April 29, 2008
The Overlook fire at Minnewaska State Park was declared out at 2 p.m. today as most sections of the park reopened to the public.
"I again thank all those who worked so hard to fight the Overlook fire, and I am extremely grateful the fire has been extinguished without serious injury or damage to nearby homes and businesses," said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "However, we still have a great deal of work ahead of us. In the coming weeks, we will monitor the fire area to ensure the situation remains stable."
While most of the park will be open, the eastern sections of the park damaged by the fire pose potential hazards and will remain closed to the public, including:
"As a result of the fire, Minnewaska remains vulnerable to many ecological threats, including erosion and invasive species," Ash said. "Our patrons can help protect the park by staying out of the fire area. I strongly urge all patrons visiting Minnewaska to pay attention to signage, follow all park rules, and stay within the sections of the park that are open."
The Overlook fire, first reported at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17, burned approximately 3,100 acres until it was contained on Tuesday, April 22 through the combined efforts of 134 state and local agencies. Extremely dry conditions contributed to the spread of the fire. The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation jointly declared the fire out at 2 p.m. today after patrols observed no visible hot spots or flare ups for several days and 2.75 inches of rain fell on the park in 24 hours.
The park's educational and interpretive programs will resume this week, beginning with guided hikes with a park naturalist at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. For more information on these and other upcoming programs and to register, please call the park office at 845-255-0752. Park hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The 20,000-acre Minnewaska State Park is situated in Ulster County just east of the Catskill Preserve, on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The terrain is rugged and rocky, blanketed by dense hardwood forest encircling two lakes.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation administers 178 parks and 35 state historic sites. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit www.nysparks.com.