Governor Hochul today announced completion of a project to better connect people with the Hudson River at New York State’s newest State Park – Sojourner Truth State Park in Ulster County. Scenic Hudson, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission partnered to build the new features at the site of a former barge dock. The waterfront project signals potential future improvements to reimagine the former industrial site as lively outdoor recreation and community gathering space.
“It’s a thrill to see the ongoing transformation of Sojourner Truth State Park into a vibrant destination on the Hudson River that will attract visitors from all over to experience some of the best that Kingston and the Town of Ulster have to offer,” Governor Hochul said. “The connection to the waterfront is a major step forward for the Park, and I am proud to see this new state park taking shape and look forward to seeing more improvements in the future.”
The project is highlighted by a 2,000-square-foot shaded community pavilion, a plaza-like gathering space, resurfaced fishing platform, benches and picnic tables. Newly planted native trees, shrubs and grasses enhance the site’s ongoing recovery from its historic past as a hub for brick and cement manufacturing and provide new habitat for wildlife. The waterfront area also will contain bilingual interpretive signs about the river and the site’s history, bike racks, and seasonal toilet facilities. A small lawn area with boulders salvaged during construction will provide additional informal seating overlooking the Hudson River.
A new paved, ADA-compliant River Pavilion Trail leads from the Hudson River Brickyard Trail/Empire State Trail to the waterfront, near the park’s northern entry. New plantings offer stormwater infiltration benefits and nestle the newly built components into the landscape. The trail features a small overlook area where visitors can rest while enjoying expansive views, including the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge to the north.
Additional improvements throughout the 500-acre Sojourner Truth are currently in design and will be constructed as funding is available. Future potential improvements may include additional trails, community gathering spaces around the shore and brick mule barn, kayaking and fishing access, community event spaces, and installations to interpret the area’s Indigenous Lenape heritage, industrial history, geology, and natural environment.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “As we look forward to our next century, State Parks is excited about the future of Sojourner Truth State Park – a place that has tremendous opportunity to expand access to outdoor recreation, foster community connections and welcome natural habitats back to a former industrial site, all while celebrating the legacy of New York’s most path-breaking historical figures. We thank Governor Hochul, Scenic Hudson and PIPC for supporting this project and look forward continuing this great work in the future.”
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “The reimagined waterfront at Sojourner Truth State Park is a beautiful place to stop, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river up close, just off the popular Hudson River Brickyard Trail and Empire State Trail. Designed to meet the needs expressed by the community, this new accessible space honors Sojourner Truth’s legacy that welcomes everyone. This was made possible by the leadership and support of Governor Kathy Hochul, OPRHP Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, Palisades Interstate Park Executive Director Joshua Laird, and their capable staff, Scenic Hudson staff and our generous donors.”
Palisades Interstate Park Commission Executive Director Joshua Laird said, “The improvements undertaken by Scenic Hudson at Sojourner Truth State Park have created an instant new destination for public access to the Hudson River where visitors can rest in the shade and take in the views along the Empire State Trail. The Commission is grateful to Scenic Hudson for its beautiful gift to the park following its crucial work to save the land from development. Under the leadership of Governor Hochul, the public-private partnership between PIPC, State Parks, and Scenic Hudson is transforming this former industrial site into a magnificent park and tribute to the legacy of a groundbreaking New Yorker.”
State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Sojourner Truth State Park is transforming an Environmental Justice Area and former industrial site into an Upstate landmark – a remarkable achievement that is broadening access to green space in our community and establishing new, accessible connections to the Hudson River while honoring the life and legacy of a prolific New Yorker. I thank Governor Hochul, State Parks, and Scenic Hudson for their commitment to further the progress of Ulster County’s first-ever state park, and I look forward to seeing the continued advancement of this magnificent land.”
Assemblymember Sarahana Shrestha said, “Life along the Hudson River inspires a oneness with nature for which we as humans feel a fundamental longing for, but from which the average New Yorker is often ripped apart from because of the demands of basic survival. I look forward to the Sojourner Truth State Park and its improvements providing a moment of solace to all those who need it.”
Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger said, “The recently completed waterfront trail and pavilion at Sojourner Truth State Park will benefit our community for generations, offering a tranquil and rejuvenating recreational space along the waterfront, with spectacular views of the Hudson River. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to Governor Hochul, Scenic Hudson, New York State Parks, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission for bringing this project to life and creating an accessible and serene haven for Ulster County residents and visitors. I encourage folks to check out the park and these new amenities and enjoy the natural beauty and history of this unique area on the shores of the Hudson.”
Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said, “We are so lucky to have the Sojourner Truth State Park in Kingston and are thrilled that there is now a pavilion and additional opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy the Hudson River and trails to explore the park. I am pleased to see this new amenity, and excited to see increased access to the waterfront. I want to thank Scenic Hudson and NYS Parks for all their hard work, and for this extraordinary investment in the Kingston area.”
For the permitting, design, studies, and construction of the pavilion and other new waterfront features, Scenic Hudson secured $3.8 million. These amenities were designed by Olin Partnership, Ltd. The new $1.1 million trail section and river overlook was funded by State Parks and was designed by MKW & Associates. All improvements were constructed by Baker Brothers Construction/Kingston Equipment Rental of West Hurley, who were selected through a competitive bidding process. Bakers Brothers is affiliated with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825 and the Laborer’s Local 17.
Under an agreement, State Parks, Scenic Hudson, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission will collaborate on future phases of development at Sojourner Truth State Park. Scenic Hudson, which protected the parkland in 2019, manages the park under a five-year agreement signed in 2021.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 79.5 million visits in 2022. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Joins us in celebrating our Centennial throughout 2024, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the OPRHP Blog.
Formed in 1900, PIPC is the nation’s first bi-state partnership established to protect and conserve natural lands. PIPC operates Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey and the Palisades Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. PIPC’s early work helped inspire the emerging fields of environmental stewardship and education, pioneered the goal of exposing children to nature through its group campgrounds, and served as a model for the early growth of the national park system. The Commission’s maple and oak leaf logo represents the official state trees of New York and New Jersey.