Deal conserves scenic, ecologically important land and ensures popular camp will continue connecting children to nature
Scenic Hudson and Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Inc. (GSHH) have partnered to conserve 353 scenic and ecologically important acres. Protection of this unusually large forested property in the lower Hudson Valley marks another major victory in Scenic Hudson’s Saving the Land That Matters Most campaign.
Under the transaction, Scenic Hudson purchased a conservation agreement from GSHH to ensure the permanent protection of 113 acres on which the main facilities and activity areas of Camp Addisone Boyce—a popular Girl Scout camp—are located. GSHH will retain sole use of this land, meaning local Girl Scouts will continue connecting with nature at the camp, as they have for decades. At the same time, Scenic Hudson purchased 240 acres surrounding the camp from GSHH, including ridgelines that contribute to the Hudson Highlands’ iconic beauty as well as wetlands and ponds.
The newly protected property shares a border spanning nearly 1.5 miles with Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks. Parts of this land are visible from popular trails within the parks, including the Appalachian Trail, as well as the Hudson River. Scenic Hudson plans to work with New York State Parks to add this land to the adjoining parks, providing new opportunities for the public to experience the region’s natural beauty.
Scenic Hudson Land Trust Executive Director Steve Rosenberg and Senior Land Project Manager Matt Shipkey negotiated the transaction, which was accomplished with funds from the organization’s Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Hudson Valley Land Preservation Endowment and a zero-interest loan from The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation. Previously in Rockland County, Scenic Hudson spearheaded efforts to conserve the forested ridgeline in the county-owned park on Clausland Mountain and partnered with the Village of Haverstraw to protect and create three-acre Emeline Park on the downtown riverfront.
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “With development pressure increasing in the lower Hudson Valley, Scenic Hudson is delighted to partner with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson to preserve forever this astonishingly beautiful land. In addition to ensuring Girl Scouts will always have an exciting place to explore nature, this transaction provides the potential for expanding the region’s popular trail system—providing new destinations for outdoor recreation, a linchpin of the Hudson Valley’s tourism economy. We’re grateful to all the generous partners who helped make this victory possible.”
“Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson (GSHH) could not have found a better partner for this important transaction than Scenic Hudson. This transaction represents a win-win for both of our organizations. For GSHH, it ensures the beauty of Camp Addisone Boyce for future generations. It also allows GSHH to stay true to the Girl Scout mission by enabling a focus on girl centric programs and by ensuring that our properties remain a place for fun, friendships and exciting adventures,” said Pam Anderson, CEO of GSHH.
New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said: “The Hudson Highlands are a nationally important scenic landscape, providing excellent places for recreation and contributing to clean air and water. I am grateful to our partners at Scenic Hudson for their continued work in protecting New York’s spectacular places.”
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, “In addition to providing significant economic and quality-of-life benefits, conserving this land helps safeguard the world-class biological diversity of the Hudson Highlands by expanding habitat networks on which many wildlife species depend and also helps protect the region’s water quality.”
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 14,113 acres and our land trust partners an additional 2,669 acres.