In Brief – Almost 2,000 acres will be added to state parks in the Hudson Valley under a new proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The plan, part of Cuomo’s annual State of the State proposals, would expand parks in Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties.
Minnewaska State Park
More than 600 acres will be added to this 23,000-acre park in Ulster County, which already contains the majority of the Shawangunk Ridge, including Shaft 2a and Millbrook Mountain. The park will expand northeast along the ridge to include more of the Peterskill stream, as well as the 1,350-foot Dickie Barre and sections of Rock Hill.
Minnewaska State Park, New York’s third largest, contains regionally-rare pitch pines and three “sky lakes” – bodies of water fed only by rain. The Shawangunk Ridge is comprised of quartz conglomerate and features 500-foot cliffs, making it one of the most popular climbing destinations in the U.S.
Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve
Two distinct sections will be added to this 8,900-acre park, which encompasses Hudson River-abutting mountains in Dutchess and Putnam counties. The first, a 20-acre section, will connect Arden’s Point to the bulk of the park’s southern section. The second, a 945-acre addition, extends the northern section of the park outside Beacon in an easterly direction to include parts of Scofield Ridge.
This heavily trafficked park features peaks jutting out of the Hudson River, including the 1,791-foot Mount Beacon, as well as Bannerman’s Castle and the abandoned Cornish Estate.
Fahnestock State Park
An acquisition by the state through a partnership with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust will add 150 acres to the Putnam County park, connecting the Durland Scout Reservation to the park’s existing bulk.
Schunnemuck State Park
More than 150 acres will be added to this 4,000-acre park, located between the towns of Woodbury and Blooming Grove in Orange County. The addition will provide a link between the park and Storm King Arts Center, as well as protecting the Moodna Creek watershed, according to the Governor’s Office.
The park contains eight marked trails totaling more than 20 miles.
Sterling Forest State Park
The 22,000-acre park, which also hosts the New York Ren Faire, will expand by 158 acres, providing better access from the park’s western side, according to the Governor’s Office.
An acre will also be added to Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County, according to the Governor’s Office.
The new parkland was acquired by the state thanks to $9.2 million in open space funding from the Environmental Protection Fund, as well as funding from the Highlands Conservation Act, according to the Governor’s Office.