Open Space Institute Celebrates Earth Day With “Train to the Trail Guide”

Image Credit: Greg Miller

NEW YORK, NY - 4/19/06 - New Yorkers are often surprised to learn that in just over an hour's time, they can escape the busy streets of Gotham and reach stunning mountain scenery and expansive open space. In celebration of Earth Day (April 22nd), the Open Space Institute—a New York City based nonprofit that works to improve public access to open space—has created a trail brochure to help urbanites reach these places, all without the necessity of a car. 

The trail guide, published by OSI and its partner, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, is designed to help New Yorkers escape to the outdoors while also finding ways to reduce automobile dependence and reliance on fossil fuels, which contribute to air pollution. According to the National Safety Council, “driving a private car is probably a typical citizen's most 'polluting' daily activity”. With warmer temperatures, automobile exhaust is exacerbated. 

All of the trails can be easily accessed from train stations serviced by Metro-North's Hudson Line. The trails traverse the Hudson Highlands, part of the Appalachian mountain chain, which stretches from Georgia to the tip of Maine. Since 1990, OSI has acquired approximately 15,000 acres in the Hudson Highlands; most of this protected land has been added to New York state parks such as Hudson Highlands State Park, Fahnestock State Park, and Schunnemunk Ridge State Park. As a result of OSI acquisitions, the popular Fahnestock State Park has doubled in size to more than 14,000 acres, making it one of the state's five largest state parks. 

The mission of the Open Space Institute is to protect scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, and creative partnerships. 

The Open Space Institute has protected nearly 100,000 acres in New York State. Through its Northern Forest Protection Fund and Conservation Loan Program, OSI has assisted in the protection of 1.4 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and North Carolina.

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