On June 7th, dozens gathered on the rainy lawn at Boscobel in Garrison, New York to hear U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announce plans to introduce a Highlands Conservation Act Reauthorization bill in the Senate. She was joined by Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who will both be sponsoring a companion bill in the House. Attendees included representatives from Scenic Hudson, Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and the
Highlands Coalition as well as state legislators, historians, and local
mayors. Gillibrand also called for a study of the region's ecological, cultural and recreational significance that could to lead to its permanent protection by the National Park Service.
|Senator Gillibrand |
The Highland Conservation Act was passed in 2004 and authorized Congress
to allocate up to $10 million annually, over ten years, to preserve lands
in the four-state Highlands Region. Since then, those funds have helped
protect 3,000 acres of Highlands property, including places like the
Oley Hills in Pennsylvania, and Sterling Forest in New York. As Gillibrand and others noted, historic Boscobel was a perfect spot for the announcement. The Hudson River Valley, home to such
spectacular places as Storm King mountain, is also the birthplace of
presidents and is famous as the inspiration of the Hudson River School's
sublime landscape paintings. All three legislators praised the natural beauty and historical significance of the region as being deserving of our best conservation efforts. Hopefully, with some effort from the conservation community, the other U.S. Senators in the Highlands Region will be fully supportive of this critical legislation.