August 20, 2020
Historic Quarries Discovered in the Bluestone Wild Forest Eligible for National Register of Historic Places Listing
Impacts to quarry sites must now be considered in the environmental review for the proposed steel-and-concrete fabrication facilities at 850 Route 28
Town of Kingston, NY-- In an August 7th letter, New York State notified the Town of Kingston’s Planning Board that the Hemlock Bluestone Quarry Archaeological District is now eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, giving the land special consideration during environmental reviews. The District, located in the Bluestone Wild Forest near Onteora Lake and Pickerel pond, includes newly discovered 150-200 year old quarries and connecting wagon roads. The District is adjacent to and extends onto lands at 850 Route 28 in the Town of Kingston, a site proposed for development as an industrial steel-and-concrete fabrication plant.
“These historic quarries and the Waghkonk Wagon Road that served them are our link not only to the bluestone era in the Catskills of the 19th century but also to the Native American peoples who lived in these valleys and created trails as passageways through the mountains,” said Kathy Nolan, Senior Research Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper, “They must be protected,” she continued, “and they can often generate recreational and economic activity for their communities, while highlighting the special features of an area.” Close to 3,000 people have signed Catskill Mountainkeeper’s online petition to protect the Bluestone Wild Forest, Onteora Lake, and Pickerel Pond, prior to the announcement of this new discovery.
Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) welcomed SHPO’s determination, highlighting how important it is for communities to identify, evaluate, preserve, and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources. “I’ve long enjoyed exploring the Bluestone Wild Forest’s multi-use trails within its beautiful forested ecosystem which offers outstanding recreational opportunities,” said WLC Board Chair, Kevin Smith. “For many years we’ve worked with the Open Space Institute, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, Eddie Walsh at Tahawus Trails, and the Fats in the Cats Mountain Bike Club, planning and constructing its expanded, accessible trail network. These newly discovered historic quarry features not only enrich the experience of trail users but can be incorporated into future trails in exciting ways.”
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation based its determination of significance on a Preliminary Cultural/Archaeological Resource Investigation prepared by Paul Rubin at HydroQuest on behalf of Catskill Mountainkeeper and Woodstock Land Conservancy. The initial findings now mandate that an additional archaeological assessment be conducted, utilizing the findings of the HydroQuest Investigation to determine if historic quarry resources are located within the proposed project area and if so, how the site preparation work (including blasting) and construction will impact these resources.
For more information, including copies of the reports submitted to the Town of Kingston Planning Board, please contact Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director at [email protected] or 845-417-6489, or Maxanne Resnick, Woodstock Land Conservancy’s Executive Director, at [email protected] or 914-466-9263.