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Historic New York State Park Expanded in Hudson Valley

Historic New York State Park Expanded in Hudson Valley

A historic and beautiful state park in the Hudson Valley is receiving a major expansion.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the addition of 130 acres of open space to Sterling Forest State Park in the Mid-Hudson Valley. She says this will add new trails and public access to the 22,000-acre park.

The new property has a unique history both as part of the former Greenwood Forest Farms, an early 1900s resort for prominent Black families from Harlem and Brooklyn, and as a vantage point of Greenwood Lake immortalized in a painting by Hudson River School artist Jasper Cropsey.

"New York remains committed to protecting valued open spaces for wildlife and New Yorkers alike," Hochul said. "Throughout the pandemic, New Yorkers have relied on our public lands to stay active, spend time with their loved ones, and find fun and enjoyment. This addition to Sterling Forest State Park not only builds on our work to protect these areas, but continues our efforts to expand new recreational opportunities as well."

The property provides critical buffer land to help maintain and enhance the biodiversity of the area.The property creates an opportunity for a new access point to Sterling Forest in an area where there are currently no entry points to the park.

A network of woods roads and trails on this property could serve as a natural addition to the existing trail system of Sterling Forest.This land was identified as a priority in the 2016 New York State Open Space Plan as part of the New York Highlands. The property was acquired with $364,000 from the Environmental Protection Fund.

Historic New York State Park Expanded in Hudson Valley

"This addition Sterling Forest State Park is a great of example of how open space protection not only safeguards critical natural habitat and enhances outdoor recreation, it helps preserve important historic and cultural resources. I grateful to Governor Hochul and our conservation partners for their work to include this property to the state park system,"State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said.

From 1919 until the 1960s, a portion of the property was part of Greenwood Forest Farms, known as the first resort community for Black New Yorkers.The neighborhood immediately to the west was founded by a group of prominent Black families from New York City, and it became a haven for cultural and civil rights leaders from Harlem and Brooklyn, including writer Langston Hughes. Some descendants of the original pioneers now live in the neighborhood year-round.

A rock outcropping in higher elevations on the northern part of the property provides a view of Greenwood Lake to the south. Jasper Cropsey, a member of the mid-19 century art movement known as the Hudson River School, painted a view of the landscape from this location in 1845. The painting entitled View of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey depicts the same view that can be enjoyed today.

"The Hudson Valley is where environmental beauty comes to meet historical significance, and the newest addition to Sterling Forest State Park is no exception. Thanks to record investment in the Environmental Protection Fund, which I proudly supported, lands like this will continue to be preserved for generations of New Yorkers," Senator Mike Martucci said.

Sterling Forest State Park is a pristine natural refuge amidst of one of the nation's most densely populated areas, a remarkable piece of woodland, a watershed for millions, and a tremendous outdoor recreation area. This unbroken deep-forest habitat is important for the survival of many resident and migratory species, including black bear, a variety of hawks and songbirds and many rare invertebrates and plants. The park offers hunting, fishing and hiking.

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