Hudson Highlands

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Hudson River Valley

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Olana Viewshed, Scenic Hudson photo
Capital District
Hudson River Valley

The Algonquins christened the Hudson River “The River that Flows Both Ways,” while Congress called the Hudson River Valley “the fountainhead of a truly American identity.”

When explorer Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River on his ship, the Half Moon, his crewmembers reported that the lands were as “pleasant with grass and flowers and goodly trees as ever they had seen.” Since then, the Hudson River Valley has inspired and delighted generations, from the mid-19th century Hudson River School landscape painters to iconic American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne; from presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt to industrial barons such as the Rockefellers.

In 1996, Congress created the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area to preserve and protect the valley, its resources, and its history, calling it the "fountainhead of a truly American identity." One of 37 National Heritage Areas in the country, the valley extends from the state capital of Albany south to New York City and encompasses over four million acres surrounding the 315-mile Hudson River.

Bordered to the west by the Hudson Highlands, the Shawangunks, the Catskills, and at its northern end, the Adirondacks, the region is a recreational playground for the 2.5 million residents that call the valley home. The low fertile lands of the Hudson River Valley provide 900,000 acres of farmland for 2,500 full-time farms. Rich in history, the valley contains five National Historic Sites, 58 National Historic Landmarks, 89 historic districts, and over 1,000 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Hudson River Valley, with its rich history and unparalleled beauty, is a place worth protecting, Whether a viewshed from an historic site, a prime recreation trail that leads to a ridgetop overlook, or a pastoral farm that has been cultivated for generations, OSI is protecting the open spaces of this truly American landscape.

Close to several major metropolitan areas, development is the most pressing concern in the Hudson River Valley. Since 9/11, there has been a surge in second-home ownership in areas around New York City, driving prices up and generating an increase in subdivision of existing open spaces. In 1997, the American Farmland Trust named it the tenth most-threatened agricultural region in the country.

OSI At Work
OSI has been working in the Hudson River Valley for more than 40 years. Since we began direct land protection in 1981, OSI has protected more than 4,000 acres of farmland and thousands more in recreational and historic areas.

Major Accomplishments

  • Protected almost 3,500 acres of land in the Upper Hudson River Valley, including more than 1,200 acres in and around the Helderberg Escarpment and almost 1,500 acres in the vicinity of the Saratoga National Battlefield Park.
  • Preserved close to 15,000 acres in the Mid-Hudson River Valley, including significant expansion of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, one of New York’s largest state parks.
  • Conserved more than 28,000 acres in the Lower Hudson River Valley, including working in partnership with the Trust for Public Land and the State of New York to create the 17,000-acre Sterling Forest State Park.






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