Known for protecting significant and at-risk landscapes, the Open Space Institute also promotes safe, inviting, and sustainable recreational access to public lands. In New York’s Ulster County, these mutual OSI objectives are at the heart of two new projects that will better connect people with the incomparable treasures OSI has protected on the Shawangunk Ridge over the last 30 years.
A new “River-to-Ridge Trail,” will connect the Village of New Paltz and the Walkill Valley Rail Trail to the foothills of the Mohonk Preserve. Further up the Ridge, OSI is restoring portions of the historic Smiley and High Point carriage roads, improving the connection between lower Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Sam’s Point.
When the Smiley Road is reconstruction and the River to Ridge trail completed, OSI envisions a unified trail network surrounding and crossing the Shawangunk Ridge that will total 116 miles in length.
Accomplished with lead support from the Butler Conservation Fund, these projects will deepen the public’s connection with stunning landscapes and create a world-class network of interconnected trails.
“The land conservation work OSI and our partners have achieved over the past four decades has permanently protected this marvelous Ridge and surrounding landscapes. These new endeavors will expand the public’s recreational opportunities and further connect us to one of the region’s main population centers,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO.