Your Environment Podcast
On this week’s Your Environment podcast, Erik Kulleseid, the executive director of OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks, speaks about the opening of a 1.5-mile section of rail trail that was donated by the Williams Lake Project and completes the 24-mile, now all publicly accessible, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. Stream and listen to Your Environment on the Mid-Hudson News website: www.midhudsonnews.com.
September 6, 2013 – The Open Space Institute is happy to announce that the entire 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is now open and available to the public, thanks to a donation from the Williams Lake Project, which opened a 1.5-mile section of rail trail in a ceremony earlier this week. Both Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Rosendale Town Supervisor Jeanne Walsh attended and spoke at the opening event, showing their support for this outstanding public recreational outlet.
The completion of the rail trail comes just two months after OSI and our partners at the Wallkill Valley Land Trust reopened the historic Rosendale railroad trestle following a nearly four-year restoration project. With the trestle complete and the Williams Lake section open, this fulfills OSI and WVLT’s goal of a continuous, 24-mile recreational rail trail running from the southern border of Gardiner to the city of Kingston.
The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is just one example of OSI’s longtime and continuing commitment to Ulster County and the Hudson River Valley. OSI has worked in the Shawangunk region for 25 years, protecting close to 30,000 acres along the Shawangunk Ridge during that time. We’ve protected farmland in the Rondout and Wallkill valleys, and promoted recreation by making world-class rock climbing sites accessible to the public. This has always been one of the core landscapes where we’ve made major investments to protect open landscapes, clean air and clean water.
Hundreds of people have crossed the Rosendale trestle since its opening, and we’re excited now to give users 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 and the entire Hudson Valley. The newly donated segment of the trail provides 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 rail trail is open to walkers, hikers, bikers and horseback riders from dawn till dusk every day, unless the temporary need arises to make improvements to rail bed in other areas.
Over the past 30 years, OSI has done much to preserve the beauty, recreational amenities and the quality of life which attracts people, jobs and tourists to the Hudson Valley. Our long-term investment in open space is how we help build more environmentally sustainable communities while we look 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.
We hope you will enjoy a hike or bike ride along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail soon—remember that leaf season isn’t far away—and look forward to our ongoing work in Ulster County.