Rails and Trails, Parks and Farms
OSI acquired and preserved 1,043 acres in New York State
in 2012, and, as the year ends, we’re preparing to transfer thousands of
additional acres to New York state parks, adding significantly to the state’s
inventory of protected public lands.
Farm preservation was once again at the forefront of
OSI’s efforts in New York State in 2012. Teaming with the Orange County town of
Warwick, OSI protected two farmland
properties using funds from the town’s Community Preservation Act.
Restoration work continued on the historic Rosendale
Trestle, which should be reopened to the public by the end of 2012 or early
In the Adirondacks, the Friends of Camp Little Notch signed
an agreement to lease, with an option to purchase, the OSI-protected
site where many of the group's members attended summer camp as girls. In
addition, the Friends announced the reopening of the camp for the first time
Other notable acquisitions included a 233-acre
parcel that protects one of the last major waterfalls in private ownership
in the Shawangunks, Little Stony Kill Falls, and The Croft,
a unique 59-acre open space tract adjacent to the Teatown Lake Reservation’s 875
acres of forests, swamps, meadows, groves, streams and farmland in Westchester
Finally, the Open Space Institute and a pair of partners
protected 435 acres of scenic
forestland on the southern Shawangunk Ridge known as the Ridgeview property.
In time, OSI plans to sell the parcel to the New York Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC) as an addition to the Huckleberry Ridge State
Capital for Conservation
In 2012, OSI successfully completed Saving
New England’s Wildlife, a three-year, $5 million capital fund that
accounted for the preservation of more than 20,000 acres of critical wildlife
habitat in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. In 2013, OSI will direct two new funds that using emerging science and innovative approaches to conserving biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
In the forested blocks of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia,
Cumberland Land Protection Fund will support conservation
projects that promote regional-scale conservation of habitat and biodiversity.
Similarly, the Northeast
Resilient Landscapes Initiative seeks to preserve wildlife habitat by
protecting the most physically diverse lands that will provide refuge for flora
and fauna—now and well into the future—in targeted
sites from Maine to West Virginia.
OSI’s Conservation Finance program continued to make
grants in New England this year as well. In 2012, OSI assisted in the
conservation of more than 2,100 acres in the vast Transborder
corridor connecting the United States and Canada. Another initiative, the
Community Forest Fund, carried on throughout the year and played a vital role
in projects such as the creation of a new town
forest at the junction of two national scenic byways in the town of Albany,
The Bayshore-Highlands Fund, which was launched
in 2011, made grants and loans to help protect hundreds of acres in southern New Jersey and the
Pennsylvania Highlands, including one
site that—instead of being developed for high-density housing—now protects
habitat for a critically endangered species.
Advocacy Local, Regional and National
View of Albany from Thatcher State Park, photo: Brett Cole
2012 began with a major
victory for OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks when Gov. Andrew Cuomo
announced plans in January for an $89 million funding increase for repairs,
upgrades and restorations at 48 state parks and historic sites. In April,
the state legislature put its stamp of approval on the funding, which came through
the New York Works Infrastructure Fund.
In 2013 we will continue to spread awareness about New
York’s underfunded park system, secure funds for selected projects and work to ensure
that the governor’s funding stays in place in future years.
OSI was also involved in the Department of Defense’s
Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) plans to provide
additional funding for land transactions near military sites in Georgia and
Florida. The DOD is interested in limiting incompatible development in the vicinity
of military bases and it requested OSI’s help in determining which sites were most in need of protection.
In coastal North Carolina, OSI highlighted opportunities
for landscape-scale working forest conservation when it issued Retaining Working Forests: Eastern North Carolina, an analysis that suggested as many as 344,000
acres in the region could ultimately be converted to other uses—costing North
Carolinians jobs while compromising water quality and wildlife habitat.
Another study, this one to be released in early 2013, will offer recommendations on how land trusts can improve conservation easements, one of the movement’s oldest preservation tools.
Nationally, OSI’s Outdoors
America Campaign worked in 2012 to secure federal funding for conservation,
while locally, our Citizen
Action program added four new groups and continued helping grassroots environmental groups create sustainable
OSI was able to accomplish many great things this year. We
have expanded our initiatives and helped strengthen the communities in which we
work. From all of us here, thank you for your support in 2012. To make your
year-end gift for conservation, click here.