Acquisition Consolidates Hudson River Recreation Area in Southern Adirondacks;
Encourages New Yorkers to Visit State Parks and Tourist Attractions across the State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state has acquired 848 acres from the Open Space Institute in the Warren County Town of Warrensburg in the southeastern Adirondacks. The site was acquired using $410,000 from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund and is listed as a priority in the State’s 2016 Open Space Conservation Plan.
"This administration’s efforts to conserve open space helps to preserve the pristine and unparalleled natural beauty of this great state and enables surrounding communities to use these environmental gems to spur economic activity," Governor Cuomo said. "From the Adirondacks to the Catskills to Long Island and beyond, New York is blessed with an abundance of natural treasures – it is our responsibility as stewards of the environment to preserve and protect these assets for future generations of New Yorkers."
The property has several types of cover, from large wetland complexes and a pond to upland hardwoods, supporting a variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including several game species. The Huckleberry Mountain lands also provide many recreational possibilities, including hiking, hunting, camping, and nature observation, as the property improves access to almost 4,000 acres of bordering Forest Preserve land as part of the Lake George Wild Forest.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "This acquisition, made possible by the Open Space Institute, consolidates the Hudson River Recreation Area within the Lake George Wild Forest and will provide great new recreational opportunities within an easy drive of Warrensburg and Lake George Village. Governor Cuomo continues to make protecting New York’s open space a priority, and preserving open space near population centers encourages the public to enjoy our state’s diverse and beautiful landscape."
Views from Huckleberry Mountain include the Hudson River, private mountains to the west, and points within the neighboring Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, including the popular Crane Mountain. The property was a large in-holding within the Lake George Wild Forest, complicating management and public access.
Senator Betty Little said, “This ‘win-win' acquisition will open up new recreational opportunities and also preserve sensitive habitats for wildlife. I commend all involved for their work to ensure stewardship of this land for which future generations will no doubt be grateful.”
Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "Through the Environmental Protection Fund, I'm extremely pleased that New York State continues to invest in critical local conservation efforts. Conserving open spaces like Huckleberry Mountain symbolizes the importance of these investments for future generations."
Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “Land acquisition is the single most important tool we have to protect our state’s incredible natural resources, including our vital drinking water sources. I am thrilled about the Huckleberry Mountain Lands acquisition and what it means for the outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife of the region. Conserving this space means that it will be able to be enjoyed and admired for all future generations to come,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "I am pleased to see that this acquisition will provide many new recreational opportunities to the residents and visitors of the Lake George region. Ensuring access to this property which provides spectacular views while preserving the environmental resources is a win for all and will be an economic benefit to the North Country."
Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO said, "The conservation of Huckleberry Mountain is a resounding win for outdoor recreationists and keeps this beautifully rugged land in the hands of the public. We congratulate our conservation partners at DEC and thank Governor Cuomo and the legislature for their continued support for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, which continues to protect New York’s most scenic and critically important landscapes."
Huckleberry Mountain can be accessed via the end of Alden Avenue in Warrensburg, or across the surrounding Hudson River Recreation Area of the Lake George Wild Forest. Additional access points and recreational opportunities should distribute the current intensive use of the Hudson River Recreation area over a larger area.
The additional park acreage underscores Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The 2017-18 State Budget includes $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, providing funding for open space protection, parkland stewardship and other environmental protection projects. In addition, the Governor’s NY Parks 2020 is a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in State Parks from 2011 to 2020.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, which are visited by 69 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
Since taking office 2011, Governor Cuomo has made unprecedented investments in the tourism industry throughout New York State, leading to historic levels of visitors and direct spending. In 2016, New York welcomed a record 239 million visitors who spent nearly $65 billion, generating a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the third straight year. Additionally, tourism remains the state’s fourth largest employer, supporting more than 914,000 jobs annually.
Created in 1993, the EPF was established to provide funding for the broad categorical areas of Solid Waste, Parks and Recreation and Open Space, including more than two dozen state and local environmental programs. The EPF funds land acquisition, farmland protection, waterfront revitalization, municipal recycling, local government assistance to improve wastewater treatment plants, and municipal parks. EPF funds used by DEC have protected more than 710,000 acres of open space, including 531,000 acres of valuable working forest lands. The EPF has also been used by DEC to add acreage to more than 200 existing protected properties, including state forests, wildlife management areas, the Adirondack and Catskills forest preserves, unique areas, fishing and waterway access facilities, and education centers. The EPF has also helped create eight new state forests, three wildlife management areas, and two unique areas.
Additionally, under the EPF, nine new State Parks have been created and 32,000 acres were added to New York’s parks system, providing unique and diverse recreation opportunities, including many in close proximity to urban areas. Further, $217 million in EPF funds have supported 1,300 projects for municipal parks, historic preservation, and heritage areas.
The EPF has also preserved more than 72,000 acres of productive farmland by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and local partners, keeping these lands in private ownership and permanently available for farming.