Land Purchase Protects Shawangunk Ridge Trail Section in Orange County
Orange County Land Trust: Jim Delaune, Executive Director 845.469.0951 x13
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference: Edward Goodell, Executive Director 201.512.9348
Sixty-seven acres in the Shawangunk Ridge towns of Greenville and Deerpark in Orange County, NY adjacent to the 1,500-acre Huckleberry Ridge State Forest have been preserved as a result of a purchase by three organizations with an interest in open space protection. The purchase protects the route of a section of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, which currently traverses the properties.
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and the Open Space Institute, together funded the acquisition of the two parcels. The land will be held and managed by the Orange County Land Trust, which also facilitated the purchase process. The purchase was finalized November 3, 2014.
The 70-mile Shawangunk Ridge Trail extends from High Point State Park in New Jersey nearly to Rosendale in New York, and links with the Appalachian Trail and Long Path.
The entire Shawangunk Ridge is listed in the New York State’s 2010 and Revised Draft 2014 Open Space Plan as a Regional Priority Conservation Project. Other Trail Conference-owned parcels on the Ridge have been purchased by the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation and managed as state forest. The expectation is the same will happen with this and other of our holdings on the Ridge when the land acquisition portion of the Environmental Protection Fund is restored to appropriate levels.
Trail Conference Executive Director Ed Goodell says of the purchase, “Protecting the Shawangunk Ridge Trail is one of our Conservation Committee’s priority projects and, working with our partners, we have been very successful in protecting land along it and moving many miles of the trail from roadways. This acquisition is another success in that project, and we thank all who made it possible. The volunteers on our committee deserve our special thanks. Currently, well over half of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail is protected. In addition, we have assisted in the creation of two new state forests on the Shawangunk Ridge: Huckleberry Ridge and Graham Mountain. State Forests.”
Orange County Land Trust Executive Director Jim Delaune said: “We are pleased to have worked with our partners in conservation in securing public access to a portion of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail while protecting some of Orange County’s most stunning landscapes atop the Shawangunk Ridge. With the support of the County Executive and Legislature, the Land Trust was able to participate in and help to facilitate this transaction."
DEC Regional Director Martin Brand said: “DEC applauds the work of our partners in conservation, the Orange County Land Trust, the Open Space Institute and the NY-NJ Trail Conference in conserving yet another critical property on the Shawangunk Ridge. This acquisition will help conserve the outstanding biodiversity of the ridge as well as provide tremendous recreational opportunities, including hiking, hunting and wildlife observation for the public.”
Click here to learn more about the Gunks Greenway preservation project.