Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

OSI Donates Historic Schuyler Flatts Property

to the Town of Colonie for Park

Schuyler Flatts Carie MacDonald

                                              Schuyler Flatts ball field (photo Carie MacDonald)


COLONIE,NY— Nov. 9, 2016—Two decades after first conserving a section of the historic Schuyler Flatts property, just north of Albany, the Open Space Institute (OSI) announced the donation of the parcel to the Town of Colonie. Today, the 23-acre property serves as  a popular recreational and cultural community asset.     

“For centuries, Schuyler Flatts has been a priceless inheritance, connecting families to this wonderful landscape,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s President and CEO. “OSI is proud to have preserved this this significant and storied acreage, and prouder, yet, to pass it on to the citizens of Colonie for their permanent enjoyment.”

“With this gift, OSI has helped ensure that Schuyler Flatts will continue to be a vibrant historical resource for our residents,” said Colonie Supervisor Paula A. Mahan. “We look forward to continuing the respectful stewardship begun by OSI.” 

Once the Colonial estate of Elizabeth Schuyler, wife of Alexander Hamilton, the property is registered on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Yet by the late 1990s, it lay vacant and unattended, the last open space parcel in an otherwise heavily developed commercial and residential corridor.

In 1998, Colonie cheered OSI’s acquisition of the Schuyler Flatts property, capping a then-25-year effort by the town, the state and the federal government to protect the land. In 2002, the Town of Colonie made part of the grounds into a park.

Today the land is home to ballparks and bike trails, and continues to reveal the artifacts of 6,000 years of human history, from native peoples to the remains of former slaves.

OSI has made the transfer as part of a series of celebrated properties it is donating to municipalities across New York. The series will include five properties totaling 350 acres, with a total fair market value of over $3.1 million. 









Eileen Larrabee (OSI) 518.427.1564





This past spring, parks and environmental communities celebrated an historic expansion of New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Now, two recent announcements highlight the real impact this EPF milestone is having on increasing public access to nature – particularly for people who can face barriers to outdoor exploration – the physically challenged and certain disadvantaged students.

Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature the EPF grew to $300 million in 2016. This historic expansion translates into greater investment in cleaner water and air, park expansions and farmland protection, among many critically important programs. Improving the public’s access to parks and all that they offer are among the great achievements of the EPF.

“Every year, OSI and our many partners work together to make the case for greater investment in the EPF,” said KE. “It is gratifying to see how the EPF is making our state’s most spectacular natural landscapes more accessible to a fuller range of visitors and explorers.”

In just the last month two great initiatives were announced that underscore how the EPF is making it easier to get New Yorkers outdoors.

Black Rock Forest just south of Newburgh boasts some of the best hiking opportunities in the Hudson Highlands. Now, thanks to a $217,000 EPF grant, a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible pathway was created at this popular old growth forest. This trail can be safely accessed by just about everyone—including people using wheelchairs or walkers, as well as families with young children and strollers.

“We are thrilled that more visitors will be able to enjoy the expansive trails that make up Black Rock Forest, thanks to the great new addition of the Visitor Access Pathway,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “This is a great example of how the Environmental Protection Fund provides real recreational opportunities for New Yorkers.”

Douglas Hovey, the executive director of Independent Living, Inc. offered this perspective, “As a person who uses a wheelchair, being able to experience nature and the great outdoors is such an essential part of my well-being. There are very few outdoor resources for people with disabilities, therefore this addition at Black Rock Forest is significant for the thousands of people living with disabilities in the Hudson Valley.”

Improving park access is also at the heart of a new EPF-funded program offering grants to Title 1 schools to cover transportation costs associated with trips to a state park, environmental nature center or historic site. Title 1 schools serve children who historically had the least opportunity to reap the benefits of access to open space—students who are struggling academically and students from low-income backgrounds.

The $500,000 statewide transportation grant program is one part of State Parks’ “Connect Kids to Parks” program. Like the National Parks Service, New York State is offering free admission to state parks, historic sites and day-use areas operated by Department of Environmental Conservation for every fourth-grader in the state for 2017.  


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