Stories

Year in Review 2022: Improving Parks and Increasing Access

In 2022, OSI expanded on a half-century legacy of helping people of all backgrounds enjoy and access parks and protected lands. 

In northern New Jersey, OSI joined with state leaders to celebrate the $65 million purchase of a former nine-mile rail line, setting the stage for a transformative linear park that will be on par with — if not more significant than — the New York City Highline. New Jersey’s single largest conservation investment ever, the Greenway project was secured thanks to the land protection and transactional expertise of OSI. And just a few short weeks later, OSI built on this announcement with a second former railway project, in Bergen County, for the eventual creation of a greenway.

In New York, OSI championed an exciting publication aimed at making parks and open space more accessible for visitors of all backgrounds. Open Spaces for All features recommendations from more than 200 diverse representatives of community groups, government agencies, businesses, and other experts from across the state.

In the Southeast, an OSI acquisition succeeded in doubling the size of Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park and providing additional protection for some of the most significant prehistoric Indigenous mounds in North America. The newly protected 951-acre addition, which includes sacred ancestral lands of the Muskogean people, was under threat of industrial development before OSI negotiated a deal for its purchase.

West Point engineering faculty and cadets gather at Harriman to celebrate the completion of their fifth trail bridge, under an ongoing partnership with OSI.
West Point engineering faculty and cadets gather at Harriman to celebrate the completion of their fifth trail bridge, under an ongoing partnership with OSI.
Image Credit: Peter Karis

Along South Carolina’s Black River, community partners celebrated the release of a Master Plan for the Black River Initiative, a 70-mile-long network of 12 parks connected by a recreational water trail. The project, spearheaded by OSI, features South Carolina’s first new state park in 20 years — on land secured by OSI — and furthers a multi-year effort to reconnect residents to the river in their backyard. A beautiful video and Story Map provide more information about the exciting initiative.

In New York’s Hudson Valley, OSI announced its latest improvements to some of the state’s most popular recreational destinations. OSI celebrated the opening of a $1.5 million project to overhaul 9.5 miles of multi-use trails at Fahnestock State Park; began restoration of Minnewaska’s High Point Carriage Road; added 200 acres to Schunnemunk and Fahnestock state parks; unveiled improvements to the Glenclyffe Loop Trail adjacent to Hudson Highlands State Park; and again partnered with West Point engineering cadets to construct a trail bridge at Harriman State Park. OSI’s work on greenway trails continued apace, with projects to improve a 5.5-mile section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and rebuild two sections of the O&W Rail Trail.

Finally, OSI continued to make headlines in northern New York’s beautiful Adirondacks region, by securing land adjacent to Rockwood State Forest and welcoming more and more visitors to its revitalized Adirondack Upper Works property. Since the official unveiling last year of a suite of trail and parking area renovations aimed at improving public access at Upper Works, OSI has continued to make enhancements, including wayfinding signage, that better welcome and guide visitors to the area.

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