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The Gunks are way worthy!
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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 27, 2012

PTR wrote:
I think the fee when I first started going to the Gunks in 1986 was $4.


If you adjust for inflation, based on CPI data, that $4 in 1986 would be $8.44 in 2012 dollars. This means that at $17 dollars in 2012, the real-dollars price of a Gunks day pass has about doubled in those 26 years.

This is not a commentary of any sort, just an interesting observation.


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 27, 2012
Colonel Mustard

MojoMonkey wrote:
I hope another thread about the Gunks that has nothing to do with the economics of climbing there pops up soon so you can derail that one too!


That happened third post in by another user. But reading what people are actually saying hasn't been a trend in this thread, so it's understandable you would think differently.

Although, I must say we've really honed in on some genuine Gunks froth with statements from those more than happy to pay 10-fold the current fee to those continuing to equate simple questions of price to being rabidly anti-Gunks. Apparently, you can't even understand the value of our national currency if you've never been to duh Gunx, duh Gunx, duh GUNX!!! Makes perfect sense, proximity to Wall Street and all... Oh, and you only gym climb. n00b.


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By Gunkiemike
Nov 27, 2012

Colonel Mustard wrote:
Has there ever been consideration of NP status for the Gunks?



The Mohonk Preserve is a section 402 non-profit corporation and is a 501c(3) entity under IRS rules.

That is what you meant by NP right? Or were you asking if it's part of the Village of New Paltz?


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 27, 2012
Colonel Mustard

Gunkiemike wrote:
The Mohonk Preserve is a section 402 non-profit corporation and is a 501c(3) entity under IRS rules. That is what you meant by NP right? Or were you asking if it's part of the Village of New Paltz?


National Park? I'm not going to look up legal gerbilese to see if that's what you just said either ;).

edit: I gather you're saying it's privately held. People were saying NY state isn't so good about allowing climbing. What if it were federal land where they generally allow climbing? Fucking east coasters quote the tax code at you as an excuse for human interaction, no wonder you guys think overpaying is your right - LOL.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 27, 2012

Colonel Mustard wrote:
People were saying NY state isn't so good about allowing climbing.


Not really all that true. Most of the good rock in NY is on state land, in the Adirondack Park, where climbers are pretty much left alone to do what they like, aside from some bird closures. There are some access issues in the more southerly NY areas that are on state land, but why would you want to bother with climbing down there anyway?


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 27, 2012

Colonel Mustard wrote:
Has there ever been consideration of NP status for the Gunks?


No. And I doubt that there ever will be. Involvement of the Park Service in mountainous areas of the Northeast is pretty much zero.


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By Eric Krantz
From Black Hills
Nov 27, 2012
smoke break, pitch 5 or 6 (or 7??) of Dark Shadows

Rob Davis wrote:
I agree whole heartedly with most of this, but I'm a bit confused by why most other places in the US are able to balance their budgets with much smaller (or no) fees. Perhaps instead of raising the prices every year, they should reevaluate their spending.


Because other climbing meccas in the U.S. aren't strategically located next to a city with 400,000 millionaires, more than a few of whom don't "get it", and would love to have a summer mansion in a beautiful setting, along with asphalt paved trails, a golf course or three, and tall privacy fences with no-trespassing signs. It takes money to block money. Maybe I'm wrong.

All I know is that the Conns left the Gunks in the 50s for the big rock in the west, arrived in the Black Hills Needles on a whim, and never looked back. And... never made it to Cali.


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 27, 2012
Colonel Mustard

Jon Moen wrote:
Not really all that true. Most of the good rock in NY is on state land, in the Adirondack Park, where climbers are pretty much left alone to do what they like, aside from some bird closures. There are some access issues in the more southerly NY areas that are on state land, but why would you want to bother with climbing down there anyway?


Fuck, I don't know, I was going by hearsay from this thread. Now I am simply stunned that anything said here was wrong.

Jon Moen wrote:
No. And I doubt that there ever will be. Involvement of the Park Service in mountainous areas of the Northeast is pretty much zero.


Well, it's definitive. It must not be that great.



