River Hook preserve is a natural sanctuary of retreat and reinvention located in Upper Nyack.
In June 2018, the Village of Upper Nyack purchased the 12-acre property that would become River Hook: The Hester Haring Cason Preserve, thereby ensuring its future as a serene, iconic sanctuary for generations to come. It opened to the public in October 2019.
River Hook sits on land that was one of the original six farms comprising what would become the Village of Upper Nyack. Over time, James L. Smith’s parcel (which nestled up to Hook Mountain on its north side) was subdivided and, in 1934, a portion of the property was purchased by William P. Haring, Jr., Hester’s father.
For nearly 100 years, the land belonged to the Haring family and was known by residents as the “Sheep Farm” in honor of the flock that grazed in the Broadway-facing meadow.
Today, it quietly occupies an important place in the village. Though it suffers from years of neglect, the space holds immense potential for new life.
The vision is to transform the preserve into a public resource that provides a collective platform for:
Rehabilitate the natural landscape with the reintroduction of native species, productive community gardens, wildflower fields, pollinator pathways, and sustainable management. Enable Upper Nyack residents and visitors to learn from and appreciate the natural habitat and find moments for tranquility, inspiration and regeneration.
Provide spaces for the creation and presentation of the arts – including fine art, theater, dance, music, and performance – with studio spaces, stages, and workshops. Curate ongoing exhibitions of artwork by local and invited artists throughout the preserve. Commission site specific art works.
Create meaningful educational opportunities for the community in arts and ecology that utilize the preserve as a unique space for hands-on learning. Invite schools and summer programs to use the preserve as an environmental laboratory for field research, bird watching, gardening and making.
Engage the site, its history and community, with new, inventive and forward-looking design strategies. Foster ingenuity and experimentation through productive partnerships. Develop and sustain ongoing programming, events and spaces that provide a platform for an expanded community to unite.