The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) was founded in 1986 and incorporated in 1996. The trail is a joint effort between HVRTA, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the New York State Department of Transportation, Dutchess County, the towns of North East and Amenia, and the village of Millerton. Federal highway and alternative transportation funds have paid for more than half of the rail bed acquisition and trail construction.
In Dutchess County the trail is leased from NYS by Dutchess County. In Columbia County, the trail is part of Taconic State Park and is maintained by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. A large group of Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association volunteers assists with maintenance, and more, along the entire trail.
The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) exists to do the following things, according to the association’s by-laws:
- Cooperate with public agencies and municipalities with which HVRTA has a “public/private partnership.” This includes custodial and maintenance assistance to be performed by volunteers coordinated by HVRTA;
- Assist agencies administering the trail in the design, purchase and installation of trail amenities, such as benches and signage to benefit trail users;
- Organize and promote community support for the trail;
- Advocate with any relevant body, public or private, for the completion of future sections of the trail between the northern terminus of Metro-North’s Harlem Valley Rail Line and Chatham, New York;
- Educate the public about using the trail safely;
- Raise funds necessary to maintain the organization and achieve its purposes.
To accomplish its purposes, HVRTA has an organizational structure that includes a board of directors and a general membership.
- The HVRTA Board of Directors consists of from twelve (12) to twenty (20) directors who meet no less than five (5) times a year.
- The board tries to include directors from the communities intersected by the trail. Directors serve two-year terms.
- An annual membership meeting and potluck dinner is held in late summer or early fall.