Ten miles west of Albany, rugged limestone cliffs rise up in a dramatic north-south undulating ridgeline, known as the Helderberg Escarpment. Because the exposed cliffs are rich in fossils, chronicling a half-billion years of geological history, it has intrigued paleontologists and geologists for years.
The centerpiece of the Helderberg Escarpment is John Boyd Thacher Park, named for a former mayor of Albany whose family donated over 1,000 acres of land to the State in the 1930s. In addition to its views and wildlife habitat, the park contains numerous hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling trails. The park also hosts a stretch of The Long Path, a hiking trail that spans some 300 miles from New Jersey to Albany County.
Between 1997 and 2002, OSI acquired nearly 500 acres comprised of forests, open meadows, limestone cliffs, talus slopes, and wetlands, permanently protecting the land from development. Safeguarding these properties has created expanded recreational opportunities to visitors of the state park and expanded The Long Path beyond the boundaries of the park. OSI also helped create two conservation easements for family-owned farms, one with apple orchards where visitors can pick their own fruit.
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