Mohonk Mountain House has been doing its part to protect the environment since 1869 when founder Albert Smiley first opened this Victorian-castle resort in spectacular surroundings. Today, Mohonk Mountain House is still intent upon providing recreation and renewal for guests and continues its 143-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.” Mohonk is also a proud member of the New York State Green Leaf Certification! In October 2011, the Smiley Family and Mohonk Mountain House staff were honored for 143 years of land stewardship by the Open Space Institute.
Eco-Friendly Design Features: The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nature programs (e.g., walks, slide shows) for all ages are hosted by Mohonk’s staff naturalist.
- The Mohonk Lake Cooperative Weather Station, with the Mohonk Preserve, has recorded weather for over 100 years.
- On-site rock climbing encourages overnight guests to explore the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, recognized by the Nature Conservancy as one of the “Last Great Places” on Earth. Beginner and experienced rock climbers are welcome.
Energy Saving, Recycling, and Conservation Efforts at the New York Resort
- Energy efficient light bulbs in guest rooms and public spaces have reduced Mohonk’s lighting load by 150,000 watts.
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
- Mohonk Mountain House utilizes an environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment plant.
Hudson Valley Land Stewardship
- 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.
- The Mohonk Golf Course received the Cooperative Sanctuary Award from the International Audubon Society, for environmental-friendly practices.
- 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.
- 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.