Established in 1963, the Mohonk Preserve was the first land trust established to protect the Shawangunk Ridge. It is also one of the oldest land conservation organizations in the Hudson Valley region.
The Preserve proudly continues the land conservation tradition begun by the Smiley family when they founded the neighboring Mohonk Mountain House resort hotel in 1869. Over the next century, the Smiley's assembled an estate of 7,500 acres, which is now a National Historic Landmark landscape.
In 1963, Smiley family members and several House guests established a separate non-profit organization – The Mohonk Trust (renamed the Mohonk Preserve in 1978) – to protect and manage most of this landscape for public use.
The stark cliffs, exposed summits, and rocky plateaus of the Shawangunks provide refuge for a wealth of rare and endangered plants and animals that have adapted to these tough living conditions - including the endangered peregrine falcon and 2,000 acres of globally rare, dwarf pitch pine, stunted by the harsh growing conditions on the ridge.
Designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of Earth's "Last Great Places," the Shawangunks harbor more than 1,400 known species, including over 30 rare plants and animals. The Shawangunks' interconnected, protected areas give black bears, bobcats, warblers, timber rattlesnakes, and other animals access to the diversity of shelter, food, and mates they need to survive.