National Park Trust (NPT), The Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Oblong Land Conservancy completed the $2.38 million purchase of 219 acres of wooded land surrounding the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in July, 2018. The land has been conveyed to the National Park Service where it will be protected in perpetuity as federal land.
The land is located near Pawling, NY and will enable the trail to be moved around a marshy wetland where current hiker traffic is in conflict with the habitat needs of several endangered animal species. The property will also allow NPS to relocate a parking area away from the landmark Dover Oak. This eastern white oak is the largest tree along the entire length of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and compaction of soil by cars parked around it threatens its root system and long-term survivability. The Dover Oak is a local landmark and the largest white oak in New York State at over 114 feet in height and a circumference of over 20 feet. Had the property not been protected it would have been developed into a 50-unit residential subdivision that would have forever marred the trail’s pristine viewshed.
Photo courtesy of The Trust for Public Land
Another great feature of this section of the trail is that hikers can reach it by a 1.5 hour train trip from Grand Central Station in New York City, disembarking at the Appalachian Trail Train Stop. The train runs twice a day in the morning and again in the afternoon on the weekends making this section of the Appalachian Trail one of the most accessible units of the National Park System to an urban population.
Due to each of these unique attributes, this property was the number one priority for the National Park Service nationwide for 2018.
National Park Trust has made concerted efforts over the past few years to protect and expand the land surrounding the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. In 2017, NPT worked with The Trust for Public Land on the acquisition of an adjacent 1,500-acre parcel of old-growth woodland in Somerset County, ME. This land also protects the nearby Bald Mountain Pond, one of the few bodies of water in the lower 48 states which hold arctic char. The federally-listed threatened Canada lynx also roams nearby along with moose, fisher and black bears.The remoteness and scenic views make the property an iconic destination for backcountry adventures that combine paddling and hiking on the AT into a single day’s outing. It is one of the largest uncut forest blocks in central Maine with individual trees cored at almost 200 years old.
In 1996, National Park Trust also purchased a small but historic viewshed atop South Mountain, near Highfield-Cascade in Maryland. The site was a part of the Confederate artillery position during the September 14, 1862 Battle of South Mountain, where over 5,000 casualties occurred as troops marched to the Battle of Antietam on September 17. By preserving this land and donating it to the National Park Service hikers can continue to see the landscape that played a pivotal role in the Civil War.
National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that 35 acres of once private land has been permanently protected from development and returned to Zion National Park. NPT worked with The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Foundation to purchase the 35 acre in-holding—a privately owned piece of land completely surrounded by the park—and donate the land to the National Park Service.
The land is near Firepit Knoll, on the Kolob Terrace in the north west area of the park and is an important section of the park for hikers traveling the popular Hop Valley Trail. In protecting this area from development, visitors can continue to enjoy the natural landscape unique to Zion.
View of Kolob Terrace area, Zion National Park, photo courtesy of the National Park Service
NPT assisted our partners with this project by providing the final funds required for closing costs and due-diligence work on the property before it could be processed for donation to the National Park Service.
“National Park Trust is honored to have worked with The Trust for Public Land and National Park Foundation to permanently preserve this land for generations to come,” said Phil Selleck, Park Projects Director at National Park Trust. “We believe it is critical that we complete our national parks to protect them from any development within park boundaries that would diminish their status as a national treasure as well as our legacy for those future generations; this was an important step in protecting Zion National Park.”
“Visiting a national park like Zion is a once in a lifetime experience for many people,” said Jim Petterson Southwest and Colorado Director for The Trust for Public Land. “That experience should be about majesty and wonder and dramatic and unspoiled landscapes. Working with our partners to protect Firepit Knoll ensures future generations will have the opportunity to experience grand views of the Zion Wilderness unmarred by incompatible development.”
“Partnership is vital to protecting America’s national treasures,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation’s collaboration with The Trust for Public Land, National Park Trust, and donors preserves an important piece of our shared inheritance so that all people can experience it.”
This is the second project National Park Trust has completed within the same area in Zion National Park. In 2012, NPT worked with National Parks Conservation Association and The Trust for Public Land to protect a 30 acre parcel at the base of Tabernacle Dome, just four miles from the current project.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition, and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 66 land projects in 30 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year NPT will provide an estimated 27,000 kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools.
Find out more at www.parktrust.org
ABOUT THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND
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 NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.
Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org