Dominican Sisters of Sparkill and Scenic Hudson



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Falling Waters Preserve is saluted in Hudson Valley Magazine’s Best of Guide

HUDSON VALLEY – Hudson Valley magazine promoted its annual “Best of Hudson Valley” special issue as a guide to the region’s finest offerings. It cited Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties as the "Best New Park.

Falling Waters Preserve is an excellent place to explore the rugged beauty of the Hudson River. Hikers can make their way along a wooded trail that occasionally descends to the shoreline. The park’s trails, including a substantial route hugging the river, offer many scenic treasures, such as a meadow affording outstanding views of the Catskills and a picturesque waterfall.

Created through a unique partnership between the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, Esopus Creek Conservancy and Scenic Hudson, Falling Waters Preserve once was the site of the Mulford Ice House, an enormous, windowless structure that held up to 10,000 tons of ice “harvested” annually from the river and destined for shipment to New York City during warmer months. The park is great for bird watching and nature study, dog walking (on leash), fishing, walking/hiking and X-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s also a featured destination for Atlantic Kayak Tours.

“It takes great partners to create a great park, and that’s certainly the case with Falling Waters Preserve. Every season offers something new there, and I urge people to visit and come back frequently,” said Scenic Hudson Director of Parks Rita Shaheen.

“It is a privilege to be in partnership with Scenic Hudson and the Esopus Creek Conservancy in providing the opportunity for visitors to enjoy this beautiful and unique spot along the Hudson River. Sharing this gift is a way in which the sisters hope that all who visit will experience peace, serenity and a taste of God’s great love,” remarked Sister Mary Murray, president of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill. ECC

President Susan Bolitzer said, “At Falling Waters there’s something for everyone. The preserve provides a great experience for families to hike together. Parents and grandparents take in the views while children love discovering waterfalls, riverfront tidal areas and trails that offer dips and climbs. Local teachers bring classes for explorations in geology, history and environmental studies. And a gravel road that traverses across the higher reaches of the park invites seniors for an easy walk to enjoy views of fields, do some birding or just sit on benches and enjoy some quiet time in nature.”

"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.

Partnership 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 in this 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.

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, benefit health
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.

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.

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 populations.

For a delightful "hiker's review" of the Preserve, see