GARDINER, NY - 6/26/2002 - Today, the Open Space Institute (OSI) announced the donation of a 45-acre parcel of land in the foothills of the Shawangunk Ridge, which will be used as a public campground for visitors to the area. The land is being donated by OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy (OSC), to the Massachusetts-based Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).
Located in the Town of Gardiner in Ulster County, along Route 299 as it approaches a notch in the ridge known as the Trapps Gateway, the proposed campground was acquired by OSI in 1996, as part of a larger effort to protect an area known as the Trapps Gateway. The acquisition was made possible with funding from the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund. During the past five years, OSI has acquired several parcels in the Gateway area, totaling approximately 160 acres.
Some 500,000 visitors come to the Trapps Gateway area each year, to hike, rockclimb and cycle, and currently, there are limited camping opportunities in the vicinity. The proposed campground is less than one mile from the Trapps and Near Trapps, two extensive cliffs on the Mohonk Preserve that provide some of the best rock climbing on the East Coast. In recent years, mounting pressure on the ridge for camping has led to overuse of informal campgrounds, creating sanitation, fire, and patrol issues, and also resulting in degradation of the Trapps Gateway area.
“This campground will provide much-needed low-cost accommodations for visitors who come from all over the country to enjoy the incredible recreational virtues of the Gunks,” noted Joe Martens, President of OSI. “It has been rewarding to work with our partners at AMC and Mohonk Preserve to make this campground a reality.”
AMC will construct and operate a primitive campground with roughly 50 tent sites. The AMC has broad experience in providing services for outdoors enthusiasts and currently operates over 50 camps, lodges, huts and shelters in the Appalachian region.
“We are very pleased to partner with the Open Space Institute to help conserve the Gunks,” said AMC Executive Director Andrew Falender. “The creation of a campground in this area will enable us to provide information and other support services to help visitors both enjoy and wisely use this wonderful area. We always try to provide an overnight experience that will inspire our guests to protect the region's precious outdoor resources.”
“The Mohonk Preserve welcomes this creative solution among partners to the protection and compatible use of lands adjacent to the Mohonk National Landmark Landscape,” said Glenn D. Hoagland, Executive Director of the Mohonk Preserve.
The Open Space Institute has been working to preserve the Shawangunks since 1985. In addition to its conservation efforts at the Trapps Gateway, OSI has protected the 5,500 acres at the Sam's Point Preserve, over 3,600 acres in the Southern Shawangunks, over 2,000 acres in the Witch's Hole area, and other lands in the vicinity of Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve.