Open Space Institute and Mohonk Preserve Announce Collaboration To Protect Coxing Kill Bottomlands
NEW YORK, NY - July 20, 2005 - This morning the Open Space Institute (OSI) and the Mohonk Preserve announced a land acquisition that will permanently protect a stretch of the Coxing Kill, one of the major streams in the Northern Shawangunks.
The Open Space Institute's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the 10-acre property, located in the Town of Rochester, Ulster County. The Mohonk Preserve (www.mohonkpreserve.org) will manage the property to protect its fragile habitat, which will be added to the Coxing Bottomlands Preservation Area, a unit of Preserve land of approximately 700 acres where protection of ecology and habitat is a top goal.
“OSI and Mohonk Preserve have a history of collaboration and partnership with the shared goal of protecting the Northern Shawangunks and thwarting development threats to the ridge,” said Joe Martens, president of OSI. Martens noted that in 2003, OSI donated 117 acres at the “Trapps Gateway” to Mohonk Preserve for its visitor center. The Mohonk Preserve operates a Visitor Center there while using its 6,500 acres as an outdoor classroom and its more than 65 miles of trails and carriage roads to enable recreational opportunities such as hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and horsebackriding.
According to Robert Anderberg, OSI'S general counsel who oversees the organization's land protection program in the Shawangunks, affectionately known as the “Gunks,” the Coxing Kill parcel protects both the stream and its associated wetlands, known as the Coxing Bottomlands, which serve as an important nursery for fish and wildlife. “The bottomlands are significant because they provide habitat for brook trout, beaver, muskrat, mink, fisher, coyotes, box turtle, marsh wren and northern harrier,” said Anderberg.
OSI purchased the land from landowners James and Judy Milne. “We are thrilled that our beautiful parcel of land will extend the limits of preserved open space in the Shawangunks and keep forever-wild a place abundant with the sights and sounds of nature. We can no longer simply take places like these for granted,” said Judy Milne.
“With partners like OSI and neighbors like the Milnes, the Preserve can better manage the protection of the ridge, both in terms of acquiring additional fragile land and actively managing the land we have\ ” explains Glenn Hoagland, the Preserve's executive director.
Increasingly, development threatens lands in the Clove Valley and in towns surrounding the Shawangunk Ridge, which have seen the highest rate of growth in Ulster County. Six of the seven northern ridge towns including the Town of Rochester grew more than double the rate of Ulster County as a whole over the last decade.
Counteracting this threat of sprawl are organizations like OSI and the Mohonk Preserve. OSI has protected over 18,200 acres of land on and around the Shawangunk Ridge, including the highest summits in the range (Sam's Point and High Point), the famed Ellenville ice caves, lands protecting Stony Kill Falls, the Witch's Hole, the Mine Hole Hollow, the Trapps Gateway and other areas. In 1997, OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, purchased the 5,534-acre Sam's Point Preserve, which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. Log on www.osiny.org and click on “press room” to learn about OSI's efforts to protect the Shawangunk Ridge and view the 2004 Summer issue of OPEN SPACE, featuring the Shawangunks.
Mohonk Preserve has protected over 6,500 acres of the Shawangunk Ridge. Through research and education, Mohonk Preserve aims to safeguard the ridge forever and to promote a deeper understanding of the value of nature in everyday life. OSI and Mohonk Preserve are part of a strong national movement of local and regional land trusts, whose numbers have increased by 26% nationwide since 1998, according to the national Land Trust Alliance. In the same period, the amount of protected acreage has doubled throughout the U.S.
The mission of the Open Space Institute is to protect scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, and creative partnerships.
The mission of the Mohonk Preserve (www.mohonkpreserve.org) is to Protect natural communities in order to preserve the Shawangunk Ridge ecosystem; Preserve the integrity of this National Historic Landmark landscape; Provide for contemplation, recreation, and visitor use in keeping with the peace and natural beauty of the land; Promote a concerned understanding of the relationship between people and nature.
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Photo: Jennifer Garofalini