The Orange County Land Trust (OCLT) has announced plans to acquire over 300 acres of land comprising a significant portion of Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Hamlet of Sugar Loaf within the Town of Chester. The announcement comes after the Land Trust secured an option agreement to purchase the land from the Palmer Family, an important preliminary step to purchase the property. If successful, the Land Trust would own the property with the intent of transferring it to State Parks as parkland.
The agreement grants OCLT the option to purchase the land within a one-year timeframe. Upon conducting the necessary due diligence, such as surveys and assessments, the Land Trust will then embark on a capital campaign to raise the funds needed to acquire the property for conservation.
According to the Land Trust, the property comprises approximately 280 acres of closed-canopy deciduous forest, with areas of rocky ridgetop grassland habitat; a “Significant Ecological Community” designated by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYS DEC). “I have had the pleasure of meeting and keeping close contact with the landowners, the Palmer Family, throughout this process. They care deeply about the property and take great pride in stewarding the land. By protecting this property for future generations, we can honor their family legacy and continue carrying on their tradition of stewardship.”
The mountain’s distinctive, rocky face and highly-visible presence has made it a cherished landmark among generations of area residents. The mountain was the subject of several paintings in the late 1800s by Hudson River School artist, Jasper Francis Cropsey.
“For close to 10 years, we have worked with the Palmer family to preserve Sugar Loaf Mountain, one of the most iconic landmarks in Orange County, which has incredible views,” said Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus. “I am proud to collaborate with the Palmer Family and the Orange County Land Trust (OCLT) to make this happen. We are excited about the future of Sugar Loaf Mountain, which will include public access trails and other outdoor activities for residents to enjoy for years to come.”