90 Acres Added to Sterling Forest State Park (NY)

Warwick, NY, March 30, 2005 – The nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the State of New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation announced today the purchase of 90 acres of farmland in Warwick, NY that will be added to Sterling Forest State Park. The protection of this farm, owned by the Cox family since 1924, adds a beautiful property to the park’s more than 18,000 acres. The land will be managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC).

The property, which consists of forest, wetlands, and rocky slopes, will be open to the public via a network of trails snaking through the park.

“Working with our joint venture partner, the Open Space Institute, the Trust for Public Land proudly purchased this property for addition to Sterling Forest,” said Philip Nicholas, TPL project manager. “We applaud Governor Pataki’s leadership and the state’s commitment to providing recreational resources for New Yorkers.”

“The Cox property acquisition marks another step in Governor Pataki’s unprecedented commitment to the preservation of the Highlands,” said State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro. “Working with our environmental partners such as TPL and OSI, we have been able to protect New York’s valuable natural resources here at Sterling Forest and across the state for the benefit of future generations.”

“Sterling Forest is the jewel in the crown of the Highlands. Its expansion by another 90 acres is another wonderful step in protecting these lands of national significance for their water quality and habitat protection purpose,” said Carol Ash, Palisades Interstate Park Commission executive director.

The land was purchased from the Cox family, which owned the farm for three generations. According to Everett Cox, grandson of Everett W. Cox, who purchased the farm in 1924, the family sold the property to the Trust for Public Land, “to keep the land open and natural and to preserve it forever.”

This acquisition continues the ongoing efforts of the Trust for Public Land and the Open Space Institute to protect Sterling Forest. In February 1998, TPL and OSI completed negotiations that resulted in the $55 million purchase of 15,280 acres for the creation of Sterling Forest State Park. This is the third addition to that landmark protection effort, bringing the total protected by the two groups to approximately 17,100 acres.

“The addition of Cox Farm to Sterling Forest State Park is another outstanding example of a public-private partnership that works,” said OSI President Joe Martens. “TPL, OSI, and the State of New York have joined forces to protect thousands of acres in the Highlands that are essential for watershed and habitat protection and public recreation.”

Located just 35 miles northwest of New York City on the New York/New Jersey border, Sterling Forest provides residents of the most densely populated area in the country an escape from the congestion of urban life, and a way to connect to the natural world.

Sterling Forest serves as a source of drinking water for more than two million New Jersey residents. The park links other protected lands in New York and New Jersey, creating a 150,000-acre greenbelt of parkland containing vital habitat for the survival of thousands of wildlife species including black bear, a variety of hawks and songbirds, and many rare invertebrates and vegetation.

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 two million acres of land in 46 states, including more than 75,000 acres in New York.

The mission of the Open Space Institute is to protect scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, and creative partnerships. The Open Space Institute (www.osiny.org) has protected more than 90,000 acres in New York State.