DEC Commissioner Announces State Purchase of 330 Acres in the Catskill Park
Acquisitions Protect Resources, Enhance Recreation on Overlook Mountain
A prominent and popular Catskill mountain summit has been permanently protected in an acquisition completed recently by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. DEC has purchased 330 acres at Overlook Mountain in Woodstock, Ulster County.
“As one of the most recognizable landmarks on the eastern escarpment of the Catskill range that provides stunning backdrops to the Town of Woodstock, Overlook Mountain has long enjoyed a prominent place in America’s natural and cultural history,” Commissioner Grannis said. “DEC will continue to partner with local governments and land trusts to protect precious properties like Overlook Mountain throughout the Catskill Forest Preserve.”
Today’s announcement includes the acquisition of three properties: the 210-acre Woodstock Guild of Artist and Craftsmen parcel, the 92-acre Berg parcel, and the 28-acre Illjes parcel. The Woodstock Guild of Artist and Craftsmen parcel on Meads Mountain Road includes Meads Meadow, an extensive open area on the mountain’s southwestern flank that has long been a popular setting for experiencing the Catskills. The Berg and Illjes parcels lie on the steep southeastern side of the mountain and their protection will ensure preservation of the scenic values of this natural landmark throughout the Hudson Valley. All three parcels are adjacent to existing state forest preserve lands. DEC paid a total of $784,000 for the parcels using the Environmental Protection Fund.
The acquisitions will be added to DEC’s Overlook Mountain Wild Forest in the Catskill Forest Preserve and offer recreational opportunities that include hiking, hunting, trapping, and camping. Overlook Mountain is an important feature of the Catskill escarpment that is specifically identified in New York State’s Open Space Conservation Plan.
DEC was assisted in these land purchases by the Open Space Institute (OSI) and the Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC), two not-for-profit conservation organizations working closely with DEC to enhance open space protection efforts throughout the Catskills.
Jennifer Grossman, OSI’s Vice President of Land Acquisition, said: “Overlook Mountain has enjoyed a prominent place in America’s natural and cultural history, and is considered by many as the birthplace of the Hudson River School of Painting. Now, due to the successful partnership OSI has forged with DEC and the WLC, this eastern Catskill escarpment of commanding panoramic views will forever provide unique natural habitat for threatened wildlife and unmatched recreational opportunities for current and future generations of New Yorkers.”
Michael DeWan, past president of the WLC who led the “Save Overlook” campaign said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of hard work, and thanks are due to the hundreds of Woodstockers and folks from all over who responded to our call to protect our beloved Overlook. We are immensely grateful to be able to realize this long-held dream, now a reality, and for the people of the State of New York and beyond to enjoy its wild, rugged beauty forever.”