Many state parks and historic sites in the Palisades Region are inaccessible due to damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Parks will reopen as power is restored, debris is removed, floodwaters recede, and public safety can be assured. The list of closings will be updated as conditions changes. Before visiting, visitors should contact the respective park offices for the most up-to-date information on availability of facilities and hours of operation.
* Bear Mountain State Park services are limited due to disruption of water service and the pool will remain closed for the season. The zoo is currently closed.
* Camping at Sebago Cabins, Beaver Pond and group camps at Harriman State Park is unavailable until further notice.
* Sebago Beach at Harriman is closed for the season.
* Lake Welch and Tiorati areas of Harriman are without power and water.
* High Tor State Park is without power.
* Minnewaska State Park Preserve will be open on a limited basis until further notice effective Saturday, September 3, 2011. The Preserve will only be open for hiking, picnicking, and swimming at Lake Minnewaska and climbing at the Peter’s Kill area. Biking and equestrian use will not be permitted. Access is only available for hikers and climbers. All hikers must park in the Awosting Parking Lot and all climbers must park in the Peter’s Kill parking lot. Please adhere to all posted trail closings.
Photo: Storm Damage on Palisades Park Road (Photo by Sean Rose).
The Millbrook Carriage Road, a multi-use carriage road that is used for hiking, biking and horseback riding in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, has reopened following completion of the first of several carriage road restoration projects in the Shawangunk Mountains. The project was made possible in part from a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund and a substantial individual donation. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, the Mohonk Preserve, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have launched an joint initiative to rebuild the historic Smiley family carriage road network in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains. Many of the 83 miles of hand-built broken stone are in stages of disrepair, some causing closure.
The Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads offer guests easy access to lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing access to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. T
To support the Palisades Parks Conservancy reach their goal of restoring the entire 35 mile carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve (which is expected to costs more than $4 million) visit their website.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve has announced its June 2011 Public Programs. Pre-registration is required for participation in public programs, but parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early arrival to the Park Preserve is recommended as the Park Preserve may fill to capacity before noon, particularly on weekends. For outings, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring snacks and water. A parent or guardian over the age of 18 years must accompany children wishing to participate in any programs. Unless otherwise noted, all programs meet at the Nature Center. Saturday, June 11, 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Mountain Laurel Walk on Mossy Glen Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken will lead this three-mile hike along the quietly babbling edges of the Peter’s Kill, a stream running through cool hemlock forests and tropical-feeling rhododendron stands along the Mossy Glen footpath. This trail does include some tricky footing, but the return trip along the Lower Awosting Carriage Road is an easy stroll. Pre-registration is required.
Sunday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Mountain Laurel Hike on the High Peter’s Kill Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator, for this approximately five-mile-long hike that features breathtaking views of the Rondout Valley and more from high atop the High Peter’s Kill footpath. Along the way, the mountain laurel should be spectacular in all their pink and white splendor of bloom. And, the hike will conclude with a walk up the Awosting Falls Carriage Road and past the magnificent 60 feet high Awosting Falls. Pre-registration is required.
Saturday, June 18, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron Walk Join Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken for a walk down to the cool edges of the Peter’s Kill stream to look for blooming mountain laurel and possibly even rhododendron. This one-and-a-half-mile loop trail does include a steep hill to climb and also a scenic view over the Rondout Valley and the Catskill Mountains. Pre-registration is required.
Saturday, June 18, 11:15 a.m. – 6:45 p.m. Lake Minnewaska Beach Opens for Season The swimming beach at Lake Minnewaska will open today for the swimming season. The small, shale-covered beach, which is located along the northwestern shore of Lake Minnewaska, will be open seven days per week until Labor Day, staff and weather permitting.
Saturday, June 18, 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Lake Awosting Beach Opens for Weekend The swimming beach at Lake Awosting will open today for the weekend only. The swimming season will open seven days per week through Labor Day starting Saturday, June 25th. This beach, which is located approximately four miles by foot or bike from the Wildmere parking area, features a smooth rock slab beach on the remote and beautiful Lake Awosting.
Sunday, June 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Terrific Trees for Kids Bring your children to the Minnewaska Nature Center to learn the basics about trees and why they are so important to us. First, we’ll take a walk on the trails near the Nature Center and kids will play a leaf-matching game. Then, we’ll head back to the Nature Center to learn how to age a tree and participants will make a “tree cookie” of their own life to take home. This program is recommended for children aged six to nine years old accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years of age. Pre-registration is required.
Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Scrambled Snakes Session for Families Join Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken in the Minnewaska Nature Center for a program about slippery snakes. A brief lesson about the snakes found in the Park Preserve will be followed by our Snake Scents Game, where you are the snake and must determine what is inside a container by scent alone. After this short game, everyone will create their own snake jig-saw puzzle to take home! This program is recommended for children seven years of age and older, accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. Pre-registration is required.
Sunday, June 26, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Four Mile Scenic Loop Hike Join Laura Conner for a hike along the Mossy Glen footpath, which follows along the edge of the Peter’s Kill stream, and then up a short section of the Blueberry Run footpath to reach the easy-walking Upper Awosting Carriage Road. From here, we’ll walk towards Lake Minnewaska, where we’ll turn down the Scenic Sunset Carriage Road and follow that back down towards the Awosting Parking Lot, our original point of departure. Pre-registration is required.
For information and to register for programs, call the Park Preserve Office at 845-255-0752. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. through June 5th. From June 6th through July 31st the Park Preserve will close at 9:00 p.m. The fee for parking is $8 per vehicle and there are no additional fees for public programs, unless noted. All fees are subject to change. Minnewaska State Park Preserve consists of approximately 21,000 acres of wild and scenic land located on Route 44/55, five miles west of the intersection with Route 299 in Gardiner, New York.
A contract to restore the Millbrook Carriage Road in Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Shawangunk Ridge) is scheduled to begin this week. The project is expected to take 90 days to complete, though that time frame is largely weather dependent. The Millbrook Carriage Road and Gertrude’s Nose footpath will be closed for the duration of this project. Millbrook Mountain will be accessible via Millbrook Footpath for hikers only. Additionally, numerous pieces of heavy equipment will be utilizing Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road from the main parking areas to the entrance to Millbrook as this is the only access route for Millbrook Carriage Road. Patrons should be aware of construction vehicles on Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road and should yield to construction vehicles in an effort to speed project completion. Multiple signs will be placed in appropriate locations to notify patrons regarding the project, trail closures, and trail detours Restoration and maintenance of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads is an important undertaking that will ensure the preservation of historic pieces of this country’s heritage for future generations. The Preserve offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the peaceful and natural environment that still remains undisturbed by modern technology. The carriage roads offer guests easy access to the majestic scenery surrounding the lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing a safe and comfortable journey to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. The resulting network of carriage roads continues to provide people with the same participatory experience in nature envisioned by the Smiley brothers more than a century ago. Preservation and restoration of this historical system of carriage roads is much easier if the process begins before nature has erased all identifiable attributes.
While some of the 35 miles of carriage roads at Minnewaska receive dedicated funding and are maintained to the highest standards for heavy use, many of them are in a serious state of decline and face restrictions of access and eventual closure unless incremental improvements are completed.The damage from floods, ice storms, and foot, horse, and bicycle traffic has led to the point where deferral is no longer an option, and reduced services are becoming more commonplace every year.
The Palisades Parks Conservancy has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund administered through The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Mohonk Preserve, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have launched an urgent joint initiative to rebuild the historic Smiley family carriage road network in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains. Many of the 83 miles of hand-built broken stone are in stages of disrepair, some causing closure. This grant will continue to fund an existing network-wide planning and restoration campaign, as well as address the immediate needs of one significant stretch of carriage road, the Millbrook Mountain Carriage road.
Help is needed to support the Palisades Parks Conservancy reaching their goal of restoring the entire historic carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve for the enjoyment of future generations and protection of natural resources. They need over four million dollars to restore the 35 mile carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
Photo: Historic Carriage Road at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission have adopted a master plan for Minnewaska State Park Preserve. State Parks has reinstated the master planning process throughout the park system, and Minnewaska State Park is among the first to complete a new master plan. Park master plans define a long-term, sustainable vision for parks by helping to identify best uses for a specific site, make the most of limited resources, and protect the environment. The Minnewaska master plan includes natural resource protection measures and more avenues for recreation, including expansion of hiking, biking, equestrian and climbing opportunities, and reuse of the former Phillips House as the preserve office and visitor center. [LINK]
The master plan outlines OPRHP’s vision for potential capital improvements, operational enhancements and natural and cultural resource stewardship within Minnewaska State Park for the next ten to fifteen years. Factors such as the availability of funding, the need to invest in rehabilitation of existing park infrastructure, and other pressing needs in the entire state parks system will influence the sequence and timing of the improvements.
Highlights of the plan include:
• Developing a climbing management plan to indicate additional areas suitable for rock climbing-
• Creating a looped single track mountain bike trail system and enhancing the existing woods roads for hiking and horseback riding-
• Implementing ridgewide efforts focused on fire management, deer impacts on biodiversity and invasive species control- and
• Reusing the former Phillips House as the preserve office and visitor center and improving parking lot designs.