Ha! Hopefully there is some humor left in duh gunx! What happened to the Vulgarians? Or were they just deranged?


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 28, 2012
Rumney

Colonel Mustard wrote:
What happened to the Vulgarians? Or were they just deranged?


There's still plenty of fearful, deranged people in the Gunks. ;)


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 28, 2012
Rumney

Jon Moen wrote:
Not really all that true. Most of the good rock in NY is on state land, in the Adirondack Park, where climbers are pretty much left alone to do what they like, aside from some bird closures. There are some access issues in the more southerly NY areas that are on state land, but why would you want to bother with climbing down there anyway?


To piggy back on this, the local Minnewaska issues have more to do with the co-managing agency (PIPC , anti climber from what I've been told) than it does New York State DEC (generally very climber friendly). People point and suggest that this is how all State lands are managed regarding climbing, which is 100% not true. I'm also still baffles me why the PIPC is involved with anything in the Shawangunks.

They then deduce that climbing would end at the Gunks if anyone other than the mohonk preserve were managing it. NYS (DEC) is always looking for new ways to generate money. As mentioned, the DEC was suggesting closing several Parks around the state when trying to tighten its belt. They used metrics to do this, and most operations that generated revenue were never even considered for the chopping block. The Gunks would have a healthy revenue stream, and therefore would be immune to such pressures should that ever come up again.

The Gunks are a perfect NYS Park candidate because the anti-bolting/minimalist bolting is in line with their ethics, and most of the ridge is in good condition thanks to good anchor and rap station management (Gunks coalition, preserve, and others). They wouldn't need to change anything to continue access in its current form while still accomplishing their larger mission to protect the environment. That's why people like me constantly counter these arguments when they're presented - it's NOT a black/white case of this OR that. When presented in this way it only makes those presenting it look like tools of the current ownership and power structure. And the fervent nature the pro mohonk preserve climbers battle ANY contrary thought and discussion stinks, frankly, a little of brainwashing. This isn't fox news, you can't just create a reality and present it to the masses for digestion unchecked. Since the preserve doesn't own these airwaves you will be called out on BS when posted.

Again, see the following thread for a rather heated discussion that covers this and many other Gunks/preserve related topics...

mountainproject.com/v/gunks-mua-camping-ticket---help/107845>>>


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By Gunkiemike
Nov 28, 2012

Colonel Mustard wrote:
National Park? I'm not going to look up legal gerbilese to see if that's what you just said either ;). edit: I gather you're saying it's privately held. People were saying NY state isn't so good about allowing climbing. What if it were federal land where they generally allow climbing? Fucking east coasters quote the tax code at you as an excuse for human interaction, no wonder you guys think overpaying is your right - LOL.


Hey Colonel, can I call you on the phone to geniunely, a la "human interaction-wise", apologize for gettin' you all butt hurt by trying to be helpful and clarify the legal status of the Preserve?

signed,
F'in East Coaster

PS LOL-ing with you


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Nov 28, 2012

Eric Krantz wrote:
It takes money to block money. Maybe I'm wrong.
Very true.

I have taken a few strolls and drives around the area which was to be the Awosting Reserve development. There is a mix of amazingly wonderful old farms houses(one on Minnewaska property, abandoned, but looking as if time simply stopped one day),undeveloped sections of land(some owned by the following group and used as "buffer" properties) and extremely expensive properties.

I was surprised one time, to see what was at least a 15 foot tall, fully, secured, privacy fence, with cameras and an electronically-controlled access gate. The area it surrounded was not all that large, and as I was slowly continuing on my way(got the feeling I ought not just stop and ponder), the gate rolled open and a deeply tinted window, black SUV rolled out. I always wondered - celebrity who gets harassed beyond the pale, or extraordinarily paranoid wealthy person.


Eric Krantz wrote:
All I know is that the Conns left the Gunks in the 50s for the big rock in the west, arrived in the Black Hills Needles on a whim, and never looked back. And... never made it to Cali.
And thanks to them, the climbing history and ethics of the Black Hills was begun.

