Harpers Ferry, WV (August 20, 2014) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) today announced its opposition to the proposed Sterling Forest Resort in the Town of Tuxedo in Orange County, New York, a project that would threaten the scenic beauty and the integrity of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) corridor through the 22,000-acre Sterling Forest State Park. The resort is billed as a world-class destination with an estimated 6.9 million annual visitors, a casino, ski area, 1,000 hotel rooms and a 7,000 car multi-story parking garage. The project would be built by Genting Americas, an affiliate of the Malaysia-based Genting Group. Genting has applied for permission to construct one of the new casinos in New York allowed by recent legislation but intended for low income, high unemployment communities, not for a state and federal park.
The proposed site of Sterling Forest Resort is in the center of the northern section of the state park, which was protected after years of litigation. The park, which features a 6-mile section of the 2,185-mile long A.T., was created through a strong collaboration between the National Park Service, the states of New York and New Jersey, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and private conservation and trail organizations including the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and the ATC. Approximately $55 million was contributed toward the purchase and protection of Sterling Forest by the federal government, the two states and the private sector.
“The magnitude of the proposed casino resort development would inevitably have a devastating impact on the immense value of the public investment to date to protect Sterling Forest,” said Ron Tipton, ATC’s executive director, in a written statement to the New York State Gaming Commission. “Distinct ecologic communities, unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities, and a magnificent scenic landscape are afforded to visitors of Sterling Forest. These values are the essence of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and projects of this magnitude are incongruous with the scenic and culturally significant experience that the A.T. provides to its visitors.”
Preliminary viewshed impact assessments indicate the resort would likely be visible from one or more places on the A.T. above Sterling Forest. In addition to these impacts, the area is a critical habitat for nesting and migratory birds and is a nationally recognized Important Bird Area. The proposed resort site is also in an area critical to the regional water supply.
The ATC has formally requested the potential visual and noise impacts on the A.T., as well as the potential natural and cultural resource damages, be carefully evaluated according to the State Environmental Quality Review.
”The Appalachian Trail Conservancy believes that the Tuxedo site is clearly the wrong location for a casino resort,” said Tipton. “Sterling Forest is one of the most treasured natural and cultural resources in the eastern United States, and we should keep it that way.”
Read the ATC’s complete statement to the New York State Gaming Commission at www.appalachiantrail.org/news.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x117
Email: [email protected]