Acquisition of the Kaufman property will enhance each of these trails. For instance, Kaufman will enable the consolidation of an approximately 11-mile stretch of the O&W Canal Path and Rail Trail running from just north of the Village of Wurtsboro to the Bashakill WMA.
Linking the state forests to the Bashakill also enables the two long-distance regional trails, the Shawangunk Ridge Trail and the Long Path, to be relocated onto the Shawangunk Ridge, rather than running through the streets of the Village of Wurtsboro. The Shawangunk Ridge Trail runs for 71 miles along the dramatic Shawangunk Ridge from New Jersey to Rosendale, NY, while the Long Path Trail runs 358 miles from New York City to John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany, NY.
The Kaufman property acquisition furthers a much larger effort by OSI and other conservation organizations over the last 30 years to protect the 50-mile Shawangank Ridge, which runs from the New Jersey border to Rosendale, NY.
More than 50,000 acres of conservation holdings, including the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve, the Bashakill WMA, several large units of state forest land, and other conservation holdings, all function as a lengthy and nearly continuous recreational and ecological “greenway” running through Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties.
Conservation of the Kaufman property also builds on land-protection projects OSI has completed in and around the area. For instance, OSI first conserved the 3,107-acre Bashakill WMA in the 1970s, as one of its earliest land protection projects, and through subsequent projects increased the WMA to its present size of more than 4,100 acres.
Additionally, OSI conserved the northern section of O&W Rail Trail that links to Kaufman, and in 2016 donated it to the Town of Mamakating.
Looking ahead, OSI will hold onto the Kaufman property until DEC acquires it as an addition to Bashakill WMA.