New pre­serve of­fers Hud­son River views

The en­vi­ron­men­tal group Scenic Hud­son has ac­quired 287 acres that also reach the shores of Eso­pus Lake.

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com ArielAtFree­man on Twit­ter

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.

PRO­VIDED

The Hud­son River is vis­i­ble from the High Banks Pre­serve in Ul­ster Park.

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