Your help is urgently needed to save the Long Path and the Highlands Trail from being severed by major residential development.

The creation of Palm Tree, a new town in Orange County, N.Y., proposed by officials from the Village of Kiryas Joel, will likely lead to intense development where the Long Path and Highlands Trail co-align. If a green corridor is not protected, development poses a major threat to critical access for these multi-state trails.

We are asking for the creation of a green corridor between Gonzaga Park at Seven Springs Mountain Road and Museum Village Road to protect the Long Path and Highlands Trail.

These are not inconsequential trails. Both the Long Path and Highlands Trail are listed on the New York Open Space Conservation Plan, which recommends “landscape-scale conservation in order to assure connectivity among [already] protected lands to provide greenways and wildlife migration routes."

This critical pinch point forms a vital greenway connecting two state parks: Schunnemunk Mountain and Goose Pond Mountain. If the land around Seven Springs Road is developed, the hiking experience on these trails will be negatively impacted and the parks isolated.

How you can help:

Send in your comment before the deadline on close of business Thursday, Aug. 17, to Legislature Clerk Jean M. Ramppe, at Jramppen@orangecountygov.com. Feel free to create your own letter or use the template provided at nynjtc.org.

Speak at the public hearings. Early arrival is recommended; sign up on arrival: Wednesday, August 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bais Rachel Paradise Hall, 5 Israel Zupnick Drive, Monroe.

Contact Orange County Legislators today and ask them to protect the Long Path and Highlands Trail by making the creation of a green corridor between Gonzaga Park at Seven Springs Mountain Road and Museum Village Road a condition of their upcoming vote on the Town of Palm Tree proposal.

Let the County Executive Office know why this critical issue needs their support:

County Executive Steve Neuhaus 845-291-2700

County Clerk Hon. Annie Rabbitt 845-291-2690

Please tell the Orange County Legislators to consider the long-range vision for green corridors in the Lower Hudson Valley and protect the Long Path and Highlands Trail by creating a green corridor between Gonzaga Park at Seven Springs Mountain Road and Museum Village Road.

Thank you for supporting long-distance trails and green corridors!

Sona Mason

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

nynjtc.org