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#29447 - 05/23/07 04:42 PM MUA camping
raelian Offline

Registered: 12/27/02
Posts: 33
Loc: Jersey City

The state of New York is now developing a Shawangunk Ridge plan that can be the vehicle for ending camping at the MUA.

The Gunks Climbers Coalition supports shutting-down camping at the local MUA.

The American Alpine Club is said to be developing a campsite in Gunks region that will require users to have reservations, and to pay fees. (Black ties optional: It will be much cheaper than a trip to the Alps.) The view among insiders seems to be that this will justify and insure that the MUA to be permanently closed for camping.

Camping has been shut down at other MUAs in New York in recent years with little fanfare.

Here is current DEC press release:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced that DEC will hold a public meeting to initiate the planning process for the development of the Shawangunk Ridge draft Unit Management Plan (UMP). An open house session will be held at the Ellenville Public Library, 40 Center Street, Ellenville on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

At the meeting, DEC staff will provide a brief overview of the unit management planning process and facilitate a discussion about the issues and ideas that should be addressed in the draft UMP including forest management, wildlife management, fisheries, wetlands, water resources, biodiversity, historic preservation, public access, and recreation. The goal of the draft UMP is to address specific long term management objectives for DEC lands within the Shawangunk Ridge Unit.

The Shawangunk Ridge Unit is located in the Towns of Gardiner, Wawarsing, and Shawangunk in Ulster County, the Town of Mamakating in Sullivan County, and the Town of Greenville in Orange County. The unit is approximately 4,760 acres in size, consisting of Shawangunk Multiple Use Area, Witch’s Hole State Forest, Shawangunk Ridge State Forest, Roosa Gap State Forest, Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest, Huckleberry Ridge State Forest, and 3 detached Forest Preserve parcels. DEC is currently in the process of acquiring additional properties located within the UMP area.

The purpose of the DEC open house meeting is to provide an opportunity for citizen participation at the earliest stage of the planning process, and to ensure that the draft UMP addresses issues relevant to the public and reflects community concerns. Additional opportunity for public review and comment will be available when the draft UMP is issued. The finalized UMP will guide the future use and management of the Shawangunk Ridge Unit.

DEC is currently also accepting written input during the development of the draft UMP. For further information regarding the open house meeting or to submit written input, please contact: Ethan M. Pierce, Natural Resources Planner, NYS DEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561 or call (845) 256-3074.

Edited by raelian (05/23/07 06:20 PM)

#29473 - 05/24/07 02:38 PM Re: MUA camping [Re: raelian]
nerdom Offline
Pooh-Bah *

Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
 Originally Posted By: raelian

The Gunks Climbers Coalition supports shutting-down camping at the local MUA.

Really? I asked Chris about this recently, and he said he supported keeping the MUA open. At least I thought that's what he said.
we're all living proof that nothing lasts

#29548 - 05/29/07 03:49 PM Re: MUA camping [Re: nerdom]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
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 locals’ 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,, 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, GCC director-at-large, Access Fund RC
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.


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