July 25, 2014 – One year ago, the Open Space Institute and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust opened the historic Rosendale Trestle to the public, completing the now continuous 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail between the southern border of Gardiner and the City of Kingston, New York. A recently opened Connector Trail just made it even easier for people to access the trestle and rail trail from the Town of Rosendale.
The Open Space Institute and Wallkill Valley Land Trust purchased 11.5 miles of rail trail between New Paltz and Kingston in 2009, doubling the then-existing rail trail. The 940-foot long Rosendale Trestle over the Rondout Creek was included in that purchase.
Thousands of people have crossed the Rosendale Trestle since its opening in 2013, and OSI is thrilled outdoor enthusiasts now have the opportunity to travel from Kingston to Gardiner in just a few hours while enjoying incredible views that capture the heart and character of southern Ulster County and the entire Hudson Valley. The trail can accommodate hikers, bikers and equestrians with a scenic and largely undeveloped route through the limestone karst region known as the Binnewater Hills, while running past two scenic lakes and through an area of extensive caves and limestone formations.
The Rosendale Trestle, 152 feet in the air above the Rondout Creek, is visible from many streets in the Town of Rosendale. However, access for pedestrians from the town to the trestle and the remaining rail trail was limited due to inadequate sidewalks, small shoulders and a busy County Road. Fortunately, that all changed a few weeks ago with the Connector Trail.
Now, pedestrians can easily access the trestle from town with a short walk up the Connector Trail, leading walkers from the street level to the southern buttress of the Rosendale Trestle. Steps are carved out of Shawangunk Conglomerate, paying homage to the mountains in the distance. It’s a beautiful addition to the rail trail.
The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is an example of the Open Space Institute’s longtime and continuing commitment to Ulster County and the Hudson River Valley, and its efforts to make it easier for people to enjoy the outdoors. We have worked in the Shawangunk region for a quarter of a century, protecting around 30,000 acres along the ridge. By linking Gardiner and Kingston, OSI is connecting communities and creating spaces for healthy, fun recreation, getting more people to Rosendale, and more people from Rosendale to the trestle and rail trail.
Our long-term investment in open space is how we help build more environmentally sustainable communities while looking to local partners, such as the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and others, to accomplish our goals of preserving the human and natural well-being of the region. OSI encourages Hudson River Valley residents and visitors to enjoy an outing along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail this summer, and looks forward to its ongoing work in Ulster County.