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For Release: Monday, June 3, 2013

State Purchases 266 Acres in the Catskill Park

Acquisition Protects Resources, Enhances Recreation on Overlook Mountain

New York State recently purchased 266 acres of land on the upper reaches of one of the most prominent and popular summits, Overlook Mountain, in the Catskill Park in the Town of Woodstock in Ulster County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"By increasing open space funding by $2.5 million in this year's budget, Governor Cuomo has placed a priority on preserving and conserving New York's natural resources," Commissioner Martens said. "As one of the most recognizable landmarks on the eastern escarpment of the Catskill range, Overlook Mountain has long enjoyed a prominent place in America's natural and cultural history. It also provides a stunning backdrop to the Town of Woodstock. We will continue to work with local governments and land trusts to protect properties in the Catskills."

DEC purchased the property from the Open Space Institute for $857,800, which was paid from the Environmental Protection Fund. The acquisition included two properties: the 191-acre California Quarry property formerly owned by the Town of Woodstock and the 75-acre KTD property, both of which were previously purchased by the Open Space Institute. Both properties will be added DEC's Overlook Mountain Wild Forest in the Catskill Forest Preserve. DEC will pay full property taxes on the land.

"This acquisition expands the Overlook Wild Forest and protects important habitat and watershed in the eastern Catskill Park," said Kim Elliman, the president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. "Just as important, it permanently protects the magnificent views of Overlook Mountain from the Town of Woodstock and surrounding areas in the Hudson River Valley."

"This acquisition will provide significant protection of the south face of Overlook Mountain, the dominant landscape feature in Woodstock, and will be appreciated by generations of Woodstock residents," said Town of Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilbur.

"The Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) is delighted that these two significant acquisitions have been conveyed to New York State," said Patricia Goodwin, President of WLC. "Both are products of WLC's highly successful public-private partnership on the Save Overlook campaign with the Open Space Institute and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. These lands have breathtaking views of the southeastern Catskills, Shawangunk Ridge and Hudson Valley."

Ingrid Haeckl, a biologist with Hudsonia, said, "These parcels expand the area protected in one of the largest intact Catskill forest cores and provide important habitat for far-ranging animals including black bear, bobcat and timber rattlesnake. The California Quarry parcels include significant valuable crest, ledge and talus habitat, and high quality areas of chestnut oak woodland, as well as numerous small wetlands on the ledges. Protection of those parcels also protects significant cultural assets, including large old bluestone quarries."

Overlook Mountain is an important feature of the Catskill escarpment that is specifically identified in New York State's Open Space Plan. Both of these parcels are adjacent to existing forest preserve lands and were identified in the DEC's Overlook Mountain Wild Forest Unit Management Plan as critical high elevation parcels.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is committed to preserving open space by acquiring land across the state and opening it to the public. Guided by the New York Open Space plan, conserving open space provides environmental and economic benefits through sound land management and preservation while increasing recreational tourism opportunities.

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