Bethlehem names new park

The plan calls for progressing to the east from River Road to the Hudson River as time and money would allow.

All the adjoining neighbors within 200 feet of the property were invited to a public hearing in December, said Simmons. At the time, Simmons said, the majority expressed a preference for the first option because they didn't believe the lake was good for access because it is shallow and contains a large number of turtles. They also wanted the main parking lot off of River Road to keep traffic down on a very narrow and residential Simmons Road.

"The general sentiment of the people was that it should be a nature preserve and have minimal intrusion on the existing environment and that also it should be educational, where people could come and we would have identifying signage that would identify the plants and the wildlife in the area," said Simmons.

Late night access was a concern, she said, and many were against access to the river because the steep slopes would make it "almost impossible" to get an ambulance or emergency vehicles or apparatus to the riverbank.

Simmons said the original plans were revised and then presented during a Feb. 10 public hearing before becoming adopted as the final master plan. The new revised master plan calls for a similar phased-in approach and gravel parking lot off of River Road as in the first option. There will also be a clearing with picnic tables used as a viewing station.

There was one striking difference from the original plans, however.

"We are no longer going to have physical access to the river," Simmons said. There will be a "water trail," she said, connecting the Henry Hudson Park and Moh He Con Nuck Preserve by allowing boats to dock along the shores of each. The plans also call for creating views of the river with selective clearing and having the trail stop just short of the steep decline to the riverbank.

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