ORANGE COUNTY, NY - December 29, 2014 – Fulfilling the nearly decade-long goal of park and community advocates, the Open Space Institute announced the acquisition of 398 acres in the Orange County town of Chester, New York, that will expand access to Goosepond Mountain State Park and further a potential connection with Sterling Forest State Park. OSI intends to transfer the property, a priority acquisition for the state park system, to New York State Parks.
Proposed development of the property into a golf course and more than 200 units had been opposed by the local community for years until OSI stepped in to acquire the site. The acquisition will provide a new park entrance to the property, which will become part of the multi-state Highlands Trail.
The transaction builds upon OSI’s longtime commitment toward creating and adding to New York’s state parks. Over the past 40 years, through nearly 80 conservation initiatives, OSI has added more than 40,000 acres to New York’s 335,000-acre state park system.
"This transaction continues OSI’s work in expanding state parks and improving public access to them,” said Kim Elliman, President and CEO of OSI. “It is particularly gratifying that with this acquisition we were also able to support community efforts to preserve an at-risk landscape.”
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Recreation, praised the acquisition: “Improving public access to parks is part of Governor Cuomo’s conservation vision for the Hudson Valley. We applaud the Open Space Institute for protecting a property that was threatened by development and preserving it for future generations.”
“Thank you to OSI and the rest of our partners for protecting an important conservation landscape in Orange County. Preservation of this property will safeguard an important aquifer recharge area and open up miles of new hiking trails for county residents,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus.
Situated in the western Hudson Highlands, Goosepond Mountain rises more than a thousand feet in the northwest section of the 1,558-acre state park. The newly-acquired property and Goosepond Mountain State Park are located approximately two miles from dense development, which sprawls north and west from the New York State Thruway and Route 17 interchange.
"The groundswell of community passion to keep this land free from development is a testament to the importance of land conservation,” said Town of Chester Supervisor Alex Jamieson. “Quality of life and access to the great outdoors are all part of the Town of Chester’s long-term vision for our residents.”