New York's Parks, Rails, Trails & Trestle
the Open Space Institute made 11 transfers to the New York State, adding more
than 3,700 publicly accessible acres to the state’s network of parks and
preserves. OSI added almost 1,000 acres—including Sam’s Point, the highest point
on the Shawangunk Ridge—to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County
additions to Minnewaska capped a nearly 30-year effort, over which OSI and its many
partners have more than doubled the size of the preserve. Now 21,190 acres and
all open to the public, Minnewaska is one of the Hudson Valley’s signature natural
attractions. Read what the New York Times had to say here.
access was again cause for celebration this summer, when OSI and the Wallkill
Valley Land Trust reopened the historic Rosendale trestle. Standing 150 feet above Rondout
Creek, the trestle had been closed for repairs for nearly three years, but is
now the scenic highlight along the expanded 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail,
also an OSI – WVLT partner project.
acquisition of the Legacy Ridge parcel in Orange County added
significantly to the ongoing Black Rock Forest –Schunnemunk Mountain State
Park corridor initiative. The 702-acre tract not only provides connectivity for
wildlife on the move; its varied topography and complex features will offer
resilient habitat, water and food for animals well into the future, even as our
Capital for East Coast Conservation
New England towns continued to shape
their own destinies in 2013 by preserving recreational and sustainable
forestlands in their own backyards. In New Hampshire, OSI’s Community
Forest Fund helped the Ammonoosuc Conservation
Trust and the residents of Easton, Sugar Hill and other nearby towns purchase
the 840-acre Cooley-Jericho Community Forest, a recreational haven for hikers,
bikers and cross-country skiers.
In the Transborder region, OSI
issued a mid-course report
as its Transborder Fund reached the 25,000-acres protected milestone. Support from
the Fund helped the Nature Conservancy of Canada protect and steward Portage
Lake, a chain of remote ponds and wetlands, and the surrounding unfragmented
forest. The 7,000-acre property lies within a large forest block, ensuring
connectivity for wide ranging wildlife such as moose, otter and marten. The
land is located in southeastern Quebec, adjacent to 282,000 acres of working
forest in Maine.
In Chester County, PA, the Bayshore-Highlands Fund supported a pair of unique and
important farmland preservation projects. The 91-acre Nestorick farm is the
home of longhorn cattle, belted Galloway cattle, Scottish highland cattle and other
exotic animals. But it and the neighboring McAfee farm—preserved with Bayshore-Highlands funding as well—also buffer and protect the Hopewell Big Woods area and the Great Marsh, the largest inland freshwater marsh in eastern Pennsylvania.
Advocacy Local, Regional and National
began, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed his commitment to state parks by including another $90 million in his budget to upgrade and improve the aging park system. Cuomo’s budget, favorable to parks for the second straight year,
indicated that the governor has heard the message of OSI’s Alliance for New
York State Parks—that our parks system is too valuable to remain in disrepair.
With the governor’s aggressive funding and the tireless advocacy of the
Alliance, New York’s parks are being restored for the tens of millions of people who
visit them every year.
addition to seeing a second year of increased capital funding for parks, the Alliance
successfully completed an initiative in 2013 to raise $500,000 to repair the
3.7-mile Hamilton Point Carriage Road at Minnewaska State Park
Alliance also has an important role in a public-private partnership launched
this year to raise money for an overhaul of the Clarence Fahnestock Memorial
State Park’s Canopus Lake visitor and recreation area. Together, the partners—including the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks and the State Parks Taconic Regional Commission—have raised $827,000 towards a $1.2 million
goal to improve and update run-down public facilities at the park’s swimming beach
and “Winter Park” area including the café space, ski rental area
a nationwide effort for developing strategies to
strengthen conservation easements, which are one of the land trust movement’s
oldest and most effective tools. The study OSI released in 2013 offers
land trusts a series of guidelines for strengthening the terms and
effectiveness of existing and future easements.
do-or-die final year before the 1964 legislation that created the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires, OSI’s Outdoors America
Campaign did not rest in 2013 in its push for Congress to renew and fully fund
the nation’s oldest and most successful means for conserving open spaces.
Citizen Action Program was the home in 2013 for 60 grassroots
organizations working to better their communities. With an emphasis on maintaining
access to healthy food throughout New York City’s five boroughs, the program created
a unique intersection between OSI’s grassroots advocacy and farmland
ends, the Open Space Institute finalized a new strategic plan—one that sets
forth a multi-year vision of smart conservation, wise allocation of funds and goals
of access to the natural world for both humans and wildlife.
set its goals for 2014 and beyond. With your support, we will meet and exceed
those targets. To make your year-end gift for conservation, click here. Thank you again for your