Palisades Regions River Parks Master Plan Meeting

South_end_of_Rockland_Lake_c19090The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) Palisades Region and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) will hold a public hearing regarding the preparation of a Draft Master Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Rockland Lake, Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach, and Haverstraw Beach State Parks (The Park Complex). OPRHP and PIPC encourage the public to participate in the planning efforts for The Park Complex and welcome all comments related to the DRAFT MASTER PLAN and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Read more

Open Storage At Washington’s Headquarters

It was from the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh that General George Washington commanded the final 16 months of the American Revolution. And it was from that house that he set out to quell a mutiny that was brewing amongst his officers. He triumphed in both of those instances. Read more

Conservancy Seeks Tower of Victory Contributions

The Palisades Parks Conservancy has announced the launch of a capital campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the Tower of Victory at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, NY.

For 125 years The Tower of Victory has stood as the nation’s only monument to the lasting peace that came after the end of the Revolutionary War.  Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of the President and then Secretary of War, commissioned John Hemingway Duncan, one of the nation’s most renowned architects at that time, to design the massive stone arched structure that hosts bronzes sculpted by William Rudolf O’Donovan, the pre-eminent monumental sculptor of the day. It stands on the property where General Washington created the “Badge of Military Merit” now called the Purple Heart.

&#8220Unfortunately for the Tower, time and weather have not been kind,&#8221 a statement to the press says &#8220Without intervention to restore the stone structure, replace the roof, and eliminate water penetration, this piece of the Hudson Valley’s – and the nation’s – history could be lost for good.&#8221

To fully restore the Tower, the Conservancy is hoping to raise $1.5 million dollars. Already, the Conservancy has secured $450,000 through grants and individual donations, but is now seeking the public’s help. You can donate to the campaign by mail or by e-mail.

To donate by mail, print and mail the attached form to the Palisades Parks Conservancy, P.O. Box 427, 3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain, NY 10911.

To donate online, do so at Put the words Tower of Victory in the subject line.

The fundraising campaign is co-chaired by U.S. Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey and PIPC Commissioner Barnabas McHenry.

Palisades Parks Conservancy 10th Annual Benefit

The Palisades Parks Conservancy will hold its 10th Annual Benefit Reception and Silent Auction at the Bear Mountain Inn on Saturday, September 15th, 2012. The Conservancy will will present Barnabas McHenry with the Palisades Founders Award in recognition of his legacy of dedication and generosity to the parks and historic sites of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

Barney, long committed to conservation, serves as a Palisades Interstate Park Commissioner, Chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Council, and co-chair of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The Conservancy will also extend its thanks and well wishes to the Honorable Maurice Hinchey, environmental watchdog in the United States Congress and the man behind the Hudson River Greenway and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. For more information or to request an invitation, call 845-786-2701 extension 281 or email [email protected].

Palisades Parks Affected by Tropical Storm Irene

Many state parks and historic sites in the Palisades Region are inaccessible due to damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Parks will reopen as power is restored, debris is removed, floodwaters recede, and public safety can be assured. The list of closings will be updated as conditions changes. Before visiting, visitors should contact the respective park offices for the most up-to-date information on availability of facilities and hours of operation.

* Bear Mountain State Park services are limited due to disruption of water service and the pool will remain closed for the season. The zoo is currently closed.

* Camping at Sebago Cabins, Beaver Pond and group camps at Harriman State Park is unavailable until further notice.

* Sebago Beach at Harriman is closed for the season.

* Lake Welch and Tiorati areas of Harriman are without power and water.

* High Tor State Park is without power.

* Minnewaska State Park Preserve will be open on a limited basis until further notice effective Saturday, September 3, 2011. The Preserve will only be open for hiking, picnicking, and swimming at Lake Minnewaska and climbing at the Peter’s Kill area. Biking and equestrian use will not be permitted. Access is only available for hikers and climbers. All hikers must park in the Awosting Parking Lot and all climbers must park in the Peter’s Kill parking lot. Please adhere to all posted trail closings.

Photo: Storm Damage on Palisades Park Road (Photo by Sean Rose).

Sponsors Sought for Bear Mountain Inn Reopening

When first opened in 1915, The American Architect declared the Bear Mountain Inn to be one of the “finest examples of rustic Adirondack architecture in America.” Commission President George W. Perkins Sr. described the building as &#8216-a rugged heap of boulders and huge chestnut logs assembled at the base of Bear Mountain by the hand of man and yet following lines of such natural proportions as to resemble the eternal hills themselves.’

