West of the Hudson River, the adventurous summertime explorer finds Schunemunk Mountain State Park, Storm King State Park, Black Rock Forest and Sterling Forest—all parks and preserves that OSI helped protect over the last two decades.
Each site boasts its own unique natural features, showcasing the variety of landscapes one can cover in a day in New York State. At Schunnemunk it’s a seven-mile stretch of the Long Path, a 347-mile trail that in its entirety runs from sea level salt marshes up to 4,000-foot peaks in the Catskills. At Storm King, majestic high peaks simultaneously showcase the Hudson River and American history as well; at Black Rock, scientists study pristine wildlife habitat only an hour from New York City, and at Sterling Forest, thousands of protected acres help keep drinking water supplies clean for people in New York and New Jersey.
Each site is also a short drive from Harriman State Park, the second largest in the state park system and an attraction for many thousands of visitors every year. OSI encourages you to visit these parks this summer and discover everything the outdoors has to offer!
Schunemunk Mountain State Park
Since 1996, OSI has protected more than 3,000 acres at Schunemunk Mountain, Orange County’s highest peak, which the state opened to the public as Schunemunk State Park in 2004. A favorite spot for bird watching and enjoying magnificent views of the Hudson River, the Shawangunk Range, and the Catskills, Schunemunk and its 1,700-foot ridges offer some 25 miles of trails that lead hikers along some of the more challenging climbs in the region.
Storm King State Park
The steep hills of the 1,884-acre Storm King State Park also provide some of the best hiking terrain in the Hudson Valley. Its hills overlook one of the most prominent and historically significant stretches of the Hudson River, where American forces, at West Point, stopped the British from advancing northward and turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. In 2004, OSI secured a conservation easement on land that borders Storm King State Park on two sides and Black Rock Forest on another, and stands between natural lands and residential development, making its protection important for both natural areas.
Black Rock Forest
photo: Greg Miller
The The Black Rock Forest Consortium is an alliance of schools and universities, and scientific and cultural institutions that manage the nearly 4,000-acre Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, NY. Open to the public, the Forest is home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife and unspoiled habitat, and the Consortium provides scientific and educational programs dedicated to enhancing and protecting the expansive natural backdrop. About 25,000 hikers, students and researchers visit Black Rock Forest each year.
In the early 1990s OSI, together with The Trust for Public Land helped set aside the core of Sterling Forest, creating, at the time, the largest addition to the New York State Park system in 50 years.
Within 35 miles of New York City and other densely populated areas, Sterling Forest is an unbroken ecosystem of forests, streams and farmlands that encompasses the New York-New Jersey Highlands. The region is a geographic linchpin that helps to create a greenway between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, providing critical habitat for a variety of species including resident and migratory hawks, songbirds, and mammals such as black bear. OSI and TPL’s 1997 acquisition of 17,000 acres secured protection of the watershed that provides millions of New Jersey residents with clean drinking water.