Several successive snow, ice and wind storms have created hazardous trail conditions on portions of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (WVRT) and on trails managed by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT). To date, more than 150 downed trees have been reported. About a dozen WVLT volunteers with chainsaws and other tools helped to clear the debris. Several highway departments also helped clear the sections of the WVRT in their jurisdiction.
According to Christie DeBoer, Executive Director of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, the combined efforts of pre-approved volunteers and highway departments have made a dent in the extensive clean up along the trail, but even with their help it is unlikely to be finished until late spring. “As a non-profit, we rely first on our dedicated volunteers to help remove downed trees and debris on our public lands,” said DeBoer. “We are grateful for their help.” She said trail users should remain cautious as many broken tree limbs may still be suspended up in the trees and could fall in winter storms and strong spring winds.
“It’s important to note that the Wallkill Valley Land Trust depends on volunteers to help with trail maintenance throughout the year,” said Beth Bengston, President of the Board of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. “Maintaining our open space, trails and conservation easements is costly.” According to a study by the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy, regular trail maintenance costs about $500 to $1,000 per mile depending on the type of trail surface. To report a downed tree, learn more about volunteering and to make a donation, please visit wallkillvalleylt.org.