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OSI Announces Public Phase of Campaign for Minnewaska Visitor Center

NEW YORK, NY (Jan. 14, 2020) - Continuing its longstanding efforts to expand and improve Minnewaska State Park, the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the public phase of its campaign to support the park’s highly anticipated new, four-season visitor center. The OSI-sponsored campaign is matching state resources in the building of a $6.1 million, 5,000 square foot visitor center at the park. To date, OSI has raised $2.65 million in gifts and grants toward its $3 million goal.

The campaign is led by OSI Trustee, Jennifer Cunningham, and longtime resident of the Shawangunks, Jim Ottaway, as campaign co-chairs. The fundraising effort focuses on features that will transform the visitor experience and expand access to and appreciation of the park for all audiences. Included in OSI’s campaign is the creation of state-of-the art, interactive exhibits highlighting the park’s unique geology, natural history, cultural significance, and conservation.

“I am honored to co-chair and support this campaign, which will enhance the Minnewaska experience for generations to come,” said Cunningham. “We look to the community of friends and neighbors who have been touched by the park’s beauty to join with us and help create a long needed and well-deserved visitor gateway.”

“From the park’s establishment, when those who loved its precious sky lakes, cliffs, and historic carriage roads rallied to ensure its protection, it has needed a central welcoming location,” said Ottaway. “By participating in OSI’s forward-thinking campaign, we can ensure that future visitors to the park understand and care for its treasures.”

“The effort to raise private dollars to support the new Minnewaska Visitor Center is off to a terrific start. We are tremendously grateful to campaign chairs Jennifer Cunningham and Jim Ottaway, as well as those who have already led the way in supporting the creation of the project,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “I encourage everyone who shares our love for Minnewaska to join us in helping make the new visitor center a reality.”

Senator Jen Metzger said, “Minnewaska State Park is one of the most spectacular places in the Hudson Valley and the northeast United States, and one of my favorite destinations to hike, bike, cross-country ski, and swim. The new visitor’s center will attract more visitors to the park and to Ulster County, and educate them about the incredible natural bounty in the region, deepening appreciation of all we have to offer and bringing more tourism dollars into the local economy. I am very pleased to sponsor a capital grant to help fund the construction of a lake overlook deck for the enjoyment of area residents and visitors alike, and want to express my appreciation to the Open Space Institute and the many partners that are making the new visitor’s center possible.”

In addition to Jennifer Cunningham and Jim Ottaway, leading private support for the Minnewaska Visitor Center has been provided from a broad array of contributors, including: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bob Anderberg and Elaine LaFlamme, Brooks & Brooks Land Surveyors, Bruderhof, Butler Conservation Fund, Friends of the Shawangunks, Hugh Neil Zimmerman, Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, Rich Gottleib of Rock and Snow, Stewart's and Dake Family, Robin and Giorgios Vlamis, and Lucy Waletzky.

Creation of the Visitor Center is a public-private effort with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), with OSI spearheading a private fundraising campaign. Included in OSI’s commitment is the development of the building’s educational and interpretive offerings.

The Campaign for Minnewaska Visitor Center is accepting donations and offering opportunities to support the project in the form of exhibit sponsorships, legacy gifts, and gallery naming opportunities. The gift options will be prominently featured in the center’s final design. For more information and to donate to the campaign visit: www.minnewaskavisitorcenter.org

Help build Minnewaska Visitor Center

Minnewaska is a place unlike anywhere else in the world. But without a spot to gather, learn and prepare, too many visitors miss out on the richness of Minnewaska’s inspiring wonders. With your help, that’s about to change.

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Known for its dramatic cliffs, crystal clear sky lakes, and roaring waterfalls, Minnewaska State Park welcomes more than half a million visitors each year and has a huge impact on the economy as a tourist destination and local natural resource.

Since it was first protected and opened to the public, this popular destination has operated without a central location for the public to launch their excursions into the 24,000-acre park and miles of carriage roads and trails. The new park visitor center will provide restroom facilities, potable water and a place to ask questions or get hiking and biking tips from park staff.

Once complete, the Minnewaska Visitor Center will offer:

  • a welcome information desk to help visitors explore the park’s expansive trail network and other features;
  • drinking water stations and public restrooms;
  • a warming hearth to complement the use of the park during cold months;
  • an outdoor patio overlooking Lake Minnewaska where visitors can take in the park’s dramatic views; and
  • a classroom for education and interpretative programs.

Over the past four decades, OSI has protected nearly 33,000 acres on and along the Shawangunk Ridge in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties—including doubling the size of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Here, OSI is also supporting the creation of a local rail trail network, rebuilding Minnewaska’s Victorian-era carriage roads, working with New York State Parks to add a visitor center to Minnewaska and, in partnership with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, restored the Rosendale Trestle. This work, achieved with the support of local partners and generous donors has expanded parkland, created trails, preserved local viewsheds, and protected venerable farmland and wildlife habitats.

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