Director of Communications, Scenic Hudson, Inc.
Tel: (845) 473-4440 x222 Cell: (914) 489-0362 Fax: (845) 473-0740
(News release issued by Dominican Sisters of Sparkill on Feb. 5, 2015)
SPARKILL, NY—The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill (Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary) announce the sale of a part of their treasured property in Glasco/Saugerties, NY which took place on January 23, 2015. A total of 149 acres of land have been sold to Scenic Hudson, a conservation group focused on preserving the land of New York’s Hudson River Valley area. This property has been owned and used by the Dominican Sisters for vacation and retreat since the early 1930s. In June 2010, the Sisters entered into an agreement with Scenic Hudson that allowed for the creation of the Falling Waters Preserve, permitting it to be shared and enjoyed by the public. New trail systems were created to provide easier public access to the preserve while still maintaining the Sisters’ privacy for their programs and retreats. Esopus Creek Conservancy, also based in Saugerties, assisted with the trail redesign process and aided Scenic Hudson with the ongoing maintenance of the trails.
Since opening Falling Waters Preserve to the public in late July 2011, Scenic Hudson has done a remarkable job of maintaining the preserve and allowing its beauty to be enjoyed by local community members. The preserve offers 3 miles of trails dotted by benches and gazebos, meadows descending to river bluffs and shoreline, and stunning views of two waterfalls and the Hudson River, along with a multitude of wildlife. Many people have shared their appreciation and excitement for having access to this land. Thus, with the end of the 5-year agreement approaching, the Dominican Sisters felt it natural to consider selling the preserve so that the land may continue to be shared and well cared for in perpetuity.
The Sisters have a Land Ethic, which upholds respect for planet earth, our human responsibility in caring for it, and the belief that earth’s benefits are for everyone to enjoy. In fact, reverence for all creation is a central part of the Congregation’s mission statement. Prompted by congregational need and with the belief and deep interest in sharing the beauty found on their beloved property, the decision was made to sell a portion of the property to Scenic Hudson.
Sr. Mary Murray, President of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, remarked “The Dominican Sisters, like many congregations today, find ourselves in need of new approaches to continue to meet our mission goals. Working with Scenic Hudson has proved to be a wonderful way to continue our mission with a different approach to meeting needs and of extending our mission for years to come.”
Making Falling Waters Preserve a permanent protected place for public enjoyment marks another success in Scenic Hudson’s campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most. The initiative, launched in 2007, is a collaborative effort with fellow land trusts, governments, individuals, businesses and other groups to protect lands of the highest scenic, ecological and agricultural significance throughout the Hudson Valley. Since 2007, Scenic Hudson has conserved 10,868 acres and its land trust partners an additional 2,649 acres.
Located within the Ulster North Scenic Area of Statewide Significance—designated by New York State for its outstanding scenic and historic value—Falling Waters Preserve features prominently in spectacular views from Clermont State Historic Site, Montgomery Place and numerous popular parks in Dutchess and Columbia counties. In addition, Falling Waters Preserve boasts more than a mile of direct Hudson River shoreline and two accessible streams for the public to enjoy.
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “Scenic Hudson thanks the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill for their commitment to the community, love of nature and willingness to work with us to create this very special place for the public to enjoy. People from all walks of life will find joy and inspiration here experiencing nature and all its treasures, and Scenic Hudson is honored to have worked with the Sisters and the Esopus Creek Conservancy to make it all possible. I’m also grateful to the generous donors who assisted us by providing funds for the purchase of the property and our staff costs for this and other vital projects. We salute our great partners on a terrific outcome.”
About the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
As members of a ministerial, apostolic religious congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill embrace Jesus' invitation to share in his mission. Committed to ministry for justice and reverence for all creation, Sparkill Dominicans live and minister throughout the United States and abroad in Pakistan. The Sisters’ ministries span a variety of fields: education, administration, health care, pastoral care and preaching, social services, senior housing and health, and advocacy for the poor and marginalized. The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill are responsible for founding and staffing numerous schools in the New York and St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan areas as well as in Pakistan. For additional information, please visit www.sparkill.org or find us on Facebook.
About Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 65 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved over 35,000 acres.