On the morning of Friday October 23rd, 2015 community members gathered at Mills-Norrie State Park Staatsburg, NY to witness a ribbon cutting for a new section of the Hudson River Greenway Trail. The new trail traverses south approximately 1.85 miles from Norrie-Mills State Park to the former Dominican Camp property in Hyde Park, NY. The creation of this trail segment, which was over six years in the making, required an immense collaboration effort.
Generous contributions from landowners such as the Anderson Center for Autism made this new trail segment possible. Back in October of 2007, Winnakee Land Trust negotiated and signed a trail easement with the Anderson Center for Autism to allow a 0.5 mile section of nearly 2 mile trail to traverse their property. Not long after, Scenic Hudson purchased the former Dominican camp property at the south end of the trail, which brings hikers to an incredible overlook of the Hudson River. The opening of this trail would not have been possible without the hard work of trail partners including Hyde Park Greenway Trail Committee, Town of Hyde Park, Winnakee Land Trust, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and Scenic Hudson. Not to mention the countless hours of volunteer work that was put into trail building.
The trail is part of the Hudson River Valley Greenway, a larger effort to connect the Mid-Hudson Bridge to the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge and beyond.This particular portion of the Greenway offers a moderate hike appropriate for all ages and skill levels. Biking is not advised as one portion of the trail contains a built stairway. Dogs are permitted if kept on a leash.
Winnakee is a proud member of Land Trust Alliance. Our accreditation is a mark of distinction, showing that Winnakee meets high standards for land conservation. Accredited land trusts range from all-volunteer organizations to national groups and protect more than 75% of all land and easements held by land trusts in America. The seal offers the assurance that Winnakee can keep its promise of perpetuity in our protected land. To learn more, visit the Land Trust Alliance official website.
The Winnakee Land Trust has been awarded two grants from the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), through its Conservation Partnership Program funded by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund. This unique program is a model nationwide for leveraging public funds with private donations and volunteer commitments and is a partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation. This year 55 land trusts across New York State received $1.8M in funding; each grant dollar is matched by approximately two private dollars putting public money into land conservation work.
The first grant will fund the updating of management plans for Winnakee’s two parks, the 76-acre Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck, and the 102-acre Winnakee Nature Preserve in Hyde Park. Burger Hill is characterized by its high peak with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and its open grassland, increasingly rare habitat for ground-nesting birds such as bobolinks and meadowlarks. The park management plan addresses the evolving conditions at the park, new features, and enhanced uses. It outlines the location and treatment of invasive species and rare species, which enable Winnakee to test new approaches that we can then share with conservation easement landowners. It also details features or uses that might be enhanced, such as location of trails, the new grove of crabapples, new benches and kiosk maps, and maintenance of fencing and parking areas. Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill has approximately 80 volunteer stewards who open and close the park daily and it has a volunteer committee that implements the park management plan, with assistance from Winnakee staff.
The Winnakee Nature Preserve in Hyde Park is characterized by woodland with historic hiking and carriage trails. The Preserve park management plan addresses not only woodland management and trail maintenance but how to develop, maintain, and promote the Winnakee Education Arboretum that occupies about 25 acres of the park.
Winnakee’s second Land Trust Alliance grant will fund the development of our website as well as a social media campaign on Facebook, twitter, and local forums to promote use of the website and engage the public with Winnakee’s work.
Start or end your day with a hike at Burger Hill! This hike takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and is a great way to unwind or get in shape. The views are breathtaking, especially at sunset! For more information, visit our Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill page.
Many Hudson Valley residents have become familiar with the slogan, “No farms, no food” and although it seems like an obvious proclamation, our country continues to lose an estimated 50 acres of farmland every hour to industrial development. Winnakee Land Trust takes the preservation of farmland very seriously.
The agricultural industry is more than just a staple in the Hudson Valley economy. The United States consists of some of the most productive farmland in the world, and if we continue to that land at a rate consistent with population growth, our ability to feed families will be compromised. In addition to our own needs, approximately half of our nation’s protected species rely on agricultural land for 80 percent of more of their habitat.
Over a third of the land protected by Winnakee Land Trust is productive farmland. Our easements legally and permanently protect these vital regions from development. To learn more about protecting your farm from development, visit our Conservation Easement page.