Open space protected between Sterling Forest and Harriman state parks


Map of the Eagle Valley assemblage from the Open Space Institute.

The Open Space Institute has acquired 132 acres in the Village of Sloatsburg in what's known as the Eagle Valley Assemblage conservation project.

Located in the corridor between Sterling Forest and Harriman state parks, the acquisition enhances regional recreational opportunities and protects critical drinking water resources in an area facing heavy development pressure, according to the OSI. 

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 acknowledged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The protection of these properties will safeguard 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 easy 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 of the Eagle Valley Assemblage also strengthens a vital corridor of undeveloped land between Sterling Forest and Harriman.

"With only a handful of properties of this caliber left in Rockland County, we are thrilled to safeguard this land," stated 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."

The Eagle Valley Assemblage is composed of the 87-acre Eagle Valley property, which OSI purchased on March 14, 2024, for $1,600,000; and the 45-acre Cherso Realty property, which OSI purchased on May 17 for $1,275,000.

OSI intends to convey the land to Rockland County, which is exploring opportunities including creating 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," stated 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.”

Mayor of Sloatsburg Peter Akey said the purchases echo the village’s current master plan, where maintaining the semi-rural rustic character of the village is paramount. "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," he said.

Rockland County Division of Environmental Resources Coordinator Kevin McGuinness said acquiring these properties will expand and enhance the county’s existing park system. "I thank the Open Space Institute for their help during this process and look forward to improving these properties to allow the public to explore their beauty firsthand.”

Robert Brum is a freelance journalist who writes about the Hudson Valley. Contact him and read his work at

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