Gunks AAC campground


Original Post
Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Is there any chance of actually getting sleep at the Gunks AAC campground on the weekend or is it just a party place?

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

If that's a complaint, it should be directed to the campground manager.


Bryan Gleason · · South Hadley, Massachusetts · Joined May 2014 · Points: 5

The couple of times I have stayed there, it has been nice and quiet ! Looking forward getting back there 

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

No complaint, I haven't stayed there.  Asking before I make a reservation.

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 355

Pretty sure it's booked up Sat and Sun nights, so a bit of  a moot point. Not nearly enough sites to serve the climbing community, nevermind all the other area campers.

Eric · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 10
Emmett Lyman wrote:

Pretty sure it's booked up Sat and Sun nights, so a bit of  a moot point. Not nearly enough sites to serve the climbing community, nevermind all the other area campers.

pffft that is really unfortunate.  My goodness I miss the MUA.

If looking for alternatives, I do not recommend Creekview.   

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 355
Eric wrote:

If looking for alternatives, I do not recommend Creekview.   

Tough because there aren't really other options. Camping at the Gunks is pretty much dead.

Mark Berenblum · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 105
Adrienne DiRosario wrote:

Is there any chance of actually getting sleep at the Gunks AAC campground on the weekend or is it just a party place?

I've stayed there and never had issues with noise... The bigger issue is not being able to get a reservation in the first place.

Rob D. · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 30

It's disappointing how little camping there is in the gunks.  I know every time this comes up someone explains why closing MUA and slime was great for the community but I just don't see it.  AAC is expensive and consistently at capacity.  It's frustrating to know that this is what the community will have for the foreseeable future AND that camping in my car is no longer welcomed anywhere. I understand the reasons behind both of these things, it's just disappointing 

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks everyone!  Reservations a couple weeks out were no issue but I imagine last minute would be impossible.

Happiegrrrl · · Gunks · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 60

On a tangent I heard that a company recently presented a plan for a c/g to the Gardiner town board.  


Supposedly it would be located on 44/55 between Lombardis and Albany Post Rd, where that sign for honey for sale is.  And supposedly a "full service" one with cabins and the whole shebang. If it goes, that could alleviate the AAC c/g a bit.



I don't know any other details, and where it will go, being that Gardiner faught against the Tuthilltown c/g plan severeal years ago.  Of course, that was nearly across the street from Yogi Bear c/g, so maybe that played so role in the resistance.



Eric · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 10
Rob D. wrote:

It's disappointing how little camping there is in the gunks.  I know every time this comes up someone explains why closing MUA and slime was great for the community but I just don't see it.  AAC is expensive and consistently at capacity.  It's frustrating to know that this is what the community will have for the foreseeable future AND that camping in my car is no longer welcomed anywhere. I understand the reasons behind both of these things, it's just disappointing 

Yeah it is disappointing.  

I'm  not sure what the actual justification is for completely closing MUA .  As I understand, the official justification is to allow the camp sites to regenerate.  I figure the real reason is nearby landowners not happy with the noise/garbage/undesireables (I once met a group of homeless folks living at MUA, two of the group were just released from prison, their tent had a cloth rug as a groundsheet).

Is my understanding correct?

dave custer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 790
Rob D. wrote:

It's disappointing how little camping there is in the gunks.  I know every time this comes up someone explains why closing MUA and slime was great for the community but I just don't see it.  AAC is expensive and consistently at capacity.  It's frustrating to know that this is what the community will have for the foreseeable future AND that camping in my car is no longer welcomed anywhere. I understand the reasons behind both of these things, it's just disappointing 

An alternate interpretation: It's great that there's camping at the gunks (thanks AAC). The AAC campground is affordable*  & the climbing community will have access to camping at the gunks for the foreseeable future. It is awesome that the climbing community can make things like the gunks campground happen through their national organization and hard to imagine what the situation would be in the long term without the AAC and its campground. Why be disappointed when it's possible to enthusiastically support climber advocacy?

* Affordable and at capacity are trade-offs. It would be easy to re-price so that there would always be an open site...

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,755
Eric wrote:

Yeah it is disappointing.  

I'm  not sure what the actual justification is for completely closing MUA .  As I understand, the official justification is to allow the camp sites to regenerate.  I figure the real reason is nearby landowners not happy with the noise/garbage/undesireables (I once met a group of homeless folks living at MUA, two of the group were just released from prison, their tent had a cloth rug as a groundsheet).

Is my understanding correct?

I suspect it's not just one thing but the sum total of all the issues with the MUA over the years: trash, noise, human waste, land abuse, roadside parking etc. The AAC project just provided a way toget out of all that. I do sympathize with all those who now have to pay (even more) for their Gunks visits.

Eric · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 10
Gunkiemike wrote:

I suspect it's not just one thing but the sum total of all the issues with the MUA over the years: trash, noise, human waste, land abuse, roadside parking etc. The AAC project just provided a way toget out of all that. I do sympathize with all those who now have to pay (even more) for their Gunks visits.

