Greg Miller Osterhoudt 006 1 hero

Open Space Institute Helps Make New Ulster County Community Trail A Reality

Ulster County, NY (March 11, 2024)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the transfer of 90 acres of land to the Town of Marbletown. Within walking distance of Marbletown’s Main Street and featuring forests and meadowlands, the newly protected land will ultimately become the site of a two-mile, multi-use community trail.

OSI purchased the Osterhoudt Flats property on Atwood Road in 2023 from conservation-minded landowners Claude and Holly Osterhoudt and held on to the property while the Town of Marbletown made plans to acquire the land. Now, Marbletown is using its Community Preservation Fund to purchase the property from OSI, the first ever use of the fund.

“OSI is thrilled to support the protection of one of Marbletown’s most beautiful landscapes. OSI was uniquely positioned to permanently protect the Osterhoudt Flats property and hold onto the land until the Town could acquire it, ensuring that the community can enjoy the land for generations to come,” said Bob Anderberg, OSI’s senior vice president and general counsel. “Protecting this property exemplifies OSI’s ongoing efforts to build trails and support communities as they increase public access to nature.”

The Osterhoudt Flats property was listed as one of the highest priority acquisitions in Marbletown’s Community Preservation Plan due to the land’s recreation potential and wildlife habitat. The property also contains the source of what is known as the School Aquifer, which is relied on by residential wells in surrounding areas as a primary source of clean water.

The property is located within the watershed of the Esopus Creek and helps to clean and filter water before it enters the Hudson River.

In November 2022, Marbletown voters approved a ballot initiative to enact a Real Estate Transfer Tax that would provide revenue exclusively for their Community Preservation Fund. The one-time tax applies to new property sales above the median price of a home in Ulster County, providing funding for community conservation projects without the need to raise taxes. The municipality may use the Fund to acquire land for open space preservation, recreational initiatives, and agricultural protection, among other purposes. In 2023, Marbletown was also awarded $500,000 for the acquisition of the property through the Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program for Parks, Preservation and Heritage, enabling the town to leverage their Community Preservation Funds and acquire the property more swiftly.

“Thank you, Marbletown residents, for your wholehearted support of this investment in our well-being and quality of life and thank you to the Open Space Institute. This would not have been possible without OSI’s generous partnership,” said Rich Parete, town supervisor of Marbletown.

Dale Robbins, chairman of the Marbletown Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board said, “This plan for a park meets so many of our goals in community preservation: providing an outdoor recreational space with easy access and a site for community gathering, conserving natural resources and wildlife, protecting a spectacular vista, and preserving the beauty and rural character of our community. This acquisition will play a vital part in the improvement of our town in ways that benefit everyone today and for generations to come.”

The planned trail on the Osterhoudt Flats property offers the potential to connect to other trails including the nearby O&W trail, which OSI is improving and expanding as part of its Growing Greenways: West of Hudson Greenway Trails Vision Plan. Read more about OSI’s effort to connect dozens of communities and more than 250 miles of trails throughout Ulster, Orange, and Sullivan counties here.

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