Rail Trail Expanded to Connect Wallkill Valley

The rail trail now connects Kingston to Gardiner, stretching a total of 24 miles through New Paltz.

The Wallkill Valley Land Trust and the Open Space Institute joined forces in 2009 and acquired 11.5 miles of the railroad north of the already existing New Paltz section, according to the Wallkill Valley website. This newly purchased piece nearly doubled the path and contained a railroad trestle.

“The opportunity came up and it was wonderful to acquire the trail,” Executive Director of The Wallkill Valley Land Trust Christie DeBoer said.

The renovation process started in August of 2009 and came to an end in August 2013. The trail was opened to the public with a small ceremony on Sept. 4.

Although the extension of the trail is finished, DeBoer said there’s more to be done.

“It’s still a work in progress,” she said. “There’s some erosion that’s happening at the south end of the trestle.”

The trestle renovation cost about $1.5 million to complete DeBoer said. The walkway overlooks the town of Rosendale and stands tall at 150 feet over the Wallkill River.

The acquisition of the northern 1.5 mile Williams Lake portion also played a major role in the completion of the trail, acording to Communications Coordinator at The Open Space Institute Jeff Simms.

“We have a vision for a network of trails throughout the Hudson Valley,” Simms said of future plans for the trail.

DeBoer said she hopes the trail spurs tourism in Rosendale.

“I think more and more students are using the trail. A lot of Kingston runners, mountain bikers and the occasional horseback rider,” she said. “The ultimate goal for us is to bring people into Rosendale.”