January 10, 2014 — It’s a new year for the Open Space Institute, and we look
forward again in 2014 to protecting the
most important lands—the places where we play outdoors, the farms that grow our
food and the wildlife habitat that will help preserve the delicate balance of
nature as we move ahead in a climate-changed world.
2013 was also a great year for OSI and our partners, and
many of our conservation successes happened right here in the Hudson River
Last month, Kim Elliman told you a little about our recent
transfers of more than 1,000 acres to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve in
Ulster County. In 2013, OSI added more than 3,700 publicly accessible acres to
the state’s network of parks and preserves. Our additions to Minnewaska
included Sam’s Point, the highest point on the entire Shawangunk Ridge.
Adding Sam’s Point to the public preserve was symbolic for
us because it capped a nearly 30-year effort, over which OSI and many partners more
than doubled Minnewaska’s size. Now 21,190 acres and all open to the public, Minnewaska
is one of the crown jewels of the Hudson Valley.
Another major accomplishment in 2013 was the reopening of
the historic Rosendale trestle. Standing 150 feet above the Rondout Creek, the
trestle had been closed for repairs for nearly three years. With tremendous
support from residents in Rosendale and the surrounding communities, OSI and
the Wallkill Valley Land Trust raised the funding to restore the trestle, and
it is now probably the most scenic highlight along the 24-mile Wallkill Valley
In Orange County, OSI protected land in the corridor between
the Black Rock Forest and Schunnemunk Mountain State Park. This was a project
that provides important connectivity for wildlife on the move. Not only that,
but the topography and complex features of the land we protected will offer what’s
known as “resilient” habitat, water and food sources for animals well into the
future, even as our climate continues to change.
And finally, OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks raised
half a million dollars to repair the Hamilton Point Carriage Roads, also at Minnewaska.
The carriage roads are perfect for horseback riding, hiking and running, and in
2014 we’ll help restore them for the public’s use and enjoyment.
Many of these initiatives will carry over as we enter 2014.
We’re still working to protect land at Minnewaska. We have a huge vision for an
expanded and interconnected rail trail network in this part of the state, and
we’ll continue to preserve the most strategic and important wildlife habitat.
I look forward to coming back here on Mid-Hudson News.com to
talk about the work OSI is doing in the Hudson Valley. Until then, I hope
you’ll get outdoors and visit these places. There’s nowhere better to restore
and rejuvenate ourselves than in the natural world.