A gateway parking area is the latest component of the Open Space Institute’s (OSI) River-to-Ridge Trail project. Under a formal lease agreement between OSI and the Village of New Paltz, a 15-acre parcel of village-owned property on Springtown Road along the Wallkill River will be transformed into a parking area and trail corridor for OSI’s planned River-to-Ridge Trail, an off-road, multi-use trail leading directly from downtown New Paltz to the Shawangunk Ridge.
“The addition of the River-to-Ridge gateway area reinforces OSI’s ongoing commitment to the New Paltz community and improving access to this premier network of recreational trails,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI appreciates the public support and positive feedback we have received since announcing plans for the River-to-Ridge Trail and thank the Village of New Paltz for their partnership in supporting this exciting community project.”
“I’m a big proponent of public access to outdoor recreation and look forward to accessing our world-class ridge without a car directly from downtown New Paltz,” said Village of New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers.
Under the 20-year agreement, OSI will fully fund the parking area and maintain and manage it as a community asset to New Paltz. The village will maintain ownership of the property and be responsible for snow removal in the winter. The lease permits areas of the property that are currently being farmed to remain in productive agricultural use. Prior to the agreement, the lot had been used by the municipality to store winter snow deposits and highway maintenance materials, including gravel.
The new gateway parking area will serve as the primary welcoming access point for the six-mile River-to-Ridge Trail and will include parking for up to 45 vehicles, a shaded picnic area, trailhead kiosk and the planting of native trees. Public access to the Wallkill River will also be maintained as part of the improvement plan. Open from dawn to dusk, the gateway parking area will be available to the public free of charge.
OSI’s proposed six-mile River-to-Ridge loop trail will also be accessible to the public free of charge, allowing hikers, cyclists and others to enjoy a ten-foot-wide gravel path that meanders through farm fields and over gently rolling hills, with direct access to more than 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve.