The Shawangunk Ridge stretches for 50 miles from Kingston, NY, to the New Jersey border. Over the last 25 years, we have protected over 32,000 acres of land on and around the Ridge.
Saving the Shawangunks Story Map
A Story of the Effort to Protect the Shawangunk Ridge
With breathtaking views of the Catskills, the ridge has become known for its outdoor recreation, with more than half a million visitors coming annually to hike the hundreds of miles of trails and carriage roads in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam’s Point Preserve in Minnewaska, and the Mohonk Preserve.
The Ridge is an international mecca for naturalists and recreationists, including rock climbers, birders, hikers, and cross-country skiers. They grapple with the sheer Shawangunk cliffs or scout for birds migrating. They stroll and shop their way through small towns and browse at roadside farm stands.
One of the most celebrated landscapes
Our work in this landscape has:
- Constructed the River to Ridge Trail, a six-mile loop trail that will allow hikers, cyclists and others direct access to 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
- More than doubled the size of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Over the past 30 years, by way of 121 transactions totaling $86 million, we have protected the dramatic cliffs and renowned carriage roads of Minnewaska for its devoted visitors.
- Built the Samuel F. Pryor III Campground, the first lodging atop the Ridge and located on lands that we protected. This new facility will give visitors clean, safe, affordable accommodations within a short distance to some of the Ridge’s most popular amenities.
- Supported the Mohonk Preserve. We have purchased and protected the Trapps Gateway and Giant’s Ledges properties, which allowed the Preserve to build a visitor center on the land with a surrounding trail network, extend the boundaries of the Preserve to the north, and allow visitors to access the Ridge through a new entry point.
- Restored the iconic Rosendale Trestle. This 940-foot-long railroad trestle over the Rondout Creek connects the Shawangunk Ridge to the Binnewater Lakes region. We have restored this trestle so that it is safe for public recreational use.
- Expanded the O&W Rail Trail. Our acquisition of over three miles along the old O&W rail bed allows for the development of a nearly 8-mile-long loop for recreational use and the links downtown Wurtsboro with the Wurtsboro Ridge, Roosa Gap and Shawangunk Ridge state forests.
- Extended the Walkill Valley Rail Trail. Working with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust we have expanded the trail by 11.5 miles, nearly doubling its current length and providing a nearly continuous recreational trail that runs through the towns of Gardiner, New Paltz, Rosendale and Ulster, and on to southern reaches of the City of Kingston.
These projects have provided increased recreational access for walkers, runners, equestrians, birders, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers.