ORANGE COUNTY, NY (April 11, 2018)—The Open Space Institute (OSI), the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, and the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC) are celebrating the culmination of years of work preserving and improving land and trails at Goosepond Mountain State Park in Orange County, on Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. (rain date Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m.) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event is free and open to the public.
Together with land and park partners, the partners will showcase the latest trail addition to Goosepond Mountain. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, a precarious road-walk section of the 150-mile Highlands Trail in Chester has been rerouted into the park. Approximately two-miles long, this new section is a beautiful, well-graded multi-use trail, built for use by hikers and non-motorized bikes.
The trail improvement project is located on a 400-acre section at the southern end of the park which was purchased by OSI in 2016 after a decade of negotiations before transferring the property to PIPC. In 2016, OSI constructed a small parking area and assisted in the realignment of the Highlands Trail to improve public access to the state park.
“The protection of this property is a vital link in the vision to connect Goosepond Mountain State Park to Sterling Forest along the Highlands Trail,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to all those who supported OSI’s effort to expand the park, as well as our many friends and partners who are working to improve access to this wonderful mountain.”
Tracy Schuh, of the local citizen group The Preservation Collective, and volunteer participant in the trail-building project, adds “On behalf of the area residents, we are thankful for the hard work, dedication and commitment by all those involved towards preserving important resources to the community".
This stewardship project has not only preserved the forests and viewshed in the area and made the park more accessible to the public, it is also part of the ongoing creation of an important greenway linking isolated state parks in Orange County. The potential Sterling Forest to Storm King Greenway, with the Highlands Trail as its backbone, would showcase the western Hudson Highlands as a premier destination for outdoor recreation and magnificent scenery for residents and visitors alike.