New York, NY (April 22, 2021)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that a new series of trail enhancement projects aimed at improving access to OSI-protected lands in the northern section of Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park are underway.
The trail construction began in November 2020 and is on-track to be completed by the end of the year. The trail improvements consist of key updates to the 9.5-mile Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail including: the restoration and realignment of existing trails, construction of new pedestrian bridges and trail crossings, the creation of new trail sections, the redirection of certain trail sections to avoid sensitive wildlife habitat areas, and the installation of new wayfinding signs and an informational kiosk at the Hubbard Lodge trailhead.
The suite of OSI projects is providing critical upgrades so that, for the first time, the trail can accommodate multiple trail user groups, including walkers, hikers, runners, bikers, and equestrian.
The projects, which are one part of OSI’s multi-phase Fahnestock Improvement Plan, will improve the experience of the park for regular users and new visitors – and in doing so, better disperse visitors to the area and protect the region’s hiking trails and precious natural resources.
“We are excited to move forward with another project outlined in OSI’s Fahnestock Improvement Plan and begin trail upgrades that will better accommodate the growing number of people coming to explore Fahnestock State Park,” 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 is ensuring the land is open and welcoming to the public.”
OSI has contracted with Tahawus Trails to complete the project. Some of the construction work is already completed and several sections of Fahnestock’s Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail, including three bridge crossings, are nearing completion and will be opened to the public on a rolling basis. 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.
For the past three years, OSI has also partnered with New York State Parks and the cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point to replace trail bridges near the Hubbard Lodge area as part of the larger, Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail project. The partnership allows the cadets to take the skills and knowledge they have learned during their year-long capstone design civil engineering course and apply those skills in the execution of a project that benefits the community. So far, the partnership has resulted in the completion of four bridge projects as part of the host of updates planned for Fahnestock State Park.
OSI is pursuing additional partnerships, private funds, and grants to fully achieve the ambitious plan.
Other future planned upgrades for OSI’s multi-phase Fahnestock Improvement Plan include creating a new central trailhead to get people into the heart of the park’s northern half; renovating the Appalachian Trail crossing at the south end of Canopus Lake including the construction of a new trailhead and off-road parking area; and new park gateway and wayfinding signage at Route 9 and Taconic State Parkway.
Support for the Project
OSI’s Fahnestock Improvement Projects are being funded through a combination of public and private sources. The Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail project was planned and designed thanks to a generous donation from Lucy R. Waletzky, Chair of the NY State Council of Parks and the Taconic Regional Commission, and is being implemented with additional of support from New York State grants and private donors, including Chris Buck & Hara Schwartz, The Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, Leonard & Judy Lauder, and Jennifer P. Speers.
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.