Carleton Mabee’s new book Saving the Shawangunk: The Struggle to Protect One of Earth’s Last Great Places (Black Dome Press, 2017) with foreword by Cara Lee of The Nature Conservancy takes a look at the grassroots fight to stop the construction of a 400-room hotel/conference center and 500 condominiums around Lake Minnewaska in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains in the 1980s.
The authors argue that these efforts were a landmark victory for Hudson Valley environmentalists and became a blueprint for subsequent struggles to preserve open space against encroaching development.
Subsequent plans for Lake Minnewaska involved the construction of a large spa complex. That plan, too, was defeated when local citizens again banded together in opposition, and further development schemes for Lake Minnewaska were thwarted when New York State purchased the property and created the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
A previous proposal to place 500 trailers around the Shawangunk Ridge’s Tillson Lake was also opposed and defeated, and then, in 2002, a plan to build 350 luxury homes on land located between Sam’s Point Preserve and the new Minnewaska State Park Preserve showed that the fight to preserve the Shawangunk Ridge from development would be an ongoing struggle.
Carleton Mabee won a Pulitzer Prize for The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel B. Morse. His other books include: Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend (with Susan Mabee Newhouse), recipient of Outstanding Book Award of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights; Listen to the Whistle: An Anecdotal History of the Wallkill Valley Railroad in Ulster and Orange Counties, New York; and Bridging the Hudson: The Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge & Its Connecting Rail Lines.
Saving the Shawangunks was Pulitzer Prize-winner Carleton Mabee’s final book. It features 32 full-color photographs and 70 black and white maps and photos and can be found online at Black Dome Press.