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Open Space Institute acquisition of Harpster Property expands Bashakill protection

NEW YORK, NY - December 12, 2006 - On December 1, 2006, the Open Space Institute (OSI) protected a critical 25-acre parcel adjacent to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the Town of Mamakating in Ulster County, New York. OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, Inc. (OSC), purchased the land which will be conveyed to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). It will be added to the Bashakill WMA, a 3,000-acre preserve containing rivers, wetlands and large intact forests owned and managed by the State. The area encompasses the largest freshwater wetland in southeastern New York and is home to a variety of native, threatened and endangered species including bald eagles, bats, wild trout, timber rattlesnakes, and globally significant dwarf mussel populations. 

The Bashakill Valley is considered the southern gateway to the Catskill Park, offering panoramic scenic views and a natural setting for hiking, canoeing, bird watching and fishing. It is situated on the western side of the Shawangunk Ridge, just south of where Route 17 crosses the ridge and buffers the Neversink River Unique Area to the west, the Shawangunk Mountains to the east, and the Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest to the north. The Valley connects approximately 30,000 acres of intact forestlands that provide habitat and wildlife corridors and is also adjacent to one of the major migratory flyways on the east coast, hosting large concentrations of Canada geese and wood ducks each fall. 

The Harpster property is at the northern end of the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area and has nearly 500 feet of road frontage along NYS Route 209. Development of this parcel would have fragmented a large block of protected open space and adversely impacted the area's open space and natural resources. In addition to bordering the WMA preserve, the Harpster property also adjoins the historic Delaware and Hudson Canal.

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