Stories

Year-in-Review: OSI’s 2020 Successes

Photo Credit: Garry Tucker USFWS

In 2020, people came home to the land, and the land was there to welcome us.

In a year marked with extraordinary challenges and unrest, land and nature took center stage as people increasingly turned to the natural world for sanctuary, emotional strength, and physical wellbeing.

As the public flocked to the outdoors, OSI’s legacy of protecting millions of acres, and improving access to many beloved parks and lands, took on renewed meaning. People were coming home to the land, and the land was there to welcome us. In just one example, visitation to OSI’s River-to-Ridge Trail in New York’s breathtaking Shawangunk Mountains grew to over 200,000 — more than doubling the number of visitors from just last year.

In a turbulent year, OSI's land protection work was a source of refuge and wellbeing for countless people across eastern North America.
In a turbulent year, OSI's land protection work was a source of refuge and wellbeing for countless people across eastern North America.
Photo Credit: Robert Stone

During these highly turbulent times, OSI continued to promote and encourage the importance of land protection for the public’s benefit – whether it be for recreation and clean water, or to fight climate change and strengthen communities.

Despite the difficulties of working from home and social distancing, OSI is on target to protect 26,000 acres of forests, watersheds, and park additions. Moreover, we took on projects to improve access to nature and expand our reach into several key locations. In 2020, we:

  • Opened the Lake Minnewaska Visitor Center (memorialized in this stunning video) — this long-awaited amenity will help the park visitors better experience its stunning vistas, carriage roads, lakes and waterfalls. OSI raised $3 million for this exciting project, building on our 30 years of work at this flagship New York park more than doubling its size to 24,000 acres.
  • Negotiated the purchase of a dormant railroad line for the creation of the Essex-Hudson Greenway, an emerging nine-mile linear park in northern New Jersey.
  • Led the way to enacting the Great American Outdoors Act, with full funding for the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund.
  • Completed our seventh addition to South Carolina’s Francis Marion National Forest, where we have protected more than 8,000 acres across this precious landscape.
  • Accomplished a decade of promoting community forests, conserving more than 40,000 acres across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
  • Are on track to finalize our fourth large-scale conservation project in Georgia over the past three years, where we will have protected more than 31,500 acres of habitat for special species like the gopher tortoise, wood stork, eastern indigo snake, and many more species.

All in all, OSI’s work has touched Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Quebec province in Canada.

As 2020 draws to a close, our continued success depends on your support. Please consider a year-end gift to help OSI protect the land you love, and improve opportunities to explore the trails and forests it holds.

Together we can continue to make a difference.

Donate to Protect the Land You Love

Please consider a year-end gift to help continue our work protecting the land you love, and improving your access to it.

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Year-in-Review 2020: Protecting Watersheds and Drinking Water

By targeting key forests for conservation, in 2020 OSI kept its focus on protecting drinking water, the lifeblood of countless habitats and communities.