Samuel F. Pryor III Campground Opens

Image Credit: Steve Aaron

GARDINER, NY — June 3, 2015—The eagerly-anticipated Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground, the first lodging atop the Ridge and located on lands conserved by the Open Space Institute (OSI), officially opened today in Gardiner. The new facility will give visitors clean, safe, affordable accommodations within a short distance to some of the Ridge’s most popular amenities. 

The project’s preservation partners, including the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks), the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, OSI, Mohonk Preserve and American Alpine Club, joined together to mark the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Also attending were 75 guests, including members of campground namesake Sam Pryor’s family, along with state and local officials and local businesses and neighbors. 

Early in the 20-year process to establish the campground, OSI assembled and protected nearly 200 acres in the “Trapps Gateway” area of the Gunks. From this assemblage, OSI acquired the campground land for $300,000 and donated it to State Parks. During construction OSI also contributed $250,000 in capital funding towards the campground, which was designed by State Parks, American Alpine Club and Mohonk Preserve.

“This new campground adds an exciting new amenity to the visitors who travel from near and far to take advantage of the spectacular recreational opportunities at Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Mohonk Preserve, and it is a fitting legacy to Sam Pryor who devoted his life to the conservation of this land and ensuring access for all to enjoy its trails, climbs, and natural resources,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation looks forward to continuing our partnership with Mohonk Preserve and American Alpine Club and we are thrilled to welcome campers to this beautiful location.” 

“This new campground, which will bring visitors closer to the spectacular Shawangunk Ridge landscape and enrich their overall experience, is a fitting tribute to our friend Sam Pryor,” said OSI Senior Vice President Erik Kulleseid. “Through our original acquisition of this property and our financial support of the campground, OSI is proud to have played a role in this exciting project and it is gratifying to see this long-time dream become a reality. I congratulate our conservation partners, including New York State Parks, PIPC, Mohonk Preserve and the American Alpine Club, for their steadfast commitment to this project.”

“It takes a region,” said Mohonk Preserve Executive Director Glenn Hoagland. “This project demonstrates state, regional and local collaboration at its best, from neighbors and town officials, to recreational advocates and state agencies, to nonprofit organizations and the leadership of Sam Pryor.”  

The tent-camping-only campground is being managed by the American Alpine Club and Mohonk Preserve. Campground amenities include a pavilion and cooking area, bathhouse and restroom facilities, and circulation trails. There are 50 sites which accommodate up to two tents (and four people) per pad.

Located at 953 Route 299, Gardiner, NY 12525, near the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center, the campground is within walking distance of the Trapps and Near Trapps, home to hundreds of rock climbs and miles of historic carriage roads and hiking trails. The campground will be open May 15, 2015 through mid-November, 2015, weather permitting. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The campground is dedicated to the memory of Samuel F. Pryor III, a lifelong conservationist who committed himself to organizations working for the preservation of open space both locally and nationally. In addition to serving on the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, he was a member of several other conservation-related organizations, including the Appalachian Mountain Club (which he chaired), the Westchester Land Trust, the National Forest Foundation, the Land Trust Alliance, Scenic Hudson, New York Audubon, the National Forest Foundation and the League of Conservation Voters. Sam was the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious New York Governor’s Award for Parks and Preservation, OSI’s Conservation Award, the Land Trust Alliance’s President’s Award, and the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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