Art Bernstein, MS (Gold Hill, OR), author and naturalist, “Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, less than 30 miles from New York City.”
This is a continuation of an earlier discussion by Mr. Bernstein, when gasoline was $4 a gallon, on recreational opportunities near big cities so the residents don’t have to go on expensive, far away vacations to enjoy the wonders of nature.
In this regard, New York City is especially blessed. Within 30 miles of Times Square, in New York City, according to Mr. Bernstein, lies Harriman State Park, New York State’s second biggest state park in and one of the oldest state parks in the country. The park covers 46,000 acres and contains 31 lakes, 200 miles of hiking trail and 18.9 miles of the popular Appalachian Trail. The park was donated to the state of New York by the Harriman Family in 1910. The family owned the New York Central Railroad.
Adjacent to Harriman State park are two New Jersey State parks, two New York State Forest Preserves and Bear Mountain State Park. Bear Mountain is a 5,000 acre park with a 1,200 foot peak that rises above the Hudson River. The peak was of strategic importance during the American Revolution. You can now drive to the summit.
Bernstein noted that the whole concept of “back to nature,” appreciation of scenery and wildland preservation began in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in the Hudson River Valley, and the paintings of the Hudson River School of artists, such as Albert Bierstadt.
Until recently, the Hudson River was badly polluted but good progress is being made on its restoration. The same is true of the Connecticut and Rahway Rivers.