New York, NY - January 9, 2004 - This morning the Open Space Institute furthered its land protection plan for the Stony Kill Falls area in the Town of Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York. At a closing in Ellenville, OSI acquired an 18-acre property from Napanoch Sand & Gravel through its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy.
The parcel will enhance and protect access to Stony Kill Falls, located within Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and provide space for a modest parking area. The 87-foot Falls is one of the major waterfalls in the Shawangunks and is a popular destination for hikers, bird watchers and photographers. According to OSI president, Joe Martens, the acquisition advances an effort to protect Stony Kill Falls that began in 2001 with two separate transactions that together protected 94 acres. “This third acquisition completes the Stony Kills Assemblage designed to protect the magnificent Falls and facilitate hiking access to the base of the waterfall,” said Mr. Martens.
OSI has conveyed the first two parcels to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, a region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and plans to transfer the parcel acquired this morning to PIPC as well. According to PIPC's executive director, Carol Ash, the 18-acre parcel will be integrated into the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. “We've had our eye on this property for a long time; it provides a wonderful opportunity to protect one of the most scenic spots in the park,” said Ms. Ash.
Mr. Martens said that the Open Space Institute's Shawangunk Ridge Land Protection Program has added 600 acres to date to Minnewaska State Park Preserve and plans to add an additional 6,000 acres in the near future. Overall, OSI has acquired 17,482 acres in the Shawangunks since the program's inception in 1987. The Shawangunk Ridge is a high priority area for OSI, said Martens. “The Ridge is a geologically and ecologically unique area that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year; it's OSI's goal to make sure that the most sensitive areas are protected,” added Martens.
Most visitors to Stony Kill Falls come to view the waterfall in the summer, when the Falls' curtain of cooling waters provides a refreshing respite from the heat. “They're spectacular to look at,” said OSI vice president and general counsel, Robert Anderberg. “The Falls are an unusually beautiful site in the wintertime when cold temperatures create and icy, cone like structure at the base of the Falls,” said Anderberg.