Another Big Piece of the Shawangunk Ridge Is Preserved
Southern Gunks Greenway Project Scores Big Success
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, in partnership with the Open Space Institute (OSI) and Orange County Land Trust (OCLT), announces the purchase and preservation of 435 acres on the Shawangunk Ridge in Orange County, NY. The purchase was completed on July 17, 2012, with $600,000 invested by OSI and $450,000 by the Trail Conference, drawing on its donor-supported Land Acquisition and Stewardship Fund (LASF).
The property, known as Ridgeview, straddles the ridge north of I-84, in the Towns of Deerpark and Greenville. The land is a key parcel in a project to preserve a green corridor along the entire Shawangunk Mountains. The site includes four scenic lakes, offers wonderful views, and protects a segment of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail—a 40-mile footpath built by Trail Conference volunteers that connects High Point State Park in New Jersey and Minnewaska State Park Preserve in New York. It is expected that the land will be conveyed to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and added to the Huckleberry Ridge State Forest.
Gaylord Holmes, vice chair of the Trail Conference’s Board of Directors, said after the deal was closed: “The Trail Conference has every reason to be proud of the Ridgeview purchase. It preserves another large link in the Shawangunk Ridge Trail. It preserves a very attractive viewshed. And it preserves a part of a particularly valuable wildlife corridor. Andy Garrison, our very dedicated volunteer in the area, and Ed Goodell, executive director, were very effective in keeping track of opportunities to preserve this land and bringing together the people and organizations who could make it happen.”
Holmes continued: “We are pleased to once again work with our partners OSI, OCLT, and DEC on an important land protection project. This purchase adds to the 4,400 acres the Trail Conference has preserved with its Land Acquisition and Steward Fund, either by outright purchase or in partnership with the DEC and other agencies.”
The acquisition of the Ridgeview property is another big step toward the Trail Conference goal of preserving the Gunks Greenway from Port Jervis to the Catskills as a recreational resource for residents and visitors, a valuable habitat for wildlife, and a tourist attraction that brings business to local communities.
The Ridgeview parcel is within an area on the Shawangunk Ridge that extends approximately nine miles, from Otisville south to Port Jervis, and is the least protected stretch of the entire Kittatinny-Shawangunk Ridge in New York and New Jersey. This ridge section lies between 40,000 acres of permanently protected land in the northern Shawangunks and more than 105,000 acres of conservation land on the Kittatinny Ridge to the south in New Jersey.
In addition to drawing on its LASF for this purchase, Trail Conference work on the Gunks Greenway is supported by grants from the Conservation Alliance, a national group of outdoor recreation companies, and the Conservation Partnership Program of New York, administered by the DEC and Land Trust Alliance.