State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) traveled from Albany to Minnewaska State Park for the Governor's announcement of the purchase of 2,518 acres of land in the Towns of Gardiner, Wawarsing, and Shawangunk, Ulster County. The purchase of the Awosting Reserve land will enlarge Minnewaska State Park Preserve and protect scenic Reserve property that has long been sought after for development.
Senator Bonacic said, "This is a great day for our Senate District. For years, the people of this region have been fighting the over development of the Ridge and have passionately demonstrated their desire to preserve what brought so many of us here to begin with, including myself. For sometime, there have been bumper stickers in my district that say, "Save the Ridge". Today, that message has changed; We are Saving the Ridge."
Senator Bonacic noted, the Awosting Reserve and properties along the Shawangunk ridge are identified as priority projects in the state’s Open Space Plan. The state purchased the parkland from the Trust for Public Land who negotiated the agreement along with the Open Space Institute. The $17 million purchase is being supported through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. The Awosting Reserve occupies the southern slopes leading up to both the Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Preserves.
"Preserving our environment and the natural resources along the Shawangunk Ridge is important. Not only will we forever preserve this property, this year we also hope to create an 82 mile scenic byway along the Ridge to encourage tourism. Economic vitality and smart growth not only can be accomplished together, but they must be accomplished together," concluded Senator Bonacic.