OSI in the Shawangunks, continued

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman




The Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster, Sullivan and Orange Counties, New York, is a geologically and ecologically unique area that has increasingly become the focus of conservation attention.

Affectionately known as the “Gunks”, the Shawangunk Ridge is part of a larger tri-state greenway that stretches for over 245 miles, from near Kingston, New York, to central Pennsylvania. The New Jersey portion of the ridge is known as the Kittatinny Ridge, while the Pennsylvania section of the ridge is known as the Blue Mountains.

Known as the Shawangunk Mountains in New York State, the ridge is one of the most important sites for biodiversity in the northeastern United States. Composed of a gleaming white, durable rock known as the Shawangunk conglomerate, a significant swath of the Shawangunks has been protected by OSI and others over the years as state parkland, state forestland, private nature preserves, and other conservation areas.

The Shawangunks are a range of superlatives:  they harbor globally rare plant communities (including the only extensive dwarf pitch pine barrens on bedrock in the world), and hosts the largest public park preserve (as well as the two largest privately supported nature preserves) in the state of New York. The Shawangunks are also an international mecca for naturalists and recreationists, including rock climbers, birders, hikers, cross-country skiers, and the like.

For the last thirty years OSI has been a leader in the preservation of the Shawangunks, protecting over 32,000 acres of land on and around the Shawangunk Ridge. OSI has created the nearly 5,800-acres Sam’s Point Preserve; more than doubled the size the Minnewaska State Park Preserve (the largest public park preserve in the state of New York); protecting thousands of acres of state forest land on the ridge. Over the past eleven years OSI has also acquired agricultural and scenic easements on over 4,000 acres of farmland in the nine towns that surround the Shawangunk Ridge.

OSI goal is to protect the entirety of the 50-mile conservation corridor stretching from Rosendale south to Port Jervis, where the ridge continues into New Jersey and Pennsylvania as the Kittatinny Ridge and the Blue Mountains .





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