Letters (2/28-3/6)

mail icon 2An Active Rail Bed

Recently the Kingston Daily Freeman published a brief article about U.S. Senator Charles Schumer visiting Kingston and posing on the tracks managed by the Catskill Mountain Railroad. It appears someone has misled or hoodwinked both Senator Schumer and the reporter when the Freeman’s article proclaimed the railroad track on which the Senator was standing to be “abandoned.” Far from being abandoned, this stretch of heritage railroad is part of the expanding tourist train run in Kingston. It was rebuilt with no county funds and is actively used by the Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR).

I rode this railroad during its recent Christmas run over the very tracks where Senator Schumer was standing, past the Holiday Inn out to bridge C-9, which was rebuilt with volunteer labor over a two-year period. The CMRR continues to push forward with its plans to expand its run, even in the face of organized opposition and the County Executive’s plans to derail their efforts. Next up is a rebuild of tracks to Route 209 and then up to “Hurley Mountain.”

The Senator and the Freeman reporter might want to talk directly with the Catskill Mountain Railroad and to read the February 2013 CMRR study which details how a “Rail with Trail” concept would work for the benefit of Ulster County. This study builds on the 2006 ALTA Engineering report prepared with funding and in-kind support provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Ulster County, and the State of New York.


On page 5 the ALTA report states, “The future vision of the Ulster & Delaware Rail + Trail is a significant opportunity for local communities, Ulster County, and the region. The combination of two historic tourist railroads, the trolley and railroad museums, restored historic sites, and a trail for multiple uses will compliment (sic) the tourism and recreation economy of the Catskill Mountain Region. The project can become a model of sustainable transportation and cooperation between a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit partners.”

It’s curious to this reader that the county is now ignoring this study paid for in part with its own funds. Meanwhile, the recommendations of the report have been followed faithfully by the CMRR over the past six years.

To see a short video of the CMRR train passing over the rebuilt C-9 bridge west of Kingston, go to this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXMjhX4kdjw

I suggest that the next time Senator Schumer visits this stretch of the active U&D rail corridor for a photo-op, he and the Kingston Freeman reporter should carefully look over their shoulders, because they might see a train coming. And they should do some careful research before proclaiming this active rail bed as abandoned.

Tobe Carey


Spending Authority

My new bumper sticker:

Question Austerity



Peace Is Calling

I’ve reserved the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, for another community opportunity to make Peace here in Woodstock for folks on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian issue. The previous meeting was sparsely attended on a bitter cold night. I believe that everyone wants peace in that land, and this will be an opportunity for us to find the ways to accomplish that between ourselves. A recent example of that is the orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, consisting of brilliant Palestinian, Israeli and Arab musicians. Even though some few, on both sides criticize them, nevertheless, they exist and work together for the sake of all the world. Myra Goodstein’s letter last week is a ‘cri de coeur’, a heartfelt plea for understanding and peace. Feelings that bar the way between us are suspicion, anger, fear, ignorance, and the feeling of justification. These all make it ‘safer’ to maintain a position than taking the trouble to see opponents as people, human beings. It will be a gift to ourselves when we see the truth of that. Peace is calling, let’s answer.

Jay Wenk

There are 2 comments

  1. warren rosenstein

    There has been increasing conflict between people walking in Woodstock public spaces (Comeau, Little Deep, Wilson State Park, etc.) and dog owners, particularly dog owners that allow their dogs to walk off leash. The solution is a simple one: compromise.

    I am not certain when the “all dogs on leash” rule was decided, or what the process was, but this was a decision that was made without factoring in the wants and needs of a large group of people – the dog owners. Walking dogs in groups in our public spaces is very enjoyable – people form friendships with other dogs owners, children and parents participate together – everyone involved has a great time. A lot of community building takes place during these walks, and it strengthens Woodstock to have these connections.

    That having been said, there are people who are not comfortable around dogs, particularly when they are off leash, and these people should be able to enjoy these public spaces without fear or being in any way inconvenienced. Rather than arriving at a compromise solution that addresses the needs of both of these groups, the decision was made to say “all dogs on leash at all times”. This decision was not fair. Because the decision left no room for dog owners to enjoy the socializing and pleasure of having their dogs play together in groups, the rule has been largely ignored.

    It would be very simple to amend this, and simply share these spaces. We could designate times, days of the week, locations, etc. as “on leash” or “off leash”. I enjoy walking my dog off leash, but I want to respect the rights and comfort of my neighbors. I believe that my neighbors also care about my enjoyment, and would be willing to compromise, too. Can we say Mon, Weds, Fri are off leash days? Or before noon is off leash time? Or Little Deep is off leash and Comeau is on? Surely this isn’t difficult for reasonable and kind-hearted people to solve.

    I have been an observer of Woodstock politics for a long time now, and in spite of our liberal and thoughtful approach to world issues, I have been a little disheartened to see that we often waste years of arguing over small issues, and people who are very generous in considering needs of others in world issues, are fiercely self-interested in local issues. I hope that this can be resolved simply and quickly. Let’s make a rule that factors in everyone’s enjoyment and safety and comfort.

  2. Stewart Dean

    Re: Tearing the CMRR tracks…

    There will come a time, twenty, forty years from now, when personal automotive transport will no longer be feasible in terms of cost and available energy sources. At that point, the whole of 28 beyond 375 will dry up and blow away…and people will wonder why we didn’t keep the rails of the CMRR for simple and exceedingly cheap transport, daily commuting and the movement of goods and tourists (as it once was from Kingston Point to Highmount and beyond). When you see the millions invested in the revival of streetcar lines and the revitalization they bring, the half million gained by steel salvage is a crime.

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