Sterling Forest State Park is the second-largest park in the State of New York. Considered a critical link between Harriman State Park to the east and northern New Jersey to the west, Sterling Forest is the geographic linchpin of the New York-New Jersey Highlands, an unbroken ecosystem of forests, streams, and farmland.
Protecting the forest was vital since it is part of a major New Jersey watershed that provides drinking water for 25 percent of its residents. In 1997, working with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), OSI did just that, facilitating the acquisition of 17,000 acres, the largest tract of privately held undeveloped land in the metropolitan New York area. Through this initial acquisition, OSI and TPL helped create Sterling Forest State Park, part of a 150,000-acre block of protected recreational land in a densely populated area.
Managed by the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC), Sterling Forest State Park is a natural refuge that contains diverse wildlife habitat for migratory and resident wildlife species, including the black bear, bobcat, rattlesnakes, eagles, and red-shouldered hawks. Every year, tens of thousands of visitors enjoy the forest’s scenic vistas and miles of blazed trails, including a 10-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Fishing and hunting (in certain areas) are permitted and numerous woods roads can be used for hiking.
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