Autumn is amazing at Mohonk Preserve! The “leaf peepers” are out in force and our foliage has put on a fantastic display. In this issue of Ridgelines, we’ll share recent well-deserved honors for Preserve Research Director Emeritus Paul Huth, explore ways we are advancing our low-impact climbing program, and learn about the important work of our volunteer Trailhead Ambassadors.
Don’t miss out on one of the rites of autumn – a Preserve hike to take in the peak colors of fall on the Shawangunk Ridge. We look forward to seeing you on the land!
Banner photo by Karen Maloy Brady
Honoring Conservation Champion Paul C. Huth
Mohonk Preserve Director of Research Emeritus Paul Huth is the recipient of the Preserve’s Long View Conservation Award, which was presented at the organization’s 25th Anniversary Benefit Auction on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.
Established in 2009, the Long View Conservation Award is designed to honor and recognize individuals or organizations that have made significant and lasting contributions to the conservation community. Each awardee also shares common values that are core to the Preserve’s mission – to work tirelessly to protect and preserve our precious environment for future generations and to inspire people to care for, enjoy and explore their natural world. And Paul Huth certainly embodies those values.
Over Paul’s career, he has published more than 100 articles in local and national professional scientific journals. In 2013, he received the prestigious John Campanius Holm Award from the National Weather Service for remarkably accurate daily weather records that are a valuable resource to the nation’s climate program. And in 2014, Paul received an honorary doctorate, the highest honor that the State University can bestow upon an individual, from his alma mater SUNY New Paltz.
As Mohonk Preserve President Kevin Case noted in his remarks, during Paul’s 50-years with the Preserve, he’s helped advance conservation and stewardship both on and off the ridge. “The Daniel Smiley Research Center’s natural and cultural history collections have become nationally and internationally recognized resources,” Kevin said. “And perhaps most importantly, Paul has continued to inspire people to discover and better understand the role of nature in their lives.”
In addition to the Long View Conservation Award, Kevin announced the establishment of the Paul Huth Endowment Fund to recognize his contributions to environmental research and education and support the Preserve’s conservation programs and Daniel Smiley Research Center.
“We’re very excited to be able to honor Paul in this way and thanks to many generous supporters, build a stronger financial foundation for our conservation science efforts for generations to come,” Kevin noted.
To view a video about Paul shown at the auction and see photos from the event, visit www.mohonkpreserve.org/auction.
Scaling Up Conservation with Low-Impact Climbing
Significant increases in climbing at Mohonk Preserve in recent years have necessitated extra steps for the preservation of climbing areas to avoid environmental damage. As part of our efforts, we have launched an educational campaign to highlight low-impact climbing and Leave No Trace principles and promote mindful engagement with the cliffs. The project will expand long-term efforts to preserve the cliffs and surrounding vegetation and wildlife through new and increased informational and wayfinding signage at popular climbing spots.
“I have been a ranger for 12 years and a local climber for 15, and I see a direct correlation between the increased numbers of climbers and damage to the cliff environment,” noted Mohonk Preserve Director of Visitor Experience and Chief Ranger Andrew Bajardi. “Trees that were once iconic parts of a climb have died after sustaining constant abuse by ropes, webbing, and from being used as belay seats. The classic climb, Three Pines, has no more pine trees on it!”
While experienced climbers generally climb in ways that allow them to return to the base without leaving equipment or utilizing anchors on trees, novices tend to descend using what is right in front of them. For many climbers, it may take years to build the technical skill and wayfinding knowledge needed to climb with as little impact as possible.
Mohonk Preserve’s Patrol Rangers are facilitating efforts to promote low-impact climbing methods that will preserve the rock faces, the vegetation on and around them, and the wildlife that makes their homes there, such as Peregrine falcons. As part of those efforts, we are creating and installing four signs addressing topics including Conserving Natural Habitats, Protecting Natural Resources, Advancing Resilient Access, and Supporting Community Climbing.
Additionally, we’re creating and installing a series of wayfinding signs raising awareness of and directing climbers to the Preserve’s rappel stations. We are also using the Preserve’s sizable social media reach to promote the program on Facebook and Instagram and holding public programs on low-impact climbing and Leave No Trace principles.
Central to Mohonk Preserve’s mission is the concept of inspiring people to care for their natural world. Through new signage and programming, we are explaining and encouraging the use of low-impact climbing practices, such as our new anchor stations and access routes. Collaborating with the climbing community, we continue to explore new ways to recreate responsibly and deepen our relationship with nature.
Support for this project was provided by an American Alpine Club Cornerstone Conservation Grant and the Waterman Fund. For more information on low-impact climbing, visit www.mohonkpreserve.org/low-impact-climbing.
Trailhead Ambassadors Help Visitors Get Into Nature with Support From M&T Bank
Mohonk Preserve is a favorite place for members and visitors looking for a rejuvenating outdoor experience. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of M&T Bank, the Preserve’s volunteer Trailhead Ambassadors continue to ensure that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable visit. The M&T Bank sponsorship helps support the cost of equipment, supplies and training for Trailhead Ambassadors.
“With strong visitation throughout the summer and fall, the Preserve’s Visitor Experience staff need greater support at trailheads to orient visitors, especially those visiting the Preserve for the first time,” said Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Programs Manager Andy Reynolds. “To address this growing need, in 2020 we expanded our existing volunteer Trailhead Ambassadors group to a full-fledged Visitor Experience program to help welcome these new visitors and let them know about the options available for healthy outdoor activities.”
The Trailhead Ambassadors group consists of volunteers, supervised by staff, who operate information stations outside the Preserve’s Visitor Center and at the “Welcome Boulder” near the West Trapps Trailhead on busy spring, summer and fall weekends. The Trailhead Ambassadors welcome hundreds of visitors, answer questions about the Preserve, provide information on basic wayfinding and visitor amenities, and help newcomers select appropriate activities based on their fitness levels and interests.
The Trailhead Ambassadors are part of the full Mohonk Preserve volunteer corps numbering more than 400 individuals who contribute over 10,000 hours of their energy and skills annually in activities including gardening, photography, bike and ski patrols, education programs, conservation science, and many others. Find out more about the Trailhead Ambassadors and other volunteer opportunities here or contact Andy Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mohonk Preserve thanks M&T Bank for their longstanding partnership with the Preserve and ongoing commitment to our community, and we look forward to continuing our Trailhead Ambassadors program during the busy leaf-peeping season and fall holidays.
GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs.
IN APPRECIATION. Go to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received July 1 through September 30, 2022.
Mohonk Preserve 2023 Calendars make great gifts! Get yours today at the Visitor Center or order a calendar online!
Give the gift of the great outdoors with a Mohonk Preserve membership! Gift Memberships are available at the Visitor Center or online here!
Mohonk Preserve Holiday Auction – Join us for Mohonk Preserve’s Online Holiday Auction from December 10 – 17, 2022.
Reduced Trail Maps Prices – Full-color, water resistant maps of Mohonk Preserve are available at trailheads for just $5.00! Digital trail maps are available for download on the Avenza App for $1.99.
MOHONK PRESERVE BUSINESS MEMBERS. Thank you to all our Business Members. See the full list of Mohonk Preserve Business Members in our area guide.
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