As for National Park Status, I remember looking at the criteria several years ago, and thinking the MP didn't meet it. Just took a quick glance again, and though I only did a cursory look, wonder if it would.

But why on earth would we want such a thing? Here's the thing: If one is inclined to believe in divine provenance, the Smiley's were unquestionably directed by it. This family came, saw and KNEW. The history of the land under their stewardship is undisputedly positive and before anyone goes on spouting about "rich hotel" they really ought to do some research and get their facts in order.

Here is a family which has been able to protect and restore a vast tract of land and preserve it's use for the contemplation of that which is divine, forevermore. THAT was the intent, and that they have achieved. A humble family, moving on par with any Rockefeller, Vanderbilt or for modern reference, Gates, to improve the quality of life for others.

It disgusts me, it really does, to watch people slap this family and their legacy in the face with bull shit talk.


(edited)
Furthermore - Neither the National Park system, nor the State park system, mandates that once a park is designated so, that the protection is permanent.

IMAGINE the possibility of having the Gunks, as a protected state or national park, become seen as a financial liability and sold off, piecemeal. Or mining rights auctioned off(if some mineral of value was found to be in the earthy).

SHAME! Shame on some of the thinkers in this forum.

Okay - I admit, I do get carried away with words sometimes, especially in the morning when I am my most creative. But the feelings I express are heartfelt.

There is a quote from Daniel Smiley in a book ("Daniel Smiley of Mohonk: A Naturalist's Life") where he says something like(I am paraphrasing) There are times when one is doing good in which the action(s) will be disliked greatly by some.

I do believe that all this talk would fall under such a category.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 28, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

Maybe someone can clarify: how can a privately owned tract of land ever qualify for national park status unless it is actually sold to the NPS?


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 28, 2012

Ben Brotelho wrote:
Maybe someone can clarify: how can a privately owned tract of land ever qualify for national park status unless it is actually sold to the NPS?


It has to be sold to the NPS, either willingly or as forced through eminent domain.

The Park Service is not in the business of actively acquiring land to turn into National Parks. Most National Park lands were acquired by the government a long time ago. They were generally just stolen directly from the Native American inhabitants. This is why there are very few National Parks in the East; all those lands were spoken for by the time that the NPS came into existence, and the NPS generally does not buy private land to make parks.

Although there are still "new" National Parks being established, these are generally created out of existing government lands. Most are already National Park Service sites, like Monuments, Battlefields, historical Sites, etc, that get "promoted" to Park status. Mind you that there are only about ~53 National parks, but the NPS manages over 400 different sites. J-Tree comes to mind; it was a Monument, but got 'upgraded" in 1993.

For the Gunks to become a NPS site, it would have to be created entirely out of private land. This basically never happens. Actually, it has happened exactly once, in 1969, at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. The Fossil Beds are a tiny park in Colorado with some spectacular fossils, most of which are stll unexcavated. The site was slated for development (Colorado Springs exurb) in the late 60s, and the designation to create it as a NP service site was a somewhat dramatic, last-minute, desperation move to prevent the fossils beds from being totally bulldozed for development. Without this sort of urgent, pressing reason, I doubt that the NPS would go to the expense of acquring private land; they have a hard enough time keeping the lands they do manage maintained.

So basically, NPS acquiring the Gunks? Never going to happen. Gunks becoming a State Park? Possible, but the Mokonk Preserve would probably have to initiate it and donate the lands. Again, park services at the state level are also generally not in an active business of buying land.

  • I used to work for the NPS at Florissant, hence the obscure knowledge.


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By doligo
Nov 28, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

Why in the world you would want the Gunks be run by the government? Governments are wasteful. Just because you pay little or next to nothing when you go climb in state or national parks, doesn't mean the entry fee reflects the actual cost of running these places. We pay for the national and state parks with our taxes. Plus a lot of parks have some sort of non-profits or endowments associated with parks that help pay for certain services of the park. Once the government runs out of money for their other wasteful operations, first thing they do they divert the funds from parks into their other pet projects and close the parks. Also, last I checked a big chunk of the Mohonk Preserve budget was spent on litigation. Blame it on the neighbors for high entry fees.


