The solution could be as simple as the current practice at Highland Lakes State Park or Goose Pond State Park in Orange County...... No visible management of any kind. Same goes for the Catskill and Adirondack Parks. Dirt parking, a sign or two and lots of people who have lots of fun recreating with minimal facilities. With that model working so well, there should be no reason to close a park entirely. RC
Passive management is fiddling while Rome burns. Closures are the best thing that could happen to many of these parks, especially Minnewaska.
Forest regeneration arrest, ground-nesting songbird habitat and biodiversity loss, and invasive species proliferation are accelerating from super-abundant white-tailed deer eating forest understories to the ground throughout the state parks (not to mention the state). Recreationists - hikers, runners, mountain-bikers, cross-country skiers and
climbers - are unwittingly picking up invasives on shoes, clothing, and gear at degraded areas where invasives first strike - parking lots, trailheads, campgrounds, roadsides - spreading them down access corridors - rail trails, carriage roads, hiking trails, footpaths - where it's an easy jump into the overbrowsed understory, or from crag bases up, and onto the crags.
Crags are the thinnest of thin-skinned ecosystems. The Trapps and the Nears are under siege from a deer-resistant native plant called white snakeroot. It's within striking distance of the base of Peterskill. It's even shown up on two guided routes at Skytop, and nowhere else along the crag from top-outs down. Certain native plants that deer won't touch, like hay-scented ferns and snakeroot, start to spread and act like invasives in the absence of less hardy, or more delectable natives. This is what happens when we "ethically cleanse" routes of their native flora, clearing the way for problem plants. We're bringing it in, and where snakeroot is, lichen and spleen-wort and pitch pine - and the critters dependent on them - aren't.
With the parks shut down, now's the perfect time to get a handle on both deer and invasives.
Too bad Minnewaska's off the list, because like the rest of the Gunks, we're accomplices to forest death by herbivore.