New York, NY - April 24, 2015 - The New York
State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and
the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that two properties totaling 270
acres in Putnam County that had been threatened by development will be added to
Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, expanding outdoor recreational
opportunities and open space protection in the Hudson Highlands.
announcement is in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo
proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment and
accomplishments to protecting
our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state’s vast
and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.
the first of the two properties, 235-acre “Roaring Brook,” which will provide
valuable habitat for sensitive plants and animals and further expand the park’s
abundant recreational offerings. State Parks purchased a second 35-acre parcel
that will buffer the southern end of the park.
Fahnestock Memorial State Park is a jewel of the Hudson Highlands. As we
celebrate Earth Week, it is fitting that we are protecting these scenic lands,
expanding the tremendous recreational opportunities in the region, and contributing
to clean air and water,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “New York is
very fortunate to have Governor Cuomo’s commitment to expanding public access
to outdoor recreation, as well as the partnership of the Open Space Institute
for helping us to preserve our state’s magnificent places.”
Hudson Highlands are a nationally recognized landscape whose scenic allure is
encapsulated by this future addition to Fahnestock State Park,” said Kim
Elliman, OSI’s President and CEO. “We are grateful to our partners, including State
Parks and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, for helping us realize this
conservation achievement, and we also acknowledge the hard work and
perseverance of the community members who rallied for its preservation.”
will hold Roaring Brook until State Parks purchases it, planning to use a
combination of funding from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and from
the federal Highlands Conservation Act program. This program is funded through
the Land and Water
that is designed to assist Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
with conserving land and natural resources in the Highlands region.
land has been an acquisition priority of State Parks for over a decade. The
effort to protect it began over a year ago, when the Roaring Brook Lake
Homeowners Association began calling for the conservation of the threatened
land. Over the past 20 years, the property, valued at $787,500, has been the
subject of various development proposals. The most recent plan, from the spring
2013, proposed 15 residential lots along the property’s ridgeline.
property will remain forever in its natural setting, consisting of changing
elevations, wetlands, rocky outcroppings and swaths of oak and hemlock forests.
A New York State-identified Important Bird Area, Roaring Brook hosts a
community of ecologically significant chestnut oak and provides a protected
wildlife corridor to species such as bears and bobcats. Furthermore, Roaring
Brook’s location within the Croton Watershed, which provides 10 percent of New
York City’s drinking water, also helps protect the city’s water supply. State
Parks expects to designate a parking area and trails by this fall to provide
public access to the property.
State Parks has
also completed the purchase of 35 acres in Putnam Valley, protecting a ridge
above Oscawana Lake from the impacts of residential development. The property
will allow for the establishment of a public trailhead to facilitate
development of trails in the southernmost section of Fahnestock Park, as
designated in the park’s 2010 master plan.
was identified by the Hudson Highlands Land Trust as a Legacy Landscape
conservation priority. The land was acquired for $414,000 from the
Environmental Protection Fund.
successful completion of these projects is the latest example of the amazing
collaboration taking part between our land trust, OSI, State Parks, and others
within the conservation community, to the benefit of Fahnestock and its devoted
visitors," said Hudson Highlands Land Trust Executive Director Andy Chmar.
"Within the heart of the region nationally recognized through the four-state
Highlands Conservation Act, the properties are a great addition to the Park and
further the public benefit our organizations are dedicated to achieve through
these partnerships and our other conservation efforts."
is a masterpiece of a park that just keeps getting better," said Katrina
Shindledecker, president of Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State
Parks. "This string of successes in expanding the park benefits not only
sensitive plants and animals but also the hundreds of thousands of visitors
each year who find in Fahnestock a needed escape."
additional park acreage underscores Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving
and expanding access to outdoor recreation. NY Parks 2020 is a multi-year commitment to leverage a
broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million
in State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The 2015-16 State Budget includes $110
million toward this initiative.
Roaring Brook project also continues OSI’s legacy of expanding Fahnestock and
providing enhanced public access to the park, a regional recreation and tourism
destination located less than 100 miles from New York City. Thanks to OSI’s
efforts in the area, the park has doubled in size since the early 1990s. In
addition, OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks program has raised $1.2
million in private funds and grants toward the revitalization of Fahnestock’s
Canopus Lake visitor complex.
multiple, large-scale land acquisitions such as Roaring Brook, OSI has helped
to enhance and protect Fahnestock State Park, its drinking watersheds and the
metropolitan greenbelt. Working in partnership with the State of New York to
enhance and expand the park, OSI has acquired numerous vacant and heavily
wooded parcels, converting large tracts of privately owned, undeveloped lands
to publicly accessible parkland.
to the efforts of OSI, State Parks and others, such as The Trust for Public
Land and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Fahnestock has more than doubled from
approximately 6,000 acres to over 14,000 acres of protected woodlands, valleys
and plateaus. The park is located in the heart of New York’s Hudson Highlands,
part of a regional mountainous greenbelt running from west of the Delaware
River in Pennsylvania through New Jersey and New York, and into Connecticut.
for its wide array of biking, hiking and equestrian trails—including the
Appalachian Trail—Fahnestock welcomes more than 245,000 hikers, swimmers,
campers, bikers, birdwatchers, anglers, skiers and snowshoers each year.
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