BLOOMING GROVE — After ten years of effort, newly conserved land in the Hudson Highlands will protect drinking water resources for Orange County and safeguard a scenic natural area from regional development.
The 416-acre “Mountain Lodge” property, purchased by the Open Space Institute for $881,000, will also buffer the Highlands Trail and the Long Path, two long-distance hiking trails that converge in the Hudson Valley.
'In the face of expanded development'
Located in Moodna Creek Watershed, which supplies drinking water to Orange County, the acquired Mountain Lodge property is adjacent to a subdivision and in an area under significant development threat spreading north and west of the Route 87/17 interchange.
“This newest property builds on OSI’s decades-long commitment to conserve lands for our state parks,” Kim Elliman, the institute’s president and CEO, said in the press release announcing the purchase. “It is especially gratifying that the land will be protected in the face of expanding regional development. We thank our partners at State Parks and The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation for their assistance in protecting this land.”
D. Ben Benoit, executive director of The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Inc., said the foundation’s “program-related investments enable land conservation groups to move quickly in making key land acquisitions in New York and Connecticut. The Mountain Lodge project is an illustration of how program-related investments can accelerate the pace of land conservation.
“We are very pleased to have been involved with this acquisition of 416 acres of significant open space in the Hudson River Valley,” he added.
A web of protected green spaceThe property’s conservation furthers several long-term open space planning and protection efforts in the area, such as the Moodna Creek Watershed Conservation and Management Plan, the Orange County Open Space Plan and the Southern Walkill Biodiversity Plan.
It also furthers a long-held vision connecting Schunnemunk Mountain and other regional state parks to create a web of protected green space in a quickly developing region.
“I fully recognize how important it is that we work to preserve our bucolic landscape for future generations,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus. “This conservation effort preserves an important area of Orange County ensuring public recreational uses for those who love the outdoors.”
About the Open Space InstituteThe 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 2.2 million acres in North America. The Open Space Institute leverages knowledge and attracts resources for strategic investments to make innovative land conservation happen.
This transaction builds upon OSI’s longtime commitment toward creating and adding to New York’s state parks. Over the past 40 years, through nearly 80 conservation initiatives, OSI has added more than 40,000 acres to New York’s 335,000-acre state park system.
To find out more, visit online at www.osiny.org.