Sterling Forest State Park acquires another 90 acres

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    WARWICK-Ninety acres of farmland in Warwick will be added to Sterling Forest State Park, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land and the State of New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced Wednesday. The protection of this farm, owned by the Cox family since 1924, adds a beautiful property to the park's more than 18,000 acres. The land, which consists of forest, wetlands, and rocky slopes, was purchased for $585,000. It will be managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The property will be open to the public via a network of trails snaking through the park. "Sterling Forest is the jewel in the crown of the Highlands," said Carol Ash, Palisades Interstate Park Commission executive director. "Its expansion by another 90 acres is another wonderful step in protecting these lands of national significance for their water quality and habitat protection purpose." The land was purchased from the Cox family, which owned the farm for three generations. According to Everett Cox, grandson of Everett W. Cox, who purchased the farm in 1924, the family sold the property to the Trust for Public Land, "to keep the land open and natural and to preserve it forever." The Sterling Forest acquisition is the latest in a series of open space acquisitions throughout the area. Last month alone came the news of a 255-acre donation of land in Warwick by Steve and Liz Roland to the Orange County Land Trust. The town of Warwick has either preserved or is in the process of preserving nearly 2,200 acres of farmland since the passage of a development rights referendum in 2000. Meanwhile, in another acquisition involving the Orange County Land Trust, the village of Monroe took control of more than 20 acres of land that will be dedicated to open space. The Sterling Forest acquisition continues the ongoing efforts of the Trust for Public Land and the Open Space Institute to protect Sterling Forest. In February 1998, the trust and the institute completed negotiations that resulted in the $55 million purchase of 15,280 acres for the creation of Sterling Forest State Park. This is the third addition to that landmark protection effort, bringing the total protected by the two groups to approximately 17,100 acres. Sterling Forest serves as a source of drinking water for more than two million New Jersey residents. The park links other protected lands in New York and New Jersey, creating a 150,000-acre greenbelt of parkland containing vital habitat for the survival of thousands of wildlife species including black bear, a variety of hawks and songbirds and many rare invertebrates and vegetation. The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes through land acquisition, conservation easements, loan programs and creative partnerships. The institute ( has protected more than 90,000 acres in New York State.