The Open Space Institute (OSI) has teamed up with local organizations to help improve the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
OSI and the Mohonk Preserve have joined forces to connect land protected by both entities. The two have unveiled a new logo and trail marker for the River-to-Ridge Trail, which will bridge the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in the Village of New Paltz to the carriage roads and footpaths of the Shawangunk Ridge once it is completed.
The six-mile loop trail will cover space owned and managed by the OSI along the Wallkill River and through farm fields. When the trail hits Butterville Road, it will cross onto Mohonk Preserve property.
“The new River-to-Ridge logo makes the River-to-Ridge Trail come to life in a new way,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “With every engineering and construction milestone, we at OSI are growing more excited about the trail’s completion. We hope that the people of New Paltz share in our enthusiasm and appreciate their patience as we deal with the effects of this winter’s floods and ice.”
OSI has also teamed up with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) to improve work along a 12-mile section of the Rail Trail. This will include clearing of overgrown hazardous trees and shrubs, which will in turn will establish an eight-to-10 foot passage on the entirety of the 12-mile span.
“This clearing work and the subsequent repairs and improvements to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail will make the trail safer and more enjoyable for everyone that walks, hikes, runs, bikes and skis or otherwise uses the Rail Trail,” said Hensley Evans, President of the WVLT. “Getting people outside and connected to the land is at the core of our mission as an organization and the Rail Trail helps us to achieve this for the thousands of visitors and residents alike who visit it throughout the year.”
These improvements are being made in preparation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Trail, which will include the Rail Trail. It is set to open next year and be completed by 2020.
Village of New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers said the improved trails will be beneficial to the members of the community and it will be nice to have a connected trail throughout New York state.
“The community is very excited for the River-to-Ridge Trail and integrating it into the Rail Trail,” he said. “The Rail Trail is a great place for people to get fresh air and clear their head.”
Rogers added that he is excited to see the Trails being invested in, which he believes is good for the community and state as a whole.