June 15, 2021

Dear Editor,

As you reported on June 12, the Bluestone Wild Forest and Onteora Lake in the town of Kingston are at risk due to a proposed concrete and steel factory to be built on adjacent land at 850 Route 28.

This is a tragedy in the making. People come from near and far to enjoy the quiet, lush 3,000-acre park which surrounds the former quarry where the construction is to take place. They and the wildlife will have to endure constant blasting for years before the factory begins operations. Then it will run 24/7, pouring large trucks on and off Route 28.

The fate of this gateway to the Catskill Forest Preserve lies with the town of Kingston and its town and planning boards. The town has about 900 inhabitants. But the Bluestone Wild Forest draws thousands to its trails and lakes — to hike, bike, fish, swim, ski, boat, picnic, or just sit and enjoy the pristine lake.

On June 21, the Town Board will hold a virtual public hearing on the project. Past, pre-COVID hearings drew hundreds of passionate participants. The issue has been ongoing for the past two years but may be coming to a head shortly.

Concerned residents and groups such as Catskill MountainkKeeper and the Woodstock Land Conservancy want the Planning Board to require an Environmental Impact Statement to study all the project impacts. The town must also change the zoning, which currently doesn’t allow industrial use.

Studies have shown that the industrial development will severely impact water, noise, traffic, wildlife, historical artifacts and the overall enjoyment by human beings of the park. The happiness this treasure of the Catskills brings to thousands will be compromised by this unnecessary factory.

To local residents who care about this forest, please join us in opposing this project, and attend the June 21 public hearing, via Webex. See the town’s website for more details: http://www.townkingstonny.us/

Susan Manuel

Woodstock, N.Y.