Your Environment Podcast
On this months’s Your Environment podcast, OSI’s Erik Kulleseid, the executive director of OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks, discusses the numerous initiatives going on right now as OSI gets closer to its vision of a unified Hudson Valley rail trail network. Every Friday, listen to Your Environment on the Mid-Hudson News website: www.midhudsonnews.com.
March 7, 2014 — Big things are happening on the rail trail front in the Hudson River Valley.
Two weeks ago, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and OSI announced the launch of a privately-funded trail planning study for the Ashokan Reservoir section of the Ulster County Rail Trail Project. The planning study has been commissioned by OSI and will focus on the 11.5-mile segment of the County-owned Ulster & Delaware Railroad corridor that runs along the northern shore of the Ashokan Reservoir.
Our partnership with the county builds on the recent announcement that Ulster County and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection agreed to help fund and facilitate the conversion of the Ulster & Delaware corridor running through DEP lands into a non-motorized rail trail.
What this means for the public is access to these lands without the requirement of a permit for the first time in over 100 years. You’ll traverse unspoiled fields and forests while taking in incredible views of the Catskill High Peaks.
The Hudson River Valley Greenway has also awarded the Town of New Paltz a grant to develop a plan for an almost 1 mile pedestrian public access trail in the agricultural “Flats” area from the Wallkill River near downtown New Paltz to the intersection of Lewis Lane and Red Barn Road, near the Wallkill View Farm Market.
This trail would enhance opportunities for recreation, business activity, and safe, alternative transportation in an area where there is currently no safe pedestrian or bicycle access. The trail will run along the southern border of the Van Alst farm, which OSI protected in 2011, and provide a safe route along Route 299 for walkers, hikers and bicyclists traveling from downtown New Paltz toward the Mohonk Preserve Foothills and the Shawangunk Ridge.
And just down the road, New Paltz Town Board members have agreed to apply for a federal grant that would help create a bicycle path along Henry W. Dubois Drive. Biking advocates believe the path will serve as vital a link between the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Spring is finally here and there’s so much happening out on the trails. Don’t forget to get out on the fully extended, now 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which features the restored Rosendale trestle as a one of the centerpieces of the entire Hudson Valley network.
OSI’s vision is to protect and add to a unified rail trail network that will one day run from southern Dutchess County and through Ulster and Orange counties to New Paltz, Walden, Kingston, Ellenville, and the Catskill High Peaks – more than 140 miles of recreational rail trail in all.
We hope that the people of the Hudson Valley will be able to travel from one town or village to another, passing through state parks and forests, wildlife management areas, and nature preserves – all on a trail system that provides safe, enjoyable access to the natural world.
There’s no time like springtime to get back outdoors and reconnect with the world around us. I hope to see you out on the trails.
Stream and listen to Erik on the Your Environment podcast.