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Sam's Point Preserve
Cragsmoor, New York

"One of America's
Last Great Places

The Nature Conservancy

Sam's Point Preserve is is a 4,600-acre tract containing one of the best examples of a ridgetop dwarf pine barrens in the world. It is part of the 90,000 acre Northern Shawangunk Mountains, whose cliffs, summits and plateaus form a unique landscape of extraordinary ecological significance. Home to nearly 40 rare plants and natural species, and three rare natural communities, the Northern Shawangunks are one of the highest priority areas for conservation in the northeastern United States, and has been designated a "Last Great Place" on Earth by The Nature Conservancy.
Survey Team Visits
April 13, 2002

With very few ridgetop dwarf pine barrens remaining in the world, Sam's Poit Preserve offers a unique opportunity to protect one of the East's most endangered ecosystems. As the name implies, barrens are often less fertile areas, with a sparse canopy of stunted trees and shrubby understory. In the Shawangunk pine barrens, pitch pine is the dominant tree, while blueberry, huckleberry andsheep laurel comprise most of the shrub layer. Other species such as wintergreen, wild lily-of-the-valley and a diversity of moss species serve as a ground cover nestled underneath and amidst the dense shrubs.
The Nature Conservancy
Eastern New York Chapter
200 Broadway, 3rd floor
Troy, NY 12180

Open Space Institute, Inc.
666 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

A variety of factors contribute to the existence of a ridgetop pine barrens on the Shawangunk Ridge, including limited water during the growing season, exposure to direct sun and wind, shallow, highly erodible soils, and the regular occurrence of fires. All these conditions, and perhaps yet unknown factors, have historically worked together to shape the plant and animal communities that thrive there today. Although land protection is the first step, scientists and stewards must work together to better understand the ecosystem, and to introduce effective management tools and strategies on the Ridge.
Dwarf Pitch Pine
Sam's Point Preserve

PHOTO FBreglia 4/13/02

In 1997, after nearly 25 years of negotiations, the Open Space Institute secured protection of the ecologically important area, with assistance from the Lila Acheson and Dewitt Wallace Fund for theHudson Highlands. The Nature Conservancy assisted in forging the deal, and manages the property as a nature preserve. Special thanks go to other partners who made protection of Sam's Point possible: Cragsmoor Association, Friends of the Shawangunks, {alisades Interstate Park Commission, the Village of Ellenville, and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

As manager of the Ridge, The Nature Conservancy is just beginning to implement the necessary steps to manage and maintain this healthy ridgetop pine barrens while providing a resource for public education and enjoyment.

The Earth Restoration and Reforestation Alliance www.championtrees.org updated 4/14/2003