Hudson Valley Rail Trails have become a destination for so many people who visit the area no matter what the time of year. Hikers, cyclists, people walking their dog or riding their horse, even cross country skiers all enjoy the expansive miles that these trail offer. For this reason, it is great to hear that another portion of a trail will be getting an improvement.

The Open Space Institute shared on Facebook this week that they are teaming up with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and the Hudson River Green Way to improve public access and safety to a part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The $1 million plan will cover a 9.5 mile part of the 22-mile long trail that stretches from The Town of Gardiner north to the Town of Ulster. This linear park runs along the former Wallkill Valley railroad corridor. The section being improved starts at Cragswood Road in New Paltz and heads north to Route 32 in the City of Kingston.

According to the information released from the Open Space Institute The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail sees 100,000 plus visitors a year. This shouldn't come as a surprise being that the trail wanders thru some of Ulster County's most popular towns while offering some of Ulster County's most stunning views including the Shawangunk Ridge.

In the press released from July 7th, Kim Elliman, the President and CEO of the Open Space Institute, states that  “Building on the creation of the River-to-Ridge Trail in New Paltz and the protection and restoration of the Rosendale Trestle, OSI is excited to continue our efforts to build connections between people and land,  well maintained and easily accessible trails play an important role in making communities more livable, healthy, and prosperous. This project is another step toward in establishing Ulster County as a world-class recreational destination and sets the stage for the transformative Empire State Trail."

During the improvements, closures are expected so visitors to the trail are encouraged to follow the Wallkill Valley Land Trust on social media and to use their website. Work on the trail is scheduled to begin in the middle of July and run through the middle of October. The improvements will include resurfacing the trail, removing invasive species along with excess vegetation plus rehab on three small bridges. They will also be improving safety at road crossings by increasing trail visibility.

I have spent a lot of time walking the part of the trail in New Paltz. It has some of the most amazing views and it is a popular area for tourists. It will be good to see the improvements to the trail and it's safety. You may not be aware but parts of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail are included in the 750 mile Empire State Trail, a bike and walking pathway that runs from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo.

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