On May 5, 2015, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) announced that Moreau Lake State Park will expand its 4,531 acres into portions of the formerly owned lands of the Mount McGregor State Correctional Facility.
“I’m thrilled that New York State will open these 750 acres of beautiful forested land to the public for outdoor recreation,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey
The closure of the prison in the summer of 2014 prompted many questions about the future use of the lands, both inside and outside the fence. While Empire State Development and the Office of General Services coordinate the reuse of the dozens of structures and facilities used for the prison since the mid-1970s, it seemed fitting to merge the surrounding forests, wetlands, and even the shores of a small lake into the popular park that attracts nearly 400,000 visitors each year. Located atop the ridge known as the Palmerton Range, the availability of this land to the public will be a significant piece of the planned Palmerton Ridge Trail connecting Moreau Lake south to Saratoga Springs. State Parks will provide opportunities for the public to comment about recreational use including trail development and access to the lake.
Another important element adding to the support for acquisition is the location of the Grant Cottage State Historic Site whose two structures (the original home where Ulysses S. Grant spent his final days and its accompanying visitors center) and immediate surrounding lands were already administered by State Parks. The opening up of this land will ensure continued access to the historic site while the transfer of the correctional facility to a hopeful buyer is underway.
This new asset for State Parks highlights Governor Cuomo’s plan to devote approximately $900 million in State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The 2015-16 State Budget includes $110 million toward this initiative.
For more details about the expansion, read the full press release from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.