Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Your Environment Podcast

On this week’s Your Environment podcast, OSI’s Erik Kulleseid speaks about one of the best places to go, just 60 miles from New York City: Minnewaska Park Preserve. Every Friday, listen to Your Environment on the Mid-Hudson News website:

Erik Kulleseid on the Environment Podcast Header


May 1, 2015 — Trail trekkers and tourists alike were recently very enthusiastic about the latest news out of Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County. The popular state park preserve grew by 602 acres in April after the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation acquired land we at the Open Space Institute had conserved—which means more year-round trail access for biking, hiking and general escaping into nature.

The new lands will also further protect the Witch’s Hole Conservation Area, a wild and remote part of the preserve. Located on the west side of the Shawangunk Ridge, this is a place for the serious hiker to experience scenic waterfalls and panoramic vistas in an ancient bowl-shaped hollow carved out by glaciers.

These 602 acres are just the newest addition to the park preserve, whose 23,000 acres are studded with world-class rock climbing, sky lakes for swimming, and panoramic landscape views atop the Shawangunk Ridge. Since its creation in 1993, the word has gotten out about the state’s third-largest park.

A recent visitor survey commissioned by the Open Space Institute revealed who comes to the park preserve most often, and what they like to do. Significantly, 52 percent of all visitors originate from outside the counties immediately surrounding Minnewaska, hailing from locations upstate or downstate, from New York City, or outside the state. While at the park, they enjoy hiking—especially along the park’s Victorian-era carriage roads, recently restored by OSI—as well as photography and unwinding in nature.

What is more, these visitors have an impact on the greater economy: between food and beverage, outdoor clothing and entertainment purchases, in all it is estimated that patrons contribute a total of $16.2 million yearly to regional shops and stores through purchases en route to and from the park.

The visitor survey also captured the enthusiasm the park enjoys from its diverse user base.

“This place is a gift!” one visitor said.

“This is the only decent place for long-distance swimming in the area,” said a swimmer. “Actually, I’ve swum around the world during my career in the Navy, and this place is the most sublime.”

I can second these sentiments, as a frequent visitor to Minnewaska myself. I like to travel there with my daughters and lose track of time wandering over the pine-needle paths or scrambling up boulders.

Days like this make me so proud of OSI’s work. Over a 20-year period, OSI and its partners have more than doubled Minnewaska to its current size of about 23,000 acres. The park features numerous waterfalls, three crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, sheer cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful views, clear streams cut into valleys, and 35 miles of carriageways and 25 miles of footpaths.

Take some time this spring to unplug and get outside at Minnewaska or somewhere near you.

Enjoy your next visit outdoors!

Stream and listen to Erik on the Your Environment podcast.
























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