Open Space Institute Announces Shawangunk Ridge Addition at Western Gateway

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman
Open Space Institute Announces Shawangunk Ridge Addition at Western Gateway
New York, NY -  March 14, 2005  - This morning the Open Space Institute announced its acquisition of a key Shawangunk Ridge addition at the western gateway to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The acquisition will protect 106 acres in the Town of Rochester, Ulster County, and protect the western side of the Shawangunk Ridge, including the western entrance into the Park for many visitors.

OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the property on February 25th with funds provided by the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment. The parcel is located on Route 44-55 on the western side of the Park, adjacent to two state overlooks that provide panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains and the Roundout Valley. Bob Anderberg, General Counsel of the Open Space Institute, who oversees OSI's Shawangunk Ridge Land Protection Program, said the addition was a priority acquisition for the State of New York and is included in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan.

“Acquisition of this property protects the western entrance to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve and prevents residential development on two highly visible ridges of rock that are largely surrounded by parkland,” said Anderberg, noting that OSI will convey the 106-acre parcel to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) as an addition to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. “The property is characterized by steep rocky slopes, old-age stands of pitch pines and important chestnut oak forest. The headwaters of two major north-flowing streams -- the Saunders Kill and the Mill Kill, are located on the property and will now be protected in perpetuity,” added Anderberg.

Residential development of the property would have adversely impacted the visual and natural resources of the property and the surrounding state parkland, a popular recreational destination. Perched high on the northern end of the Shawangunk Ridge and contiguous to the state park, the property offers dramatic west facing views and can be readily seen from many Catskill peaks, including Overlook Mountain, where OSI recently launched a campaign to protect wildlife habitat on the upper reaches of the mountain.

About OSI's Shawangunk Ridge Land Protection Program
OSI's Shawangunk Ridge Protection Program, initiated in 1985, 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, Stony Kill Falls, the Witch's Hole, the Mine Hole Hollow, the Trapps Gateway and other areas. In 1997 OSI purchased the 5,534-acre Sam's Point Preserve. “Traditionally known as Ice Caves Mountain, the Sam's Point Preserve is a crown jewel that contains the best example of dwarf pine barrens on the earth, and anchors tens of thousands of acres of wild land on the Shawangunk Ridge,” said Bob Anderberg, General Counsel of OSI. Sam's Point Preserve is now managed by OSI's partner, the Nature Conservancy, which designated Sam's Point one of the “Last Great Places” on Earth. Log on for more information about OSI's efforts to protect the Shawangunk Ridge or call OSI for a copy of the organization's publication, OPEN SPACE, which featured the gunks in the Summer of 2004.

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Hardie Truesdale

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