I'm one of the neighbors of the proposed campground on Route 299, west of the existing Multi-Use Area. My house is one of nine within 200 yards of the land on which the campground is slated to be built. Twenty-one homes are within 500 yards. Most of us are climbers, hikers, mountain bikers etc, so we have a shared interest in preserving access to the outdoors, the peace, and the quiet of the Gunks.

We're not trying to stop the campground from being built: we agree that providing camping options is important. But everyone is aware of the problems at the MUA. This new proposed campground will be bigger and more closely surrounded by many more houses, so we'd like to avoid a situation where this new campground just scales up and intensifies those conflicts.

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) owns the land and plans to build the campground. PIPC plans, for now, to allow the Mohonk Preserve and the American Alpine Club to manage the campground after it's constructed. We've met with PIPC and the Preserve and appreciate some of the management policies they've said they intend to have, like having a manager on site and noise limits. However, PIPC is claiming to be exempt from the local zoning laws that the town of Gardiner created specifically for projects like this, and refusing to provide any other mechanism for guaranteeing that any agreements about the campground design or management remain in place.

I'm posting here because the campers create the local culture at a campground, and members of this forum may be among those campers, so you should be aware of the discussion. A lot of things that could help reduce the impact of the campsites on the surrounding houses would likewise reduce the impact of the surrounding houses on the campsites and the campsites on one another. I'm looking forward to reaching solutions that let the campers and the existing homes around them coexist peacefully.

Best regards,
Susan Lewis

(FYI: There's a map at http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/view?q=sh...210434452006978 with the campground site marked in yellow and surrounding houses circled in orange. The green markings in the center of the site are wetlands. If you want to see the original without the markings, this is from Ulster County's web map application at http://gis.co.ulster.ny.us/. Zoom in to the intersection of highways 299 and 44/55 until the "Aerial Photos" layer is enabled, then select the "2009 Infrared" layer. The campground site is the fourth plot from the intersection, on the south side of 299. The blue things on the surrounding plots are houses, driveways, businesses and parking lots. For wetlands, select the "Federal Wetlands" layer under "Water Resources.")