top of page
Protect Our Parks

Protect Our Parks

Land Acquisition & Conservation Easement (2017)

Locally known as the “Marydell Property”, since 1924 the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine owned the picturesque acreage at the southern base of Hook Mountain.   The Marydell acreage provides the only southern public access point to the top of Hook Mountain.

The Friends played a critical role in the effort to protect these 40 acres at the base of Hook Mountain, working closely with the Trust for Public Land and other parties.  Thirty acres were acquired and have been incorporated into the adjacent Hook Mountain and Nyack Beach State Park.  In addition, the Friends now hold a conservation easement and a right of first refusal over the 10 acres that remain as private property.  


The Friends helped to raise awareness and financial support for this conservation project through its “Protect Hook Mountain” campaign and helped negotiate and structure the transaction.

The Marydell land acquisition enabled the creation of the 1.5 mile "Hook Mountain Summit Trail", directly linking the Long Path and the top of Hook Mountain with the Nyack Beach State Park river trail.  

Marydell Nature Preserve (2022)

In 2022, The Institute of Christian Doctrine donated an additional 8+ acres to the Friends of Rockland Lake & Hook Mountain, forever protecting wetlands and wildlife habitat while ensuring continued public access to hiking trails. The Friends provided volunteer hours and funding to complete the transaction.

Improve Our Parks

New Trails & Signage

Hook Mountain Summit Trail

The Marydell land acquisition enabled the creation a new hiking trail to better integrate the park system.   Working with various partners such as the Long Distance Trail Crews of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Friends conceived of and facilitated the creation of the highly-acclaimed "Hook Mountain Summit Trail."  The "Hook Mountain Summit Trail" directly links the Long Path and the top of Hook Mountain with the Nyack Beach State Park river trail.  Park visitors are now able to access the top of Hook Mountain from the Hudson River path in Nyack Beach State Park without walking along public streets or on private property, making for a safer and more enjoyable visitor experience.  The "Hook Mountain Summit Trail" also enables a new 6 mile full-loop trail experience within these parks. 

The Hook Mountain Summit Trail is much more than a 'linker trail'. The medium of the trail is rock: huge slabs of diabase and giant boulders have been engineered and sculpted into bridges, walkways, and staircases. The surrounding environment is all woodland plants and dappled sunshine. The habitat at the foot of the mountain provides an open, tranquil atmosphere. The hush of the low woods unmasks sounds of birdsong and trickling water.


More than ten organizations worked together to manifest the vision, from the labyrinth of land-acquisition to the moving of mountains (almost literally) to the painting of blazes.  Visit this magnificent new trail section by starting your hike at the Nyack Beach State Park parking lot; an informational kiosk at the northern side of the parking lot provides a map of the area trails.

The Hook Mountain Summit Trail opened June 2021. 

Kiosk and Trail Signage
Thanks to collaborations with the Scouts and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Friends installed a new kiosk and trail signage in Nyack Beach State Park and along the "Hook Mountain Summit Trail."  The kiosk includes educational content created by the Friends such as new maps and information about these parks.   

Additional Improvements

In continued partnership with the Long Distance Trail Crew, the stone steps were recently repaired at the entrance of Nyack Beach State Park and the northern section of the Long Path Trail at Hook Mountain has been improved.  A special thank you to the Long Distance Trail Crew for their generosity and hard work to build and improve our park trails. 

Special Programs

Nature hikes and maple syrup tapping, led by board member Bob Stien.

bottom of page