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#60782 - 10/05/11 06:16 PM Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres
pda Offline
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Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
OSI to Protect 1,000 Acres of the Shawangunks Ridge and Farmlands

Van Alst, Shawangunks, ny

Two acquisitions will conserve more than 1,000 acres at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge west of New Paltz, New York.

NEW YORK, NY — September 14, 2011 — The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today that it had completed the acquisition of 874 acres of historic and scenic lands on the eastern escarpment of the Shawangunk Ridge from Smiley Brothers, Inc. (SBI), the family that has owned and operated the historic Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY for 142 years.

The property, which was acquired by the Open Space Conservancy, OSI's land acquisition affiliate, includes three historic farms, hundreds of acres of open fields, rolling forested hills and streams, and important segments of a historic carriage road system that dates back to the late 1800s.

OSI also announced today that it is under contract to acquire 144 additional acres of farmland from the Valley Farms Corporation, owned by Jehovah's Witnesses. These lands, which sit along the western bank of the Wallkill River, have been farmed for hundreds of years, and include the extensive agricultural "flats" that lie between the village of New Paltz and the Shawangunk Ridge.

The Valley Farms transaction is expected to be completed within two weeks. Once it is finalized, OSI—through the two acquisitions—will have protected more than 1,000 acres along one of the Hudson Valley's most prolific landscapes.

"The Smiley Brothers property that is being preserved by OSI represents part of the iconic views which are the symbol of New Paltz," said Toni Hokanson, the New Paltz town supervisor. "This property is ranked near the top of the town's Open Space Plan, and I am thrilled that OSI has also found this a priority. This purchase by OSI keeps the town's Open Space funding available for other locations. We are pleased to have OSI as a partner in accomplishing our Open Space Plan goals."

The Smiley lands were acquired today in two separate parcels. The first, which includes the four-story stone Testimonial Gateway at the intersection of Gatehouse Road and Route 299, is an 857-acre expanse along Route 299, Butterville Road, Gatehouse Road and Pine Road west of the village of New Paltz.

The second Smiley parcel is a 17-acre tract of forested land located near the entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve in the town of Rochester. This parcel includes the last stretch of historic, Victorian-era carriage road connecting the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve that is still in private ownership.

Together, the Smiley and Valley Farms acquisitions will not only protect one of the last large tracts of open space on the Shawangunk Ridge, but also account for (and protect) more than 30 percent of the active farmland in the 12,000-resident town of New Paltz. The now permanently preserved landscape forms much of the open space for the western portion of the town of New Paltz, and represents one of the largest and most high-profile land transfers in the Hudson Valley in recent years.

"These lands, thanks to the good management of their owners, offer an opportunity to pursue an agricultural landscape and economy while providing both residents and tourists exceptional vistas from the Shawangunk Ridge, the Wallkill River and the town of New Paltz," said Kim Elliman, OSI's president and CEO. "This transaction is a win for both local and New York State residents in terms of preserved farmland, protected vistas and continued employment and economic activity. We at OSI have been delighted to work with such enlightened landowners as the Smiley family and the Valley Farms Corporation."

The two acquisitions also continue OSI's longstanding conservation initiative along the 50-mile Shawangunk Ridge, which stretches from Rosendale south to Port Jervis in Orange County. Over the past 25 years, OSI has protected important ridgetop lands that are now part of the Mohonk Preserve, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the Sam's Point Preserve, and the New York State forest preserve. OSI has also protected 27 active farms, totaling more than 4,500 acres, in the two valleys—the Rondout and the Wallkill—that straddle the Shawangunk Ridge.

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#60783 - 10/05/11 06:23 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: pda]
pda Offline
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Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
Can you believe how brazen these guys are?
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"We are delighted to partner with OSI and the Mohonk Preserve to ensure the protection of this iconic landscape for future generations," said Albert Smiley, president of SBI. "We are taking this step to guarantee the necessary stewardship of the land for public recreation, education, environmental research and to support the continuation of sustainable community farming operations."

OSI has submitted the proposed acquisition to the town of New Paltz Planning Board so that the lands can be subdivided from the balance of the SBI lands. Because the property is being acquired for preservation and will be accessible to the public for recreational and educational use, no development of the property is being proposed. OSI also anticipates continuing the long-term agricultural use of the property, which until World War II provided much of the food for the guests of Mohonk Mountain House.

This acquisition continues OSI's longstanding initiative for the preservation of land along the 50-mile Shawangunk Ridge, which stretches from Rosendale, NY south to Port Jervis in Orange County. Over the past 25 years, OSI has protected important ridgetop lands that are now part of the Mohonk Preserve, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the Sam's Point Preserve and the New York State forest preserve. OSI has also protected 20 active farms in the two valleys—the Rondout and the Wallkill—that straddle the Shawangunk Ridge.

"OSI and the Smiley family have long been tremendous partners with us in preserving special places in the Gunks," said Mohonk Preserve Executive Director Glenn Hoagland. "We are committed to a high-level collaboration with OSI to ensure active conservation and public use of this culturally and environmentally significant landscape."

"It is hard to imagine a more enduring legacy than the permanent conservation protection of the Mohonk Mountain House lands on the Shawangunk Ridge, and the opportunity to protect the land is a testament to the Smileys' enlightened stewardship," said Kim Elliman, OSI's president and CEO. "These lands capture the majesty of the Gunks, and OSI is honored to play a role, in conjunction with the Mohonk Preserve, in their permanent protection and in keeping them accessible to the public."

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#60786 - 10/05/11 08:07 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: pda]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2674
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Thanks for posting this, pda.

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#60788 - 10/05/11 08:18 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: pda]
pda Offline
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Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
OSI also announced today that it is under contract to acquire 144 additional acres of farmland from the Valley Farms Corporation, owned by Jehovah's Witnesses. These lands, which sit along the western bank of the Wallkill River . . .


Is this the land out by Watchtower Farms on Red Mills Rd? Not clear from the announcement. That place sure has seen some high density development.

Or maybe not as it is described as between New Paltz village and the river.

I wonder if they pay taxes?

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#60791 - 10/06/11 12:14 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: pda]
SnowJunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/14/06
Posts: 26
Loc: NY
Isn't this old news and hasn't it been discussed ad nauseam already by the usual suspects (MPA, etc)?

I for one am happy to see news like this. Now that land will be preserved and protected from development.
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#60792 - 10/06/11 12:22 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: SnowJunkie]
SethG Offline
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 680
Loc: NYC
Wait, I thought pda was kidding.
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#60793 - 10/06/11 12:42 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: SethG]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2776
Loc: Gardiner, NY
good on OSI. ever wonder why there aren't any gas stations in Gardiner outside Ireland Corners? Open Space trumps that and many other things. So are the wishes of a great many local residents who love and have shaped our town.

and by the way, believe what Don Perry says. he has done his homework. he might be too verbose for some, but I enjoyed reading his informative posts that hit the nail on the head, making certain people uncomfortable. I would have posted much the same information, had I the time. Don, like me, is an independent thinker, not a sheep to be led around by just anyone on their soapbox with their own agenda.
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#60794 - 10/06/11 02:41 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: phlan]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5935
Loc: 212 land
How does a purchase become a "land grab"?
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#60795 - 10/06/11 03:32 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: oenophore]
pda Offline
addict

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
oenophore - let me walk through the logic for you

According to Glenn Hoagland, OSI is partners with the Mohonk Preserve. As we have learned from Kent and MPNA, the MP acquires land through underhanded and nefarious means including the use of quitclaim deeds. Ergo, there must be something underhanded about this deal. Here they are during a real estate bust snapping up agricultural land that has been farmed for centuries and land sanctified by our churches. As if that is not enough, they will claim the legal right to tax-free ownership due to their non-profit preservation status under NY State Law.

In short - its a land grab.

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#60796 - 10/06/11 03:36 PM Re: Another OSI Land Grab - 1,000 acres [Re: pda]
SethG Offline
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 680
Loc: NYC
This word "logic." I do not think it means what you think it means.
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