Hudson North Bay Recreation and Natural Area

Tall grass at North Bay

On August 9, 2011, CLC published a proposal to transform the site of the former City of Hudson landfill and surrounding open space into a public recreation and natural area within walking distance of downtown Hudson. The plan envisions a trail network that would link the City with an expansive tract of open space and natural habitat, stretching from the City’s Charles Williams Park, through the 714-acre Greenport Conservation Area and northward on to Harrier Hill Park. Interpretive programs would educate visitors about the varied ecosystems as well as the history of shoreline settlement. The site would be a permanent outdoor classroom and natural laboratory for research and habitat management.

Marsh area during low tide
North Bay
Woods in North Bay Natural Area
Remnants of a dock
Remnants of brick works at Greenport Conservation Area
Historical painting of clavers
View toward North Bay and “clavers” at right. Signed and dated Henry Ary, 1849. Courtesy of Ruth Piwonka
Education Program
Within walking distance from downtown Hudson and Hudson area schools, the North Bay would be an excellent site for education programs

I support CLC’s proposal for the North Bay Recreation and Natural Area. The Area will give the public better access to the North Bay, spectacular views of the Hudson River, and access to about 1,000 acres of conservation land, while creating important habitat

Richard Scalera, Mayor of the City of Hudson

This proposal spells out a wonderful vision and opportunity for the North Bay. It will provide a great amenity to the residents of the county, provide important ecological benefits and markedly enhance the City’s Hudson River waterfront.

Roy Brown, Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors

The plan reflects work conducted over the past two-and-a-half years by CLC with the support of the City and County. The study was funded by a grant from the Hudson River Foundation’s Catskill-Olana Viewshed Mitigation Fund.The proposal balances the area’s opportunities as an urban park, and the limitations of developing a landfill site, with conservation of its rich natural resources through ecologically based design. It calls for a network of footpaths carefully sited to access the variety of ecological systems – grassland bird habitat, tidal and forested wetlands and upland forests – as well as dramatic views of the bay, the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. It includes a direct pedestrian connection from the City to the Greenport Conservation Area, which CLC manages for the Open Space Institute. The public conservation area has more than five miles of trails. Later this year, that trail network will be expanded with the construction of a 1.6 mile path connecting the Greenport Conservation Area northward to Harrier Hill Park, owned by Scenic Hudson and managed by CLC.

The CLC report lays out a program to implement the project in three phases over a nine year period, and describes several additional studies, permitting requirements and other steps that are required or might be useful in bringing the plan to fruition. Ownership of the property in the study area is divided primarily among the County, the City and the City’s Industrial Development Agency. There is, in addition, the privately owned Hudson Fabrics Building property.

The idea of developing the site’s potential as a community resource is not new. The 2002 City of Hudson Comprehensive Plan called for a trail network and interpretive program at the North Bay. Additionally, the City’s draft Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) calls for its use as a passive park and includes the North Bay and a trail link to the Greenport Conservation Area as part of a proposed pedestrian and trail network. At the same time, the site’s history of mixed uses, multiple ownerships, and the regulatory status of the closed municipal landfill require extra planning. The CLC proposal describes a vision and a means of accomplishing it that takes these recommendations and challenges into account.

It is now up to the City and the County to decide whether and how to act on the CLC proposal.

This plan reflects an important part of the overall vision set out in the LWRP.  I look forward to moving forward with the project, and with the LWRP, this year.

Richard Scalera, Mayor of the City of Hudson

The County is grateful to the Hudson River Foundation for funding the proposal and to CLC for seeing it through. We look forward to working with the City, CLC and other interested parties to make this project a reality in the coming years.

Roy Brown, Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors

The CLC plan is based upon an analysis of engineering records relating to the capped landfill and a detailed natural resource inventory of the study area conducted by Applied Ecological Services, Inc., a consulting firm based throughout the Midwest and in Pennsylvania. Using these documents, CLC outlines a concept that is compatible with the property’s limitations and constraints while emphasizing its numerous positive features.

The Foundation has been very pleased to support the carefully considered and thoughtful plan of the Columbia Land Conservancy for providing such expansive access to natural areas, for the urban neighborhoods bordering North Bay, for the broader community of the Hudson Valley and for visitors from throughout the state and world.  In addition to the experience of enjoying directly the North Bay Natural Area and the Greenport Conservation Area, local residents and visitors will have visual access to some of the most glorious views in the Catskill-Olana Statewide Area of Scenic Significance.  We look forward to the continuing interest, support and leadership of the City of Hudson and Columbia County, as well as CLC, in making North Bay one of the particularly special places along our very special river.

Clay Hiles, Executive Director of the Hudson River Foundation

CLC is very pleased to present this report to the City and County, and to the people of Columbia County. This proposal describes a way ahead to convert a former landfill into badly needed grassland bird habitat along the Hudson River flyway and to conserve and enhance the adjoining wetland and forest ecosystems. At the same time it would create a significant recreational and educational resource, provide access to breathtakingly beautiful views of the bay, river and mountains, and complete a pedestrian connection from the heart of Hudson to the Greenport Conservation Area and beyond. CLC would be eager to provide whatever further assistance we can to the City and the County to make this vision come true.

Peter Paden, CLC Executive Director

PDF Downloads

Concept Master Plan
Appendix: Natural Resource Inventory
Appendix:Landfill Condition Report

2 Responses to Hudson North Bay Recreation and Natural Area

  1. Pingback: CLC director Peter Paden interviewed on WGXC on January 9 2014 | Columbia Land Conservancy

  2. Pingback: Turning a Landfill into a Hiking Trail | Columbia County Current

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