SAUGERTIES (Ulster County)-Scenic Hudson recently protected 192 acres of ecologically important land along the Hudson River in the Town of Saugerties, Ulster County. The conserved land will provide an exciting opportunity to connect people with nature and is the latest success in the organization's
campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most.
Scenic Hudson acquired a Bye-year conservation restriction on the parcel, owned by the Dominican
Sisters of Sparkill. It includes over one mile of spectacular Hudson Riverfront, a stream, meadows,
wetlands and hardwood forest, as well as breathtaking vistas of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.
Public access will be allowed once trails are created
In addition the Sisters have agreed to allow public access on a portion of the land. Scenic Hudson park
planners are partnering with the Sisters and Esopus Creek Conservancy (ECC) on a concept plan to
augment an existing riverside trail system while protecting the Sisters' privacy. New trails - expected to
be completed by spring 2011 - will be constructed and maintained by Scenic Hudson and ECC.
The plan eventually will be shared with the community. Until the trails are completed, the property will
remain closed to the public. Scenic Hudson Land Projects Specialist Paul Schwartzberg negotiated the transaction.
"By very generously granting Scenic Hudson a conservation easement on their property and agreeing to
allow public access to land they love so dearly, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill have guaranteed that it
will remain unspoiled for the near future and that visitors will be able to experience the tranquility and awe inherent in its myriad natural treasures. This donation embraces the Sisters' strong environmental ethic - just one aspect of their outstanding social justice ministries - 'that land should be conserved, restored, and shared equitably.' I also thank Esopus Creek Conservancy for introducing Scenic Hudson to
the Dominican Sisters and partnering with us to plan, develop and manage the new preserve," said Ned
Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson.
"We are delighted at this opportunity to partner with Scenic Hudson because, as caretakers of land that is
God's, we believe that earth's benefits are for everyone, that land should be conserved, restored and
shared," said Sister Lorraine LaRocca, secretary of the executive team of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill.
Land Deal Protects Hudson River Shoreline
"While ECC has focused primarily on developing Esopus Bend Nature Preserve and providing access to
Esopus Creek, and fostering environmental education in the Saugerties schools, we are excited to be
moving into this new partnership with Scenic Hudson and the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill. This project
is both consistent with and expands ECC's mission - 'to conserve significant natural landscapes in the
Lower Esopus Creek watershed and the Saugerties area by protecting the rural character of the
environment and by conserving and protecting natural habitats.' This collaboration will help to foster
tourism and greatly increase access to the Hudson River for Saugerties and other Hudson Valley
communities and provide further opportunities to expand our program of nature walks and habitat study,"
said Susan Bolitzer, president of Esopus Creek Conservancy.
"Scenic Hudson has been a longtime friend of ECC, and we are proud to be entering this new
partnership, both with them and with the Dominican Sisters, who have shown such dedication to the land
in preserving and sharing this Hudson River treasure," added Ms. Bolitzer.
Deal has strong economic, ecological upsides
The acquisition conserves landscapes that contribute to a $4.7-billion regional tourism economy that
sustains 80,000 jobs. Located within the Ulster North Scenic Area of Statewide Significance, designated
by New York State for its outstanding scenic and historic value, the Dominican Sisters' property features
prominently in spectacular views from Clermont State Historic Site, Montgomery Place and numerous
popular parks in Dutchess and Columbia counties.
Protected forests, wetlands improve air and water quality,
Increasing the acreage of protected forests and wetlands offers myriad health benefits. Trees release pure
oxygen while sequestering pollutants that contribute to asthma, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Woodlands collect and purify water that filters into the ground to recharge local aquifers, communities'
prime sources of drinking water. Trees also intercept rainfall, preventing it from flowing into streams
where it could cause flooding. Wetlands help prevent flooding by trapping run-off and releasing it
slowly, in the process absorbing pollutants that otherwise might reach tributaries and drinking-water
supplies. Safeguarding these prime wildlife habitats helps maintain biodiversity, which plays an
important role in preventing diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
Collaborative campaign targets protecting valley's most important landscapes
Scenic Hudson's campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most was launched in 2007 to provide a
lasting way of commemorating the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's voyage of discovery. It is a
multi-year, collaborative effort with fellow land trusts, governments, individuals and businesses to
protect lands of the highest scenic, ecological and agricultural significance throughout the Hudson
Valley. To date, Scenic Hudson has conserved 3,536 acres and our land trust partners an additional 1,152
Land preservation key to economic opportunity
Scenic Hudson also pursues its campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most realizing that preserving
land provides the cornerstone of a sustainable economy for the region. In Ulster County alone, the
tourism industry is responsible for $472 million in spending each year, generating $29 million annually
in local taxes and employing nearly 8,500 people. Protected lands also help secure the valley's place in
the new green economy. A recent study by the Trust for Public Land notes that executives looking to
relocate or start up firms rank quality of life - including an abundance of parks and open space - higher
than housing, cost of living and good schools.
Land Deal Protects Hudson river Shoreline
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 50 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the
Hudson River and conserved more than 28,000 acres. www.scenichudson.org
About Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York is a congregation of over 375 vowed women religious and
associates. Tracing their roots back to the Order of Preachers founded by St. Dominic in the early l3th
century, the Sisters are committed to preaching and teaching the good news of the Gospel through
ministry for justice and reverence for all creation. Members of the congregation minister in 12 states and
in Pakistan and Peru. Sisters now serve in the fields of education, administration, health care, pastoral
ministry, retreat ministry, art, sciences, and social services and advocacy for poor and underserved