STONY KILL FARM ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER
Red Schoolhouse Road, Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center, Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County, New York
756 acres


Directions:

From Beacon, take NY 9D north; from Dutchess Stadium it is one mile to a right turn onto Red Schoolhouse Road.  There are parking areas starting in less than 01. of a mile (on the right is Muller Pond).

From Wappingers Falls, go south on NY 9D past Hughsonville and Baxtertown Road to a left at the light onto Red Schoolhouse Road. On Red Schoolhouse Road, go 0.2 miles to a dirt driveway on the left. Park in the field. Should the gate be shut, you can park at the Manor House and walk over on the white trail.

Besides the natural hiking area, there is an education center with natural history, ecology and farming programs for teachers, school/youth and conservation groups. Evening and weekend programs for individuals and families. Hiking and ski touring trails open daily sunrise to sunset. Grounds open all year 7 days a week. Building open weekdays, 8:30 to 4:45, Sundays from 12 to 4:30.


History:

1683 -1942  --  the property originally owned by the Verplanck family.

1683  --  Stony Kill Farm purchased by two fur traders. Gulian Verplanck with partners Francis Rombout and Stephanus Van Cortlandt bought 85,000 acres of land from the Wappinger Indians, who were paid in wampum, blankets, tobacco, guns and other articles valued at approximately $1,250.

1685  --  the Deed of Sale was approved by King James the Second of England and is known as the Rombout Patent.

1708  --  in the "Great Partition of 1708" the land was divided into three sections. The Verplancks retained the middle section, of which Stony Kill Farm is a part.

c. 1730  --  a colonial-style fieldstone house was built at Fishkill Landing on the Rombout Patent land. It was gradually surrounded by a working plantation, the place being called “Mount Gulian."  It was used as a summer retreat for the family and a working plantation  Along with quarters in Manhattan, the Manor was the home of the Verplancks.

mid-1700s  --  stone tenant farm house built.

1805  -- birth of James DeLancey Verplanck, son of Gulian Crommelin Verplanck. 

before 1836  -- most of the Verplanck property was leased to tenant farmers.

1836  --   the Verplanck holdings were split again. James DeLancy Verplanck received 1,000 acres, of which 756 acres remain today as Stony Kill Farm. He resided in a stone house with his relatives in Beacon until 1842.

1842  --  James DeLancy Verplanck completed his home, now known as the Manor House.

1860 's  --  the barn was built to hold machinery and harvested crops; the lower section housed cattle.

1931  -- Mount Gulian destroyed by fire.

1942  -- descendants of the Verplanck family, John Bayard Rogers Verplanck (1881-1955, active in early aeronautics) and brother James DeLancy Verplanck gave the 756 acre estate to the NYS Education Department "to preserve the property as an agricultural enterprise in perpetuity and give something worthwhile to the public." The farm became part of the State University of Farmingdale, and it was used to teach the students basic agriculture, forestry conservation and landscaping principles.

late 1960's  --  the NYS Agricultural and Technical College at Farmingdale announced that it would no longer need the farm.

1972  -- the land was donated to the State Education Department and later transferred to DEC in 1972. Seven buildings are listed on National Register of Historic Places.

1973  (July)  --  the Stony Kill Practice Farm was not used for many years until it was turned over to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

1980's  --  the classroom inside the barn was added.

Source: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/education/stonykil.html#Facilities


Habitats:

woodland, thickets, fields, pond and marsh


Wildlife:

garter snake, spring peepers, wood frogs, red-backed salamanders, garter snake, turtles, the eastern gray squirrel, beaver, bob-cat, great blue herons, green herons, barred owl, great-horned owl, red-tailed hawk, osprey and many songbirds.


Trails:   (Source: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/education/skftrails.html)

There are approximately 10 miles of hiking trails.

Brochures for self-guided walks are available at the starting point of each interpretive trail.

Interpreted Trails

Woodland Trail (easy 1 mile loop)

This easy gravel-lined trail circles through a wooded swamp that was once a farm field. It is now forested by hardwoods.  There is also a wildflower loop for you to explore. A free Woodland Trail booklet is available at the Manor House to help guide and interpret this trail for you.

Verplanck Ridge Trail (approximately 1.5 miles)

This moderate climb leads you through mixed hardwood forest, open meadow, and up to a uniquely wooded ridge top, where thickets and dense vines provide an excellent habitat for various songbirds. The round-trip is about 1 ½ miles on this hard dirt and mowed grass trail.

Sierra Trail (inner loop- one mile; outer loop- two miles)

This double-looped trail takes you through hardwood forest, evergreen forest, wetland, and open meadow habitats, where you are bound to experience a remarkable array of flora and fauna. The footing of the trail is mostly hard dirt with stretches of mowed grass.

Other Trails:

Freedom Trail (2 ½ miles)

One of our newer and more secluded trails wanders across diverse terrain: rock walls, hills, wetland, fields, and forest.

Muller Pond Trail (approximately ½ mile)

Our newest trail takes you through hardwood forest, wetland, and open meadow habitats as you encircle the beautiful Muller Pond. Just over ½ mile hike on mowed grass and hard dirt. It is located just across the road from the Sierra Trail.

12/02/2004.  My brother-in-law Cefe, dog Sonar and I parked the car at the first parking area off Route 9, the lot for Muller Pond.  Wemade the half-mile trek around the area in a clockwise direction.  The opening path is a really wide one.  It looks as if they just recently cut down a lot of shrubs to make the path wider because there were lots of small wooden stumps rising up in the path.  Multiflora rose is a problem and a big nuisance here.  Turned left and passed by one field, over a stone wall and into by another field.  Right turn and we head through another multiflora rose/other invasive species alleyway.  Another right turn and head by another field.  Another right turn and now we can see Muller Pond.  The pond is somewhat semi-circular and not very wide but long.  We see a sign saying "trail" and so follow it into the woods.  This turns out to be a small loop trail because we ended where we started.  So we determined that this time we had to go around the western edge of the pond.  On the western side we finally picked up some trail markers.  From here it was a short walk back to the entrance trail.  A left turn and a very short walk brought us back to the parking area.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick Louis Cooney
date = date plant found in bloom, 5/29/96


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Larix sp. (tamarack)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine) stand of it
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (apple tree)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix alba var. (weeping willow)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis japonica (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood) 5/29/96
Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhamnus sp. (buckthorn) 5/29/96
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Viburnum (high bush cranberry viburnum?) 5/29/96

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet) 5/29/96
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Polygonum scandens (climbing bindweed)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower greenbrier)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/29/96
Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone) 5/29/96
Antennaria sp. (pussytoes)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Asclepias sp. (milkweed)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/29/96
Caltha palustris (marsh marigold)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Cichorium intybus (chicory)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgaris (bull thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne lace)
Epilobium sp. (willowherb)
Erigeron sp. (fleabane)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry) 5/29/96
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 5/29/96
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 5/29/96
Hieracium spp. (hawkweed) 5/29/96
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) 5/29/96
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber root)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 5/29/96
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaf buttercup) 5/29/96
Ranunculus sp. (buttercup)
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel) 5/29/96
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sanicula sp. (sanicle)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet)
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) 5/29/96
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 5/29/96
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica sp. (speedwell)
Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders) 5/29/96

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Grasses:
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)

Ferns:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)