Image of a tombstone with the Gunks MUA Campground sign overlaying it.

Shawangunk Multiple Use Area (MUA) Campground Closing

We heard it would probably happen & now the time has come. We just received word that the NY State DEC is planning to close the Shawangunk Multiple Use Area (MUA) campground on May 3rd, 2016.

The MUA was the only free camping at the Gunks. Run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, it offered primitive tent spots off of the busy Route 44-55 in Gardiner, NY. Facilities were limited to a porta-potty.

If you plan to stay at the American Alpine Club’s Gunks Campground instead, we encourage you to make advanced reservations.

Please spread the word.

In memory of the MUA campground, please tell us your best stories about the MUA in the comments section below or email them to us. Feel free to include photos. We’ll compile them and post an online eulogy to keep the memory alive.

Tombstone with the sign of the Shawangunk Multiple Use Area (MUA), the campground is closing soon.

6 Responses

  1. Ralph Erenzo

    The Multiple Abuse Area was a weekend home to many of us for many years. The new AAC camping area represents the work of many climbing activists and the State of New York and the American Alpine Club to improve conditions for camping climbers. Thank you AAC.
    And not to put too fine a point on it, but free camping was made available at TUTHILLTOWN for two seasons early in this century. We’re grateful to have been able to host our climber friends and equally happy that the problem has been solved for all.

  2. Chris

    I’m appalled at the fact that a place to park and a dirt patch to put a tent on are considered fee services when in the past – 10, 15, 20 years ago, there was almost always a free option. This is unacceptable.

  3. The MUA reminded me of Freedom Camping in New Zealand and for those who haven’t experienced that, it feels like something from a different, less-cluttered, less-regulated time.

    Maybe it is too “waxing romantic”, but part of what I love about climbing is the dirt-bag nature of the beast. I love that you don’t have to pay for things. You just go into the mountains, ascend, come back down, and take everything with you. But I recognize that this is a tough ideal to keep up in a world where increasing numbers of people are trying to get out climbing with increasing frequency.

    I hope that the MUA has been lost in the name of conservation or some other communal and naturalistic “good” because otherwise I would be quite sad to see it go.

  4. John Wolins

    I agree with Mr. Knoke. I have valued free, considerate, dirt-bag camping for many years so I find it grievous and appalling how increasing population has not been addressed by local, state and fed government funding. I find this shift in our culture only serves to polarize the classes.

  5. Jay

    Super.”Lets build a $38/night campground & then close the free one….& charge extra for a shower.Stayed a a capground at Smith Rock, OR. $5 a night flushing toilets & shower included.

  6. Ivan

    MUA was available 365 days per year. Because DEC declined to improve parking, “dangerous” automobile parking conditions and other minor congestion resulted on peak season weekends, or about 20-30 days per year.

    This is why it was perceived as a “problem” to be solved by AAC et al.

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