Area state park finally receives a missing piece

We were delighted to learn that a gap has been filled at Ricketts Glen State Park in Sullivan County, which recently expanded its borders with the addition of 143 acres of forestland.

The land represents what park officials were calling “the missing puzzle piece.”

The acreage essentially represents an area of privately owned land situated within the southeast section of the park. The state park had been looking to obtain the land for a long time, according to Scott Wilson, park manager.

The land was not obtained directly by the park but through the assistance of The Conservation Fund, the nation’s top environmental nonprofit. Money to buy the land came from Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project, a voluntary mitigation fund to help compensate for impacts on migratory bird populations following construction.

Over 75 species of migratory birds have been counted in the space, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Once purchased, the land was transferred to the park.

The Conservation Fund hopes to not only conserve wildlife but also spur the area’s recreation economy. Kyle Shenk, state director for the fund, said state parks are economic drivers in terms of tourism dollars.

DCNR also noted that the acquisition of the property will help protect 10 acres of freshwater forest and shrub wetlands.

It’s difficult to improve one of the state’s most popular and heavily visited state parks, according to Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR secretary — but The Conservation Fund did just that.

“It’s all here in these 143 acres: Watershed protection, wildlife habitat and public land accessible to all,” she said.

We agree. This was a smart investment by The Conservation Fund that protects habitat for wildlife and opens space for those who like to hike and explore the woods. Well done!

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