In the mid 1950's John Atwater Bradley, then a graduate student, attended a conference in Cragsmoor, the site of a celebrated art colony not far from what is now the Awosting Reserve and The Awosting Club. The next morning at dawn, he went out for an exploratory hike and did not return until long after dark. Bradley hiked through evergreen and hardwood forests, along bubbling streams, roaring waterfalls and shimmering mountain lakes. He discovered an incredible wilderness like none he'd ever seen, populated by whitetail deer, black bear, fox, racoons, bobcat and coyote as well as a natural aviary of hawks, peregrine falcons, owls, eagles and pileated woodpeckers. That day he fell in love with the Shawangunk Ridge.
A year later he leased Ridgetop Retreat at Awosting Lake, (which still exists on the far side of the Lake) then owned by Minnewaska Hotel Company, and during the ensuing years he carefully acquired the surrounding land, naming it The Awosting Reserve. He served as its steward and custodian, limiting its use to his family, friends, Boy and Girl Scouts, Outward Bound and outdoor conservation groups while dedicating it to environmental education, children's programs and family recreation. He co-founded the Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership and has always been working towards creating a conservation based community on the land: a community of families who understand and support the importance of preserving the unique natural and scenic resources of the Shawangunk Ridge.
Bradley's family still lives on the property, and after 50 years of sharing the property with educational organizations, schools, artists, writers, explorers, camps, family and friends, are excited to invite others to fall in love with the Shawangunk Ridge as John Bradley had over 70 years ago. Bradley's daughter, Camilla, and her husband and family are keeping the Awosting traditions alive by encouraging others to experience nature:her lessons, examples, and raw beauty while emphasizing the responsibility we have as human beings that share this earth, to tread lightly, act respectfully and teach our children through nature the importance of preserving and conserving our natural resources. The camp atmosphere at The Awosting Club is fertile ground for this mission, promoting outdoor adventures: from sleeping to eating to playing to communing with nature in all her glory.