Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Your Environment Podcast

On this week’s Your Environment podcast, OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman discusses the Open Space Institute's recently completed transfer to New York State of over one thousand acres on the Shawangunk ridge, including Sam's Point. Stream and listen to Your Environment on the Mid-Hudson News website: www.midhudsonnews.com.

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December 13, 2013 - OSI recently completed the transfer of over one thousand acres, including Sam’s Point, the highest point along the entire Shawangunk ridge, to New York State. Sam’s Point is a jewel of the Shawangunks, with its pitch pine barrens and escarpments. You really must see it to believe it, and the good news is that anyone can. It is less than two hours from New York City, Albany, and most of southern New York. This large piece of land will be added to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County, making it the largest nature preserve in all of New York. 

OSI is particularly proud of this accomplishment – which returns all of the acreage to the local tax rolls while permanently preserving it for the public’s use and enjoyment. And it’s the public’s use of public lands which I want to focus on today.

Open Space Institute has worked in the Shawangunks and the greater Hudson Valley for decades, and much of our work there has been geared to creating and enhancing people’s ability to access the natural world. Earlier this summer, we reopened the historic Rosendale trestle as part of a collaborative effort that doubled its length to 24 miles and significantly increased usage of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. When I was there at dusk last Sunday, a large group of friends were enjoying a December birthday party.

We’re making plans to connect the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to the proposed Catskill Mountain Rail Trail in the city of Kingston, and we’re helping the town of New Paltz create a safe pedestrian trail across the agricultural flats up to the Shawangunk Ridge.

Through our Alliance for New York State Parks program, we are working right now to improve the quality of the visitor experience at parks all over the Hudson Valley. At Minnewaska, we’re raising money to support the restoration of the one-hundred-plus year-old historic carriage road system. The carriage roads’ modest grades are perfect for mountain bikers, cross country skiers, and hikers. The funds OSI raises will also support the construction of a new visitor center to make Minnewaska State Park Preserve more accessible and enjoyable to people year-round.

The Alliance is also helping to renovate the Canopus Lake visitor and recreation area at Fahnestock State Park to let people swim more easily and improve visitors’ experiences.

Peoples’ lives are busier today than ever before, and that is why the Open Space Institute is creating these points of access – close to home and open to everyone – where we can relax and restore ourselves amidst the calm of the unspoiled outdoors.

In the next 10 years OSI hopes to add 10,000 more acres to Minnewaska. The network of hiking trails would run 140 miles, allowing more people to hike, bike or walk from the north end of the ridge to south, all on protected land.

There is something for everyone in the Hudson Valley, whether it’s rock climbing, biking, horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, or enjoying nature in your own way.  Get outdoors this winter and explore.  


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