New York’s Latest State Park Honors Abolitionist Sojourner Truth

This is the first state park to open since 2019

New York State Park Sojourner Truth State Park

NY State Parks

As if there weren't already enough reasons to visit New York, now we have one more: The Empire State is adding a new state park to its roster of 250-plus parks, historic sites, and recreational trails, and will be dedicated to African American abolitionist Sojourner Truth.

In a $13.5 million project, Sojourner Truth State Park will span more than 500 acres in Ulster County, at the site of a former cement production plant along the Hudson River. The park will lie approximately three-quarters in Kingston, one-quarter in Ulster, and features 150-foot limestone and sandstone cliffs, waterway views, and a stop on the Empire State Trail.

“We are thrilled that our newest state park will honor Sojourner Truth and her powerful legacy as an abolitionist and voice for women's rights. We look forward to telling her story and to interpreting the reclamation of this former industrial site into a beautiful and dramatic landscape overlooking the Hudson River,” said Joshua Laird, Palisades Interstate Parks Commission Executive Director, in a statement.

Born enslaved in Ulster County in 1797, Isabella "Bomefree" Baumfree went on to claim her rightful freedom in 1826, one year before legal slavery was abolished. Among her accomplishments, Truth was victorious in a court case to win custody of her son, who had been sold into slavery, and also acted as a recruiter for the Union Army during the Civil War. Her advocacy earned an invitation to the White House from President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

"It is fitting such a magnificent property with its cliffs and Hudson shoreline bears the name of a remarkable woman who started life right here in Ulster County," said New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

Sojourner Truth State Park

NY State Parks

This marks the first state park in Kingston, a town 90 miles north of New York City, and New York's first state park to open since 2019. The announcement comes 19 months after Highland, Ulster County erected and dedicated a statue to Truth at Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park.

The area also holds significance for the Esopus tribe of the Lenape, who called the land home until being displaced in the 1600s. Visitors to the park will be able to learn the story of the Esopus, too, officials reported.

“In addition to bringing [Truth's] story to visitors, this park also will allow for interpretation of the site's industrial and indigenous history and will help protect the ecology of the Hudson River," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.

This spring, the Parks department is expected to add limited parking and a few hiking trails for visitors, while the rest of the land will remain closed to the public. As the development is underway, State Parks, Scenic Hudson, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission are asking for public input on how the area should be developed to honor Truth’s legacy.

Article Sources
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  1. New York State. "Governor Hochul Announces New State Park Named for Sojourner Truth." February 28, 2022.

  2. Women's History. "Sojourner Truth." Retrieved March 3, 2022.

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