New York state is expanding Moreau Lake State Park by 860 acres. The new lands include natural habitat along an undeveloped stretch of the Hudson River that will be known as Big Bend Point.
“The acquisition at Big Bend Point guarantees the protection of a critical habitat and pristine natural resource,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “Moreau Lake State Park is visited by hundreds of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year for camping, swimming, and exploring its popular trail network. With more people than ever visiting our parks, this acreage will expand options for outdoor recreation in the region and preserve open space in fast-growing Saratoga County.”
The $1.6 million purchase of Big Bend Point was funded by the Environmental Protection Fund. It brings the Moreau Lake State Park’s total acreage to 6,250 acres, making it one of the ten largest parks in the state park system.
With its proximity to both Lake George and Saratoga Springs, the park is attractive to visitors year-round as it offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and other winter activities.
New York State Parks partnered with the Open Space Institute (OSI) to protect the former logging site at Big Bend Point in the town of Moreau. Bounded by two miles of the Hudson River, Big Bend Point includes wide, established logging roads that can be converted into an accessible trail network for year-round walking, bicycling, birding and wildlife viewing, equestrian riding, and non-motorized winter sports such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
State Parks plans to install car-top boat/kayak launches, and permit hunting in-season.
With its sandy soils, isolation from developed areas, and open meadows, officials said Big Bend Point offers an exceptional habitat for thousands of native species of plant and wildlife, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Over the past two years, the OSI engaged in a habitat restoration project to create a new home for the Karner Blue, which is expected to support a minimum of 3,000 rare butterfly specimens annually.
State officials said the unique topography, biodiversity, and expansive acreage also offer new destinations for Moreau Lake State Park’s robust Nature Education program. State Parks is developing a site plan that aims to welcome visitors in 2022.
Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI, said land conservation efforts “have helped protect and expand Moreau Lake State Park for its spectacular beauty and popular recreational offerings. With this latest OSI addition to Moreau Lake, we are excited to say that we have now tripled the size of this fantastic outdoor destination that not only welcomes the public for exploration and enjoyment, but also serves as critical wildlife habitat in this fast-growing region.”
State Sen. Daphne Jordan said, “It’s great to preserve land in its natural state and provide trails and recreation for all New Yorkers to enjoy. I appreciate the commitment and leadership of Gov. Hochul and State Parks Commissioner Kulleseid in this effort of supporting and strengthening our public parks and treasured outdoor spaces.”
Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said the expansion of the park “is a wonderful addition to an already wonderful resource. Affording easy access to trails and the Hudson River, this acquisition will certainly please those who already know the park and will provide even more recreational opportunities, including year-round enjoyment of the park. The expansion also has the benefit of protecting valuable areas of diverse habitat. I applaud the thoughtful planning to protect this increasingly rare piece of wildness right in our back yard.”
Over the past 20 years, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has added more than 4,250 acres to Moreau Lake State Park, tripling the park in size, according to state officials. In the area, OSI is also working with partners to connect Moreau Lake and Saratoga Spa State Parks via a 13-mile recreational trail corridor outlined as part of its Southern Palmertownconservation and recreation plan.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which it says were visited by a record 78 million people in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518-474-0456.