Main camp area—113 acres—to be maintained as Girl Scout camp while public will enjoy future access to surrounding 240 acres
HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y.—Scenic Hudson is collaborating with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Inc. (GSHH) to permanently conserve 353 scenic and ecologically important acres in Rockland County. Under the deal GSHH will retain the sole use of 113 acres that make up the main facilities and activity areas of Camp Addisone Boyce, a popular Girl Scout camp facility in the Town of Stony Point, Rockland County. The surrounding 240 acres will be available in the future for public enjoyment of trails and opportunities to experience nature. The transaction is expected to close by early summer 2016, and it will enable local Girl Scouts to enjoy the camp as they traditionally have while the GSHH organization benefits from lessened land-management responsibilities and an infusion of capital that could enhance facilities and programs. For Scenic Hudson the arrangement is part of its ongoing Saving the Land That Matters Most campaign.
Camp Addisone Boyce is an unusually large forested property in the lower Hudson Valley that shares nearly a 1.5-mile border with Bear Mountain and Harriman State parks, which together boast more than 52,000 acres of mature Hudson Highlands chestnut-oak forest. Parts of the camp property are visible from trails within the state parks and those along the nearby Appalachian Trail, as well as the Hudson River. Preserving the camp property also will protect ridgelines that contribute to the Hudson Highlands’ iconic beauty. In addition about five percent of the conserved land protects wetlands, shrub swamps and ponds.
To conserve the 113-acre main camp area, Scenic Hudson will purchase a conservation agreement from GSHH. This will be accomplished by Scenic Hudson paying a portion of the land’s value to ensure its permanent protection. Scenic Hudson will purchase the remaining 240 acres outright. The group plans to work with New York State Parks to add these lands to the adjoining Bear Mountain and Harriman State parks.
Scenic Hudson Land Trust Executive Director Steve Rosenberg and Senior Land Project Manager Matt Shipkey are negotiating the transaction. Other Scenic Hudson land preservation efforts in Rockland County include Clausland Mountain, where the organization helped citizens protect the forested ridgeline of this county park, and three-acre Emeline Park on Haverstraw’s waterfront, which Scenic Hudson created with the village.
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “Scenic Hudson is excited to seize this opportunity to conserve important lands in the lower Hudson Valley. Rockland County and surrounding areas are heavily populated, and residents are eager for additional places for outdoor recreation and to be rejuvenated by enjoying nature. Outdoor destinations are increasingly important for the local tourism economy and contributing to amenities that enhance broad economic opportunities in the county. We’re grateful to all the generous partners who are helping make this conservation victory possible.”
“Camp Addisone Boyce will continue to be an important part of the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson’s commitment to the outdoor experience for girls. A 2014 study from the Girl Scout Research Institute concludes that involvement in the outdoors contributes to girls’ leadership development. Experiences such as hiking and camping outdoors provides girls with a sense of purpose and helps to socialize them into an environmentalist mindset—one that promotes connection with, concern for, and conservation of the environment. This transaction will enable GSHH to continue to enhance our programming and to ensure all of our properties continue to be a place for fun, friendships and exciting adventures for years to come,” said Pam Anderson, CEO of GSHH.
Land preservation boosts economic opportunity
Scenic Hudson pursues its campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most realizing that preserving land provides the cornerstone of a sustainable Hudson Valley economy. Tourism in the 10-county region generates $5 billion in spending annually and employs more than 83,000 people. Annual tourism spending in Rockland County is $440.5 million and supports more than 8,350 jobs.
Protected lands also help grow other parts of the economy. A study by The Trust for Public Land notes that executives looking to relocate or start firms rank quality of life—including an abundance of parks and open space—higher than housing, cost of living and good schools.
Scenic Hudson Land Trust Executive Director Steve Rosenberg said, “We are fortunate to be able to partner with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson to conserve this important land, enabling more people to enjoy the region’s natural treasures and at the same time support the future of Camp Addisone Boyce and the families who benefit from its programs. Conserving the land’s ridgelines, forest and wetlands are important for maintaining ecosystems and wildlife habitats.”
Collaborative campaign targets protecting valley’s most important landscapes
Scenic Hudson’s campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most 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. Since initiating the campaign in 2007, Scenic Hudson has conserved 12,667 acres and our land trust partners an additional 2,669 acres.
About Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson
Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson is 30,000 girls and 13,000 adult members strong. That’s more than 43,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We serve girls in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. We’re part of a nationwide movement of 2.7 million active girl members and adult troop leaders and 59 million alumnae. For more information, please visit www.girlscoutshh.org.
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 65 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved more than 35,000 acres. www.scenichudson.org