TUXEDO, NY (Nov. 20, 2019) — Building on a 20-year legacy in the Hudson Highlands, the Open Space Institute (OSI) is celebrating the addition of almost 400 acres to Harriman State Park. Originally acquired by OSI, the property is located less than a mile from the Harriman Metro-North train station and allows for greater public access to the park.
The scenic “Harriman Connection” property in Orange County has the potential to serve as a new, western entrance to Harriman State Park. In addition to expanding state park land, the property also connects to the Long Path, a celebrated long-distance hiking trail which runs just east of the property.
“Improving recreational access to New York’s public lands is at the core of the Open Space Institute’s parks work,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “From creating Sterling Forest and Schunnemunk State Parks, to additions at Goosepond Mountain and Harriman state parks, OSI’s incremental conservation efforts have totaled more than 27,000 acres in Orange County. These projects expand the region’s parks and recreational trails and protect local drinking water.”
The property links to a four-mile network of carriage roads and trails, which were protected by OSI in 2017. Originally owned by the Harriman family, the carriage roads wind their way eastward over stone culverts and waterfalls through Harriman State Park.
The area is currently a scenic favorite for many long-distance hikers traveling on the Long Path, maintained by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC), which extends 357 miles from the 175th Street Subway Station in New York City to John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany.
Just an hour drive from New York City, Orange County has been heavily developed in recent years, leading OSI and its partners to utilize land conservation as a tool to ensure the region’s most precious natural areas stay green.
The Open Space Institute’s protection of the “Harriman Connection” property builds on its dedication to the Harriman lands, and to the greater Hudson Highlands region itself — a resilient band of mountainous terrain stretching from eastern Pennsylvania to northwest Connecticut.
OSI has committed over $70 million in transactions and itself invested $20 million in this area over a span of 20 years, protecting 25,000 of the 80,000 acres of state parks in the region, include land at Sterling Forest, Harriman, Bear Mountain, Goosepond Mountain, Schunnemunk Mountain and Storm King State Parks.