Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 10, 2007

Eileen Larrabee
Cathy Jimenez

State Parks Acquires New Parkland in Columbia County

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash announced today that the agency has acquired 300 acres of property in Columbia County. The land is located off of New York State Route 22 in the Harlem Valley town of Copake, very close to the town of Hillsdale. The acquired property consists of rolling fields, woodlands, a 1.1 mile stretch of the former Harlem Division Railroad, and over 1.5 miles of frontage along the Roeliff Jansen Kill, a high quality fishing stream.

"This acquisition aligns perfectly with our park priorities. We are creating park connections for people and wildlife to move across the natural landscape," said Ash. "In addition, we recognize that partnerships are vitally important in our efforts to build and maintain our world-renowned state park system."

Peter Paden, Executive Director of the Columbia County Land Conservancy lauded the acquisition and said that it "not only preserves this land and the multitude of natural resources it contains, but also reflects the mission of the Conservancy to create open spaces that allow people to experience and reconnect with their natural surroundings. It is particularly exciting to see such a fresh and bold approach from State Parks to assist local governments and community groups in realizing long-held dreams for recreational open spaces."

The new park property is adjacent to the proposed northern extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, an envisioned 46-mile trail from Wassaic to Chatham, along a former rail line. Fifteen miles of the trail are currently open to the public and another 8 miles are under construction. According to Ash, State Parks continues to work with its partners to offer destination parks along the trail.

Ash also noted that this acquisition is particularly exciting as the agency is working with the Columbia County towns of Hillsdale and Copake to collaborate on the management of the park. Hillsdale Town Supervisor Art Baer said, "We are very excited to begin work on developing a much needed public park and provide recreational opportunities for our community. By working with the state, we will be able to share planning ideas and resources to take full advantage of all that this property has to offer."

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation administer 178 parks, 35 state historic sites and 19 heritage areas. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit More information about the Harlem Valley Rail Trail project can be found at