4,000 Acres Of New Parkland Proposed
Governor Cuomo’s 2020 plans to add 4,000 acres, totaling $20.6 state funding this year to add buffers, viewpoints and trails to seven state parks in the Mid-Hudson and conserve valuable ecological corridors. The funding is planned through the Environmental Protection Fund and Hudson Highlands Conservation Act..
“The Mid-Hudson Valley is home to some of our state’s most breathtaking natural resources and open space”, Cuomo said, “and we’re committed to ensuring these views and landscapes are protected for generations to come, and to build on our efforts to strengthen this world-class outdoor destination.”
State Parks will invest $11.4 million in Environmental Protection Fund and Hudson Highlands Conservation Act funding to six parks beginning in 2020, including:
- Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve – 965 acres. The new lands include two parcels: a 20-acre parcel that will create new trail routes, provide new views of West Point and the Hudson River, and connect Arden Point on the Hudson River with the remainder of Hudson Highlands State Park; and the 945-acre Scofield Ridge, which will protect the largest remaining private inholding in the Hudson Highlands, allow a public trail with breathtaking views and safeguard a significant ecological and biodiversity corridor through the 8,900-acre park in Dutchess and Putnam Counties.
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve – 633 acres. This includes several parcels and is a major addition to the northeastern section of Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County, protecting a wilderness gorge through which the Peterskill stream flows and several rocky summits, including Dickie Barre, Ronde Barre and portions of Rock Hill. The assemblage will increase recreational opportunities on the north end of the park and protect important views both from the park and the adjacent Rondout Valley. The acreage will also protect important wildlife habitat and prevent fragmentation of the forest in the northern Shawangunk Mountains. The 24,000-acre park in Ulster County is the third largest state park in New York.
- Schunnemunk State Park – 158 acres. This major addition to Schunnemunk State Park in Orange County will provide a critical link to an anticipated public trail between Schunnemunk State Park and Storm King Arts Center, while protecting Moodna Creek watershed. Schunnemunk State Park, now more than 4,000 acres, offers 360-degree views of adjacent valleys, the distant Hudson River and surrounding forest and farmlands. Schunnemunk State Park will add 808 acres. These lands permanently protect open space that had been targeted for major residential development and extend a significant conservation corridor between Black Rock Forest and Schunnemunk Mountain. New York State Parks has entered into a 10-year management agreement with the Open Space Institute to maintain the 702-acre “Legacy Ridge,” a forested parcel in Woodbury. OSI will manage the property, create a trailhead and add trails for public use and enjoyment.
- The preservation of nearly 2,000 acres of open space in the region is already underway with previously acquired parcels, including some of the largest tracts of privately held land in the Shawangunk Mountains and Hudson Highlands west of the Hudson River.
Photo by Edie Johnson