At the Open Space Institute, our vision for the future has always been broad — since 1974 we’ve emphasized the importance of supporting conservation on a permanent, landscape scale.
We began by focusing on land in New York State, and have so far protected 140,713 acres of open space in the Adirondacks, Hudson River Valley, Shawangunks and Catskills.
In recent years, we’ve used our transactional expertise to save significant, complex, and large-scale tracts in South Carolina and New Jersey through direct acquisitions.
We work with landowners and local land trusts to acquire land to protect diverse landscapes; preserve habitat for rare or endangered species; ensure water quality; facilitate wildlife adaptation to climate change; and enhance recreational access.
We also protect land from future development while it remains in private hands through conservation easements.
In 2003, we launched our Conservation Capital program to accelerate the rate and effectiveness of land protection. Through its loans and grants the program has distributed over $127,577,996 to partner land trusts to protect 2,054,427 acres valued at $700 million, and support land research and planning.
We've protected more than 10 percent of the acreage in New York’s state parks and worked to make significant park improvements for the millions of park visitors each year. Our strong record of stewardship led us to adopt the Alliance for New York State Parks in 2010, expanding and easing access to nature through recreational facilities, trails, visitors centers, and interpretive programming.
We also partner with New York State, individuals, organizations and the private sector to spearhead capital campaigns and park infrastructure projects.
Through our Citizen Action program, we offer financial and legal oversight for projects started by concerned citizens whose programs and activities are aligned with our mission. This oversight makes the projects eligible to solicit and receive grants and tax-deductible contributions that are normally available only to 501(c)(3) organizations.
OSI has protected 140,713 acres of land in New York State, where our work first began more than forty years ago, and other important properties in Maine, Virginia, South Carolina and New Jersey. Through direct acquisition and conservation easements, we protect critical open space habitats, recreation areas, family farms, historic sites, and partner with local and state government to expand their parklands.