A 3.5-mile segment of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in the town and village of New Paltz will be upgraded with a new ten-foot wide bicycling and walking path by October, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday in a press release.
The project will see the removal of the aging decade’s-old trail surface to make way for the new ten-foot wide bicycling and walking path from Cragswood Road in the Town of New Paltz to the Empire State Trail trailhead at Sojourner Truth Park. Cuomo said this segment of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail serves as a key link in the Empire State Trail.
Other enhancements the Governor announced include installing drainage improvements to prevent trail erosion and make safety improvements including installing signage and marked crosswalks at eight locations where the trail crosses public roads.
Officials said the work will start this month and is expected to wrap up in October.
Trail users should expect some closures on weekends, officials said. There will be no closures on weekends or holidays.
The project is a partnership between New York State, the town and village of New Paltz and the Open Space Institute (OSI). Officials said the Hudson River Valley Greenway has committed $900,000 to complete the project which will be undertaken by the non-profit Open Space Institute. OSI completed a similar project in 2020 to improve an adjoining nine-mile trail section in the towns of Ulster and Rosendale that is also part of the Empire State Trail route.
The Empire State Trail is a 750-mile bicycling, walking and running route that runs from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain valleys to Canada and from Buffalo to Albany along the Erie Canalway Trail.
“The Walkill Valley Rail Trail is a favored recreational destination for thousands of Hudson Valley residents and visitors every year,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in the release. “The trail is well-used by cyclists, walkers and runners for local trips and is a critical link in the 750-mile Empire State Trail connecting Albany and New York City, Canada and Buffalo. Refurbishing this vital connection will help trail users of all abilities to have a better experience for years to come.”
“This project represents an important part of efforts to make outdoor destinations safe, welcoming and available to the public,” OSI president and CEO Kim Elliman said. “Having already restored 9.5 miles of the northern stretch of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, protected and restored the Rosendale Trestle and created the River-to-Ridge Trail in New Paltz, Open Space Institute is excited to continue our work in this landscape to build connections between people and land.”