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Open Space Institute protects over 2,100 acres on the Shawangunk Ridge

WAWARSING, NY (Aug. 9, 2001)—Today the Open Space Institute (OSI) and its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy (OSC; formerly known as the Beaverkill Conservancy) announced the acquisition of 2,100 acres of mountainous land on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, NY. Acquired in seven separate land transactions over the last eight months,the lands protect a significant swath of the western escarpment of the Shawangunk Ridge adjacent to Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

The largest single parcel, acquired from a Ukrainian civic organization, was purchased on August 9, and ties together a longstanding effort to protect a major assemblage adjacent to existing park and preserve lands. The 1,366-acre Shevchenko parcel lies on the western boundary of Minnewaska State Park and northeast of the Sam's Point Dwarf Pine Preserve. The property contains four major streams (the Little Stony Kill, Mine Hole Hollow Brook, Jumping Brook and the Disappearing Brook), numerous waterfalls and several hundred acres of ecologically unique dwarf pitch pine barrens.

The newly protected lands include some of the most scenic lands in the Shawangunks. The 2,100 acres, located northeast of the Sam's' Point Preserve (acquired by OSI in 1997), protects a craggy viewpoint known as Napanoch Point, and two secluded valleys, a portion of the Witch's Hole and the Mine Hole Hollow. Also protected is a stretch of historic carriage road built in 1900 known as the Old Smiley Road, and the site of a former monastery below Sam's Point known as Mt. Don Bosco.

“These acquisitions compliment OSI's longstanding commitment to protecting ecologically and recreationally important lands in the Shawangunks,” said Joe Martens, the President of OSI. “These lands will now be available to the public for passive recreational use, including hiking and hunting, and will be a key addition to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.”

The other lands acquired by OSC include 209 acres owned by the Town of Wawarsing, a nearly 300-acre parcel owned by a Napanoch resident, lands of the Catholic Church, and acreage in the area of Stony Kill Falls. “OSI has made a significant commitment to protecting the natural beauty of Wawarsing's land and waters, and making them available to the hunting, fishing and hiking communities,” said Dr. Richard Craft, Supervisor of the Town of Wawarsing.

The Open Space Conservancy's Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund funded six of the seven transactions. The seventh, the Stony Kill Falls transaction, was made possible with loans from the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

“We are thrilled with OSI's accomplishments,” said Carol Ash, Executive Director, Palisades Interstate Park Commission. “These additional acres will protect the ecological diversity of the Shawangunk Ridge.”

Since 1985, OSI has protected nearly 17,000 acres on and around the Shawangunk Ridge, including the nearly 4,700 acre Sam's Point Preserve, the 5,400-acre Lundy Estate, thousands of acres of land in the Southern Shawangunks between Routes 52 and 17, and important acreage adjacent to the Mohonk Preserve.

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