July 25, 2007
149 Acres of Land Connects a Local and State Park
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash announced today that New York State will acquire land adjacent to Goosepond Mountain State Park in Orange County, New York. The new land, the McNeil Farm, will link Goosepond Mountain State Park and Chester Commons Town Park. Goosepond Mountain Park, located in the Town of Chester, is a 1,500 acre state park in the Highlands region of New York State. The Highlands are federally recognized as "lands of national importance" and are a conservation area stretching across four states from Pennsylvania to Connecticut.
"The purchase of the McNeil property will protect an important resource for the Town of Chester, Orange County and New York State," Ash said. "The property is in the New York State Highlands, next to an important protected natural area and connects a large state park to a very active Town Park. This expansion will give Chester residents, especially its children, access from an active recreation park to a passive use natural area. This addition contributes to our conservation and connection efforts and preserves this land as a natural resource for generations to come."
Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana said of the announcement, "Preserving valuable Open Space is of vital importance in making sure that Orange County's great quality of life remains strong for future generations to enjoy."
According to Ash the McNeil property consists of 149 acres of rolling fields, is immediately adjacent to the steep slopes of the park and is one of the many properties bordering Goosepond under immediate threat of development. She said that the property is being acquired for a total cost of $2.8 million, of which Orange County is contributing $400,000. Ash added, "We treasure our long-standing partnership with Orange County. This partnership helps leverage limited state resources, and represents the type of partnership we would like to replicate statewide."
This acquisition is hailed as an important step in protecting an important natural resource. Rose Harvey, senior vice president of The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization negotiating the purchase, said, "The conservation of this land helps meet the goals of the Town of Chester, Orange County and the State of New York and is key to preserving quality communities."
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation administers 178 parks, 35 state historic sites and 19 heritage areas. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit www.nysparks.com