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For Release: Thursday, April 21, 2022

During Earth Week, DEC Commissioner Seggos Announces Opening of Hudson Valley Segment of Statewide Birding Trail

Hudson Valley Birding Trail Includes 39 Locations in Six Counties

New Trail Provides Birding Opportunities for All New Yorkers, Regardless of Age, Ability, Identity, or Background

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the grand opening of the Hudson Valley segment of the New York State Birding Trail to highlight the State's world-class and wide-ranging birding opportunities. The Hudson Valley segment includes 39 locations on public lands throughout six counties, providing a variety of quality birding experiences for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy. The announcement was made as part of DEC's annual Earth Week celebration and in conjunction with the annual New York State Tourism Industry Association conference in Westchester.

"Spring is a fantastic time of year to visit one of the many sites on the newest segment of the New York State Birding Trail," Commissioner Seggos said. "The Hudson Valley region, with its stunning and historic parks and public lands, unique hawk watches, and sweeping Hudson River views, provides a unique and special birding experience for anyone interested in getting started in this fun, accessible activity."

Birdwatching has quickly become one of New York's fastest-growing recreation and tourism activities. The New York State Birding Trail is managed by DEC in collaboration with partners including the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The statewide trail includes a network of promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation, providing an inclusive experience for all visitors to enjoy birds amid beautiful natural settings with little or no cost or investment in equipment.

The Hudson Valley segment of the trail includes 39 locations on a mix of public and private lands throughout Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Westchester counties. From Bird Conservation Areas (BCAs) including Hudson Highlands State Park, and Rockefeller State Park Preserve, to the tidal swamps and marshes at Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area, and the Mount Peter Hawk Watch that provides a scenic overlook for raptor watching, the Hudson Valley provides unique landscapes and habitats for birding along the Hudson River and beyond. We invite you to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to experience birds firsthand by taking the time to visit one of the sites on the bird trail.

"Exploring the Hudson Valley segment of the New York State Birding Trail is a sure way to grow and enrich an appreciation for the natural world," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "Our State Parks on the trail offer exceptional places for people to see and learn about a diverse species of birds in their native habitats - and we welcome all to visit."

New segments of the Birding Trail are opened in a phased approach. DEC announced the New York City trail segment in October 2021, the Greater Niagara trail segment in February 2022, and Long Island segment in March 2022, totaling more than 130 birding locations. Once finished, the Statewide Birding Trail will provide birding opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability, identity, or background, across New York State.

To promote the trail as an inclusive experience for all, DEC and partners are working to select sites that are welcoming and accessible by public transportation. Several Hudson Valley birding trail locations are accessible via the Cold Spring-Beacon Trolley Shuttle which runs from Memorial Day to Veterans Day weekend. DEC also continues to solicit input from a wide range of New Yorkers and organizations that represent Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and is making information available in both English and Spanish. Bird walks will be held in collaboration with organizations working with BIPOC communities.

The New York State Birding Trail map is available at the I Bird NY website and provides valuable information on each site such as location, available amenities, species likely to be seen, directions, and more. Additional information on birding, educational and interpretive information, is also available. Digital information on the Birding Trail will be updated periodically, so budding outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to check back often.

In addition to State-owned and managed locations for the Birding Trail, publicly and privately managed sites can complete a simple self-nomination process to be considered for inclusion on the trail. Sites all meet criteria to help ensure a positive experience for visitors throughout the state. Additionally, each site will post signage noting it as an official location on the birding trail. For information on the nomination process, see the I Bird NY website.

DEC encourages birding enthusiasts to visit I Bird NY for more information on where and how to observe birds, upcoming bird walks, a downloadable Beginner's Guide to Birding (available in Spanish) (PDFs), and additional resources.

DEC manages and oversees nearly five million acres of public lands and conservation easements and plays a vital role in both protecting New York's natural resources and providing opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors. From fishing on scenic streams, hiking and rock climbing, swimming and boating, birding, and nature study, or simply relaxing in a tent under the stars, there are endless adventures to be found. Visit DEC's website, connect with us on Facebook (link leaves DEC website), or follow us on Instagram (link leaves DEC website) and Twitter (link leaves DEC website).

In the 2022-23 Enacted State Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul succeeded in increasing the EPF from $300 to $400 million, the highest-ever level of funding in the program's history. The EPF supports a number of important objectives that benefit birds and other wildlife in the State, including climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, promoting sustainable agriculture, protecting water sources, advancing open space conservation efforts, and providing recreational opportunities for New Yorkers.

Scott Silver, Director of the National Audubon Society's Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Garrison, said, "From mountain forests to marshes and rivers, the Hudson Valley boasts an incredible variety of habitat that is critical to the health of birds and people. Nearly 200 species of both migratory and non-migratory birds have been identified in our 270-acre marsh alone. Audubon and our affiliated chapters are thrilled to welcome visitors to this newest segment of the New York State Birding Trail, where you can paddle in amidst waterfowl, and hike out to the tune of songbirds."

Robert Provost, President/CEO NYS Tourism Industry Association, said, "The New York State Birding Trail opens the door to birding for New York's families, classrooms, couples, visitors - everyone! It makes birding accessible and rewarding almost immediately by providing thoughtful, consumer-friendly navigational guidance that would normally require years of exploration and experience. Kudos to the team at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation - the Birding Trail is world class both in concept and execution."

Note: View the map of the Hudson Valley Segment of the Statewide Birding Trail (PDF)

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