department of Transportation.
Bridging the Gap: Restoring Cedar Drive Bridge
Hearty hikers were given a new challenge when the Cedar Drive Bridge collapsed more than 40 years ago: negotiating the steep slopes of the ravine that the bridge had spanned. The Preserve decided to restore this large missing link in our 70-mile carriage road and trail system so that more visitors could traverse and enjoy the area. Thanks to the generous support of Preserve supporters, we were able to rebuild a 90-foot long bridge that is both beautiful and built to last for a long time to come.
Bringing Back Hemlock Bend
The Mohonk Preserve protects and manages land—but often Mother Nature reminds us who’s really in charge. In January 2007, an intense rain storm turned a retaining wall on Bonticou Carriage Road--a key connection between the northern and southern sections of the Preserve--into a heap of massive stones. The area, known as Hemlock Bend, became impassable. Thanks to the support of generous donors, Preserve staff were able to restore the wall by using much of the original stone and installing a culvert to prevent future flooding.
Banner Photo by Renee Zernitsky; Photos: Rick Troxell by Susan Lehrer; Carriage Roads by Frank Tkac; Cedar Drive by Veronique Dietrich; Hemlock Bend by Frank Tkac