Legislature Advances Designation of Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway

Byway legislation must now be approved by governor
June 20, 2006

The State Legislature has passed legislation (A.9843/S.6659) to give the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway official designation as a State Scenic Byway and add it to the State’s scenic byway system. The legislative action follows approval in October 2005 by the NYS Department of Transportation Scenic Byway Advisory Board of the Corridor Management Plan developed for the byway by representatives of the nine towns and two villages along the byway route and an advisory group representing Orange and Ulster County planners and regional business, preservation and community organizations.

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D – Ulster, Dutchess), prime sponsor of the measure in the State Assembly, reflected on the importance of the designation. “The Shawangunk Ridge is known to be one of the most critical sites for bio-diversity conservation and is recognized for having the most complex and environmentally significant ecosystem in the United States, if not the entire planet.” Mr. Cahill went on to add, “The economy in the region has been revitalized around the concept of eco-tourism and the scenic, recreational and historic attributes of the Ridge have been the genesis of this rejuvenation. The byway project will play a key role in keeping that momentum moving forward.”

The Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway is an 82-mile network of roads encircling and bisecting the northern Shawangunk Mountains, outlining a region of over 115,000 acres with scenic, natural, recreational and historic resources of statewide significance. The Shawangunk Mountains Regional Partnership, made up of the chief elected official or representative of the participating towns of Crawford, Gardiner, Marbletown, Montgomery, New Paltz, Rochester, Rosendale, Shawangunk, Wawarsing and the villages of Ellenville and New Paltz, has been formed to implement the Corridor Management Plan.

“I am very happy that the byway has received this nod of approval from the State Legislature. We have a lot of work ahead of us to implement our plan, and the enthusiasm and support of our state legislators has been vital in getting this done,” said Al Wegener, Executive Director of the Partnership.

The legislation must first be signed by Governor Pataki before the byway designation is made official.