|New York, NY - March 14, 2005 - On March 15th, the Open Space Institute announced the acquisition of approximately 306 acres of ecologically significant, mountainous land in the towns of Deer Park and Mount Hope in Orange County. OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy (OSC), acquired the property with funds provided by the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment. OSC purchased the property on March 10th at a closing in Westtown, New York. |
The tract of land acquired by OSC, known as Gobbler's Knob, is located on the Shawangunk Ridge at the southern end of the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area, near Otisville.
OSC purchased the 306-acre tract from the Gobbler's Knob Sportsman's Club, which for many years had used the land as a hunting preserve. The land is located in one of the fastest growing areas of New York State, and could have been developed with numerous homes if not preserved. OSI plans to eventually offer the entire parcel to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as an addition to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area.
The Bashakill Wildlife Management Area, named for the Bashakill River, is one of the largest freshwater wetlands in New York State. It supports numerous migratory birds and many state listed wildlife species. Years ago, the Open Space Institute worked with the DEC to protect this wetland complex and create the wildlife management area.
“The Bashakill is an extraordinary resource. We're very pleased to have acquired the Gobbler's Knob property, which will soon be a part of this important sanctuary,” said Joe Martens, President of the Open Space Institute. Martens noted that the Audubon Society had added the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area to its list of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in 1998.
The Gobbler's Knob property is located on the western escarpment of the Shawangunk Ridge, and is home to numerous species, including rare dwarf pitch pine, scrub oak and northern hardwood hemlock forests and provides habitat for black bears, eagles, and timber rattlesnakes.
Two mountain streams traverse the parcel and empty into the Bashakill WMA, while recharging ground water aquifers and public drinking water supplies in the communities of Deerpark and Mount Hope.
Visible from Westbrookville to Wurstboro, as well as the Bashakill wetlands, Gobbler's Knob affords 50-mile panoramic views, including the distant Catskill high peaks, and, like many landscapes in the Shawangunks, has cliff and talus formations.
“OSC's acquisition of the property will protect this important section of the Shawangunk Ridge and expand recreational opportunities for hikers,” said Bob Anderberg, Vice President and General Counsel for the Open Space Institute. He continued, “We are one step closer to our goal of establishing a 42-mile protected corridor along the Shawangunk Ridge.”
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's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, 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 http://www.osiny.org/ 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.