by Rick Pezzullo –
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, last month, a 346-acre donation to Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pocantico Hills by David Rockefeller’s estate.
The acquisition brings the Preserve’s total acreage to 1,771 acres, stretching from the Hudson River to the Taconic Parkway, and ensures the landscape will remain intact and open to the public.
“New York is home to some of the best parks and outdoor facilities in the country, and David Rockefeller’s donation to the Rockefeller State Park Preserve will serve as another tremendous asset to our state,” Cuomo said. “I am grateful for this gift to the people of New York, and will continue working to maintain and protect our state parks for visitors and New Yorkers to enjoy.”
The gift builds on the Rockefeller family’s longstanding support for its namesake park, adding to the 1,400 acres of parkland the Rockefeller family has donated since the park’s creation in 1983. In addition, David Rockefeller donated $4 million to establish an operating endowment supporting the Preserve in 2015.
The adjacent Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture also received a gift of nearly 93 acres from the David Rockefeller Estate. Stone Barns has agreed to convey a conservation easement to State Parks, which will place their 93 acres in protected status. The Preserve and Stone Barns intend to cooperatively manage the network of fields to favor native species, such as bobolinks, and to use rotational livestock grazing to enhance grassland and soil health, carbon sequestration, and water retention.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve is comprised of a significant portion of the Rockefeller family’s fabled Pocantico Hills estates. Rockefeller State Park Preserve and several neighboring properties were recently listed on the State Register of Historic Places and advanced to the National Register, designating the Preserve and several neighboring properties which were once the former estates of John D. and William Rockefeller, as the “Rockefeller Pocantico Hills Estate Historic District.”
Rockefeller State Park Preserve attracts nearly 300,000 visitors per year to walk, run, ride horses, and watch wildlife. It is a designated “Important Bird Area” by National Audubon.
“Stone Barns Center would not exist today had it not been for Mr. Rockefeller’s unbounded vision for a hub of regenerative agriculture and farm-driven cuisine on this land,” said Jill Isenbarger, CEO of the Stone Barns Center. “His extraordinary leadership and philanthropic commitment to this vision has made Stone Barns Center’s work and impact possible. We are all forever grateful to him. Now, thanks also to Mr. Rockefeller’s vision, the park preserve and the Center have an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate in stewarding these lands to the highest ecological and agricultural standards for the benefit of future generations.”