NEW YORK, N.Y. (Aug. 1, 2018) – The Trust for Public Land today announced they have acquired the 219-acre Corbin Hill property near Pawling, New York in an effort to enhance protection for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the popular hiking trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. The Trust for Public Land will transfer the property to the National Park Service in order to permanently protect the land from development. The property was valued at $2,413,000, but The Trust for Public Land negotiated a sale price of $2,350,000. Prior to its acquisition, the property was proposed for a 50 unit residential subdivision known as the “Wind Rose Development.”
The permanent protection of Corbin Hill will significantly enhance the Appalachian Trail experience along one of the most accessible and popular segments of the Trail. The acquisition also secures permanent habitat protection for sensitive wildlife species. The property lies just below the Cat Rocks overlook, a spectacular vista that is one of the highlights of the A.T. in New York, and the land purchase ensures that the picturesque views of the Harlem Valley are not interrupted by housing developments.
This scenic portion of the A.T. is accessible via commuter rail from New York City; hikers can take a weekend train from Grand Central Station in the morning, hike all day and then return on another train in the afternoon. This only mass transit stop along the A.T. provides a model for sustainable and equitable access to hiking for all.
The acquisition of this property was made possible through a partnership among The Trust for Public Land, National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the Oblong Land Conservancy, who for years worked tirelessly to permanently protect this land for people to enjoy. Funding for the land purchase came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that uses offshore oil and gas lease revenues to protect America’s open spaces. LWCF has been America’s most successful conservation program for the last 50 years. Project costs were covered by grants from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, National Park Trust, Oblong Land Conservancy and many private donors.
“Everyone deserves great outdoor experiences, and the permanent protection of Corbin Hill along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail means that people for generations to come can enjoy this majestic landscape,” said Carter Strickland, New York Director of The Trust for Public Land. “We’re grateful for our tremendous partners, including The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Oblong Land Conservancy, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Representative Faso and the National Park Service for all they’ve done to make this effort a reality.”
The section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail near Pawling, New York is one of the most accessible and visited portions of the Trail offering hikers an opportunity to refuel and restock on their way North or South. At the same time, the Trail provides nearby communities with a significant close-to-home outdoor recreation opportunity. Furthermore, this segment of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail contains the largest blazed tree on the Appalachian Trail, a white oak named the Dover Oak. Acquisition of the property would move existing off-road parking, which is currently within the root system of this legendary tree, to another off-road site so the Dover Oak can thrive.
For more details on Corbin Hill, please see this video: https://vimeo.com/272609426
“The Appalachian Trail is one of the United States’ most scenic trails and the addition and permanent protection of the Corbin Hill property through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will only add to its prestige,” said Senator Schumer. “I’m proud to have supported the Trust for Public Land throughout this process, and I look forward to continuing to support our nation’s public lands for years to come.”
“Congratulations to the Trust for Public Land for finalizing the Corbin Hill project by using $2 million appropriated from the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said U.S. Representative John Faso. “This purchase will help enhance the visitor experience along the Appalachian Trail in the Town of Pawling.”
“On behalf of the National Park Service, we are thrilled that The Trust for Public Land has helped secure this important property” said Wendy Janssen, Superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. “Acquisition of this tract will allow us to resolve parking issues and find a better permanent location for the A.T. footpath away from sensitive habitats. In addition to improving the visitor experience and protecting resources, we are pleased to partner with local communities who cherish open space protection in the A.T. Landscape.”
"Adding this highly scenic and historic farm land to the Appalachian Trail is significant in furthering the original intention for building the nearly 2,200-mile Trail – to provide millions of urban dwellers in the eastern United States with easy access to a corridor of immense natural and cultural resources,” said Suzanne Dixon, president and CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “Residents in the area can easily get to Corbin Hill by train to the Appalachian Trail Metro-North Train Station to enjoy spectacular views and experience the Trail. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is grateful for the vision and engagement of a number of partners including the support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Faso.”
“The Oblong Land Conservancy has been a proud partner in the conservation of Corbin Hill, said Philip van Buren, president of the OLC Board. “Our organization protects land in the Harlem Valley and this strategic expansion of the Appalachian Trail conserves important wildlife resources as well as recreational resources such as the vista from Cat Rocks, one of the most popular hikes in the region. OLC and our many donors helped with the purchase by raising funds for project costs and we are appreciative of the partnership between local and national organizations to improve the quality of life in Pawling.”
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
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 System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,190 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. On October 2, 2018, the ATC will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act, which protects the A.T. and other scenic trails as part of the National Park System. 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, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
J.T. Horn, The Trust for Public Land, 603-236-9866 (mobile)
Karen Lutz, Appalachian Trail Conservancy 717.258.5771 (office)
Wendy Janssen, National Park Service 304-535-6279 (office)