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Open Space Institute protects Schunnemunk Ridge in western Hudson Highlands acquisitions

NEW YORK, NY - July 1, 2003 - Today, the Open Space Institute announced the protection of 298 acres of land on Schunnemunk Ridge, located in the Western Hudson Highlands of New York. 

Schunnemunk Ridge is a favorite spot for hiking, bird watching, and enjoying magnificent views of the Hudson River, the Shawangunk Range, and the Catskills. Schunnemunk Ridge also contains a 7-mile stretch of the Long Path, which starts at George Washington Bridge and travels all the way to John Boyd Thacher State Park, west of Albany. 

Today's purchase, by OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, caps a multi-year effort on behalf of OSI in the Western Hudson Highlands. To date, OSI has protected 2,763 acres on the Ridge, including many miles along its most scenic trails. “Our goal is to enhance public access and ensure the long term protection of one of the state's most celebrated natural resources,” said Joe Martens, President of Open Space Institute. “Given the Ridge's proximity to the Metropolitan area, it represents an exceptional opportunity for New Yorkers to experience spectacular scenery just an hour north of the city,” added Martens. 

This morning, in Orange County, OSI closed on the acquisition of a 243-acre site and purchased conservation easements encumbering two parcels of land, totaling 55 acres. All of the land is located in the Town of Cornwall, Orange County. 

OSI initiated its Schunnemunk Program in 1996 with the acquisition of a 2,108-acre mountain parcel protecting several miles along the ridge. Through subsequent acquisitions in the late 1990s, OSI acquired an additional 357 acres. These acquisitions were funded by the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for the Hudson Highlands. 

Many of OSI's protections efforts were the result of cooperation with the Storm King Art Center, known worldwide for its open-air museum of contemporary sculpture. The art center maintains a long-term installation of works on its grounds. “The Open Space Institute and the Storm King Art Center have worked together to ensure the protection of the Schunnemunk landscape. The ridge contains thousands of acres of unrivaled vistas and walking trails for present and future generations of art and nature lovers,” said OSI's Joe Martens.

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