Yeah, easy to see both sides.

As someone who has camped at MUA (both sides of the road) 100's of times over the years, I really didn't see much garbage or land abuse except for folks leaving their garbage at the parking lot near the port-a-stall, as if to wash their hands of the final step of cleaning up their own garbage.  Between that, the garbage, the noise (not that bad at all IMO, others are more anal) homeless felons, I get it.  

On the other hand, we are talking about public land, and most were respectful and decent (I liked nearly everyone I met at the MUA -- including the homeless ex-convicts) and I don't believe for one second that the complete ban is about regeneration.  The small dirt patches where tents are laid certainly have compaction, but in light of the fact that we are talking about a place where people camp all year except winter, I fail to see how that is a problem in any way.  The reward of letting taxpayers use the land to sleep much higher than the risk of the tent spots being compacted etc. in my opinion.  

Constructing the AAC campground had multiples greater impact than letting folks pitch a tent on hard dirt.  Seems like missing the forest for the trees, so long as you go by the regeneration rationale.

In any case, the outcome is that I don't go to the gunks anymore, maybe that is a good thing, I now spend my time up north, and others get to enjoy the wonders of the gunks without me and mine crowding the place up. 

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Dave, I think it is more complicated than your response indicates. Camping (or where to  stay in general) has long been a major problem at the Gunks. The AAC did try to help but the end result--not directly the 'fault' of the AAC, I understand, but still related, is that there are now fewer campsites then there were before, not more, and it is significantly more expensive than it was previously. The AAC site is affordable to some of us, but not to many others, especially many of the young climbers who are the future of our sport and particularly those we are trying to attract  from less 'advantaged' circumstances than most current climbers. I know that in my most active Gunks years I would have been unable to spend the number of wonderful days that I did there at those prices (even when down adjusted against inflation)and I know of many others in the same situation. Newer generations won't be able to replicate those opportunities. Additionally the AAC campground is, in my opinion, over-regulated--car and tent limits, and not particularly 'comfortable'. Again, I recognize that much of this is the result of compliance with NYS regulations, but still feel that more could have been done to make it more user friendly to more users.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Alan makes some good points.  In addition, I think the cancellation policy is terrible:

No cancellation charge and 100% of deposit refunded if notice is received more than 30 days in advance of arrival date. 50% of deposit refunded if cancellation notice is received between 7 and 30 days of arrival date. No deposit refunded if cancellation notice is received within 7 days of arrival date.

Given the vagaries of weather, cancellation would be most likely fewer than seven days before the reservation date.  This forces parties to gamble on the weather and allows the club to steal half their deposit money if they decide not to spend their time in the rain.  So in addition to the high daily rate (50% more than the Climbers Ranch and five times the Hueco camping rate) is the fact that anyone putting up the money for a Gunks visit has to face the possibility of losing half their deposit.  I think this is utterly wrong for an organization that purportedly is for and about climbing and should understand as well as anyone how climbing plans are formulated and cancelled.  The club should have a full refund for cancellations with 24 hours notice, perhaps tied to there being an unfavorable weather forecast in order to discourage frivolous abuses.  They'll make back a little in late reservations anyway.

mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

IMO: the AAC campground is a huge step up from the MUA and Slime, is closer and nicer than Yogi's and Creekview, and is cheaper and closer than the Hostel.

I think to do better you'd have to have a friend in Kerhonkson or Gardiner.

Note to self: make some friends in Kerhonkson or Gardiner.

Rob D. · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 30
dave custer wrote:

An alternate interpretation: It's great that there's camping at the gunks (thanks AAC). The AAC campground is affordable*  & the climbing community will have access to camping at the gunks for the foreseeable future. It is awesome that the climbing community can make things like the gunks campground happen through their national organization and hard to imagine what the situation would be in the long term without the AAC and its campground. Why be disappointed when it's possible to enthusiastically support climber advocacy?

* Affordable and at capacity are trade-offs. It would be easy to re-price so that there would always be an open site...

Just because something happened doesn't mean you have to happy about it.  I loved slime. I loved MUA.  I understand that some in the community thought it needed to change but the end result has been in a financial burden on me that decreases how often I'm able to climb.  I'm disappointed that I can now afford to climb less than I could before.  

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Rob D. wrote:

Just because something happened doesn't mean you have to happy about it.  I loved slime. I loved MUA.  I understand that some in the community thought it needed to change but the end result has been in a financial burden on me that decreases how often I'm able to climb.  I'm disappointed that I can now afford to climb less than I could before.  

Seriously? You live in Brooklyn, travel to the Gunks, have more than one piece on your rack that costs over $50, and you're old enough to be out of school for a number of years and you're trying to play the affordability card?

T Roper · · DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 860
Marc801 C wrote:

Seriously? You live in Brooklyn, travel to the Gunks, have more than one piece on your rack that costs over $50, and you're old enough to be out of school for a number of years and you're trying to play the affordability card?

So you live in Utah, why arent you climbing? ;)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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