New preserve offers Hudson River views
The environmental group Scenic Hudson has acquired 287 acres that also reach the shores of Esopus Lake.
Scenic Hudson’s newest preserve features views of the Hudson River as well as a trail that reaches the shores of Esopus Lake.
The High Banks Preserve, off River Road, encompasses 287 acres of land Scenic Hudson acquired over a period of a few years, the group’s director of parks, Rita Shaheen, said Friday. She said the land had been slated for residential development “many” years ago but the property has ecologically important natural resources and the potential to connect people to nature.
The preserve contains bluffs offering vistas of the Hudson River, as well as extensive wetlands, wildflower-filled meadows, hardwood forests and shoreline along Esopus Lake, according to Scenic Hudson. The lake is between River Road and U.S. Route 9W.
“It’s really beautiful,” Shaheen said.
She said visitors can access the preserve from River Road and will be greeted by a Scenic Hudson sign. After a short drive, visitors will reach a flat parking area, from which they can walk on paths to a viewing area overlooking the Hudson River with benches and interpretive signs, Shaheen said.
Shaheen said Scenic Hudson has been trying to make its lands more accessible, which is why the parking and viewing areas are flat. She said visitors who are more able can use a 3-mile hiking trail that leads to the lake, passing through forest, wetlands and meadows.
Scenic Hudson will formally open the High Banks Preserve with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Saturday. The preserve is named after the English translation of “Esopus.”
Shaheen said Scenic Hudson spent about $4.4 million to acquire the property, build the preserve and demolish dilapidated buildings from the former Camp Chi-Wan-Da.
The Hudson River is visible from the High Banks Preserve in Ulster Park.