Open Space Institute announces Shawangunk Ridge addition at western Gateway

ROCHESTER, NY - September 20, 2005 - The Open Space Institute acquired a key 57-acre parcel in the Town of Rochester, Ulster County. The acquisition advances the organization's goal of protecting the western entry to Minnewaska State Park Preserve and expansive views of the Shawangunks and Catskills. 

The land is located on the western escarpment of the Shawangunk Ridge and complements an adjacent 106-acre parcel of land acquired by OSI in February. OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the property on September 30th at a closing in Ellenville with funds provided by the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment. 

The parcel is located on Route 44-55 on the western side of the Park, near two state highway overlooks that provide panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains and the Roundout Valley. The property can be seen from many distant peaks in the Catskills, including Overlook Mountain in Woodstock. 

Joe Martens, president of the Open Space Institute, said the addition was a priority acquisition for the State of New York and is included in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan. OSI will convey this parcel, along with the 106-acre parcel acquired earlier this year, to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) as an addition to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. “The Palisades Interstate Park Commission has been a key partner in our conservation work in the Gunks. To date, OSI has protected approximately 18,000 acres on and around the ridge, and we hope to keep up this momentum as development pressures escalate and threaten the beauty and biodiversity of this extraordinary resource,” said Martens. 

“Protection of the western gateway, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, has always been a high priority for the Open Space Institute. On the 57-acre parcel we acquired this morning, there are old-age stands of pitch pine and an important chestnut oak forest, which, if fragmented or developed, would be seriously comprised as wildlife habitat,” said Bob Anderberg, OSI's general counsel, who oversees OSI's Shawangunk Ridge Land Protection Program.

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