Over 500 Acres Protected on Shawangunk Ridge (NY)

Greenville, NY, July 11, 2003: The Trust for Public Land is pleased to join Governor George E. Pataki in announcing the preservation of more than 500 acres of critical open space in the Hudson Valley that contains scenic trails, rare ecosystems, and additional recreational opportunities. In an acquisition negotiated by the Trust for Public Land, 510 acres on the renowned Shawangunk Ridge in the towns of Greenville and Deerpark, Orange County, are now protected and will be managed as public forestland by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation. The acquisition is particularly significant because it marks the first protection project in recent years on the southern Shawangunk Ridge, near the New Jersey border. Until now protection efforts have focused on the more familiar northern part of the ridge, near the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and the southern part of the ridge is still largely unprotected.

“The Hudson Valley is renowned for unparalleled beauty, historical significance and treasured natural resources,” Governor Pataki said. “New York State’s ongoing investments to further protect the Shawangunk Ridge and to create additional opportunities for public enjoyment of the Hudson River will continue to benefit our environment and our economy.”

Under the leadership of Governor Pataki, New York State has preserved more than 412,000 acres of open space, resulting in increased recreational opportunities, preserving historic resources, strengthening local economies, and protecting valuable ecosystems.

“This property is a keystone of the southern Shawangunk Ridge and has long been a state priority for protection. The purchase of this land for public recreation was made possible by support from Governor Pataki, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin Crotty, and groups including the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference and the Shawangunk Ridge Coalition,” said Erik Kulleseid, New York State director for the Trust for Public Land.

New York State purchased 510 acres of undeveloped forest located on the Shawangunk Ridge in the towns of Greenville and Deerpark, Orange County. The property was purchased from the Fini Brothers Partnership for $703,000 and funded by the Environmental Protection Fund. DEC will manage the property as a reforestation area, which can be utilized for hunting, hiking, bird watching, nature study and sustainable forestry. The state will pay local taxes on the property.

The purchase also includes a portion of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, a hiking trail more than 30-miles long that traverses the geologically unique Ridge. The trail contains several scenic vantage points as it connects public lands from the western base of the Ridge at Bashakill Wildlife Management Area to Minnewaska State Park and the Mohonk Preserve along the northeast corner of the Ridge. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has identified the Shawangunk Ridge as one of the country’s “last great places” in recognition of its unique ecosystem and rare, endangered species habitat.

George Hossann Jr., Supervisor, Town of Greenville said, “I am pleased to find out that this land has been set aside. It will help to maintain the pristine beauty of our area, as well as keeping our spectacular view of the valley below. To save this for the future is a blessing to us all.”

James Chandler, Supervisor, Town of Deerpark said, “On behalf of the residents of the Town Deerpark we are grateful to Governor Pataki for the preservation of the open space land in the Town of Deerpark. Now the land can be enjoyed by generations to come because of Governor Pataki’s support of environmental sensitive areas.”

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty said, “Governor Pataki continues to demonstrate his commitment to protecting open space and providing additional opportunities to enjoy New York’s magnificent natural resources. Today’s announcement is an important part of our continuing efforts to protect the Hudson Valley’s critical open spaces.”

The Trust for Public Land and the Open Space Institute work in a joint venture partnership to protect land in New York State.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL’s has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states. In New York, TPL has protected more than 60,000 acres. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.

The Open Space Institute, also a nonprofit organization, serves to protect public land in New York State, and to support the efforts of citizen activists working to protect environmental quality in their communities. In less than two decades, OSI has protected more than 70,000 acres for public benefit across the State.