Acquisition of the Bashakill-South Road property is consistent with New York State’s Open Space Plan, which recommends protecting properties that keep forests intact while sustaining water quality, vital habitat, and scenic views in an area experiencing development pressure along Route 17 and Route 209.
The Bashakill-South Road property acquisition also advances 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 conserved land, 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 Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties.
Conservation of the Bashakill-South Road property also builds on land-protection projects OSI has completed in and around the area. For instance, OSI first conserved the Bashakill WMA in the 1970s, as one of its earliest land protection projects, and through subsequent projects increased the Bashakill WMA to its present size of more than 3,100 acres.
A state-designated Bird Conservation Area and popular destination for paddlers and hikers, the Bashakill WMA consists of the largest pristine freshwater wetland in southeastern New York. The WMA features 15 miles of walking trails, four observation towers, and five kayak and canoe launches, along with access to the historic Delaware & Hudson Canal Trail and Ontario & Western Canal Path and Rail Trail.
Looking ahead, OSI intends to convey the Bashakill-South Road property to New York State as an addition to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area.