Sen. Farley And Gov. Pataki Announce First State Park In Schenectady County

Hugh T. Farley

April 20, 2006

State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C - Schenectady) joined Governor George E. Pataki in announcing today that New York State will create the first State Park in Schenectady County on a 107-acre nature preserve along the Mohawk River in the Town of Niskayuna. The new Mohawk River State Park is located near Lock 7 of the Erie Canal and the Hudson-Mohawk bike path; it is the 175th State Park and the 25th the Governor has opened since 1995.

“With Earth Day approaching, it’s the perfect time to build on our commitment to protect the natural resources along the historic Erie Canal by celebrating the creation of a new public park,” Governor Pataki said. “This acquisition is a milestone for the region and will provide residents and visitors to Schenectady County with the exceptional recreational opportunities offered by our award-winning State Park system. The new Mohawk River State Park will not only protect these scenic natural resources, but also improve the quality of life for county residents by providing greater access to public parkland and additional waterfront programs and activities.”

Senator Farley said, “Today’s announcement is truly historic. This is the first State Park in Schenectady County, and is a location with outstanding historic, environmental, and recreational opportunities. In addition, it is the 25th State Park which Governor Pataki has opened since he took office in 1995. We in Schenectady are proud to be the site of such a milestone in the Governor’s commitment to the environment.”

Assembly Republican Leader James Tedisco said, “The new State Park ensures that this historic acreage will be protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy and treasure.”

Using $1 million from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the property was purchased from the Schenectady Museum and will be operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks). The parcel is included in the New York State Open Space plan as part of the Mohawk River Valley Corridor/Erie Canal.

State Parks also is partnering with the NYS Canal Corporation on the transfer of riverfront lands owned by the Canal Corp. surrounding its Lock 7 facility. These lands, which include a boat launch and boat basin, picnic areas, and parking, will be incorporated into the new State Park. The two agencies will also work together to provide additional access to the Mohawk River to allow for fishing and other recreational activities.

Mohawk River State Park is located on River and Rosendale Roads in Niskayuna and bounded by the Mohawk River Trail. The new park has approximately 3,500 feet of frontage along the Erie Canalway trail, which parallels the Mohawk River and provides access to the river. In addition, the property has an extensive trail system. From its link to the canal trail, the lands rise steeply to the southwest where the escarpment overlooking the Mohawk River is cut by two streams. The preserve contains forest, brush lands and rich wildflower growth. Future potential recreational uses include boating, picnicking, and hiking trails.

State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro said, “Governor Pataki’s vision for safeguarding our natural resources and protecting open space will ensure that this waterfront property is preserved for future generations of Schenectady County residents. We are proud to be the stewards of such an extraordinary property that will provide New Yorkers and visitors to the Empire State with unparalleled recreation and tourism opportunities along the historic canal and Mohawk River.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Carmella R. Mantello said, “Today’s announcement is another step in fulfilling Governor Pataki’s vision for an Erie Canal Greenway. The creation of a new State park will provide open space protections for this land, attract additional people to the waterfront and help highlight the Canal and the wealth of recreational activities available in Schenectady County. We are pleased and excited to be partnering with State Parks to enhance and improve recreational facilities along the Canal and we thank the Governor for his continued commitment. This is what building a Greenway is all about.”

Neil Levine, board president of the Schenectady Museum, said, “The Museum’s Nature Preserve has been a wonderful resource to the residents of Schenectady County for many years. The Board of Trustees of the Schenectady Museum would like to thank the Governor for taking the steps necessary to ensure that this property will continue to be enjoyed by county residents and New Yorkers for many years to come.”

In his 2004 State of the State Address, the Governor committed to opening five new state parks in the next two years and opening or expanding 20 parks over the next five years. Since then, the State announced new state parks with the acquisition of Robert V. Riddell State Park in Otsego and Amsterdam Beach in Montauk; the opening of Two Rivers State Park in Tioga, Jamesport State Park and Preserve in Suffolk County, Robert G. Wehle State Park in Jefferson County, and Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua; and the expansion of numerous sites, including Rockefeller Preserve and Fahnestock State Parks in the Hudson Valley, Delta Lake in Central New York, and Thacher and Saratoga Spa State Parks in the Capital District.

Yesterday, Governor Pataki announced a new State Park in Putnam and Westchester counties with the establishment of Donald J. Trump State Park, on 436 acres of land donated to the State by Trump. Together with the latest acquisition in Schenectady, these two new additions to state parkland furthers the longstanding environmental goals set by the Governor that have made New York a national leader in open space protection and natural resource stewardship.