New York, NY (June 27, 2022)— The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (NYS Parks), the Open Space Institute (OSI), and the Taconic Regional Commission today announced the opening of the newly renovated Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail. The Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail is part of a series of OSI-led park enhancement projects aimed at making Fahnestock State Park more welcoming to visitors by improving access to OSI-protected land at the northern end of the park.
The two-year, $1.5 million project overhauled 9.5 miles of multi-use trails in the popular park to better accommodate walkers, hikers, runners, bikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and equestrian users.
"Fahnestock State Park is a remarkable destination, offering incredible vistas and vast open spaces – and quality park trails are key to park experience,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “I am grateful to the Open Space Institute, the U.S Military Academy, and the project supporters for these improvements to the Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail, which will help visitors to explore what Fahnestock has to offer.”
“OSI’s work in the northwestern section of Fahnestock is making a largely inaccessible section of this amazing park a true centerpiece,” said OSI’s president and CEO, Kim Elliman. “As we build on our legacy of more than doubling the size of Fahnestock, we are proud that our park improvement work here ensures the land OSI protected is open and welcoming to the public.”
This trail project caps a public-private partnership between New York State Parks and OSI to increase public access and improve accessibility to an underutilized area of the park. Over the past eight years, OSI has raised more than $9 million, with lead support from Lucy R. Waletzky for trail improvements, signage upgrades, safety enhancements, and new public amenities at the park’s Canopus Lake.
“The Hubbard-Perkins Loop Trail is another beautiful reminder of how important public-private partnerships are to the success of our state parks,” said Lucy Waletzky long-time supporter of OSI’s work at Fahnestock and former chair of both Taconic Regional Commission and the New York State Council of Parks. “The substantial renovations OSI has completed in this area of Fahnestock State Park will be enjoyed and appreciated by park visitors for decades to come.”
Components of the park improvement project included the restoration and realignment of existing trails and the construction of fourteen new pedestrian bridges and trail crossings, four of which were completed through an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The project also created new trail sections, redirected sections of the trail to avoid sensitive wildlife habitat areas and included the installation of new wayfinding signs and an informational kiosk near Hubbard Lodge.
“West Point cadets and faculty have been committed to supporting State Parks and the Open Space Institute by creating bridges that support access to the trail. As their capstone educational event, the cadets partnered with Parks to design and build these bridges, some in remote locations, learning lessons that only real-world experiences can teach. I absolutely believe these bridges, unique and beautiful, harmonize well with their settings, providing a memorable and safe experience for users. We could not be prouder,” said Dr. Led Klosky, professor of civil engineer, US Military Academy at West Point.
In addition to the physical improvements completed at the site, NYS Parks and OSI also unveiled a new logo to celebrate the Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail’s signature network of bridge crossings, which is incorporated into the new trail signage.
“The new Hubbard Perkins trail network is a terrific and welcome addition to Fahnestock State Park,” said Edgar Masters, chair of the Taconic Regional Commission. “Not only will it offer new experiences for outdoor adventures, but it will also help to better disperse visitors into a previously underutilized section of park. I am proud of the work of the Commission and grateful to all those who contributed to this great public-private project.”
The project was planned, funded, and constructed by OSI through a generous donation from Lucy R. Waletzky, with major support from Chris Buck & Hara Schwartz, Judy & Leonard Lauder, The Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, and Jennifer P. Speers; and additional support from Wendy & Bob Bickford, William Burback & Peter Hofmann, Mary R. Morgan, and Norman Selby & Melissa Vail. The project was also completed with support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.
Other completed projects outlined OSI’s multi-phase Fahnestock Improvement Plan include the creation of the new Big Woods Trailhead and 25-car parking area off Route 301, a second new trailhead and 15-car parking area that provides direct access to the Appalachian Trail; and the installation of park entry and wayfinding signage at Route 9 and Taconic State Parkway.
During the last decade, more than three million people have visited Fahnestock State Park, which is spread across more than 14,000 acres in Putnam and Dutchess counties. Annual visitation at the park is up more than 38 percent during this period. Fahnestock State Park has more than 62 miles of hiking trails, as well as 10 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches about 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine.
About New York State Parks
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which in 2021 were visited by record 78.4 million people. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About the Open Space Institute
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a partner in the protection of nearly 2.3 million acres in North America.
Since the 1990s, working in partnership with the State of New York, OSI has doubled the size of Fahnestock State Park, bringing the park to more than 14,000 acres of protected woodlands, valleys, and plateaus. Now, OSI is continuing its commitment to this beloved landscape by carrying out critically needed access improvements so that future generations can continue to enjoy the park.