400 Acres Added by Governor Cuomo to Schunnemunk State Parkland Acquisition Will Expand Trails And Protect Habitats in Orange County
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday the addition of 400 acres to Schunnemunk State Park in Orange County. The property, purchased from the Open Space Institute, will expand year-round trail-based recreation and protect natural habitat in the Hudson Valley. Now at more than 3,300 acres. Schunnemunk State Park offers ridge-top views of the Hudson Highlands to the east, and the Shawangunks and Catskills to the west. The new parcel will expand of the region’s recreational trail network, preserve scenic views and protect the area from overdevelopment.
Located in the Moodna Creek Watershed area, which supplies drinking water to towns and villages in eastern Orange County, the property’s conservation furthers several long-term open space planning and protection efforts in the area, such as the Moodna Creek Watershed Conservation and Management Plan, the Orange County Open Space Plan and the Southern Wallkill Biodiversity Plan.
The area is currently a scenic favorite for many long-distance hikers traveling on the 150-mile “Highlands Trail” and the 357-mile “Long Path”.
“New York’s long and rich history of environmental stewardship and protecting and preserving New York’s natural resources is more important now than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “By expanding Schunnemunk State Park, we offer visitors and Orange County residents alike the chance to explore the Hudson Valley’s stunning scenic beauty now and for generations to come.”
“This latest addition to Schunnemunk expands recreational opportunities, supports wildlife habitat and protects clean water in one of the state’s fastest growing regions,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO “This project underscores the importance of the New York’s Environmental Protection Fund in protecting the state’s vital natural resources, and we are grateful for the continued support for the fund by Governor Cuomo and members of the state legislature. We also thank The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation for their support in protecting the land.”
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said, “Schunnemunk State Park is a jewel of the Hudson Valley and with the addition of 400 acres to this great natural resource, we help to protect the land for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to preserving New York’s vital resources for residents and visitors alike.”
Funding from the Environmental Protection Fund allowed the State Parks Department to acquire the parcel for $806,000. The 2017-18 State Budget includes $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, providing record funding for open space protection, parkland stewardship, environmental justice, invasive species removal, and other environmental protection projects.