Just 35 miles from New York City and nestled in the New York-New Jersey Highlands, Sterling Forest State Park attracts tens of thousands of visitors seeking scenic vistas and miles of blazed pathways.
But in the 1990s, this unbroken ecosystem of forests, streams and farmlands nearly became part of the largest planned development on the East Coast.
Protecting land for people
In 1997, after acquisitions spearheaded by OSI and the Trust for Public Land, the governors of New York and New Jersey agreed to permanently designate Sterling Forest as a park—in what was then the largest addition to the New York State Park system in fifty years.
Today a link in a 150,000-acre block of protected recreational land within a densely populated area, the land is also part of a major watershed providing drinking water for 25 percent of New Jersey residents.
A place for wildlife
Sterling Forest State Park is also a natural refuge for migratory and resident wildlife including black bears, bobcats, rattlesnakes, eagles and red-shouldered hawks.
The land helps to create a greenway between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, providing critical habitat for species that need unbroken forests to spread out and thrive.