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Extend the Rail Trails

The O&W Rail Trail along Route 209 has been a bigger hit than the Town ever imagined. Walkers. bicyclists, skaters – the old, the young, families and singles, joggers and cross-country teams – you can find them all on the trail through every season, in all kinds of weather. The message is clear. Hurley loves rail trails.

O&W Logo

The Delaware and Hudson Heritage Corridor Alliance deserves our thanks. It’s their vision, leadership, and persistence that will eventually make it possible to travel the rail trail from Kingston to Pennsylvania.

The Hurley segment of the 108 mile rail trail runs 12.8 miles from Kingston to Marbletown. In 2005 the 2.2 miles along Route 209 opened for use after paving. The northern portion has been landscaped. If the NYSDOT Tree Planting Program continues to receive funding, the landscaping for the southern portion will be completed in 2007.

This segment has been a collaborative project funded with dollars and in-kind services by NYS Senator Bonacic, NYS DOT, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Town of Hurley, and many individual volunteers and supporters. In an impressive commitment to inter-municipal cooperation, nine towns and NYSDOT participated in paving the trail. Individuals and organizations have adopted berms for upkeep. The Eagle Scouts are building the kiosks and benches.

The Town is responsible for maintenance of the trail which includes mowing, clean-up, and maintenance of the asphalt. This, too, has become a community effort. The Girl Scouts, Coleman Cares, Key Bank, and many rail trail volunteers contribute many Saturday mornings of work.

A related project for a pedestrian path linking the trail to the Ernest C. Myer elementary school and a new parking area at the intersection of Russell Road and Rte. 209 a is in the works; plans for the proposed project will be submitted to the NYSDOT Transportation Enhancement Program for funding.

The Community Speaks Through Words And Actions

Hurley wants more rail trails. Rail trails and bicycle paths received the highest positive response in the community survey. People use the trails daily, volunteer their time, and show their appreciation. We recommend that the town make the extension of the trail system a priority.

A possible related project would be to support a new parking area at the intersection of Russell Road and Rte. 209, with a pedestrian path linking the trail to the Ernest C. Myer elementary school; plans for a proposed project will be submitted to the NYSDOT Transportation Enhancement Program.

Extension of the O&W Trail
The next step is connecting the 209 segment to Kingston. Grant funding has been secured to cover the cost of the project with a 20% match from the participating towns. Hurley’s responsibility is limited to the 1100 feet from the trail to the town border.

When this segment is complete one will be able to travel from Washington Avenue in Kingston to High Falls.

U&D Railroad Trail Corridor
The U&D Rail Trail Corridor presents a potential opportunity for a continuous transportation and recreation corridor from the Susquehanna River in Oneonta to the Hudson River in Kingston. The trail would travel along the reservoir and through the cornfields to link with the O&W trail along 209.

The U&D Feasibility Study currently underway is analyzing the potential for a phased implementation and maintenance of a system that would accommodate both train and rail trail. The majority of the approximately 40 mile right-of-way is currently leased by Catskill Mountain Railroad and owned by Ulster County, New York City, and the City of Kingston.

The consultants have identified many challenges – both physical and bureaucratic – to implementing a trail that would serve both rail and non-rail users. Success will require the commitment and dedication of many partners. We recommend that Hurley make its support known, particularly to the Ulster County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The Future
The open space plan identified other trails that could be added to the system. Some are longstanding trails through private property or government land. They wind through beautiful and historic scenery. Longer term, or if any of the sites are considered for development, we recommend exploring the feasibility of formalizing these trails by providing incentives for developers to include public access trails in their designs, acquiring property, and/or right-of-way agreements.

Rail Trails Recommendations

• Complete the O&W Rail Trail from 209 to Kingston

Add a parking lot at Russell Road and Route 209

• Support the negotiations, planning and implementation of the Ulster & Delaware rail trail Kingston to Oneonta

• Long term: Expand the trail system by negotiating easements and/or utilizing lightly trafficked Town roads for future trails along the Esopus, and along New York State Department of Environmental Conservation land to the ruins of early Hurley residences and farms. - Open Space Plan