237 Acres in Rockland Co. Protected (NY)

Sloatsburg, NY, 9/2/04 The Trust for Public Land and Rockland County successfully protected 237 acres off of Johnsontown Road in the town of Ramapo and village of Sloatsburg. Preservation of the land between Harriman State Park and Dater Mountain County Park has long been one of the top objectives of Rockland County. Its protection preserves one of the most important and visible remaining open spaces in Rockland County, and will link to existing parklands, including Harriman State Park and Dater Mountain County Park, of which it will become a part.

“This is the last, large, undeveloped mountainous area in Rockland and it lies within the scenic viewshed of the Harriman State Park and the New York State Thruway,” said County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. “The acquisition of this property will link Harriman State Park with the Rockland County Dater Mountain Nature Park, which now has limited public accessibility.”

“Rockland County is aggressively working to protect its remaining open space, and the Trust for Public Land is pleased to do what we can to help them achieve their goals,” said Philip Nicholas, project manager for the Trust for Public Land.

The property, which is located in the New York / New Jersey Highlands, is heavily wooded, with steep inclines and rocky slopes. It contains eight federally designated wetlands and provides habitat for two New York State Endangered Species (the Northern Cricket Frog and the Allegheny Woodrat) and one Threatened Species (the Timber Rattlesnake). There are also 41 species of birds that inhabit the property.

This is the largest acquisition of open space since the Open Space Program was established in 1999 and brings the number of acres of open space preserved under the Vanderhoef administration to 615 acres.

“We will be constructing a network of trails through the property to link Harriman State Park to the existing Rockland County Dater Mountain Park,” said Vanderhoef. “We also plan to build a parking area to make the property more easily accessible for our residents.”

The property was once inhabited by the Munsee Indians.Later, settlers extracted iron ore and produced charcoal on the land to fuel the ironworks mills located along the Ramapo River. The property has also been extensively logged since the 1800s.

In 1991, the Village of Sloatsburg reviewed a proposal to subdivide the property into 71 single-family lots. The former owners indicated that if the property was not purchased by the county, they would propose a similar subdivision.

Rockland County provided the vast majority of the funds for the $4.9 million purchase. The county received a $350,000 grant from the State of New York Environmental Protection Fund to assist in the acquisition.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres of land in 46 states, including more than 65,000 acres in New York.