Trail at Fahnstock

OSI Begins Final Improvement Project at Fahnestock’s Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail

Image Credit: Brett Cole

PUTNAM AND DUTCHESS COUNTIES, NY (Sept. 21, 2023)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the start of the final project of their improvement plan for Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park—construction of a 65-foot pedestrian bridge and streambank stabilization along the Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail.

The new bridge will complete the first small loop along the Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail, providing a safer, sturdier route for pedestrians to cross one of the park’s picturesque streams.

The OSI-led project will also fortify and stabilize the streambank, which was heavily eroded during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Along with fortifying the streambank, OSI is replanting native plants and providing habitat for wetland animals, all while improving water quality downstream.

The work is being completed by OSI in partnership with New York State Parks and Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks (FoFHHSP). OSI is leading the construction and project management, with park staff providing the necessary permits and additional materials. FoFHHSP received a $50,000 grant from the Freeman Trust towards the project. The work is also being supported by New York New Jersey Trail Conference volunteers.

The $400,000 bridge construction and site improvement project began in September 2023 and is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year. The project is part of a 10-year, OSI-led initiative to improve visitor access to OSI-protected lands in the northern section of Fahnestock State Park. 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.

“We are excited to move forward with the final project in OSI’s Fahnestock Improvement Plan. OSI’s work over the past decade has helped accommodate the growing number of people coming to explore Fahnestock State Park,” said Peter Karis, OSI’s vice president of parks and stewardship. “In addition to more than doubling the size of Fahnestock, OSI’s park improvement work is giving the public new, safe, and enjoyable opportunities to connect with nature.”

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail is a memorable destination, offering incredible views and improved access to vast and underutilized areas of Fahnestock State Park. I am grateful to the Open Space Institute for its continued work to improve the trail and help visitors to explore more of what Fahnestock has to offer.”

“The Friends of Fahnestock & Hudson Highlands State Parks are grateful for the support of the Freeman trust. Funding from the grant is creating a beautiful bridge across a beautiful stream at one of the most important trail intersections in the Fahnestock State Park. Collaboration between state agencies, non-profit organizations, and a foundation is proving that when partners work together towards a common vision, great things will happen. As construction continues on the bridge, we are grateful for the efforts of New York State Parks and the Open Space Institute,” said Hank Osborn, president of the Friends of Fahnestock & Hudson Highlands State Parks.

As the project progresses, the public is reminded that the site is an active construction area and is asked to respect trail closures and stay clear of construction equipment.

This project follows OSI’s opening of the newly renovated Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail in 2022. Through the two-year, $1.5 million project, OSI overhauled 9.5 miles of multi-use trails along the Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail, increasing public access and improving accessibility in an underutilized area of the park. The muti-year project included the construction of fourteen new pedestrian bridges and trail crossings, four of which were completed through an ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Other completed projects in OSI’s multi-phase Fahnestock Improvement Plan included 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. The completed projects have provided welcoming gateways to the park and better dispersed visitors to the area, protecting the region’s hiking trails and precious natural resources.

About the Open Space Institute

The Open Space Institute (OSI) 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.

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