The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced the acquisition of land in the Town of Wawarsing permanently protecting a swath of scenic and highly visible land on the Shawangunk Ridge southeast of the Village of Ellenville. The site is renowned as one of the best hang-gliding locations on the east coast. Now permanently protected from future development, OSI’s acquisition safeguards the longstanding recreational use of the property, protects the local viewshed from adverse development, and is a critical step toward establishing regional trail connectivity of protected forested lands.
OSI purchased 64 acres of the property in Ulster County, which is located adjacent to the Bear Hill Preserve and the nearly 1,500-acre Shawangunk Ridge State Forest, for $500,000 from a conservation-minded landowner. An adjacent 16-acre parcel will be retained by a local hang-gliding organization subject to stringent conservation restrictions designed to allow continued use of the land for hang-gliding while protecting the property from adverse development.
The project was completed soon after OSI announced its acquisition of the 1,000-acre Shawangunk-Catskill Connector property, also located in the Town of Wawarsing. To protect the Shawangunk Ridge viewshed, OSI has protected more than 230 acres in the local area, including this project and five previously protected parcels.
“People visit our town from around the globe to hike, bike, and especially to hang glide at this world-famous location,” said the Town of Wawarsing Supervisor Terry Houck. “The scenic beauty of the Shawangunk Ridge and the surrounding areas, and the many outdoor activities these natural formations support, are a truly special quality of the area. I’m glad the Open Space Institute has permanently protected this property from development so that we can continue to enjoy outdoor recreation, a protected local viewshed and ecotourism.”