Friends of the Shawangunks (FOS), along with our land trust, The Shawangunk Conservancy, is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to protecting the Shawangunk Ridge from adverse environmental impacts.
Since 1963, when the first FOS group was formed to successfully oppose the construction of a national parkway that would run along the Kittatinny-Shawangunk ridge, from the Delaware River to the Hudson, FOS has worked tirelessly to preserve the Shawangunks.
In the early 1970’s, FOS played a vital role in the establishment of Minnewaska State Park Preserve and rose to the challenge in 1979 to help stop a proposal by Marriott to purchase 375 acres on the ridge to build a 400-room resort with an 18-hole golf course. With threats to “the Gunks” on the rise, FOS was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit to preserve the land for future generations to cherish and enjoy.
Today, FOS is furthering its important mission by working closely with other local environmental groups, monitoring development proposals, and purchasing small parcels to protect the visual beauty and ecological integrity of the Shawangunk Ridge.
In pursuit of its mission, representatives of Friends
- appear at public hearings to challenge various proposals and permits affecting development along the Shawangunk ridge,
- conduct public outreach campaigns to inform and educate the public about threats to the Shawangunks, and
take legal action, when necessary, to stop development in environmentally sensitive lands of the Shawangunks.
- We write letters, post signs, and speak out at administrative hearings, all in protest of any encroaching development that would have a negative impact on the unique environment and beauty that is the Gunks.
- We publish the Shawangunk Watch, a newsletter aimed at exploring the natural resources of the Shawangunks and highlighting the imminent threats to its natural integrity and unmatched scenic character.
- We continue to push for rigorous land use controls designed to preserve the unique character of the Shawangunks.
Thirty-two years ago, Friends of the Shawangunks, quietly and without fanfare, embarked on a land buying program. In March of 1987, with the fight to save Minnewaska successfully concluded, FOS expanded its capacity to protect the Shawangunk Ridge by forming a land buying affiliate which it named The Shawangunk Conservancy, Inc.
TSC is expanding its parcel acquisition wish list and raising funds for future acquisitions.