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 28, 2012
Colonel Mustard

Gunkiemike wrote:
Hey Colonel, can I call you on the phone to geniunely, a la "human interaction-wise", apologize for gettin' you all butt hurt by trying to be helpful and clarify the legal status of the Preserve? signed, F'in East Coaster PS LOL-ing with you


If you can find the number, bud! I am one of those non-confrontational, laconic West Coast types, more accustomed to conversations with crickets than with you rude industrial types! Hahahaha... Anyway, Jon Moen seems to know a lot about the status as far as I was concerned. You guys have a pretty good deal currently; it's an interesting issue to me since I'm used to mostly BLM or NP climbing situations. I know it goes against bible verse to think about the Gunks differently, but, Lawdy, it does make me laugh so to see the amazing hyperbole that ensues.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 28, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

"Again, park services at the state level are also generally not in an active business of buying land."

Not true in NYS. The state is constantly in the process of expanding the boundaries of the state park through land acquisitions...most recently a 69,000 acre purchase from a timber company for almost 50 million dollars.

I support this type of public land acquisition, especially in the Adirondacks where a lot of people work hard to keep it wild, such as the APA.

www.timesunion.com/local/article/Historic-deal-in-Adirondack>>>


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 28, 2012

Ben Brotelho wrote:
"Again, park services at the state level are also generally not in an active business of buying land." Not true in NYS. The state is constantly in the process of expanding the boundaries of the state park through land acquisitions...most recently a 69,000 acre purchase from a timber company for almost 50 million dollars. I support this type of public land acquisition, especially in the Adirondacks where a lot of people work hard to keep it wild, such as the APA. www.timesunion.com/local/article/Historic-deal-in-Adirondack>>>



Touche. I stand corrected, at least in that case. My knowledge is more on the Federal level; I incorrectly extrapolated to the NYS level. I know that, at the Federal level, they NPS is struggling to try to buy those little patches of private land within national parks ( online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303612804577533912723>>> ), and is nowhere close to being in a position to ry to expand boundaries and buy new park lands.

That said, I think my statement is generally true for state parks services nationwide. California is trying to close many of it state parks, and new state parks in other states (such as the forthcoming Staunton State Park--new climbing area!--in Colorado) are generally (generally is the key word here) the result of land donations or conversion of lands already owned by the state governments.

Your counterexample of the Adirondack Park is good, though. The Adks are a fanatastic park, and are somewhat unique in the patchwork-manner in which they are managed. Honestly, I think that the Adk model--with its patchwork of ownership and land use practices-- is a much better way of balancing preservation and extractive use than the all-or-nothing preservation at the National Park level. The Adks are a great model for how parks should be managed, and it is always nice to hear of its expansion. Know if there is any climbing on those new lands?


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 28, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

I do like how the ADK's are managed, but some of it is kind of maddening when private property is involved (such as the LOJ controlling access to one of the most popular trailheads probably on the east coast, and charging what I think is a lot to park there...10 bucks a day for non-members of the AMC...maybe that'll put the climbing fee at the Gunks into perspective), but they have the right to control access like that. I think something a little more reasonable could be arranged, though, such as charging out of state citizens and foreign citizens (many many people from Quebec would bring them plenty of revenue).

I'm not sure about climbing in the new properties, but apparently there is going to be some incredible paddling on "some of the wildest stretches of rivers and pristine ponds and lakes in the Eastern US."

www.dec.ny.gov/lands/42077.html


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 28, 2012

Another thing to think about with that Adk land purchase: Land cost and value is a serious difference to think about in land purchases in the Adks compared to other areas. Land in the Adks is generally pretty cheap due to a depressed local economy, harsh climate, remote location, etc (all the things that make the Adks what they are). The low cost of land is what makes those purchases possible; this is also the reason taht the Nature Conservancy can afford to be so active there. Buying that same amount of land on the best and most scenic spot in the Hudson Valley...that would cost a lot more, and would be prohibitively expensive.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 28, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

Definitely very true...not advocating public control of the Preserve property, they seem to do a great job, especially in the face of what must be a very tempting opportunity to sell their land to developers and be very very wealthy.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 28, 2012

Ben Brotelho wrote:
I do like how the ADK's are managed, but some of it is kind of maddening when private property is involved (such as the LOJ controlling access to one of the most popular trailheads probably on the east coast, and charging what I think is a lot to park there...10 bucks a day for non-members of the AMC...maybe that'll put the climbing fee at the Gunks into perspective), but they have the right to control access like that. I think something a little more reasonable could be arranged, though, such as charging out of state citizens and foreign citizens (many many people from Quebec would bring them plenty of revenue).


