MAMAKATING, NY — March 11, 2015 — The Open Space Institute’s newest acquisition along the southern Shawangunk Ridge adds to the extensive network of OSI-conserved properties in Sullivan County and expands public access for hiking, camping and hunting. The parcel, adjacent to the Roosa Gap State Forest, is a priority acquisition for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and is the latest addition to the list of state forests and parkland that OSI has created or significantly expanded in the mid-Hudson region and the Shawangunk Ridge.
The property, consisting of 88 acres of undeveloped forestland located in far eastern Sullivan County, buffers the Long Path and opens the possibility of a new trailhead to the 347.4-mile (559.1 km) long-distance hiking trail beginning at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey and ending at Altamont, New York, in the Albany area.
“With this newest acquisition, OSI continues to forge a lasting preservation legacy in the Southern Shawangunks, while expanding sporting and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s President and CEO.
The property marks OSI’s twentieth acquisition in the area of the Shawangunk Ridge, Roosa Gap and Wurtsboro Ridge State Forests—and adds to a connected collection of OSI-preserved land in the area totaling over 5,400 acres.
The $200,000 transaction builds upon OSI’s longtime commitment to creating and adding to New York’s state–protected land.
Over the past 40 years, through nearly 80 conservation initiatives, OSI has added more than 40,000 acres to New York’s 335,000-acre state park system. With regard to the Shawangunks, OSI’s legacy extends to both the northern and southern ends of the Ridge. Since the mid-1980’s OSI has protected more than 28,000 acres of open space on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster, Sullivan and Orange Counties; over 4,500 acres of productive farmland in the two valleys that straddle the ridge; and, with its partners, more than doubled the size of Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
The lands acquired by OSI, and its conservation partners, form a band of wilderness running from southern Ulster County to northern Sullivan County that include pitch pine barrens, cliffs, wetlands, talus and rock slabs, and a portion of the largest contiguous chestnut oak forest in the state of New York.
Going forward, the property will be held for conveyance to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, along with an additional 520 acres of land already held by OSI in the immediate vicinity. Much of the lands protected by OSI have been transferred to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to be held and managed as state forests. There are many state forests in the mid-Hudson region (and on the Shawangunk Ridge) that were created or significantly expanded by OSI, including the Shawangunk Ridge, Roosa Gap, Wurtsboro, Huckleberry Ridge, Vernooy and Bluestone State Forests.