Overlook Mountain, in Woodstock New York, may well be one of the most important and sacred mountains in the Catskill region, if not arguably all the northeast United States. The mountain acts as a major gateway to Catskill Forest Preserve, half a million acres and is also the closest Catskill Mountain trailhead to the New York City metropolitan area. Overlook Mountain is also the center of Tibetan Buddhism in North America and was recognized as a sacred site by the Iroquois Confederacy at the Council at Onondaga in 1979. It is also a breeding ground for the endangered Eastern Timber Rattler.
Recently, some amazing archaeological and historical discoveries have been made in the Lewis Hollow section of Overlook Mountain. Giant stone cairns there may be ancient and of native origin. A leading SUNY archaeologist examined the cairns and great cairns present on the property and exclaimed “they are some of the best preserved and well constructed examples I have seen”. Deep mysteries exist on Overlook Mountain; Mysteries that the Buddhists and Native Americans recognize. Mysteries connected to the stars and the cycle of nature and humankind. You can learn more about these discoveries here or learn more about the history of Overlook Mountain Click here
Forty years ago the land that is home to these impressive stone cairns was threatened by real estate development. To protect this land and prevent the development of a 20 home subdivision, three families joined together and purchased two large lots of land on Overlook Mountain. From then till now they kept the land wild and undeveloped, allowing people to wander freely. Unfortunately the owners, who were once so interested in conserving the land, are no longer interested in doing so. They have put this land on the market ad it is now for sale.
Right now a non-profit is trying to buy the property and establish the Overlook Mountain Interpretive Center and Preserve. The 82 areas of land are listed as two lots for $630,000. Without asking anyone, this new non-profit has already received voluntary commitments from local neighbors and other interested parties for nearly $50,000 towards the purchase and conservation of the land. The current owners would probably accept an offer considerably lower than the $630,000 asking price, if it were from a conservation-minded group.
The property is listed at $630,000 and this non-profit can apply for a matching grant from New York State of up to $315k. This means that if we can raise $315k, New York State could match us for that same amount -- putting the total raised at $630,000. However, the state grant is no sure thing, so we must try to raise as much as possible with any excess going toward creating a small interpretive center.
The proposal for this non-profit to purchase the land for conservation and establish an interpretive center has been presented to the Woodstock Town Supervisor and Town Board, who feel it is a worthwhile effort and would also qualify for financial support from the town’s open spaces and recreation fund. And, the town Code enforcement Officer has found the proposal is an approved use under current local zoning laws, as a cultural center, museum or library.
So, now is the time and the need is URGENT because at any time, a developer with deep pockets could purchase the property and plan to build a subdivision, forever scarring the land and disturbing the archeological, historical, cultural and nature features found there.
If this non profit can raise the funds to buy the land it will BE permanently protected as a historic site eligible for listing in the National Register, enabling the public to enjoy and learn from it, RATHER than it becoming a private paradise for a wealthy landowner. In addition to preserving the land, the non-profit plans to build the Overlook Mountain Interpretive Center, a small building where people can learn about the history, culture and wisdom Overlook Mountain has to offer. Nothing like this exists now on Overlook or in Woodstock.
The dedicated folks behind this project are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization incorporated in the state of New York They have spent the past year trying to find a way to save this property. Pro bono legal representation has been provided through the New York Lawyers for Public Interest www.nylpi.org, for the filing of the 501(c)3 certificate of incorporation. This IndieGoGo account is linked directly to the 501(c)3 bank escrow account and all the funds will go directly toward purchase of the property.
Even if IT RAISES the full amount and ends up with over $700,000, this isn't enough to build the interpretive center with exhibits and programming. But it will effectively put the property into the right hands so it can eventually be protected in a way that honors and reflects all that Overlook Mountain has given to people through time, and ensures that while Overlook Mountain will continue to serve the public good in the future, the good public will also serve The Mountain,
Internet, this is where you come in: Help Save Overlook Mountain and build the Overlook Mountain Interpretive Center to protect the mountain.
The Indiegogo campaign is linked directly to the bank account of Overlook Mountain Center, Inc. It is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization registered with the State of New York. More details about the campaign can be found over here.