Pristine Habitat Lands Given to Black Rock Forest to Celebrate Their 20 Years

Image Credit: Greg Miller

NEW YORK, NY — May 13, 2009 — The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today the donation of 18 acres of forestland brimming with old growth hemlock trees to Black Rock Forest Consortium. OSI is making the donation of 14-plus acres on Sackett Ridge and a 3.6-acre conservation easement on the grounds of Storm King School to honor the 20th anniversary of Black Rock Forest Consortium.

“OSI is proud of its longstanding partnership with Black Rock Forest and is delighted to make this donation on the Consortium’s 20th anniversary,” said Joe Martens, OSI’s president. “The Consortium is a leader in understanding forest ecology based on solid science, long-term research and monitoring at Black Rock Forest and this donation ensures responsible stewardship for these lands.”

The Black Rock Forest Consortium is an alliance of schools and universities, and scientific and cultural institutions that manage the nearly 4,000-acre Black Rock Forest, located in Cornwall, NY, only 50 miles north of New York City. Open to the public, the Forest is home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife and unspoiled habitat, and the Consortium provides scientific and educational programs dedicated to enhancing and protecting the expansive natural backdrop.

Today’s donation marks another step in OSI’s ongoing efforts to preserve the special open spaces of the Hudson Highlands and Hudson River Valley, where it has protected more than 100,000 acres over 34 years. Across New York State, OSI has created and expanded parks and publically accessible recreation areas, protected farm and forestland, and preserved historic treasures.

The Sackett Ridge parcel had been a private inholding that was not acquired when Ernest Stillman founded the Forest in 1928. OSI acquired the property—which was a high priority for conservation due to its location high on a sensitive ridgeline, surrounded by the Forest’s Canterbury Brook Ecological Reserve—in 2004, and the Black Rock Forest Consortium agreed to manage it as part of the Forest. OSI acquired the easement on the nearby Storm King School property in 2005, ensuring that the land, located at the entrance to the Forest, would never be developed. The parcel adjoins Storm King State Park on two sides, standing between natural lands and residential development.

“This is a wonderful donation, of strategically situated property, both for the ecological health of the Black Rock Forest and, in turn, the surrounding region,” said William Schuster, the executive director of the Consortium. “The preservation of these properties prevents forest fragmentation and ensures habitat connectivity to sustain populations of native species now threatened across our region, and it will also help protect local stream water quality.
“We are most grateful for OSI’s ability to identify the most important parcels for conservation, for their dedication to preserving these properties, and in this instance for donating them to be managed as part of our larger forest ecosystem,” he said.

About 25,000 hikers, students and researchers visit Black Rock Forest each year.

“It is especially meaningful to us that the Open Space Institute has turned these parcels over to Black Rock Forest Consortium as we celebrate our 20th anniversary,” said Sibyl R. Golden, the Consortium’s chair. “We appreciate OSI’s generosity, and their confidence that we will be worthy stewards of this ecologically significant land.”

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