PINE BUSH, NY—Building on its four-decade commitment to Minnewaska State Park, the Open Space Institute (OSI) is celebrating the addition of scenic lands to the world-renowned park preserve. The property, originally secured by OSI, contains picturesque waterfalls and is the largest addition to the Sam’s Point section of Minnewaska in more than 20 years.
The 640-acre “South Escarpment” property is visible throughout much of the Hudson River Valley. Adjacent to the well-known Ellenville Ice Caves, the parcel’s acquisition by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will allow enhanced trail access to Sam’s Point via the eastern slope of the Shawangunk Ridge.
“OSI is proud to transfer the South Escarpment property to New York State as a cherished addition to Sam’s Point Preserve,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “The South Escarpment property will significantly enrich opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts while preserving the globally rare pine barrens ecosystem for generations to come.”
Once the largest remaining tract of privately-held open space on the Shawangunk Ridge before OSI protected it in 2016, the South Escarpment property also safeguards a major portion of the Verkeederkill stream, which drains the eastern side of the Sam’s Point plateau and tumbles down a series of magnificent waterfalls and cascades that have delighted generations of outdoor enthusiasts.
With its transfer to the state, the South Escarpment property brings the amount of land protected by OSI and added to Sam’s Point to more than 10,000 acres, including virtually all of the area’s globally-rare pitch pines.
The project is also OSI’s latest success in building Minnewaska, a recreational mecca visited by nearly half a million people every year. Over the past four decades, through a series of expansions spearheaded by OSI, Minnewaska is now the third-largest state park in New York. Today, OSI is restoring carriage roads and working with New York State Parks to create a new Minnewaska visitor center.
Situated atop the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, the 23,000-acre park preserve features dozens of panoramic views of the Hudson Highlands, Catskill Mountains and the farmland of the Wallkill and Rondout Valleys. It also features impressive sky lakes and waterfalls, and is a world-class rock-climbing location.
With 35 miles of historic carriage roads and nearly 40 miles of footpaths, the park welcomes a wide range of hikers and bikers. Naturalists also enjoy the park’s globally-rare, high-altitude pitch pine barrens, which along with the matrix of chestnut oak forest that surrounds them, provide habitat for abundant flora and fauna, both rare and common.