Wonder Lake State Park Expansion Announced (NY)

Kent, NY, February 10, 2006: Governor George E. Pataki and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that Wonder Lake State Park, located in the Town of Kent in Putnam County, will expand with the purchase of 106 acres of open space. The new parcel is adjacent to the existing park and expands the property to 973 acres while providing critical public access to the site. The Trust for Public Land and their joint venture partner the Open Space Institute negotiated the purchase.

“By expanding Wonder Lake State Park, we are continuing our commitment to protecting our valuable open space, and expanding opportunities for residents and visitors from Putnam County and the entire Hudson Valley region,” said Governor Pataki. “This expansion will link this magnificent site to the trails and woodlands in the Hudson Highlands region, and provide New Yorkers with improved access to even more great outdoor activities.”

“The Trust for Public Land is indebted to Governor Pataki for his eleven years of conservation leadership, and is pleased to have assisted the state in acquiring both the first property for this state park and this addition. TPL looks forward to continuing to protect the landscapes that give Putnam County its singular quality of life,” said Erik Kulleseid, New York State program director for The Trust for Public Land.

The Wonder Lake parcel is located on Mooney Hill Road and owned by Abingdon Farms Inc. The property is contiguous to the northern boundary of the park, offering 114 feet of road frontage. It will provide level access to the park and allow for construction of a viable connection to the established trail system from the newly designed parking area on Luddingtonville Road. The parcel is being purchased for $1,087,381 supported by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Wonder Lake State Park was acquired in 1998 but existing conditions provided a challenge for establishing public access points. The additional property will allow trails to be developed around the steep slopes, improving access while adding meadow habitat to the park. The property has wooded portions to the northwest and southeast, rugged topography and scattered ravines. Most of the site is covered with mixed hardwood, ledges, seasonal streams, and rivulets; located in the southeastern portion of the property is a series of meadows surrounded by stone walls.

State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro said, “Here in Putnam County, our successful conservation efforts will establish important public access at Wonder Lake and help us meet the needs of the community, improving the quality of life for local residents. Through this stewardship, we have been able to preserve scenic parklands and expand outdoor opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

Governor Pataki has opened 22 new state parks with more than 57,000 new acres bringing the total number of state parks to 172. This latest acquisition of a new state park furthers the longstanding environmental goals set by the Governor that have made New York a national leader in open space protection and natural resource stewardship. In his 2004 State of the State address, the Governor committed to opening five new state parks in the next two years and opening or expanding 20 parks over the next five years.

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 two million acres of land in 46 states, including more than 76,000 acres in New York.