The River-to-Ridge trail map can be viewed at https://www.osiny.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9033.%5B/caption%5D
The Open Space Institute (OSI) and Mohonk Preserve have unveiled the proposed route of the “River-to-Ridge” trail, the scenic and recreational off-road trail leading directly from downtown New Paltz to the Shawangunk Ridge. In developing the route, which can be viewed at https://www.osiny.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9033, the groups gave careful consideration to such matters as avoiding sensitive wetland areas, accommodating neighboring farming operations, identifying designated parking options and choosing proper trail materials and design.
The proposed six-mile loop trail will be accessible free of charge when it opens in 2016. Hikers, cyclists and others will enjoy an eight-to-ten foot wide path of gravel and grass that meanders through farm fields and over gently rolling hills, and allows direct access to 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The trail will also enable cyclists to safely bypass the narrow, congested shoulder of Route 299, currently the primary road leading from New Paltz to the preserves.
“River-to-Ridge will be a terrific asset for the community and an important anchor to an ever-expanding, premier network of recreational trails in the eastern US,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI appreciates the public support and positive feedback we have received since we announced plans for the River-to-Ridge trail and thank our partners for their continued commitment to this exciting community project.”
“In addition to being a beautiful loop trail, the River-to-Ridge trail will provide a great option for the many hikers, walkers, runners, cyclists and cross-country skiers who want to access the extensive carriage road and trail networks in the Mohonk Preserve Foothills and on the ridge,” said Mohonk Preserve executive director Glenn Hoagland. “We are happy to be working with our colleagues at OSI to create and steward this great addition to the growing, connected regional trail system in the Hudson Valley.”
Since 2013, Mohonk Preserve and OSI have been working with the Town of New Paltz and the New Paltz Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee to develop recreational access options from the town to the Mohonk Preserve Foothills, culminating in a grant from Hudson Valley Greenway to study trail options.
In February, OSI completed the New Paltz-Foothills conservation corridor when it acquired the $2.1 million, 135-acre “Watchtower” property. The parcel joined the other scenic farmland properties, totaling 1,200 acres, OSI has protected in the area along the route of the River-to-Ridge trail: the 856-acre Mohonk Preserve Foothills tract, which was subsequently sold to Mohonk Preserve, the 144-acre Van Alst farm and the Studley farm on Butterville Road.
After the proposed trail receives public input and is approved by the New Paltz town Planning Board, the groups will secure the appropriate permits for OSI to begin construction of the trail and associated footbridges, kiosks and culverts.