Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Open Space Institute Wins Historic Preservation Award


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - December 6, 2002- This afternoon, the Open Space Institute received the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's 2002 Historic Preservation Award for its outstanding contributions to the protection of New York's scenic and historic landscapes.

The award was presented at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY. “Thanks to Governor Pataki's commitment to preserving and revitalizing our state's heritage, more and more New Yorkers have a greater appreciation of our past,” said the State Parks Commissioner, Bernadette Castro.

“We're thrilled to win this award and the recognition of the state,” said Joe Martens, the President of the Open Space Institute, who accepted the award. OSI conserves land throughout the state of New York, with an emphasis on scenic regional landscapes in the Hudson River Valley, such as the Helderberg Escarpment, the Catskills, the Shawangunks and the Hudson Highlands. OSI's work is funded in large measure by the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment. According to Martens, the Hudson River is the common thread for much of the organization's project work. “The landscapes that we're most concerned are steeped in history because of their proximity to the Hudson River,” said Martens.

Martens cited the acquisition of Top Cottage, the retreat of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park, NY, as a recent example of OSI's historic conservation efforts. With the exception of Thomas Jefferson's two houses, Top Cottage is the only presidential home ever designed by a U.S. president while in office. “The cottage tells the personal story of Roosevelt's very determined search for independence and privacy,” said Martens.

Other examples include the acquisition of Washington's Lookout, in Stony Point, NY. Military historians credit the lookout, a rocky promontory with views of the Hudson River, as the location from which General George Washington planned a surprise attack on British troops during the Revolutionary War. In Columbia County, OSI has purchased several conservation easements protecting an historic corridor along Kinderhook Creek where the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site and the Luykas Van Alen House are located.

In the Capital Distict, OSI helped create the Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park in the Town of Colonie. The park has been the source of considerable interest to archaeologists, who have traced the site back to the colonial Dutch and English, and before their arrival, Native Americans. OSI also protected the viewshed of the Saratoga National Historical Park by buying the development rights on 900 acres of farmland directly opposite the Park on the Hudson River.

“It's a source of great satisfaction to have a hand in the conservation of these areas and to know that, in some small way, we are supplementing the history books with an outdoors component that you can touch, see and explore first hand,” said Martens.


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The Open Space Institute (wwww.osiny.org) is a nonprofit organization that protects significant recreational, environmental, agricultural, and historic landscapes in New York State. Since its inception more than 25 years ago, OSI's work has expanded or created more than 30 parks and preserves and permanently protected over 70,000 acres from the Palisades to the Adirondacks.

 

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