In the last few years, the historic Bear Mountain Inn underwent extensive renovations to restore its original rustic splendor. To help raise additional funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Inn and promote the grand reopening celebration on Friday, November 11, 2011, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and its non profit partner, the Palisades Parks Conservancy invite you to promote your business at this long anticipated event. They expect leaders in environmental protection, philanthropy, government, commerce, education, law, and medicine to attend.

They ask you to join our list of Corporate Sponsors, which you can do by purchasing a table, tickets, or advertising in the dinner journal. All proceeds support the ongoing preservation and restoration of the Palisades Park’s treasures, trails, recreational facilities, open spaces, group camps for children, educational exhibits, and historic sites that benefit the people of New York and New Jersey.

As a corporate sponsor, your business name will be published in the Bear Mountain Inn Reopening Celebration dinner program that is distributed to 450 guests. In addition, your support will be identified in all event related email advertising (distributed to 7000 individuals and media outlets), and the bi-annual print newsletter (distributed to 5000 recipients) throughout 2012. If your sponsorship order is placed prior to September 15, 2011, your name will also be listed on the event invitation as a member of the benefit committee that is mailed to 5000 individuals and emailed to over 7000 individuals and media outlets in the tri-state area. The Palisades Parks Conservancy will publicly acknowledge your tax exempt support.

For information about the event, please call (845) 786-2701 x239 or email [email protected]

Photo: Bear Mountain Inn about 1920.

Millbrook Carriage Road Restoration Project Complete

The Millbrook Carriage Road, a multi-use carriage road that is used for hiking, biking and horseback riding in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, has reopened following completion of the first of several carriage road restoration projects in the Shawangunk Mountains. The project was made possible in part from a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund and a substantial individual donation.

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, the Mohonk Preserve, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have launched an joint initiative to rebuild the historic Smiley family carriage road network in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains. Many of the 83 miles of hand-built broken stone are in stages of disrepair, some causing closure.

The Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads offer guests easy access to lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing access to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. T

To support the Palisades Parks Conservancy reach their goal of restoring the entire 35 mile carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve (which is expected to costs more than $4 million) visit their website.

Harriman Family Palisades Founders Award Recipient

On June 3, 2010, the Palisades Parks Conservancy hosted their eighth annual dinner along the Hudson River shoreline at the Ross Dock Section of the Palisades Interstate Park, Fort Lee, NJ. The dinner was well attended with over 250 guests.

The Conservancy’s Board of Directors recognized 100 years of service and dedication by the Harriman Family. Elbridge Gerry Jr. accepted the Palisades Founders Award on behalf of more than sixty family members. A former Harriman camper, NY State Senator Jose M. Serrano, chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, and Parks and Recreation, was the keynote speaker. In addition, Samuel F. Pryor III, PIPC President and Carol Ash, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shared remarks.

A century ago, railroad executive Edward Henry (E.H.) and Mary Williamson Averell Harriman joined other Gilded Age families to reclaim our nation’s scenic and cultural treasures. Since then, the Harrimans have been at the forefront of every Palisades Interstate Park initiative. From the conservation of land and creation of parks, lakes, and beaches, to their unwavering support for nature education and relief camps, their dedication to the preservation of our traditions and environment serves as a model for us all.

After railroad magnate E.H. Harriman’s sudden death, his wife Mary carried on his vision to establish a grand park. Their gift of ten thousand acres and one million dollars safeguarded the scenic beauty of present-day Bear Mountain and the park that bears the family name. At the 1910 dedication ceremony, Mary and E.H.’s son, William Averell, presented the deed of land to the PIPC and thus started more than a century of family service on behalf of these 28 parks and historic sites.

W. Averell Harriman, the longest serving Palisades Commissioner, played an important role in the advancement of the Interstate Park. Always viewing himself as a volunteer to the PIPC and champion of nature, Harriman valued his service during his fifty-three year tenure (1915-1954, 1959-1973). To ensure access for all, Averell, with his brother Roland, himself a Commissioner for four years (1955-1958) contributed to the creation of transportation networks throughout the Palisades enabling millions the ability to easily travel deep into the wilderness and to connect with nature and our history via railroads, bridges, trails, and scenic byways.

In collaboration with the PIPC, Mary Harriman, who persistently encouraged education, suggested the creation of relief camps to aid underprivileged and homeless children and teach them about the power of nature. The family’s charitable foundations continue to assist today’s 32 camps allowing thousands of children the opportunity to learn lifelong skills each summer. Carrying on her grandmother’s legacy, Mary Harriman Fisk, a Commissioner from 1974-1996, sponsored the Tiorati Workshop for Environmental Learning, a program that trains NYC’s public schools to teach inner-city students the wonders of nature.

Photo: Edward Henry Harriman in his office 1899.