HUDSON VALLEY, NY – On the heels of the announcement of a new state park honoring Sojourner Truth, nearly 1,200 acres of open space have been added to three Hudson Valley state parks.
The new park includes 946 acres at Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve in Dutchess and Putnam counties, 179 acres at Schunnemunk State Park in Orange County, and a 33-acre property that will provide better access to the adjacent Appalachian Trail and near Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park In Putnam County.
Hochul said one of his favorite pastimes is exploring the different activities and breathtaking views in state parks, and the extra square footage will provide even more beautiful views and trails for New Yorkers.
“Preserving open spaces and expanding our parks also helps protect the environment, create new access for outdoor recreation and boost the local economy,” she said. “Our state parks are among New York’s greatest natural treasures – and I’m excited to expand access to the great outdoors for future generations.”
The new lands include 926 acres of Scofield Ridge, which is the largest remaining private tract in the Hudson Highlands and an important ecological and biodiversity corridor through the 8,900-acre park. Scofield Ridge was purchased from Scenic Hudson, connects Breakneck and Fishkill ridges, and permanently protects portions of the Wilkinson Memorial, Notch, and Breakneck Ridge trails. These are public trails maintained by state parks, with volunteers from the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference.
State Parks has acquired a 179-acre property in the City of Cornwall from the Open Space Institute that will expand trail connections and protect a major Orange County watershed containing important wildlife habitat. The property will be part of a future critical trail connection between Schunnemunk State Park, Black Rock Nonprofit Forest, and Storm King State Park. Longer term plans for a rail trail through Orange County would allow this trail connection to extend further south to Goosepond State Park.
The 33-acre property adjacent to the Appalachian trial will be added to Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park. The addition provides a crucial buffer to the historic Appalachian Trail from future residential development and protects the area’s natural resources for wildlife habitat. The property, also acquired from OSI, includes an old farm road that has the potential to provide safe off-road parking and a new trailhead, giving hikers, runners and cyclists a new entry point into the park. Fahnestock State Trail and the Appalachian Trail.
State Parks has partnered with Scenic Hudson Land Trust to protect the lands of Scofield Ridge and the Open Space Institute to protect the lands of Arden Point, Schunnemunk and Fahnestock State Parks. A combination of $9.7 million in funding from the state Environmental Protection Fund and the federal Uplands Conservation Act Fund was used to acquire the four parcels.