Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to set to expand, connect to Kingston

Developers of the Ulster County Williams Lake Project have agreed to grant an access easement for an extension of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.

The extension would allow trail users to go from Gardiner to Kingston for the first time since the rails came up on the former Wallkill Valley Rail Road line in the 1980’s. The Williams Lake Project’s developers have been collaborating with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and the Open Space Institute to create a permanent public easement for the rail trail through the 779 acres of lands owned by the development company. The trail will open before any construction will begin onsite and in advance of final approvals for the proposed redevelopment.

The work to complete the permanent easement is well underway, with survey crews currently working onsite and representatives of all three organizations working out the final details of the permanent easement.

The developers of the Williams Lake Project hosted a rail trail planning session on Monday, April 22, 2013 at the Belltower Venue on Main Street in Rosendale. Over 30 local professionals with backgrounds ranging from land management, trail design and recreational programming, to historic preservation, arts administration and ecology, participated. The session focused on the 1.5 mile of the trail that extends through the former Williams Lake Resort.

The session focused on three basic objectives: How to create a Culture of Responsibility among users, how best to use the many points of interest adjacent to the trail to interpret, educate and engage hikers and bikers in the history, geology and ecology of the land, and to explore the possibility of creating a day-pass model for access to Williams Lake’s existing trail system that lies adjacent to the rail trail.

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