Kingston, New York

Connecting community to the outdoors and a rich history

Scenic Hudson is collaborating with groups like the Kingston Land Trust, RUPCO, My Kingston Kids, Harambee, Wild Earth, and the Hudson River Maritime Museum to increase access to open space and the waterfront, reach and educate more city youth about environmental issues, and improve quality of life.

With New York State and local partners, we opened 520 acres of formerly industrial riverfront land to the public in 2022, now called Sojourner Truth State Park after the legendary abolitionist and women’s rights leader. The new park has the potential to redefine the city’s relationship with the land and the Hudson River. It is located partially in the City of Kingston and the Town of Ulster and is directly adjacent to residential areas.

The park hosts a segment of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. Along with outstanding opportunities for recreation — including hiking, fishing, and enjoying spectacular river views — the park offers excellent potential for education, from firsthand nature studies to a learning laboratory focused on restoration of degraded landscapes. Creation of the park builds upon Scenic Hudson’s ongoing work in the City of Kingston to enhance residents’ quality of life and boost the local economy. In preparation for the park’s initial design, we engaged the public to create a vision for the transformation of this land. The State is now continuing that engagement as it makes plans for an expansion of what the park has to offer.

We are also learning from, listening to, and supporting the Kingston Land Trust and its partner organization, Harambee, around urban land conservation strategies, like the acquisition and rematriation of the Pine Street African Burial Ground, a long-overlooked final resting place for hundreds of enslaved people who lived in the area between roughly 1750 and 1860. We provided significant financial and technical support to  the Kingston Land Trust in their acquisition of 54 acres within Kingston as the home base of their new Land in Black Hands initiative, dedicated to the collective exploration of ecological land stewardship by the BIPOC community through education, long-term land access, and public engagement.

Additionally, we are:

  • Managing an interpretive trail honoring Sojourner Truth. The trail is located on nearby Shaupeneak Ridge, close to the route Truth took to free herself from 29 years of enslavement. Along with informing people about Truth’s life and work, the trail encourages them to carry on her legacy of bravery and activism.
  • Collaborating with the Hudson River Maritime Museum on the launch of Solaris, the first solar-powered boat operating on the Hudson. With our support, the museum launched this “floating classroom” for teaching about the city’s river-based history and sharing lessons in ecology, aquatic habitats, and rising sea levels. We also hold a permanent trail easement and conservation restriction along the Museum’s waterfront, ensuring that public access to the Rondout Creek edge will always be maintained.
  • Connecting families and youth to accessible open spaces through annual all-ages bike rides from Midtown Kingston to Sojourner Truth State Park via the city’s Kington Green Line bike trail and the Empire State Trail.