MOREAU — Moreau Lake State Park has expanded by 860 acres, including a two-mile stretch of Hudson River waterfront.
State officials announced the expansion Wednesday, and said it brings the park to 6,250 acres, making it one of the 10 largest state parks in New York.
The newest piece, named Big Bend Point, is a former lumber stand whose logging roads could form the basis of a new trail system. The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation partnered on the acquisition of the site with the Open Space Institute, which spent two years restoring habitat to create a new home there for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly.
Over the past 20 years, OSI has added more than 4,200 acres to the park. OSI and its partners are now working to create a 13-mile recreational trail that will connect Moreau Lake and Saratoga Spa state parks.
The Big Bend Point tract cost $1.6 million to acquire, and was funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund.
The Parks agency is now working on a visitor site plan for 2022. A future car-top boat launch is planned. Hunting will be allowed on site, while motorized vehicles will not.
With its sandy soils, open meadows and distance from development, Big Bend is habitat for thousands of species of plant and animal life, and will add a new facet to Moreau Lake State Park’s nature education program.
“With more people than ever visiting our parks, this acreage will expand options for outdoor recreation in the region and preserve open space in fast-growing Saratoga County,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a news release.
OSI President Kim Elliman also touched on the pressures of development in one of the few upstate counties that has gained population in recent decades:
“With this latest OSI addition to Moreau Lake, we are excited to say that we have now tripled the size of this fantastic outdoor destination that not only welcomes the public for exploration and enjoyment, but also serves as critical wildlife habitat in this fast-growing region.”