Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association Announces Expansion of Multi-Use Rail Trail in Hudson Valley

Aims to Create Continuous Trail from Columbia to Dutchess counties.

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association announced today that a major multi-use trail in the Hudson Valley will expand in Columbia County next year with support from more than $2.1 million in funding from the state and federal government.

HVRTA is beginning a fundraising drive to raise the $237,500 needed to complete the local match money required by the grants. “This is a tremendously significant piece of trail construction, the result of years of persistence and determination. It is proof that a collaboration between state government and a local grassroots group can lead to significant accomplishment,” said HVRTA Chairman Dick Hermans. “We are confident that our fundraising efforts for the project will be warmly received by our communities along the trail,” he added. http://hvrt.org/donate/

The two grants supporting the latest expansion, included $1.9 million from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternative Program though an application by State Parks, and $237,500 from the state Environmental Protection Fund. HVRTA was instrumental in obtaining these two important grants.

Tentative plans call for construction of a one-mile trail segment near Taconic State Park, between Orphan Farm Road and Black Grocery Road that will include a pedestrian bridge over State Route 22.

Currently, there are 16 miles open on the planned 46-mile trail along the former New York & Harlem Railroad line that was abandoned by the early 1980s. Once complete, the multi-use trail is to run between Wassaic in Dutchess County to Chatham in Columbia County.

The trail is a joint effort among the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York State Department of Transportation, Dutchess County, the towns of North East and Amenia, and the village of Millerton.

“Parks will be managing the construction of this new trail segment that runs near Taconic State Park,” said Parks Regional Director Linda Cooper. “The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in New York. It is a great opportunity for more people to get outdoors and enjoy the stunning views nature has to offer in this part of New York State.”

In December, the HVRTA acquired property needed for construction of the new pedestrian bridge across Route 22, where the former railroad bridge once stood before being removed in the mid-1990s.

Combined with construction of eight additional miles of the trail by Dutchess County north of Main Street in Millerton to be completed in the fall of 2020, the expansion near the Taconic State Park will create a continuous 26.6-mile trail between the MetroNorth station in Wassaic and Hillsdale in Columbia County.

In Millerton, HVRTA and the Dutchess County Department of Public Works are also developing a narrative “Bridge to Nature” display on the area’s natural history and ecology.

The association will hold public planning meetings this year along the trail’s planned Philmont-Ghent-Chatham corridor to move the trail project forward in that part of Columbia County.

Federal highway and alternative transportation funds have paid for more than half of the rail bed acquisition and trail construction.

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) is a nonprofit, membership-based organization, founded in 1986 and incorporated in 1996. http://hvrt.org/donate/

For further information contact:

Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association

PO Box 356

Millerton, NY 12546

518-789-9591

hvrta@fairpoint.net