Wicked Ulster County: Tales of Desperadoes

Situated in the scenic Hudson Valley, Ulster County is a lovely location to make a home and raise a family, but it wasn’t always so pleasant. Unsavory characters and immoral events have sullied its name.

In the 1870s, the Shawangunk Mountains inspired fear rather than awe, as groups like the Lyman Freer and Shawangunk gangs robbed and terrorized locals, descending from the protection of the wooded peaks. Kingston was torched, arson blazed in Kerhonkson and even the Mohonk Mountain House was threatened by flames. In 1909, the Ashokan Slasher’s bloody crimes and sensational trial captured headlines across the country. A.J. Schenkman’s Wicked Ulster County: Tales of Desperadoes, Gangs and More features these and other salacious stories buried in Ulster County’s history. Read more

Lower Hudson Valley History: Stories on the Wind

When I was a boy I worked on a farm in Little Neck, Queens in New York City. It was the only working farm left in Queens. The land was originally settled by a Dutch family. Every morning I would awake and bike from one side of Queens to the other. There I would feed ducks, cows, till, gather eggs, and eat my lunch under a huge tree or when it rained in the barn. Read more

Minnewaska State Park Master Plan Adopted

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.