The Town of Shawangunk, New York, is experiencing rapid, scattered, residential growth as well as demographic changes that could alter its rural, agricultural character. On a daily basis the quality of life in Shawangunk depends on the natural areas and open agricultural fields that offer recreational opportunities, scenic views, and a peaceful, rural existence. Just as important to daily life are clean and abundant water and the presence of wildlife. Residents of Shawangunk want to protect the town’s heritage and quality of life, and recognize the need for wise growth through active town planning and the preservation of Shawangunk’s open spaces and natural resources. Shawangunk’s Comprehensive Plan, completed in 2003, suggests that an inventory of the town’s open space be compiled. Based on this recommendation, the town engaged graduate students from the Conway School of Landscape Design to develop an inventory and analysis of Shawangunk’s open spaces. Using comprehensive planning surveys and information from the Open Space Committee, six open space categories were determined to be vital to the town’s future.

These categories are agricultural land, scenic views, historical sites, recreation land, water quality protection zones, and wildlife habitat. These six categories, and subcategories within them, are inventoried and analyzed in this report, with recommendations given for protection methods within each category. A composite layer of each open space category is included in this document. These composites can be overlain with each other in various combinations to further explore open space in Shawangunk. This technique for processing information serves as an updateable, interactive planning tool for open space protection efforts and for guiding careful development practices that consciously preserve the town’s most valuable natural and cultural open space resources.

This document was compiled from January, 2004 to March, 2004