NEW YORK, NY — October 5, 2011 — With assistance from several community organizations, the Open Space Institute today announced that it has acquired the 119-acre, 495-foot high Joppenbergh Mountain in the Ulster County hamlet of Rosendale.
The mountain, which sits along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail near the north end of the Rosendale Trestle, was acquired by OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, from Joppenbergh Mountain Corporation for $185,000. Named after Jacob Rutsen, who founded the first settlement in Rosendale, it has numerous cliffs, ravines and crevices, and expansive views of much of the Hudson River Valley.
The Shawangunk Conservancy, the land trust affiliate of the Friends of Shawangunks, is to raise $85,000 of the $185,000 acquisition price, and has just launched a fundraising campaign to that end.
"We are excited to be part of this project," said Neil Zimmerman, president of Friends of Shawangunks. "Saving this mountain as forever-protected open space and a recreational resource for the Rosendale area is a significant challenge for us. It's a great deal of money and we need lots folks to help with the effort."
OSI intends to convey Joppenbergh Mountain to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, which will manage the property for public use, by the end of the year. The two organizations are already partnering in the extension of the nearby Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the restoration of the Rosendale trestle.
"We are delighted to be a part of the protection of Joppenbergh Mountain. This parcel is an important for a number of reasons, especially the role it plays in connecting the extension of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to the heart of Rosendale," said Christine DeBoer, WVLT's executive director.
The acquisition and protection of Joppenbergh Mountain adds to the more than four-mile long stretch of land that OSI and its partners are protecting at the very northern end of the Shawangunk Ridge and, north of the Rondout Creek, in the Binnewater Hills. The Binnewater Hills, like the Shawangunk Ridge, are listed as a priority project in the New York State Open Space Plan.
"Joppenbergh Mountain is a highly visible part of historic Rosendale that will now be preserved permanently," said Kim Elliman, OSI's CEO and president. "We're fortunate to have strong partners in the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and the Friends of Shawangunks who are helping make this landmark accessible for the public's enjoyment. We thank all those who helped us acquire this property, which anchors the Rosendale trestle."
Mined throughout the 19th century for the dolostone that was used in the manufacture of natural cement, in recent years Joppenbergh's lush forested habitat has attracted hikers, cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts. At the base of the mountain is a parking lot and small town park that is leased and used by the town of Rosendale. The lease for that arrangement runs through 2014.
"There is a lot to consider in developing a management plan for the future of Joppenbergh Mountain, and we look forward to working with the community and the friends groups," DeBoer said. "With the restoration of the trestle in Rosendale moving forward, the protection of Joppenbergh Mountain is an exciting next step."