Just an hour-and-a-half drive from the heart of Manhattan, Minnewaska’s stunning geological features and abundant natural beauty have long attracted diverse users to its gates. With its dramatic cliffs, renowned carriage roads and devoted visitors, it’s easy to forget that Minnewaska State Park is less than 40 years old.
Over the past 30 years, by way of 121 transactions totaling $86 million, we and our partners have worked to more than double the size of Minnewaska, making it the state’s third-largest park.
All told, our transactions have added more than 12,000 acres to the state park, including key conservation areas such as:
- Sam’s Point, an area identified as one of the state’s Open Space Plan priority projects and one of the highest summits in the range
- The stunning and dramatic 100-ft Stony Kill Falls
- The Witch’s Hole Conservation Area, a deep ravine, stream and waterfalls
- Trapps Gateway, part of the Trapps escarpment and a climbing enthusiasts haven at Mohonk Preserve
Creating a network
Our fingerprints are also on the centerpiece of the park: Its 90-mile-long network of Victorian-era carriage roads connecting to Mohonk Preserve.
Over the past several years, we have fundraised and completed restoration on several of Minnewaska’s gentle, crushed bluestone paths the Hamilton Point Carriage Road, the Castle Point Carriage Road, the High Point Carriage Road and a portion of the Old Smiley Carriage Road.
With Mohonk Preserve, we also broke ground on the River to Ridge Trail, a six-mile loop that will allow hikers, cyclists and others direct access to 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve
In the end, visitors will be able to travel on our handiwork from New Paltz all the way to Sam’s Point, at the southern end of the park.
Building a legacy
In 2015, we launched a partnership with New York State that will grow on our work at Minnewaska and make the park even more accessible to new visitors.
When Governor Andrew unveiled a $7.3 million project to create a much-needed gateway experience at Minnewaska, we pledged to raise private funds towards a new visitor center that will help the park accommodate the growing number of visitors to the stunning park.
“The project at Minnewaska is the perfect example of how we are creating better access to New York’s great outdoors. I am grateful to OSI for their tireless support in preserving this dramatic landscape—and helping people to enjoy and appreciate it.”-Governor Andrew Cuomo
Capturing the park’s role
We also commissioned a visitor survey that revealed Minnewaska’s huge role as a regional tourism destination, with 52 percent of visitors originating from counties immediately outside the park, mainly from New York City.
The report demonstrates conclusively that Minnewaska’s dramatic cliffs and gorges and spectacular carriage roads attract diverse visitor groups and serve as an invaluable place to unwind.
Read The Pulse of Parks – Minnewaska State Park Preserve to learn more about the park’s unique role as a regional outdoors destination and important economic driver for local businesses.