NEW YORK, NY — July 6, 2009 — The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today the acquisition of one-half acre of land directly adjacent to the Mohonk Preserve’s Trapps Gateway Visitor Center, located in the Town of Gardiner, Ulster County.
The visitor center and the parcel—which contains a residential structure dubbed the “Undercliff House”—are both located in the entryway to the Shawangunk Ridge, through which nearly 500,000 visitors each year access both the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. OSI will make the newly acquired property available to Mohonk Preserve for use in its educational and stewardship programs.
The parcel was acquired by OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy.
Between 1995 and 2006 OSI acquired over 170 acres of land and structures in the area of the Trapps Gateway, which consists of the gentle foothills at the foot of the Trapps escarpment, a major rock climbing area located west of the Village of New Paltz that is one of the most popular on the East Coast.
OSI donated all of the land it acquired in the Trapps Gateway area to the Mohonk Preserve, which protects and manages nearly 7,000 acres of forests, fields, streams, and other environments across 12 miles along the Shawangunk Ridge. In 1998, Mohonk Preserve constructed a visitor center and administrative facility on the land.
The small “inholding” parcel and the residential structure just purchased by OSI are strategically important to the Mohonk Preserve. The structure is located only several hundred feet from the Preserve’s visitor center, and its acquisition opens up additional space for future use by Preserve rangers and educators by eliminating the possibility of incompatible development ocurring in a largely protected area.
In addition, Mohonk Preserve plans to incorporate a portion of the property as an addition to its “children’s forest,” where young visitors learn about woodlands and the plant and animal habitat contained within. The parcel contains mature woods and a stream that is a tributary to the Marakill, part of a critical regional watershed.