Three Reasons This Land Save is a Plus: Hudson Highlands

Newly protected woodlands provide important connections to Clarence Fahnestock State Park and even Fishkill Farms.

By Reed Sparling

The Hudson Highlands are an ecological powerhouse and a hiker’s paradise. To increase opportunities for people and wildlife to benefit from these magnificent mountains, Scenic Hudson recently partnered with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust to protect 71 forested acres — including most of the northern ridgeline of Round Mountain — in the Town of East Fishkill (Dutchess County). Land saves like this also support the goal proposed by the federal government of conserving 30% of the nation’s remaining open land by 2030.

Here are three reasons why this acquisition makes a difference:

1.     It supports critters and climate solutions: This acquisition creates a 360-acre assemblage of lands protected by Scenic Hudson in the northern Hudson Highlands, increasing its potential to sustain biodiversity and assuring its trees will continue sequestering carbon. Overall, Scenic Hudson has preserved more than 5,000 acres of globally important habitats in the Highlands. 

2.     It links communities and children to nature: The assemblage directly connects East Fishkill and lands of the Fresh Air Fund with Clarence Fahnestock State Park, providing potential new opportunities for the community and Fresh Air campers — children from underserved NYC neighborhoods — to explore more of the Highlands’ natural treasures. It also links with Fishkill Farms, one of the region’s most popular agritourism destinations. 

A bed of ferns on the 71 forested acres protected in East Fishkill. (Photo: Scenic Hudson)

3.     It paves the way for blazing new trails: With its adjacent protected lands, the newly acquired land also offers an opportunity to create a rugged trail through the beautiful — and long off-limits — Wiccopee Creek gorge. 

The goal of conserving 30% of the nation’s open land by 2030 that the acquisition supports will help reverse the impacts of climate change and biodiversity decline, and to increase access to nature for communities.

 Scenic Hudson’s funding for the acquisition came from our Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Hudson Valley Land Preservation Endowment.