Dutchess County officials announced the largest expansion of the county’s park system in decades, bringing more opportunities to hike, fish and explore nature.

On Tuesday, officials in Dutchess County announced the county acquired the 231-acre Lake Walton property in East Fishkill from The Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc.

The acquisition will clear the way for a new, universally accessible park that will increase opportunities for people of all abilities to hike, fish and explore nature, officials say.

“Generations of Dutchess County residents have made memories at Lake Walton; and with this acquisition, even more families and visitors of every ability will enjoy similarly memorable experiences there that will last a lifetime," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said. "The cornerstones of Dutchess County’s largest parks expansion in more than a half-century, the addition of this parcel and the creation of the Lake Walton Preserve will conserve this amazing greenspace, providing a passive recreation venue with universal accessibility that will allow visitors to enjoy the park in countless individual ways."

Scenic Hudson acquired the property from a hedge fund and then contributed more than $500,000 to make the transfer to the Dutchess County possible. The transaction marks the largest expansion of the County’s park system in decades, enhancing recreation and tourism, officials say.

The property is located near the southern end of the William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail. In addition to the 40-acre lake that provides habitat to a variety of wildlife species and unusual plant communities, it features existing trails that can be easily utilized for public enjoyment.

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