Over­look Moun­tain park­ing part of trail im­prove­ment plan

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

A Nov. 29 meet­ing is sched­uled to dis­cuss state De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion plans for in­creased park­ing and ad­di­tional trails at Over­look Moun­tain.

The ses­sion is sched­uled for 7 p.m. in the Mescal Horn­beck Com­mu­nity Cen­ter at 56 Rock City Road.

Un­der the plan, there would be 25 to 30 ad­di­tional park­ing spots cre­ated in an area in the Magic Meadow area along Mac­daniel Road. In ad­di­tion, a 10-ve­hi­cle park­ing area would be con­structed off of Cal­i­for­nia Quarry Road.

“The main thing is the park­ing,” spokes­woman Wendy Rosen­bach said. “It is pretty press­ing, and the Wood­stock su­per­vi­sor has been in contact with our land and for­est staff for the past cou­ple years. It’s a pretty pop­u­lar hik­ing location, and we’ve been looking for other al­ter­na­tives for park­ing, but they just didn’t work out.”

A year ago, Town Board mem­bers ap­proved putting up “no park­ing” signs af­ter po­lice is­sued 21 tick­ets over one week­end to peo­ple who were parked along Meads Moun­tain Road and Mac­daniel Road and did not leave enough room for emer­gency ve­hi­cles to pass.

The park­ing lot and new trails will be on parts of 576.12 acres ac­quired by the state ad­ja­cent to the Over­look pre­serve.

In pro­posed amend­ments to the Over­look for­est man­age­ment plan, state of­fi­cials wrote that there has been a steady in­crease in trail use, with 7,491 peo­ple sign­ing the registry in 2012; 9,246 in 2013; 10,860 in 2014; and 12,610 in 2015.

How­ever, they be­lieve ac­tu­ally us­age could be five times more than the registry in­di­cates. “The Over­look Moun­tain trail head reg­is­ter is es­ti­mated to have one of the lower signin rates when com­pared to other trail heads in the re­gion,” of­fi­cials wrote.

“This may be due to the straight­for­ward man­ner of the trail and it be­ing lo­cated on the fire tower ac­cess road.”

In the pro­posed amend­ment, there would be a con­nect­ing trail of about a third of a mile from the park­ing area on Mac­daniel Road to the 2.4-mile main trail lead­ing to the fire tower at the top of Over­look Moun­tain. Of­fi­cials are also con­sid­er­ing al­low­ing use of ve­hi­cles on the main trail for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“If ap­proved the des­ig­na­tion of the road would al­low vis­i­tors with dis­abil­i­ties the abil­ity to drive a mo­tor ve­hi­cle to the fire tower via per­mit,” of­fi­cials wrote. “This would al­low vis­i­tors of all abil­i­ties to visit one of the five re­main­ing Catskill fire tow­ers and at­tain a panoramic view of the sur­round­ing area from the base of the tower.”

Of­fi­cials are also plan­ning the in­stall two porta-john units at the Over­look trail head to re­duce the amount of peo­ple who seek to use fa­cil­i­ties at the Karma Triyana Dhar­ma­chakra monastery across from the cur­rent park­ing lot.

In a pro­posed bud­get for im­prove­ments un­der the plan, the park­ing lot would cost $60,000; the san­i­ta­tion sta­tions would be $3,000 per year; a kiosk and park­ing area at Cal­i­for­nia Quarry would be $5,000; con­struc­tion of a gate at Cal­i­for­nia Quarry would be $1,000; a trail from the Cal­i­for­nia Quarry park­ing area to the main trail would be $500; and a con­nect­ing trail from the Mac­daniel Road park­ing area to the main trail would be $2,000.

On­line: The state De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tions plans are posted with this story at DAI­LYFREE­MAN.COM.

IM­AGE PRO­VIDED

A map from the New York State De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion shows some of the pro­posed im­prove­ments for Over­look Moun­tain.

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