Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 02, 2021

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks Announces Acquisition of Land near Breakneck Ridge at Hudson Highlands State Park

Property Acquisition Along Route 9D Allows for Relocated Trailhead


State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid announced today a recent property acquisition along Route 9D in Putnam County as part of plans to construct a relocated trailhead for Brook Trail at Hudson Highlands State Park.

"While this property, the former Chalet on the Hudson catering and event space is only about two acres, it will have a large impact by allowing State Parks to create a relocated trailhead and amenities for Hudson Highlands that will help with pedestrian safety on Route 9D," Commissioner Kulleseid said.

There is currently no parking for the Brook Trailhead on Route 9D, necessitating people to walk along and cross the high-speed highway to access the trailhead.  The relocation of the Brook Trail trailhead and associated parking to this location will help to solve this safety issue. It also provides an alternate access into Breakneck Ridge from the south other than the rock scramble.

State Parks recently closed on a $1.71 million sale of the former catering site from the not-for-profit Open Space Institute. Planning will now include how best to create information kiosks and a trailhead to the nearby Brook Trail, as well as provide increased safety with added parking off busy Route 9D.

"OSI is proud to be working to make parks and protected land in the Hudson Highlands more welcoming for the public," said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. "The Chalet project, along with our extensive trail improvement and conservation efforts make the spectacular natural resources of this region safer and more accessible for hikers looking for a day-long challenge and families out for an afternoon stroll. We congratulate Commissioner Kulleseid and look forward to our continued partnership with New York State Parks."

The property is also part of a state-designated scenic area that is a critical viewshed for numerous parks, Revolutionary War historic sites, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  This acquisition will help maintain the region's ecological integrity by protecting wildlife bio-corridors and preserving scenic viewsheds in an area of development pressure.

State Sen. Sue Serino said, "Today's announcement is a tremendous win for visitors and residents alike. Relocating this popular trailhead will not only improve access to this great natural attraction but will also drastically improve safety in the area. As even more New Yorkers were looking for unique ways to get outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, popularity of the Hudson Highlands State Park and Breakneck Ridge Trail only continued to grow. We are grateful to State Parks for their commitment to preserving and improving this popular destination and very much look forward to the project's completion."

Assembly Member Sandy Galef said, "The acquisition of this land near Breakneck Ridge is a tremendous asset to the hikers that enjoy this area as well as making safer conditions on the roadway."

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said, "The pandemic seems to have brought more hikers to our county than ever before, so providing better and safer access to the trails in Hudson Highlands State Park is incredibly important right now. This is great news for our residents and for the many visitors who come here to see our region's stunning views."

Putnam County Legislator Nancy Montgomery said, "Thanks to the tireless work of State Parks for this contribution to our area. It provides a solution to a local problem by keeping our roads safe, protecting our wilderness, and providing safe access for all to enjoy this Hudson Highlands gem."

Hudson Highlands State Park is one of the most-visited Parks in the Taconic Region, drawing more than 3.1 million visitors over the last decade. The park's Breakneck Ridge trail is one of the most popular in the Hudson Valley and nation served by its own Metro-North Train Station.  Earlier this season, Parks celebrated the opening of a new connector trail off of Breakneck Ridge constructed by Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail in order to improve safety on this physically demanding trail. The new Ninham Trail, accessed by the Wilkinson Trailhead, provides an alternate ascent route to and from Breakneck's false summit.

Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail, the non-profit working to construct a 7.5-mile linear park that will ultimately serve as a gateway to the Hudson Highlands with a strong emphasis on safety and visitor management, applauded the acquisition and reuse.

"The coalition for Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail, which includes State Parks and Open Space Institute, are all committed to managing the heavy visitation in this area to improve visitor safety while also helping to protect the sensitive landscape of this important area.  The relocation of this trailhead and its parking will keep people safely out of the highway, which will help pedestrians and drivers alike," said Executive Director Amy Kacala.

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 78 million people annually. For more information on State Park recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail, a subsidiary non-profit of Scenic Hudson, is working to build a 7.5-mile world-class linear park on the banks of the Hudson River in the Highlands region.  Learn more at or find us on Facebook or Instagram.