Sterling Forest State Park
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|Sterling Forest State Park|
|Location||116 Old Forge Road
Tuxedo, New York
|Area||19,132 acres (77.42 km2)|
|Visitors||266,944 (in 2014)|
|Website||Sterling Forest State Park|
Sterling Forest State Park is a 19,132-acre (77.42 km2) state park located in the Ramapo Mountains in Orange County, New York. Established in 1998, it is among the larger additions to the New York state park system in the last 50 years.
The parkland was originally owned by the Sterling Iron Works, which mined and shipped iron ore from a number of sites within the park. The last of the mines were closed in the 1920s.
The park was established in 1998 after New York State paid $55 million for 15,280 acres (61.8 km2) of land using a combination of public and private funds. In 2000, the park was expanded after a 575-acre (2.33 km2) tract in the center of the forest came on the market. Although a developer had planned to construct luxury homes and an 18-hole golf course on the tract, local residents and concerned environmentalists rallied and were able to procure the tract for the state park. The final $13.5 million sale price was negotiated by The Trust for Public Land, and paid out of the state's Environmental Protection Fund.
Park description and facilities
The park's forest habitat is important for the survival of several species, including timber rattlesnakes, black bear, fox, various raptors and songbirds, and many rare invertebrates and plants. Hunting, fishing, ice fishing, hiking and snowshoeing opportunities are available. The forest is embedded in a larger area of over 100,000 acres (400 km2) of largely uninterrupted woodland that serves both as a wildlife corridor and as a watershed for nearby urban areas.
The park lies in the New York - New Jersey Highlands, a one million-acre (4000 km2) stretch of natural habitat from the Hudson to the Delaware River that links the Abram S. Hewitt State Forest in New Jersey with Harriman State Park in New York. The park conserves a part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion. It also protects the Appalachian Trail corridor, which crosses the northern portion of Sterling Forest. The park is administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The Appalachian Trail in Sterling Forest is maintained by the New York - New Jersey Trail Conference.
The park includes the Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center, which offers exhibits about the local environment and overlooks Sterling Lake. The Sterling Mountain Fire Observation Tower and Observer's Cabin is located on Sterling Mountain.
A New York State hunting license and a Sterling Forest State Park hunting permit are required to hunt in the park, which is only permitted during deer and turkey season. Some areas are closed to hunting.
- "Sterling Forest State Park". NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- "Section O: Environmental Conservation and Recreation, Table O-9". 2014 New York State Statistical Yearbook (PDF). The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. 2014. p. 674. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- Berger, Joseph (February 11, 1998). "For $55 Million, New York Acquires Sterling Forest". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "State Park Annual Attendance Figures by Facility: Beginning 2003". Data.ny.gov. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- McKenna, Chris (November 28, 2006). "State buys 575 acres of highly desired land". Times Herald-Record. Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein; et al. (2001). "Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth". BioScience 51 (11): 933–938. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0933:TEOTWA]2.0.CO;2. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010.