Open Space Institute Buys 132 Acres In Village Of Sloatsburg for Nearly $2.9 Million

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Land Purchase Will Preserve Open Space, Enhance Recreational Access, Protect Drinking Water


The Open Space Institute (OSI) has purchased two parcels totaling 132 acres in the Village of Sloatsburg for nearly $2.9 million, preserving open space and enhancing recreational access between Sloatsburg Station and acres of hiking trails.

OSI’s Eagle Valley Assemblage is comprised of the 87-acre Eagle Valley property, which OSI purchased on March 14, 2024, for $1.6 million and the 45-acre Cherso Realty property, which OSI bought on May 17 for $1,275,000.

The Eagle Valley Assemblage conservation project, as it is known, is located in the corridor between Sterling Forest and Harriman State Parks. The open-space purchase protects critical drinking water resources in areas that continue to face development pressures.

The two newly protected properties, located within the Nakoma Brook drainage basin, play a critical role in safeguarding the Ramapo Valley Aquifer, which provides a third of Rockland County’s public water supply. Sole-source aquifers such as the Ramapo aquifer serve as a community’s primary or exclusive drinking water source and are cited as important resources by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The protection is aimed at safeguarding downstream drinking water resources identified as priority acquisitions in the Rockland County Comprehensive Plan, Sloatsburg Comprehensive Plan, and the New York State Open Space Plan.

The addition of these properties to the surrounding protected land creates a connection between the Sloatsburg train station and Sterling Forest State Park, offering recreational access to the outdoors without the need for a car. The Eagle Valley Assemblage is half a mile from the Sloatsburg train station.

The acquisition also strengthens a vital corridor of undeveloped land between Sterling Forest and Harriman State Parks, which will protect against further habitat fragmentation between these two significant protected areas.

“With only a handful of properties of this caliber left in Rockland County, we are thrilled to safeguard this land,” said Matt Decker, OSI Land Project Manager. “Our vision extends beyond conservation; we see a future where individuals can seamlessly journey from Sloatsburg to Sterling Forest or Harriman State Park, while at the same time ensuring the integrity of local water sources.”

OSI plans to convey the land to Rockland County, which is contemplating a new county park on the land and creating linkages between the train station and other protected areas such as the Harriman State Park, the Town of Ramapo’s Liberty Ridge Park, Eleanor Burlingham County Park, and Dater Mountain County Park.

“The County is excited to partner with the Open Space Institute on preserving these two beautiful properties in the Village of Sloatsburg as parkland,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “It is rare these days to find undeveloped parcels of this size in Rockland, and I am proud to be able to protect them for the benefit of future generations.”

Rockland County has been acquiring open space, most recently 13.72 acres at 176 and 180 South Mountain Road in New City for nearly $1.8 million. The acreage sits just west of North Little Tor Road and just south of South Mountain County Park. Along with the acquisition, a restrictive covenant was recorded designating the property as parkland and prohibiting its use for any other purpose. By its terms, the deed restriction and restrictive covenant can be enforced by any resident of Rockland County.

The properties are bisected by the West Branch of the Hackensack River and contain pockets of federal wetlands and steep slopes.

In 2023, Rockland County spent nearly $6 million to preserve 25 acres through its Open Space program. The county purchased two parcels totaling 13.34 acres situated to the west of Route 45 and the east of the Palisades Parkway in Pomona for $1.39 million from two Gordon family trusts. The county also purchased 11.83 acres at 20 New Valley Road in New City from Davies Farm Inc., paying $4 million for the vacant residential land. The purchase is not related to the Dr. Davies farm family.

Open Space preservation is an antidote to the quick pace of development across the county, particularly large warehouses that are proliferating at a fast pace. Unbroken and beautiful outdoor playgrounds are good for the water supply and habitat but they are also assets for quality of life and tourism.

“OSI has an incredible vision,” said Michael Bruno, proprietor of Valley Rock Inn, which brought Sloatsburg a new lease on life with its hospitality concept. “Creating a link between the train station and the mountain biking trails in Sterling Forest is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I am so grateful for their insights and dedication to creating and maintaining open space for everyone to enjoy.”

The OSI purchase is a boon to Sloatsburg.

“These purchases echo the village’s current master plan, where maintaining the semi-rural rustic character of the village is paramount,” said Sloatsburg’s Mayor Peter Akey. “The Village of Sloatsburg is known as the Gateway to the Parks and this new open space will facilitate greater access to thousands of acres of public recreation.”