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Open Space Institute commends Governor Pataki For reaching one-million-acre mark in Open Space Protection

NEW YORK, NY - December 21, 2006 - The Open Space Institute (OSI) salutes the Governor of the State of New York, George E. Pataki, for his outstanding record of land conservation during his three terms in office. Since 1995, Pataki has been a strong advocate for land preservation and has reached the milestone of protecting a million acres across the State of New York, a commitment he made in his 2002 State of the State address. OSI has been honored to work with the Governor and his administration to create and expand public parks, conserve watersheds and natural resources, protect working forests and farmlands, and preserve historic sites. 

“The Governor's leadership in protecting a million acres of open space is truly remarkable,” said Joe Martens, president of The Open Space Institute. “Just four years after he announced his million-acre goal, he has created a lasting legacy that New Yorkers will remember and appreciate for generations to come.” 

OSI has worked consistently with the Governor and the staff of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Department of Environmental Conservation to realize the goals of the Open Space Conservation Plan, which targets protection of the State's most environmentally sensitive lands. 

“I commend the work of all the State agencies that have played such an active role in preserving our lands and resources, and also thank the local governments and organizations who have partnered with us to achieve our goals and make the environment more accessible to all,” said Governor Pataki in a press statement. 

OSI has assisted the State in its efforts to fill in pieces of the mosaic that compose New York State's most beautiful and scenic landscapes, protecting sites of unparalleled recreational opportunities for the citizens of one of the most densely-populated regions in the country, preserving critical habitat for rare and endangered plant and animal species, and preserving historic sites and landscapes. 

Some of the hallmark open space properties that OSI has assisted the State in acquiring include extensive additions to Sterling Forest (18,000 acres); the Shawangunk Ridge (20,000 acres); Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park (8,000 acres); and the acquisition of the Tahawus property (10,000 acres). Through direct acquisition and easements, OSI has protected a total of 60,000 acres in the State since Governor Pataki entered office in 1995. We have also assisted our conservation partners in financing transactions to protect an additional 175,000 acres in New York. In total, OSI has had an impact on nearly one quarter of the million acres that the Governor has worked diligently to protect. 

The State's first Open Space Conservation Plan was adopted in 1992 and has been regularly updated throughout Governor Pataki's time in office, most recently in November 2006. The State has spent more than $16.5 billion to protect and preserve environmentally important areas during Pataki's terms as Governor.

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