NEW YORK, NY (Jan. 6, 2020) - The Open Space Institute (OSI) today hailed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to protect 4,000 acres in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The plan, to be included in the governor’s State of the State address, underscores the value of open space preservation for the protection of forests and watersheds, while also recognizing the Hudson Valley as a premier outdoor recreation destination. As noted in the governor’s announcement, the projects were funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and the Hudson Highlands Conservation Fund.
Of the 4,000 acres identified for park expansion, more than 2,700 acres were protected by OSI, including land expanding Minnewaska, Schunnemunk, and Harriman State Parks.
“The protection of 4,000 acres in the Mid-Hudson Valley is a major achievement and OSI is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo to expand Minnewaska, Schunnemunk, and Harriman State Parks,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “New York’s state parks belong to all New Yorkers and by protecting and expanding the places where we hike, walk and bike, we are also ensuring the future protection of their natural resources and wildlife habitats.”
Elliman also stressed the importance of the Environmental Protection Fund in preserving open space throughout New York State. “Maintaining support of the EPF is critical as we look to further protect New York’s most at-risk and ecologically significant properties,” he said.
Among the projects slated to be transferred from OSI to New York State Parks in 2020 are:
Minnewaska State Park Preserve - 633 acres. This includes several parcels and is a major addition to the northeastern section of Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County. The assemblage will increase recreational opportunities on the north end of the park and protect important views both from the park and the adjacent Rondout Valley. The acreage will also protect important wildlife habitat and prevent fragmentation of the forest in the northern Shawangunk Mountains. Over its 40-year history, OSI has more than doubled the size of the 24,000-acre park, making it the third largest state park in New York.
Schunnemunk State Park - 158 acres. This important addition to Schunnemunk State Park in Orange County will provide a critical link to an anticipated public trail between Schunnemunk State Park and Storm King Arts Center, while protecting the Moodna Creek watershed. Schunnemunk State Park, now more than 4,000 acres, offers 360-degree views of adjacent valleys, the distant Hudson River and surrounding forest and farmlands.