Environmental Center Entry Access Improvements for New York State Park Visitors
Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park connects Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park near Staatsburg, New York. Together these parks comprise more than 1,000 acres of diverse habitat and provide a unique preserved landscape along the Hudson River. This picturesque Mid-Hudson River landscape offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities and activities for a wide range of visitors year-round. Numerous trails provide opportunities for walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing, treating visitors to majestic views of the river, serene woodlands, and rocky bluffs along the shoreline.
Under a multi-year term contract with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), LaBella developed an environmentally sensitive site design that provided improved access to the Hudson River National Estuary Research Reserve (HRNERR). The project site was located just north of Headquarters at the Norrie Point Environmental Center.
This project was designed to showcase resilient and sustainable infrastructure including porous paving, reduction of heat island effect, bio swales, rain gardens, native plant restoration, and marshland habitat. Another intent of this project was to effectively communicate these design elements to visitors for educational purposes and provide outdoor programming for the Environmental Center. Other features of the project included an arrival courtyard to the historic structure, paddle craft launch, shoreline access, electric vehicle charging stations, and improved pedestrian circulation. The center was re-designed with school field trips in mind, with a new entry drive to the center able to accommodate school buses.
LaBella was also able to assist OPRHP with evaluation of an existing seawall and development of reparation plans that were incorporated into the permitting and public bid construction documents for the project. This evaluation included completion of federal and state permitting and coastal zone consistency reviews to ensure that vulnerable natural assets along the Hudson River were protected. LaBella’s biologists delineated aquatic resources within the limits of the new entry area and provided guidance to OPRHP on permitting strategies and avoidance methods.