Scenic Hudson is a not-for-profit environmental organization in New York that protects land, creates and enhances parks, and advocates for environmentally responsible policies and development practices.
Scenic Hudson was founded as the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference on November 8, 1963, when Hudson Valley residents organized to save Storm King Mountain from being transformed into the world's largest pumped-storage hydroelectric plant. The organization successfully mounted the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission court case, which saved the mountain and, for the first time, gave U.S. citizens legal standing to challenge development proposals on environmental grounds. Known as "The Scenic Hudson Decision," the case became a cornerstone of environmental law in the United States, and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.
After the Storm King Mountain case, Scenic Hudson gained more visibility, and began working with other local communities to protect important natural resources and adopt sound environmental policies.
Scenic Hudson adopted three principles:
- Outstanding quality of life is achievable only when a clean, healthy environment is a key component of economic development.
- All citizens have a right to outstanding quality of life, including access to our Hudson River, to open space and to participate in community decision-making.
- Our natural environment is an irreplaceable source of spiritual and artistic vitality and must be preserved forever.
The organization has three major focus area: Protecting land, creating and enhancing parks and preserves, and advocating for environmentally responsible policies and development outcomes.
Working primarily along the Hudson River between New York City and Albany, Scenic Hudson acquires land and conservation easements to create parks and preserves, protect lands of high scenic and ecological importance, and conserve prime farmland within New York City's agricultural foodshed. Much of its land protection work is completed in partnership with private landowners, local land trusts, and local, state, and federal public agencies. Land and conservation easements are typically acquired and held by Scenic Hudson's affiliate organization, The Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc. The two entities have protected over 31,000 acres in nine counties in the Hudson Valley. In 2011, the organization received the Land Trust Alliance's National Land Trust Excellence Award.
In January 2015, as a part of the Save the Land That Matters Most campaign, Scenic Hudson acquired a conservation easement of the 62 acres of productive farm fields and watershed lands adjacent to South Bay Creek, allowing a group of young farmers, who had previously been leasing the property, to purchase it, creating the Letterbox Farm Collective.
Scenic Hudson has created and enhanced more than 60 parks, preserves, and historic sites. In addition to owning and maintaining its own parks and preserves for public enjoyment, the organization has partnered with other land trusts and public entities to acquire, improve, and manage land for parks, preserves, historic sites, and other public uses.
Scenic Hudson works with municipalities and other environmental organizations to connect the public with the Hudson River, improve water quality, encourage responsible development practices, and revitalize urban waterfronts. In 2010, the organization published an award-winning handbook, Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts, which provides practical guidance for balancing conservation and development goals on urban waterfronts. More recently, Scenic Hudson launched a series of taskforces to help riverfront communities adapt to climate change-induced sea level rise.The organization also works with the Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance (HVSGA).
Scenic Hudson does public policy and advocacy work with government agencies in the Hudson Valley. It has helped establish and advance numerous environmental initiatives, including the Hudson River Estuary Program, the New York State Coastal Management Program, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Clean Water Act, the Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act and the National Heritage Area Designation, and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, created and managed in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Audubon New York
- Columbia Land Conservancy
- Dutchess Land Conservancy
- Esopus Creek Conservancy
- Greene Land Trust
- The Highlands Coalition
- Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition
- Hudson Highlands Land Trust
- Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Land Trust Alliance
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York)
- Mohawk Hudson Conservancy
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- National Park Service
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- New Baltimore Conservancy
- New York State Conservation Partnership Program
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
- The Nature Conservancy, Eastern New York Chapter
- New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
- The Olana Partnership
- Open Space Institute
- Orange County Land Trust
- Palllisades Interstate Park Commission
- Protect the Pallisades
- Thomas Cole House
- Trust for Public Land
- Westchester Land Trust
- Winnakee Land Trust
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Walkill Valley Land Trust
- Walkway Over the Hudson
- Feifel, Kirsten. "Scenic Hudson Land Trust: Prioritizing Lands in Light of Sea Level Rise". Climate Adoption Knowledge and Exchange. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "The Scenic Hudson Decision". Marist Environmental History Project. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "Our Mission". Scenic Hudson. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- "Scenic Hudson Receives National Land Trust Excellence Award". Land Trust Alliance. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Land Deal Enables Young Farmers to Purchase Farmland, Protects Important Hudson River Tributary | Scenic Hudson". www.scenichudson.org. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
- "Parks". Scenic Hudson. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Public Policy". Scenic Hudson. Retrieved 18 October 2013.