If I recall correctly, there is some loophole with the Loj parking fee not being legally enforcable. Paying is the nice thing to do, of course, but for some reason I don't recall ever actually having to shell out the $10 there. Not totally sure about this, but something to look in to...


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Nov 28, 2012

Ben Brotelho wrote:
Definitely very true...not advocating public control of the Preserve property, they seem to do a great job, especially in the face of what must be a very tempting opportunity to sell their land to developers and be very very wealthy.


Yeah, this basically comes back to the main refrain of this thread: the Preserve does an good job keeping that land open to recreation, and we should be grateful that they exist.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 28, 2012
Rumney

Jon Moen wrote:
Another thing to think about with that Adk land purchase: Land cost and value is a serious difference to think about in land purchases in the Adks compared to other areas. Land in the Adks is generally pretty cheap due to a depressed local economy, harsh climate, remote location, etc (all the things that make the Adks what they are). The low cost of land is what makes those purchases possible; this is also the reason taht the Nature Conservancy can afford to be so active there. Buying that same amount of land on the best and most scenic spot in the Hudson Valley...that would cost a lot more, and would be prohibitively expensive.


The way State lands are purchased and taxes paid for by the State is rather complicated. The Mohonk Preserve is likely paying very little in taxes compared to what other private (for profit/individual) owners would. I'm not even sure how much money the State gets back from having the Mohonk Preserve manage these lands. The not for profit is a nice shelter from the normal taxation pressures (also one of the things us naysayers bring up when they raise fees). The State may see nothing. At least if it was owned/operated under the DEC the State would see some form of revenue from the current fee structure (although it's doubtful the same high fee rate would be kept). One of the (supposed) reason fees are high is that the Mohonk Preserve has to do all the management, whereas the State has many of those mechanisms already in place at Albany. Administrative costs would be relatively low as a result, and those savings as well as partial tax payer funding from the general DEC budget would help keep access costs low per user. The DEC simply shifts manpower or hires a few extra Rangers knowing the income to pay for those additional salaries is guaranteed by the access fees.

There's obviously a lot of people who like how it is, and people who earn a living as a direct or indirect result of how things are. But that alone doesn't make how things are right, or the best way of doing things. That's always been the spirit of these discussions. The ire created by even discussing such things among the pro preserve crowd raises many flags with us who aren't directly tied to those resources for our primary recreation or livelihood. I would think of us as 'objective outsiders'. People who like how things are think we're pests. :-/


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 28, 2012
Rumney

Happiegrrrl wrote:
But the feelings I express are heartfelt.


I don't think anyone would question the genuineness of your feelings. But feelings alone don't write, review, or justify policy.


Ben Brotelho wrote:
I do like how the ADK's are managed, but some of it is kind of maddening when private property is involved (such as the LOJ controlling access to one of the most popular trailheads probably on the east coast, and charging what I think is a lot to park there...10 bucks a day for non-members of the AMC...maybe that'll put the climbing fee at the Gunks into perspective)


That's per car, and it's not the only access point to those mountains, just the most convenient one, and you don't get fined for 'sneaking in' through one of the other means. The Gunks are an apples to oranges comparison.

They are however looking at a flat per user fee for the higher traffic areas to help offset some of the (recently increasing in frequency) rescue costs, and to help pay for a planned high peaks visitors center where the current south meadows road ends. They're also hoping that funneling hikers through a central point that they can filter out people who are unprepared. I believe the plan has been shelved until things settle at the State regarding finances, as there's bigger priorities atm (visitor centers are luxury items, hint hint Mohonk Preserve).


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