Just to clarify (it's been a long time since I was a rep for the GCC), I looked up my response about the GCC's position on the MUA to sandia and others, when it appears sandia went by raelian, 5.29.07

"Forgive me the belated response, but I was away last week and became aware of the post on Saturday. Allow me to clarify the GCC's position on the MUA.

We are not advocating/lobbying for closure of the MUA. As many of you know, we put considerable effort advocating against the initial closure of campsites, done maintenance and clean-ups there, printed flyers and posted on our website reminders for folks to use the MUA responsibly, to mitigate the kinds of usage that have made it a chronic target of public complaints. Earlier this year, we offered to pay for the port-a-johns, when a question existed of whether any would be sited at the campground. The MUA is not perfect, not by a long-shot, but we're committed to supporting both the site and its thoughtful, committed managers like RangerRob.

I was invited last year to attend the planning meeting between the American Alpine Club, PIPC, and the Mohonk Preserve on the AAC's campground proposal at the AMC site. It appeared to me that the proposal for a campground of walk-in, group, and cabin sites built around a central cooking/social pavilion with showers, bathrooms, trash facilities, and off-the-street-parking monitored by a caretaker 24/7 - a Gunks' version of the Teton's climbing ranch - would be a welcome upgrade to the MUA. And, it would go a long way towards alleviating many of the problems - noise, traffic hazards, trash, human waste, use of undesignated sites - that continue to make the MUA a crux of both campers and the localsÂ’ ire. It won't be free, but for-fee camping and better regulation may have to be the price to pay for our exponential growth and its attendant impact.

Can the Gunks' support both free and for-fee camping? We certainly can't get enough of either option. Will the MUA have to be closed to make the AAC site viable? It's a possibility, but it is not a done deal, and my understanding is that the agencies remain in discussion as the AAC proposal continues to await approval.

Should it become a choice between the two sites, primarily for the mitigation measures it would largely contain, the GCC favors the AAC proposal. The potential loss of a free, capricious resource with hallowed roots in the culture is a tough one to watch disappear, and the Gunks have been fortunate to keep our resident mongrel alive as long as we have. We've raised the topic at several GCC events, and have advocated that the principals invite the climbing community in public forums into the discussion.

Until the day arrives that such a choice becomes necessary - and it remains quite unclear if or when that may be - the GCC will continue to support responsible use of the MUA.

I encourage anyone with a stake in the matter to contact me directly, ctspatz@earthlink.net, as well as the principals:
Jeff Weigert, Region 3 DEC office, 845.256.3000, or Ethan Pierce, 845.256.3074
And you can always talk to Hank Alicandri at the Mohonk Preserve.

I will be attending the planning meeting cited above tomorrow evening in Ellenville.

Christopher Spatz
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.