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Mohonk Mountain House Enriches "Green Story" With New ProgramsMarch 27, 2009 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor
Mohonk Mountain House has been doing its part to protect the environment since 1869
when founder Albert Smiley first opened the Victorian-castle resort.
Today, Mohonk Mountain House is still intent upon providing recreation and renewal for guests and continues its 140-year commitment to environmental stewardship through earth-friendly activities and design features, an extensive energy saving and recycling program, and green initiatives that preserve the land and educate people. The resort received an award on its 125th anniversary from the United Nations Environment Programme—recognizing the Smiley Family and Mohonk Mountain House “for generations of dedicated leadership and commitment to the protection and enhancement of the environment and for their inestimable contribution to the cause of peace, justice, and sustainable human development.”
“My great-grand-uncle understood the need to provide guests with an opportunity to experience nature directly,” says Mohonk’s current President Albert K. Smiley III. “People today have little free time, so it’s increasingly important to provide a place where people can easily connect with a strikingly beautiful natural environment and immediately feel nurtured by that connection.”
Earth-Friendly Design Features:
The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House
o A geothermal heating and cooling system moderates the temperature of the spa using the constant temperature of the earth, ensuring an emission- and noise-free zone.
o A “green roof” garden terrace (an 8-inch planting bed) helps insulate the building, reduces energy use and runoff, and provides a venue for birds and butterflies, yoga classes and meditation.
o Six hundred tons of Shawangunk Ridge rock were “recycled” and used to construct the interior and façade of the spa wing. The Spa’s “Shawangunk Grit” Mineral Body Treatment uses indigenous quartzite rocks crushed to a powder in a scrub that exfoliates and improves circulation.
Activities That Embrace the Earth
o The Junior Naturalist Experience, created by staff naturalists and incorporated into the Mohonk Kids’ Club, introduces children to the wonders of the outdoors through eco-friendly activities with a hands-on approach. Each child receives a Mohonk Mountain House Eco-Kit that includes a Junior Naturalist Certificate, a magnifying glass, and a list of simple eco-activities to take home, as a way to encourage environmental awareness.
o Nature programs (e.g., walks, slide shows) for all ages are hosted by Mohonk’s staff naturalist.
o The Mohonk Lake Cooperative Weather Station, with the Mohonk Preserve, has recorded weather for over 100 years.
o On-site rock climbing encourages overnight guests to explore the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge,
recognized by the Nature Conservancy as one of the “Earth’s Last Great Places.” Beginner and
experienced rock climbers are welcome.
Energy Saving, Recycling, and Conservation Efforts
o Energy efficient light bulbs in guest rooms and public spaces have reduced Mohonk’s lighting load by 150,000 watts.
o An extensive composting program processes tons of consumer food waste per month. The compost product is used as fertilizer in Mohonk gardens, and on the golf course.
o With the efforts of its composting and recycling (paper, glass, aluminum, trash, soap, office
computers, batteries and fluorescent light bulbs) programs, Mohonk is currently reducing its waste sent to landfill by 50 percent.
o Mohonk Mountain House uses an Integrated Pest Management system to reduce the use of
pesticides. It also uses biodegradable laundry products and non-aerosol cleaning materials.
o Mohonk Mountain House utilizes an environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment plant.
o By planting new trees and protecting existing forests within its 2,200-acres, Mohonk Mountain
House maintains a CO2-neutral environment.
o The Smiley family transferred 5,300 acres to the Mohonk Trust in 1963. Now known as the
Mohonk Preserve, this was the first land trust established to protect the Shawangunk Ridge. The
Preserve continues to pursue its mission of land stewardship on the Shawangunk Ridge while
providing environmental education and conducting scientific research.
o The Mohonk Golf Course received the Cooperative Sanctuary Award from the International
Audubon Society, for environmental-friendly practices.
o Mohonk Mountain House has donated a regional headquarters to the Student Conservation
Association, a national organization dedicated to developing conservation leaders of the future, and provides space for the Daniel Smiley Research Center to the Mohonk Preserve.
o Mohonk Mountain House supports a century-old farming tradition by providing land for the nearby Brook Farm Project, a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture. Vegetables grown on the farm supply hotel guests with farm-to-table produce in season, as available.
o Mohonk Consultations, Inc. was founded to raise individuals’ awareness and understanding of local and global ecological systems by sponsoring conferences at Mohonk Mountain House.
Green efforts have long been a central component of the commitment that Mohonk Mountain House has to its guests and to the environment. The steadfast approach to environmental stewardship by the Smiley family will continue to grow and evolve for many more years to come.
About Mohonk Mountain House Mohonk Mountain House is a National Historic Landmark and Historic Hotel of America located in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, just 90 miles north of New York City. The resort is celebrating its 140-year anniversary in 2009, a tribute to Albert Smiley, the founding father of Mohonk whose vision was to offer recreation and renewal of mind, body and spirit in a beautiful natural setting. The new 30,000-square-foot Spa wing at Mohonk Mountain House features 16 treatment rooms, a solarium, and outdoor heated mineral pool, along with an indoor heated swimming pool with an underwater sound system, comprehensive fitness center, and yoga/motion studio.
Mohonk’s Skating Pavilion is host to special activities including skating lessons and corporate
teambuilding programs. For outdoor fun, guests can enjoy 85 miles of trails for seasonal hiking,
snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Overnight guests can enjoy rock climbing on one of the most acclaimed cliffs in the world. The grounds feature exquisite gardens, a challenging nine-hole golf course, red clay tennis courts, and stables with horseback riding and horse-drawn carriage rides. The half-mile-long, glacial-formed Lake Mohonk is ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming. Over 40 theme programs are presented annually, including culinary classes, gardening workshops, music festivals, nature programs, and more. Overnight rates at Mohonk Mountain
House include charming accommodations, breakfast, lunch, dinner, Afternoon Tea and Cookies, and most resort activities.